By Desmond Boylan: At first sight, Mayra is a typical Cuban housewife, carrying out her daily chores as so many others. But she has another job apart from those housekeeping tasks, and when she does that she looks like anything but a housewife.
Mayra told me, “I went through the list of 181 jobs and I couldn’t find mine. I am a freelance witch, spiritualist and fortune teller, so for the moment I cannot apply for a license to legally do my job.”
Engulfed in thick cigar smoke, eyes shining, Mayra is a witch – a modern witch. She falls into a trance and shakes, talks about the dead, the spirits, the future, the past, the need for ceremonies, and practices sophisticated witchcraft involving animals, coconuts, plants, flowers and an array of other items.
Afro-Cuban religion mixes Catholicism with ancient African beliefs originally brought to Cuba by slaves. Thousands of people practice the Santeria religion throughout Cuba.