This morning I went to Regla with several others. Betty bought flowers from one of the santeras in front of the church, who told me that I should take care of my feet and my father’s health. I have very flat feet and my dad has type one diabetes; so, despite being agnostic, Marxist and Jewish, I felt compelled to at least put a flower on the altar of the Virgin of Regla. We returned to Havana on the Regla ferry. It was a beautiful trip through the bay.
Marisela and I received prayers from a woman, Marisa. I talked to her later to learn about santeria. She told me that she had learned everything from her grandmother, and she gave me her cellular contact if I wanted to talk to her more. From the whole experience I see two different sides. First, there was clearly a hoax to see in the system of talking with the santeras outside the church. They all share the same pot, and it seems to me that there is a boss or authority to direct them and set equal prices for all. And the prices were very high, 25-35 CUC ($25-$35) for chatting for five minutes or so. Above all it is a way to earn money in exchange for selling culture. But it is also a job for those women that allows them to live, more or less.
A santera took me by the hand and she began to predict a series of things in my life. She also managed to guess the death of some of my relatives. I knew well that it was a religion with Yoruba roots, but it stood out to me more to see the santeras next to the church. The church itself was very pretty. The interior decorations were very simple and the priest there was very friendly to us. I dedicated a flower to the virgin of Fatima, the virgin of my town.
Although this area of Havana was not as touristy as everything we visited on Tuesday, I am very happy that this was part of our trip. The first thing I noticed when we arrived at Regla was that this area is more realistic than what we have been seeing. Although there was not a lot of opportunity to talk to the people there, we went to a small shop to use the phone and talked to the Santeras outside the church. Many of us were taken aside to speak with the Santeras. Emerson and I were joined to the same woman. I think it was difficult for me to be willing to pay to be read. I paid for a small necklace that she cleaned after reading my palms.
We walked to the Church of Our Lady of Regla. Before you can enter the church, there are about 10 santeras sitting on a wall that ask you to talk. I wanted to talk to one of them for my project, and when the santera Ileana made a sign to me to talk to her, I went. That woman read me like a book, she mentioned so many things that were personal that I was extremely shocked. I have interacted with other santeras in the past and I can recognize when they tell you general things or when they really tell you things about your life. I started crying from the emotion because of the things she told me. I was with her for half an hour talking, she read my cards and told me to do me a stripping of evil spirits— with a gladiolus flower.