A Look at Jamaica’s Diverse Spiritual Traditions

Sunday New York Times Magazine ran a photo spread and explanatory essay about the faiths extant among the Jamaican people besides the Christianity that dominates the island. An excerpt reads:

‘Tourists seldom realize how powerful and persistent Christianity is on our island. Centuries ago, when the British colonized the island, Christianity became the dominant religion. Believers consider it to be more respectable than the “backward beliefs” brought centuries ago by African slaves. For this reason, people discussed traditions like Obeah — a hard-to-define faith that, in its essence, can be considered “the black magic of the Caribbean” — in secrecy. But those so-called backward traditions are central to the country’s identity. Nanny, Jamaica’s national hero and the great leader of the self-emancipating Maroons, was also a known practitioner of Obeah. As legend has it, the Maroons used Obeah to defeat British soldiers. Because of this illustrious heritage, mysticism undergirds the island’s sacred life.’

Check out the whole spread


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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