Mountain Spirit, leader of the Mountain Spirits, your body is holy.
By means of it, make him well again.
Make his body like your own.
Make him strong again.
He wants to get up with all of his body.
For that reason, he is performing this ceremony,
Do that which he has asked of you.
Long ago, it seems you restored someone’s legs and eyes for them.
This has been said.
In the same way, make him free again from disease.
That is why I am speaking to you.
Tools of the trade
Chamalongos, tobacco pipe, wee oil lamp for when I want to burn a specific oil during a work. The chamalongos where a pain in the ass to make, mostly because they were a first experiment of mine. They work fantastic; my Tata is making a set for me and teaching a specific ritual to empower them from our Rama. As an excercise in growing the communication between myelf and my Nkisi (Lucero), I created these and empowered them using instruction gained from him subtly. Very interested to see what differences there will be between the inspired method and the traditional method. I suspect there will be few.
Most Paleros use cigars when working with their Nkisi—I prefer the pipe. A cigar is used up in working it, but the pipe is permanent and can become nkisi in it’s own way, a powerful ritual tool with a living spirit. This is a traditional work as well, and there are mambos that honor the pipe and the nganga who uses it.
There are different approaches to drawing the pati mpemba within the Palo community. In my own Rama, the approach is primarily inspirational; we begin with the understanding the basic principles behind the lines, circles, crosses and arrows that we use.
Circles: Represent un-manifest and…
So, headaches suck. They suck a lot. In Palo Mayombe we have many natural tools for addressing this sort of ailment, and we should refer to those natural tools First if we’re to build up the kind of trust and understanding necessary for complicated herbal-magical cures to…
Palo Monte Cauldron
Tobacco and divination are inextricably intertwined in Palo.
People forget sometimes that tobacco is a powerful aid for trance; long and deep draws on the cigar can accomplish powerful trance and quickly. In Palo there is a teaching that the smoke of the tobacco leaf carries our messages to the…
Palo Mayombe is an african religion originary from the Kongo area. It has been preserved up to our times by the slaves who were imported to areas such as Brazil, Suriname, and Cuba, the latter being the place where Palo (also called Palo Monte) has become most popular also among people of hispanic descent. Palo is a direct method of comunication with the Spirits: the belief is strongly animistic and similar to shamanism: all that exists is considered as animated by spirits, man in particular can become a doorway to other worlds through mediumship. The spirits which are the most relevant for Palo are: the spirits of the Dead, the Spirits of Nature (which inhabit trees, plants, rocks, animals etc.), and the Highest Entities which manifest themselves in the Forces of nature (the Wind, the Lightning, the Sea, etc.) and in man.
The main worship and practice is being carried around the Nganga or Prenda, which is a consecrated cauldron filled (amongst other things…) with sacred earth, sticks (palos), and bones, and it is dedicated to a specifical spiritual energy.
This cauldron is also inhabited by the spirit of a Dead, which act as interface for all magical and religious activities which are performed on the Nganga. Due to religious syncretism a lot of elements foreign to the original african tradition may be present in the ceremonies, such as the use of the symbol of the christian cross, images of saints (these much more common in the Palo families of Venezuela and Colombia), and even using names and attributes of Orishas to describe/call the Enkisi, which are the Gods of Palo, the powerful Entities which are submitted to the High God Zambi or Ensambi.
The Palero works with spirits of Light (Ensambi) or of the Darkness (Endoki). The latter being also the denomination for the Paleros which do not use christian symbols in their practice of Palo.
To be initiated in Palo is necessary to undergo a ceremony called “Rayamiento” which means “scratching”, where special marks are traced on the skin of the new adept: a pact is made with the spirit who lives in the cauldron, this ritual is also called “to swear with the Nganga”. From now on, the person who has received “Rayamiento” will be under the protection of the Nkisi who rules the Nganga of his/her Godfather.
The next step in the religion is becoming a Tata (Father), or Yaya (Mother) and receiving a cauldron. Divination is used to determine which “path” of the Palo Entities is the most appropriate for the new Nganga. A new ceremony is done where the Tata will swear to the Dead (Enfumbe) living in the Nganga so that it may help with the spiritual and material development of the new full-fledged palero/a.
The divination method is called Kujamputu or Chamalongo, and the basic patterns are identical to Obi/Coco Santeria divination. Because of Kardecian syncretism in many Houses of Palo (Covens submitted to one God- father or Godmother) a Spiritual Misa is acted before the initiation, in order to identify the main spirits which will help to develop one’s life. These guides often speak also through possession, and may give direct advice
"Lucero: In Palo Mayombe, Lucero (also Nkuyo\Mañunga\Lubaniba) is the deity of balance and guidance through paths.”
~ Keeping Up With Teen-Agers, by Evelyn Millis Duvall, 1947
Sawtooth Mountains - 1947