Venezuelans seek spirituality from mountain goddess, African traditions

  • World Premium
  • Tuesday, 05 Jul 2016

People take part in rituals at the Sorte Mountain on the outskirts of Chivacoa, in the state of Yaracuy, Venezuela October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Marco Bello

CARACAS (Reuters) - One long night every year in a mountainous rain forest in Venezuela, hundreds gather to dance on red-hot embers, enter trance-like states, and worship an ancient goddess known as Maria Lionza.

Those who travel to the mountain known as Sorte in central Venezuela are practitioners of a cult that is built on local indigenous traditions. Followers say its rituals heal pain and can even cure disease.

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