The Forest


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«The forest is sacred because in it resides, live the divinities. The gods are more in the forest than in heaven.»
El Monte is considered by many to be a masterpiece of ethnography, a kind of Bible of Afro-Cuban religions. The work of Lydia Cabrera became a real bestsellers of such studies, drew equally to scholars, believers and general public. Its merit lies, according to its own author, in that the are Cuban Negroes who made this book: «It was my purpose to provide the scholars with all modesty and highest fidelity, of a material that has not passed through the dangerous filter of interpretation, and confront them with the living documents that I have been fortunate to find.»
«The last refuge of the deads, spirits and religion, is called Santeria, which is nothing but an almost perfect syncretism of the saints of the Catholic Church, embodied in the gods of the Yoruba pantheon. The Forest is the binding and assembly of all the saints and all the gods in the occult of the forest.»

Guillermo Cabrera Infante

«No one had offered to date a general study more complete and accurate of Afro-Cuban religions. The method of quoting verbatim what the informants said, provide the text with a full note of genuineness and, at times, a charming grace.»

Jorge Castellanos