By Desmond Boylan
At first sight, Mayra is a typical Cuban housewife, carrying out her daily chores as so many others. But she has another job apart from those housekeeping tasks, and when she does that she looks like anything but a housewife.
In Cuba, after the last Communist Party Congress, the government published a list of 181 private jobs and commercial activities that Cubans are now able to engage in, and pay taxes on the income generated from them.
Mayra told me, “I went through the list of 181 jobs and I couldn’t find mine. I am a freelance witch, spiritualist and fortune teller, so for the moment I cannot apply for a license to legally do my job.”
Mayra’s transformation from housewife to witch is dramatic. Others had spoken to me about her but I didn’t believe them, so I had to see for myself. I’m not particularly religious myself, but after speaking to her and insisting, she invited me to a ceremony in which her husband acted as her assistant.
I visited her home several times but her clients were not particularly interested in having a
photographer there. My curiosity for the subject started to increase so I had to be patient. Usually
people involved in the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion are very camera shy and do not allow their rites to be documented. Because of that I feel privileged to have gained access to document some of these interesting occurrences.