United States: Eleda, 2001. Softback, 262 pages. New.
Obí Agbón is an important study of Lukumí (Yoruba) divination with coconut. Aimed at both scholars and devotees, it traces the practice’s historical evolution in Cuba and the Cuban diaspora, then turns to look at how it has evolved recently. He spends a great deal of time on the practice itself: how it is done, what ritual activities surround it, and how interpretations are made. It si clearly written, giving the reader a real appreciation of the basics of the system. Photographs and diagrams intersperse the text, adding further to its value as a resource.
Ramos is careful to place the divination in the context of the diverse community in which it thrives, and makes a plea for sensitive attention to cultural variations within Lukumi, and for documenting the oral culture.
Willie Ramos was born in Cuba and raised in New York, and has been an Obá Oriaté (master of ceremonies) and an apuón (singer) for over thirty-five years. He holds PhD in History from Florida International University where he has taught courses on Anthropology, Sociology and History. Ramos is respected in his field, both as practitioner and scholar, and Treadwell’s recommends his books highly.