Cuban Santeria priests foresee increasing illness, crime in 2023

Havana, Jan 1 (EFE).- The religious institution known as the Yoruba Cultural Association of Cuba is predicting for 2023 an increase in disease, crime and alcoholism, along with warning about the need for a change in thinking to develop a new socio-economic outlook for the communist island.

A group of Cuban Santeria priests – known as “babalawos” – met on New Year’s Eve at the Havana headquarters of the Association and on Jan. 1 published their “Yearly Letter” with their prognostications for 2023, a tradition rooted in the practices and beliefs of their religion.

The prophesies of the oracle of Afro-Cuban religions are contained in the document, and the babalawos are also forecasting natural disasters from hurricanes, ocean disturbances and overflowing rivers that will cause both economic and human losses.

They predict an increase in violent criminal activity and robberies and recommend that precautions be taken to safeguard both individual and state-owned property.

The priests expressed concern over the aging of the Cuban population, which is being left with a depleted cohort of young people due to the massive exodus of citizens of child-bearing age over the past year and the resulting decline in the island’s birth rate.

They also predicted an increase in alcohol consumption among the public, a situation they say will create social problems, adding that the dangers associated with this should be publicized more.

The priests also warned about the education of children and teens, expressing concern about the exodus of teachers from the educational sector into other occupations.

Obatala, the god of creation and the main deity in Afro-Cuban Santeria, will be the reigning or governing “orisha” – or spirit – for the coming year, they said.

In Cuban Santeria, Obatala is synonymous with the Virgin of Mercies for Catholics, representing purity and is the divinity of impossible causes and the protector of the sick. He is recognized as the creator of human beings and thus he is attributed with having ascendancy over mankind.

In 2023, he will hold sway along with Oshun, Our Lady of Charity, Cuba’s patron saint in the Catholic worldview and the patroness of love and fresh water, personifying love, fertility, the intensity of feelings and spirituality.

For 2023, the babalawos also recommended once again making preventive health measures a nationwide priority to limit the spread of infectious diseases.

In addition, they advised a change in thinking to facilitate the development of new socio-economic points of view for the island, as well as legally enabling internal economic opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Moreover, they warned the authorities about the excessive use of biochemicals in raising livestock, fruits and food in general due to their harmful effects on human health.

Syncretic cults, which came to Cuba with African slaves during the colonial epoch, transmit their knowledge via the oral tradition in prayers, rites, conjuration, magical formulae, chants, dances, sacrifices and liturgies.

Prophesy is one of the most important practices in Santeria.

EFE rmo/jce/bp

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