Afro-Caribbean Religions

An Introduction to Their Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Traditions

Nathanial Samuel Murrell
Book Cover

PB: $44.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0041-3
Publication: Dec 09

HC: $96.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-0040-6
Publication: Dec 09

Ebook: $44.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0175-5
Publication: Dec 09

440 pages
6 x 9
1 figs., 9 halftones, 4 maps

A comprehensive introduction to the Caribbean’s African-based religions

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Religion is one of the most important elements of Afro-Caribbean culture linking its people to their African past, from Haitian Vodou and Cuban Santeria—popular religions that have often been demonized in popular culture—to Rastafari in Jamaica and Orisha-Shango of Trinidad and Tobago. In Afro-Caribbean Religions, Nathaniel Samuel Murrell provides a comprehensive study that respectfully traces the social, historical, and political contexts of these religions. And, because Brazil has the largest African population in the world outside of Africa, and has historic ties to the Caribbean, Murrell includes a section on Candomble, Umbanda, Xango, and Batique.

This accessibly written introduction to Afro-Caribbean religions examines the cultural traditions and transformations of all of the African-derived religions of the Caribbean along with their cosmology, beliefs, cultic structures, and ritual practices. Ideal for classroom use, Afro-Caribbean Religions also includes a glossary defining unfamiliar terms and identifying key figures.

Table of Contents


PART I: African Connections: Historical Roots Of Afro- Caribbean Religions
1. Yoruba, Fon- Ewe, Ashanti, and Kongo Cultural History
2. African Cultus and Functionaries

PART II: Vodou: Haitian Religion
3. Vodou and the Haitians’ Struggle
4. Serving the Lwa
PART III: Santeria And Palo Monte: Cuban Religion Of The Orisha And Drums
5. Caribbean Santeria
6. Energy of the Ashe Community and Cultus
7. Palo Monte Mayombe

PART IV: Creole Religions Of The Southern Caribbean
8. Dancing to Orixas’ Axe in Candomble
9. Umbanda and Its Antecedents
10. Orisha Powers: Creole Religion in Trinidad and Tobago

PART V: Jamaica’s Creole Religions: Culture Of Resistance And Rhythms
11. Obeah: Magical Art of Re sis tancer
12. Myal and Kumina in Jamaica’s Past
13. Poco, Zion, and Convince
14. The Rastafari Chant
Selected Bibliography

About the Author(s)

Nathaniel Samuel Murrell is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the co-editor of Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader (Temple).