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Santeria: Religion or Witchcraft? Term Paper


This paper focuses on Santeria as a religion and tries to compare it with witchcraft. The research tries to find out if they are the same thing or are completely different. The method of information collection used mainly is literature review. It is important to know the differences and similarities if any so that people are in a better position to make informed decisions. Santeria has existed for hundreds of years and it is largely believed to have developed in Cuba based on native African traditions. It has also evolved over time due to environmental factors and times. One of the major changes forced by the environment was the adoption of Catholic saints to hide when it was considered evil.

Main body

Santeria is an African-based religion that is rooted on native African traditions. It is believed to have originated in Cuba and primarily combines traditional Yoruban deities and the worship of Catholic saints. It honours a number of gods referred to as orishas (Ruben, 2015). Each of the gods has their myths and command certain aspects (Ruben, 2015). There is also a supreme being called Oludumare who is above all other orishas. In the past, Santeria has been largely compared to witchcraft because they have some similarities but is Santeria witchcraft or is it entirely different? This can only be known by doing extensive research and literature review on the topic. This paper addresses the above question.

Santeria can be considered as a blend of different aspects of various faiths (Wiggington, 2015). This is despite the fact that most of these religions are contradictory. It is complex as it combines worship of divine beings and several Yoruba orishas (Wiggington, 2015). Santeria also uses spells like witchcraft (Spells, 2015). The spells are not easy to come by as spell work is a rare thing in Santeria. It is important to study Santeria in depth to understand how the religion works.

It is important to study what the religion of Santeria involves so as to be able to know the differences and similarities between these religions. In the past, some sections of people have largely compared Santeria to witchcraft and even voodoo (Lanning, 2015). This study aims to clarify this by clearly defining if it is the same as witchcraft, just similar to witchcraft in some aspects, or they are completely different (Witchcraft, 2015). It is also therefore important to study it so that people who practise it can be given their freedom to do so without being discriminated as most people judge negatively what they might not understand fully.

Santeria and witchcraft are both religions, but they are not the same (E., 2015). Although both of them may have roots in African religious traditions, Santeria evolved in Cuba. Santeria is more organised and governed as compared to witchcraft (Between.net, 2015). It is mixed, with Catholic religion and the presence of priests gives it a sense of order as they preside over functions as compared to witchcraft mostly seen as a way of harming people (Mastin, 2015).

Spells are also done in Santeria although rarely as most of their spells are hard to find let alone perform on the other hand witchcraft is seen as largely linked with many spells (Spengler, 2015). Santeria also adopted the names of many Catholic saints so as to cover for their practises that were forbidden likewise witchcraft is also viewed by many as evil, and most of their practises are seen as illegal and harmful.

Most of the research done in the past on Santeria may contain large inconsistencies due to the bias of researchers (Robinson, 2015). Santeria is completely different from witchcraft even though they may have some similarities. Similarities include use of magic and belief in several gods who command different aspects. They also both originated from native African culture. On the other hand, they have different aspects as Santeria adopted the use of Catholic saints, and there is a supreme being. In witchcraft, such aspects do not exist. Further, comprehensive research should be conducted on the topic without bias so as to get the correct information to enable people understand Santeria in depth before forming an opinion about it.


Between.net, D. (2015). . Web.

E., R. D. (2015). . Web.

Lanning, K. (2015). . Web.

Mastin, L. (2015). What Is Witchcraft? Web.

Robinson, B. (2015). . Web.

Ruben. (2015). SANTERIA. Web.

Spells, S. (2015). . Web.

Spengler, P. (2015). REAL SANTERIA SPELLS. Web.

Wiggington, P. (2015). Web.

Witchcraft. (2015). Witchcraft. Web.

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"Santeria: Religion or Witchcraft?" IvyPanda, 13 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/santeria-religion-or-witchcraft/.

1. IvyPanda. "Santeria: Religion or Witchcraft?" September 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/santeria-religion-or-witchcraft/.


IvyPanda. "Santeria: Religion or Witchcraft?" September 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/santeria-religion-or-witchcraft/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Santeria: Religion or Witchcraft?" September 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/santeria-religion-or-witchcraft/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Santeria: Religion or Witchcraft'. 13 September.

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