A meeting with the Goddess
Market in Trinidad
I visited Cuba in September 2010 and one of the most striking and impressive places that I visited was the Santería Temple in Trinidad, located in the baking south of Cuba.
Walking through the dry and dusty cobbled streets in the blinding sunlight I suddenly became aware of a strange face looking at me from the shady interior of a building. A doll sat upon a low stool in a bare room – its black face peering out from amidst a froth of white lace, long white dress trailing the floor – the presence exuding from this doll was like a jolt of electricity. It was the guardian of the temple of Yemayá.
Guardian of the temple
We walked through the wide airy entrance hall with its white-washed walls and blue fish murals into the shady interior of the temple and into the shrine itself. I have never had such a strange experience as in that temple cum museum to Santería. The whole place seemed alive with energy, it was almost as though there were spirits jostling amongst us, crowding round.
In the shrine itself the Goddess stood on an elevated pedestal overseeing the devotions of her followers. An altar filled with clear vessels of water was in front of us. The shrine opened up to a beautiful and lush green garden beyond. Light streamed into the interior, reflected off the water and created a magical quality of sunlight and shadows.
Queen of the oceans