Espiritismo is Latin American 'Spiritism', a belief in a Universal God and a spirit world inhabited by disincarnate entities that evolve through interaction with the corporeal world before and after death. There has never been a single leader, but historically espiritismo is based in the ideas of Spiritism as defined by Allan Kardec. As spiritism spread throughout the Caribbean, it quickly became adopted as a means of interacting with and revering the dead, answering the need of many creole populations who had a memory of African and Indigenous ancestral practices, but whose practice was deemed illegal or problematic.
Espiritismo allows the practioner to call upon the assistance of various spirits, often called 'guias', or guides, to assist the espiritista in helping organize their life, and to heal the various ailments and solve the varied problems of daily living. Common structures developed, different styles of working with these spirits developed, from the very formal Mesa Blanca ("White Table"), to more varied practices like Espiritismo Cruzado ("Crossed Spiritism") and Santerismo, which fused Kongolese and Yoruba religion with the framework and practices of Espiritismo proper.
What is Espiritismo Criollo? Criollo is the term given to those of multiple ancestries- "creole" - a mix of European, Indigenous, African, even Asian- those populations of the "New World" and the magnificent and complex cultural makeup that became Caribbean identity.
In this ten week class, we will explore many aspects of the various practices called "Espiritismo" in the Caribbean:
• the history and folklore of Spiritism in the Caribbean
• the Spiritist understanding of the Universe
• explorations of guias espirituales (spirit guides) and other spirits that are found within Espiritismo
• the notion of a cuadro espiritual, or spiritual court
• cleansing practices including baths and the plants used
• different types of Espiritismo in the Caribbean
• the construction, maintenance, and purpose of a bóveda espiritual, or spiritual vault
• the misa espiritual (spiritual mass), also called a session or velada (vigil)
• traditional prayers and practices one can do to develop their spiritual frame and faculties
While varied in nature, Espiritismo is a practice that has become a part of much of Latin American spirituality, and heavily practiced alongside other traditions as a means of training and developing faculties that benefit those who wish to help themselves and others. No one person can represent Espiritismo in its entirety- it is a practice, or rather practices, that varies from person to person, town to town, country to country, and heavily depend upon the spiritual frame of each person who practices it! This is its beauty and its strength- adaptability, and practicality.
The class will be taught by Baba José Asíndemádé, who comes from a family of espiritistas from the west of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. At six years old he displayed evidence of faculties which led to training with family in Puerto Rico in espiritismo criollo, as seen in the old centros espirituales and at rosaries for the deceased in Western Puerto Rico. At 20 he was initated to the orisha Oshún in the Afro-Cuban tradition (aka Lucumí/Relga de Ocha/ Santería), continuing training with well-known espiritistas as a parallel practice to his orisha priesthood. He is an active artisan and art historian, and continues to operate as a spiritual advisor and diviner.
If you have any questions about this course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All text and images ©2013-2019 by WOLF & GOAT
An Introduction to Espiritismo Criollo
taught by Baba José Asíndemádé
facilitated by Jesse Hathaway Diaz
A Ten Week Course
Thursday, Sept 26th, 2019 (Part 1)
Thursday, Oct 3rd, 2019 (Part 2)
Thursday, Oct 10th, 2019 (Part 3)
Thursday, Oct 17th, 2019 (Part 4)
Thursday, Oct 24th, 2019 (Part 5)
Thursday, Nov 7th, 2019 (Part 6)
Thursday, Nov 14th, 2019 (Part 7)
Thursday, Nov 21st, 2019 (Part 8)
Thursday, Dec 5th, 2019 (Part 9)
Thursday, Dec 12th, 2019 (Part 10)
Time: 9:00 to 10:30pm EDT
Cost: $300 Platform: Webex
Recordings of the class will be available for viewing via online streaming for those enrolled in the class.