In the summer of 2000, two award-winning photographers, Claire Garoutte and Anneke Wambaugh, were in Santiago de Cuba, south-eastern Cuba. A chance encounter led them to the home of Santiago Castaneda Vera, a priest-practitioner of Santeria and Palo Monte. Out of that initial meeting, a unique collaboration developed. Santiago opened his home and religious practice to Garoutte and Wambaugh, who returned to his house many times over the next five years, cameras in hand. The result is "Crossing the Water", an extraordinary visual record of Afro-Cuban religious experience. A book of 157 striking photographs, many of which are in colour, "Crossing the Water" includes images of elaborate Santeria altars and Palo spirit cauldrons, as well as of Santiago and his godchildren, members of his large religious 'family', engaged in ritual practices: spirit possession, the feeding of the spirits, and private and collective healing ceremonies. Their text provides clear explanations of the objects and practices depicted in the images. Describing the power and meaning of human-spirit interactions, and the sights, sounds, scents, motions, and sensations of many ritual practices, "Crossing the Water" takes readers deep inside the intimate world of Afro-Cuban spirituality.