This encyclopedia provides an overview of the main religions of Latin America and the Caribbean, both its centralized transnational expressions and its local variants and schisms. These main religions include (but are not limited to) the major expressions of Christianity (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Pentecostalism, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses), indigenous religions (Native American, Maya religion), syncretic Christianity (including Afro-Brazilian religions like Umbanda and Candomblé and Afro-Caribbean religions like Vodun and Santería), other world religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam), transnational New Religious Movements (Scientology, Unification Church, Hare Krishna, New Age, etc.), and new local religions (Brazil’s Igreja Universal, La Luz del Mundo from Mexico, etc.).

Neoshamanism is a set of discourses and practices involving the integration of indigenous (especially American) shamanic and psychotherapeutic techniques by people from urban Western contexts. It has emerged, like other New Age modes of spirituality, in opposition to the materialism and positivism of European modernity and presents as central the idea of reconnecting panindigenous ancestral knowledge that people of the West had purportedly forgotten. It results in large measure from the circulation of literature on shamanism, altered states of consciousness (often, but not always, involving the use of psychoactive drugs), and the possibility of generating new psychotherapeutic modalities.


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