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Spiritism

The spiritist thoughts and practices spread in Cuba in the 50s of the 19th century, they extended and rooted in the society in very few years.

The traditional spiritism was mainly spread in the cities and urban areas, while other religious forms born in the Island had their first place in the rural areas in the eastern part of the country. Later on they reached the periphery of the towns and cities in that region, and then it extended to the whole Cuba.

Those who dedicated to the practice of spiritism in its orthodox form called themselves scientists and were the most interested in the publications which they used in their rituals.

The national alternatives had a tendency to use ideas and conceptions of the religious literature. In their sessions are used objects as crosses, flowers, images, water, and others, which give the ceremony a more obvious expression of the believe. In the latter group devotees has created a conceptual structure that both, maintains traditional elements that identify them, and ha introduced procedures that make them different of the specific practice: the cordon (wire) spiritism, the cruzao (crossed) and the individual.

Their name represents the way of performing the cult. In the scientific spiritism, is also known as the table, because the believers generally sit around one to call some spirits and establish a communication; in the case of the wire the devotees are standing in a circle holding their hands, while they move opposite to the clocks hands.

The followers of the Kardec adopt a meditation and concentration position, through it they achieve the communication. However those practicing the wire form beside the pray and transmission, they hit toughly the floor with their feet and balance their arms with a rhythm and intensity that increases up to obtain the spiritual disturbed stage.

Of course the spiritualism known as cruzao, is the result of the syncretism of spiritist ideas and practices with African religious expressions, specially the Regla de Ocha or Palo Monte, and in a less quantity the Catholicism. In this kind of ritual is common to find that the medium expresses to have receive the spirit of an African slave, usually congo. They express the same way they probably did at that time.

In Cuba there are other tendencies which the followers combine according to the person with the cartomancy, the palmistry and other forms of divination or used to heel people through rituals as la santiguación, el despojo (despoliation) (branches and plants and even hens and pigeons are passed through the body).