Audio slideshow: Goddess worshippers

The Sorte mountain, in Venzuela's western state of Yaracuy, is considered a sacred place by the faithful followers of Maria Lionza - a syncretic religion blending African, indigenous, and Catholic beliefs.

Every year, thousands of her worshippers travel there to make offerings to the indigenous goddess and conduct spiritual healing rituals in the forest. While 90% of Venezuelans are nominally Catholic, Maria Lionza is now considered by many academics to be Venezuela's fastest-growing religion.

BBC correspondent Will Grant travelled to the mountain, where he met American academic Wade Glenn and two followers of the goddess.

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Will Grant's documentary on Magic and Murder in Venezuela will be broadcast on the BBC World Service from Thursday 16 December 2010.

Photography by David Fernandez. Audio by Will Grant.

Slideshow production by Paul Kerley. Publication date 15 December 2010.

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