In this wide-ranging book Paul C. Johnson explores the changing, hidden face of the Afro-Brazilian indigenous religion of Candomble. Despite its importance in Brazilian society, Candomble has received far less attention than its sister religions Vodou and Santeria. Johnson seeks to fill this void by offering a comprehensive look at the development, beliefs, and practices of Candomble and exploring its transformation from a secret society of slaves - hidden, persecuted, and marginalised - to a public religion that is very much a part of Brazilian culture. Johnson traces this historical shift and locates the turning point in the creation of a Brazilian public sphere and national identity in the first half of the twentieth century. His major focus is on the ritual practice of secrecy in Candomble. Offering many first hand accounts of the rites and rituals of contemporary Candomble, this book provides insight into this influential but little-studied group, while at the same time making a valuable contribution to our understanding of the relationship between religion and society.

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