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Cristina Garcia Rodero

Culto a Maria Lionza

Culto a Maria Lionza Reina y Diosa de Sorte

María Lionza is the central figure in one of the largest cults full name «Santa María de la Onza Talavera del Prato de Nívar»
in Venezuela. Her cult is a blend of African, indigenous, and given by the Catholic Church to hide and christianize the cult.
Catholic beliefs similar to the Caribbean Santería. She is revered Eventually the name was contracted to «María Lionza». The
as a goddess of nature, love, peace, and harmony. She has María Lionza cult, while similar in most aspects to Santería, is
followers in many layers of Venezuelan society from small rural in fact a combination between Catholicism, indigenous beliefs,
villages to the modern capital of Caracas, where a statue stands Santería and European spiritism, especially the Allan Kardec
in her honor. The salsa singer Rubén Blades composed a song theories. The mountain of Sorte, in Yaracuy state, Venezuela,
in her honor. According to the legends, María Lionza was born is the principal place of María Lionza cult. There is where the
in 1502 to an Indian chief from the region of Yaracuy. She «Altar Mayor» or principal altar is, and is the main destination of
was believed to be a well endowed and strong woman, riding pilgrimage from other places in Venezuela and the Caribbean
a big danta. It’s said that she reigned over the savage beasts, came to pay homage. Even though pilgrims came here all year
and in her throne were authoctonal animals like turtles and round, the most important day is October 12. On this day, all
snakes. She is said to still live on the mountain of Sorte, where the principal shamans and priests of this cult come together to
her followers come to pay homage to her, calling her their pay homage to their Queen and many of them do a tribal show
«Queen». Because of the tradition, the mountain of Sorte was called «Baile de las Brasas», where they do many old indigenous
declared National Park in the 1980’s. The name María Lionza dances including dancing over lit coals.
comes from María de la Onza (Mary of the Jaguar), from the
The cure ritual The tread
Spiritual cleaning
Viking greeting
The Viking’s blood Energy transfering
The first trance Subnatural strong
Trance into the water The powerful hand
Pray at Guacaipuro Yaracuy waters
Tobaco and rum for one ritual function
Prayers, religious speeches and spells Thugs spirits
Incorporated heart The ritual of a mother
Believer Transported

Spanish, b. 1949

Cristina García Rodero was born in Puertollano, Spain. She studied painting at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Madrid,
before taking up photography. She then qualified as a teacher and worked full-time in education. For the next 16 years, she also
dedicated her time to researching and photographing popular and traditional festivities - religious and pagan - principally in Spain
but also across Mediterranean Europe. This project culminated in her book España Oculta published in 1989, which won the «Book
of the Year Award» at the Arles Festival of Photography. The same year, García Rodero also won the prestigious W. Eugene Smith
Foundation Prize. The documentary and ethnological value of her work is considerable, but the esthetic quality of her photography
makes it more than a simple visual record. In recent years, García Rodero has traveled around the world in search of other cultures
with particular traditions. Over a period of four years, she went several times to Haiti, where she has documented voodoo rituals,
producing a series of expressive portraits and moving scenes flanked by engaging documentary observations. Rituals in Haiti was
shown for the first time in the 2001 Venice Biennale. Cristina García Rodero has received many prizes, including the Premio Nacional
de Fotografía in 1996 in Spain. Her work has been widely published and exhibited internationally. She has published several books and
has been a member of the agency Vu for more than 15 years. Garcia Rodero joined Magnum in 2005.
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