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Society of the DeadQuita Manaquita and Palo Praise in Cuba$
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Todd Ochoa

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520256835

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520256835.001.0001

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Kalunga, the Ambient Dead

Kalunga, the Ambient Dead

(p.31) 2. Kalunga, the Ambient Dead
Society of the Dead

Todd Ramón Ochoa

University of California Press

This chapter describes the notion of the dead as a concept prior to individuation or identification. The author spent his apprenticeship with Isidra trying to understand what Isidra found in her gut and on her skin. She ascribed these feelings in a most general sense to Kalunga, which she also called el muerto—the vast and ever-proliferating sea of the dead. Kalunga, according to Isidra, exist between the living and their senses as an infinite yet barely evident kingdom of thinking and feeling that seized those who were attuned to it. The dead permeate people as living individuals and saturate them with their frightening yet hopeful indeterminacy. Isidra considered everyday experiences such as sleeplessness and pangs of anxiety not as “signs” of the dead in her body but as versions of the dead in themselves.

Keywords:   Kalunga, ambient dead, el muerto, body

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