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palo monte

NZAMBI: The Marvel of Marvels

Nzambi a Mpungu is worshiped by the Paleros as the High God of creation. He is regarded by the people of Bakongo as the Supreme Deity. These people can be found in regions in the Republic of Angola and the Republic of Congo. His name spread through religions by the influence of the people of Congo. He is acknowledged as almighty God who is far above other deities. These deities submit and report to Him. They are the interface between man and Nzambi as Nzambi is seen to be too powerful and mysterious to be related to on a one-on-one basis. These lesser deities include Nkungu, Zarabanda and Mal Kengue.


In Congo mythology, Nzambi is believed to be the Creator of the universe. He created the universe and withdrew from it but yet still controls and inhabits all the elements of nature. He is believed to have made many twice. The first time, man was found to be evil and had to be buried. Then, creation had to be done again. After which woman was formed from wood and the first couple began their existence.

In the religion of Candomble Bantu, he is worshiped as the Sovereign Master and the Creator of the world. He is said to be in charge of rainfall and health.

In the Kumina religion, the High Deity and Creator is worshiped as King Zombi; derived from the name Nzambi.

In Palo Mayombe, Nzambi Mpungu is the Creator God who is in charge of all-natural elements. He is seen as the Sun who expresses his persona through nature. He is in charge of all the universe and an element of his personality and power can be linked to every natural object. He also inhabits the spirit of dead ancestors, as when they die and are buried, it is believed that they interact with nature, thus absorbing nature’s power. His power is usually accessed via the sacred shrine or altar called nganga.

He is the father figure and through it, man gives expression to his being. He created all things; good or bad and it is believed they all have a right to exist on Earth.

He gives all souls of man their personalities and qualities of the soul. It is said, ‘what comes from heaven cannot be resisted.’


Nzambi a Mpungu is called the ‘Marvel of Marvels’. He is said to be kind; protective and defensive of the poor. He is self-existent; in need of no one or nothing to be a god. He is the fountain of goodness; abounding in mercy to all. He is all-powerful, invincible and all-knowing. He is also said to be mysterious and beyond the understanding of man.


Nzambi is the goddess of earth’s mystery. The essence of the earth. Myth has it that she was sent to Earth by Nzambi a Mpungu. He married her and became the father of all creation. She dictated the laws of man and endowed man with skills in art and games. She is the great Princess of the Earth. Myth has it that she stole from Nzambi a Mpungu’s boxes of lightning.

palo mayombe ritual

The tales of the Palo Mayombe religion

Palo Mayombe which is also known as Las Reglas de Congo is a one of the many ancient religions to exist in this world that we live in. Palo is divided into denominations(branches) known as, Mayombe (Mallombe), Monte and Briyumba (Brillumba). The word Palo is a Spanish word for “stick” which is applied to a Cuban religion because of the use of their wooden sticks in the preparation of altars. In this religion, the word altar is also known as; La Nganga, El Cadero, Nkisi or La Prenda. The Palo makes use of priests, they are called Paleros. The male priest is addressed as Tata while the female priests are called Yayas or Nganguleros. Their members or initiates are called Ngueyos or Pino Nuevo.

The History of the Palo Mayombe Religion

Palo has a long and historical history.  It is said to be the most substantial and feared form of black magic. It firstly originated during the slave era in Cuba. It has its deep-end roots in Congo Basin of central Africa where large numbers of slaves were brought to Cuba where the religion evolved. Its influence can also be found in Brazil and Mexico.  In brazil, the religion is known as Quinbanda. Palo Mayombe is a product of the Bakongo religion. It makes use of liturgical language which involves the mix of both Spanish and Bantu language.

The Beliefs/Traditions of The Palo Mayombe

The Palo belief is based on two main pillars;

  • Veneration of spirits
  • Natural/ earthly powers

They believe that the spirit of the dead lives inside of us. Their main spiritual practice is the altar made out of sticks which is known as the Nkisi or the La Nganga. The spirits of the Palo Mayombe make communication through anointed or ordained means; through their priests. In the Palo religion, they make use of earthly items such as guns or knives to help the Paleros channel the spirits and summon protection from them.  It is their belief that natural objects are vested with the powers of the spirits. The spirits in the Palo Mayombe are called Mpungu as a singular word and kimpungulu in plural.

Palo Mayombe And the Santeria-Similar or Not?

The Palo religion is often linked or compared to Santeria. Rituals, music and dance is very fundamental to both. They have similarities and distinctions but overall, the Palo religion is more powerful and effective than the Santeria. They share similarities in ritual sacrifices, some of their dances, drumming rhythm and incantation calls and responses. One major distinction though is that Santeria originates from the Yoruba people who resides in Nigeria while the Palo Mayombe comes from the Congo. The Congolese slaves were brought to the Caribbean much earlier than the Yoruba, so its harder to trace their music and culture to African unlike the Santeria.

The Initiation of The Palo Mayombe

How can you be initiated?

A rite of passage is usually conducted as a form of initiation. The initiation process takes during the full moon. If there’s no full moon, it won’t hold. During this initiation, the initiate would be given a knife which contains the power of the mysteries of the Madre De La Luna. This is one of the sprits that are summoned during the initiation. She is the mother of the moon. This initiation ceremony is known as the Rayamiento meaning “being scratched” it is secretly done because the authorities don’t approve it. This is as a result of a misunderstanding of the westerners and the ignorance of people. Despite, the ruckus, there’s still a large number of converts into the Palo Mayombe

All things considered, the Palo religion being one of the oldest religions is a practical one. it a very powerful religion that guarantees you protection from any form of harm whatsoever. They partake in protection, healing and spiritual cleansing.  It is used for better than harm.

palo mayombe nganga

The unending traditions of the Palo Mayombe religion

The Palo Mayombe which is also known as las Regla de Congo is one of the earliest forms of black magic religions that has been practiced over the years. It has been in existence for over two hundred years and it’s still counting. It originated during the slave era in Cuba and it can also be traced to the Bakongo. The Palo Mayombe is said to be one of the most powerful and the most effective form of black magic ever to be practiced in the world. It surpasses all others. The Palo Mayombe has a sting belief in spirits and also the use of natural materials to call upon these spirits.  They have different types of traditions that has stuck and also developed into something bigger.

The traditions of the Palo Mayombe:

  1. The Palo Mayombe priests are called Paleros. To become a Palero you have to go through an initiation process and once you have been ordained, there are certain rules to follow. As a Palero, for one year you will not have to look into mirror, will take all meals over floor and mustn’t stay out after dark. Also he is not permitted to make contact with non intimidated which means there can be no handshakes.
  2. An ordained Palero is the only one permitted or capable of channeling or summoning a spirit of the dead.
  3. Dancing and singing is very much fundamental to the Palo Mayombe religion. Their music is made from different wooden percussion instruments and also drums.
  4. They undergo an initiation process which is known as Rayamiento which means “being scratched”. It is a process whereby special marks are made on your skin to identify you as a Palo Mayombe loyalist. To prove this loyalty, you have to swear an oath which depicts your confidence and courage to take up services in the religion. After initiation as a member, you can decide to go through initiation to become a Palero.
  5. The most common form of divination in the Palo Mayombe religion is the Nganga. This is their altar which is usually prepared for the Nkisi. On this altar, the Mpungu who it is made for is called upon to come and perform its duty.
  6. The Palo Mayombe religion is never discussed with non-initiated. It’s is usually kept secret and sacred to avoid false information being spread around.

The traditions and beliefs of the Palo Mayombe is very sacred and they are kept very dearly. These traditions have been for a long time and it’s very difficult to put it out of existence. It is a very powerful religion with strong beliefs. Those who are member of the Palo Mayombe religion take it very seriously and they tend to adhere to all the rules and guidelines of the religion strictly. The Palo Mayombe is more powerful than the voodoo and also the Santería which is a part of the Yoruba religion that is practiced in Nigeria.

palo mayombe spirits

How Palo Mayombe will change your life?

Palo Mayombe is a religion that can take time to learn, it implies discipline, but once you are in it and understand its essence, you will not be able to leave it. For many, it can be a strange religion, with abnormal rituals, however, we must remember that we judge based on what we know, so do not close and give it a chance, as I told you before: you will not regret it.

We are going to start by telling you a little about religion, beginning with its origins, it has Bantu origins, it was developed by slaves from Africa who later transferred it to Cuba. Everything preaches a balance between good and evil, or “Mbote” and “Mbi.”Although it is hard for you to believe it, it is a religion that has been around since the 20th century, where it began to expand to other Latin American countries, but it has its essence since its inception.

What is Ngello (a) ?: This, say, is the fi rst step to begin the transition, it is the apprentice and disciples of your future sponsor. The fi rst thing that will be learned will be to greet the foundation, name and branch of your godfather’s house and the Congolese vocabulary. A ceremony will be held and the person who received it must have been 7 days without sexual relations, to refl ect purity.

This religion has 2 pillars: the powers of nature, all possible natural resources are used, such as sticks, plants, stones, water, etc. In addition, many herbs are used, each has a specific function; and the veneration of the spirits.

Why and how can you get scratched?: Scratching is the beginning of religion. There are many ways by which you can get “palero”, through a stick consultation, or even a spiritual mass. However, it is not that easy, you have to strictly follow the process and it has to be an event that invites you to be scratched. To this we go with:

Who can give you the authorization to “scratch you”: The palero is the one who has the right to scratch you, to take the first step to this wonderful path. All this to combat evil and create the perfect balance that will give that harmony that you are looking for so much in your life, a life full of peace and balance. I assure you, once you do it you will achieve unparalleled mobility and happiness, something new that you will experience. The spirits will come into your life to save you, and thus achieve prosperity. When you enter this path, you will be part of Kimbiza, and you will be united by a mystical sacred bond. This ceremony is called:

Kima in congo will change your life: It means palero and oath. As I told you before, scratching is the shedding of all your bad energies that you have accumulated for years,

a rebirth. These evils will leave your body through different methods and there, you will see the light.

This was an introduction to what will probably change your life, which will give way to glory. Many times we close to territories that we do not know, or that is not our place of comfort, without knowing that there are many other life opportunities that allow us to achieve our goals, and above all, be happy.

palo mayombe

The history of voodoo and it’s comparison to Palo Mayombe

Do you know what Voodoo is? Yes it is a form of black magic that was originated in West Indies country of Haiti. It was French colonial period when this magic was discovered. This magic came into existence in seventeen centuries. Voodoo is derived from the word “Vodú” which means spirit or gods. Vodú is from the Fon language of Dahomey. Haiti became left out which gave voodoo the floor to develop its own unique traditions, beliefs and also its own gods. The Slaves of Haiti were captured from different tribes and all these slaves had different religious and traditional beliefs and gods that they worship, different methods of dancing and singing. Once they got to Haiti, they all came together to form one religion based on their different beliefs and gods.

The voodoo religion is syncretized with Catholicism. During the slave era, the slave masters forbade the slaves from practicing their own religion. These slaves would practice their native religions in private or mask them under catholic terms and objects. Those that practice voodoo are called voodooists or spirit servants. They believe in the utmost existence of invisible spirits and also in the afterlife. They believe in a single god which is considered supreme and can be compared to the catholic God. This god is known as bondye (the good god). They believe that lesser beings exist and these beings are called loa or lwa. The bondye is a remote figure, therefore, making the loa or the lwa involved with the daily activities of the people. There is a strong relationship between the lwa and the people. The lwa can be divided into three. They are the Rada, Petro and Ghede. The lwa are always Invited to rituals so they can take over a believer and speak to them.

The voodoo is often compared to another form of black magic which is known as the Palo Mayombe. The Palo Mayombe also originated during the slave era in Cuba. They have a major belief in the generation of spirits and also the use of supernatural powers and earthly materials. Their spirits are called Mpungu and the usually prepare an altar specially for their spirits which is known as Nganga or Cadero. Their priests are called Paleros and their members are called Ngueyos. They have different kinds of gods and goddesses which they worship.

The Palo Mayombe is known as the most powerful and the most effective form of black magic that has been created. It has been practiced by varieties of people for over two hundred years and counting. There have been certain comparisons with the voodoo but it surpasses the voodoo. Its origins aren’t traced to the central Africa which makes it older than any black magic religion that is in existence. The Palo Mayombe is often kept a secret because of the misuse and the misinformation of its sacred practices. It overrules all other black magic religions.

palo monte mayombe

I want the magic on me – Palo Mayombe or Santeria?

Which one should you choose? Palo Mayombe or Santería?: These two religions although they seem the same, they are not. Let’s remember that in fi rst plaace, the enemy of man will always be the misery, and the struggle will always be to free the man from bad energies and things that incline him to spiritual poverty. However, we must remember that Santeria is a religion, and Palo Mayombe is pure magic. So without a doubt, what will bring you closer to your goal, will be Palo Mayombe.

We can start with the origins, Palo Mayombe comes from the Bantú culture, and the Santeria from the Yoruba culture. Although both come from Africa, the two are regions so different that we could say that they are not in the same continent. Man comes from nature, which is pure force. Therefore, Palo Mayombe believes in natural forces, in this magic that Mother Nature put before us in order to reach fullness. So in Palo Mayombe we believe in the sea, wind, stars, rays, tigers, rivers and lagoons, etc. and t all the elements of nature. All this is used to manipulate and thus be able to manipulate them on the basis of dealing with the dead. In Palo Monte, it is we who decide our own destiny, we are the ones who give the orders to the mpungus and nkisi. That is why, in Palo Mayombe we have the advantage of reaching our goal of life easier, unlike Santeria, which follow the oracles of Ocha and Ifa who are responsible for transmitting the divine designs, all that They have prepared for everyone.

In Santeria, it offers a spiritual relationship, inclined to the feudal system. Where they simply follow the orders and accept what touched them. While Palo Mayombe, we can say that it is like a democracy, it is pure magic, like a democratic system, where there are two parts, in this case the spirits and the sorcerers, establish an alliance and an oath, where they commit to help the “ palero ”to fight against his enemies, the material world ending with strengthening the link with the spiritual world.

In Cuba religion, both religions are usually practiced, Cubans go to babalawos and santeros to know their destinies or simply orient themselves in what they want, so they can get their devotion, however, to Santeria not being so efficient, since as we said before, in this religion it is

like a feudal regime, where you simply accept your destiny, but in Palo Mayombo, you choose your own destiny, you are the one who gives the

orders, so when Santeria does not give results, people come to the “Paleros” to have a better response to your requests. And also demonstrating that, Palo Mayombo is more powerful than Santeria. And, although it seems false, many santeros recommend consulting a “palero“.

Santeria and Palo mayombo, complement each other, but more than complement each other, mayombo stick gives the final word to any situation, it is a cult that satisfies all needs, whims and desires, with a power to heal madness by diverting death and attracting happiness.

palo mayombe nganga

The use of Nganga in different countries and their functions

Nganga is derived from the Kikongo language which can be known as a herbalist or a spiritual leader in different societies, especially African societies and the African diaspora such as Cuba, Haiti and Brazil. The word Nganga can be derived from -ganga in proto-njila which is part of the early branches of the Bantu family. It can also be related to wisdom, knowledge and skill. The Nganga is used differently in different countries of the world. Each of these countries have different meanings, functions, means and use for the Nganga.

The use of the Nganga in various countries and religions:

  • Africa: In Africa, the Nganga is usually a person who has been given the power to make communication with the underworld. This Nganga operates the Nkisi. He finds the causes of illness, misfortune and also social stress and he looks for methods to address these causes either by spiritual or supernatural means or through the use of medicine. In South Africa, the Nganga is known as the inyanga. He plays a medicinal part just like the sangoma who is known to deal with ancestral spirits and also divination. In Swahili, the Nganga is known as the traditional healer or physician.
  • Shona N’anga/Zulu Nyanga: The Shona people are the people of Zimbabwe. In their tradition, Nganga is a traditional healer who makes use of herb combinations, spiritual guidance and religious or medical advice to heal people. The Nganga s are believed to have the powers to tell fortunes, bless, heal and even kill. During the traditional days of Zimbabwe and of present, the Nganga were the ones people ran to meet to help them with their various life matters. The Nganga are registered under the ZINATHA (Zimbabwe national traditional healers association) they are usually called upon when an ailment can’t be cured medically.
  • Kongo Nganga: The Nganga of the Kongo is also a priest. During their ceremonies, the Nganga costume is made of thick white circles around the eye, a bit of red on the forehead, yellow stripes around his cheeks and color mixtures on his hand and chest. The costume of the Nganga is usually according to the Nkisi. The circles on the eye of the Nganga is for him to have the ability to see what is hidden from the normal eye. The Nganga is usually given instructions by a particular spirit
  • America’s: The Nganga can be found to be used in Cuba. In Cuba it is used by the Palo Mayombe. The Palo Mayombe most common form of divination is the Nganga. The Nganga is an altar prepared with an iron cauldron whereby different items such as sticks and bones are used. The Nganga is specially built for a particular Mpungu.

The use of the Nganga by the Palo Mayombe is the most powerful eve. The Mpungu Ali known as the spirits have direct contact and doesn’t have to go through anyone. They are only summoned by the Paleros of the Palo Mayombe.

palo mayombe cauldron

The comparison of the Santeria and the Palo Mayombe religion

Palo Mayombe and Santeria are types of black magic religions that are practiced in the world today. They are majorly practiced in Cuba by the masses. The Palo Mayombe and the Santeria are often compared which leaves people wondering; are they the same? Are they totally different? Well, the Santeria and the Palo Mayombe have their similarities and also their some aspects of these two religions, they share a common similarity and also basic differences. One is more powerful than the other and also more effective than the other.

The Palo Mayombe

The Palo Mayombe originated in the time of the Cuban slave trade era in the early 1500s. Another name known for the Palo Mayombe is las Reglas de Congo. Its major beliefs are the veneration of spirits and also the use earthly materials especially in their rituals. They believe that the spirit of the dead lives among us and also inside of us. The make use of an altar called the Nganga which is built with an iron cauldron and also other items such as sticks and bones. This altar is made specially for their Mpungu (spirits) and they are summoned only by an ordained Paleros. They have several gods and goddesses such as the Zarabanda, Lucero, Madre Agua, San Simon, El Christo Rey, El Christo Negro and many others. These gods and goddesses are claimed to be very Lowery and that each of them performs a specific role in the Palo Mayombe religion. Some of these gods are called upon for guidance and protection while some others are called upon to cause problems for one’s enemies. The Palo Mayombe is a very sacred religion.

The Santeria

The Santeria is another Cuban black magic religion which is often compared to the Palo Mayombe. It is also called Reglas de Ocha and it means the worship of saints. They have a major belief that this earth or universe was created by one god which is later left to be ruled by lesser beings or gods. They have an altar called igbodu which is usually adorned with a touch of royal blue, white and Red satin. Their priests are called Santeros and it can be a male or a female priest. They have several forms of rituals which involves singing and dancing and the involvement of musical instruments.

The Palo Mayombe and the Santeria are similar in different aspects such as they both make use of music and instruments in their rituals and also, they dance in their rituals and other forms of worship. Their distinction major. The major distinction they have is the Santeria is a remnant of a Yoruba religion that is being practiced in the country Nigeria while the Palo Mayombe originated way back before the Yoruba religion. They Santeria takes special care to using colors while the Palo Mayombe doesn’t pay any attention to colors. Despite their similarities and also their differences, the Palo Mayombe is still more powerful and more effective than the Santeria.

palo mayombe nganga

The Palo Mayombe and its hidden traditions and beliefs

The Palo Mayombe is one of the many black magic religions to have been for quite a number of years. It has been in existence for over 200 years and is still counting. This Palo religion is still in existence because of the way it has been kept sacred and secrets for a number of years. Their places of worships and number of worshippers aren’t dated. This is done to avoid various false informations spreading around. The Palo Mayombe is a very powerful black magic religion and it is practiced majorly in Cuba.

The origin, traditions and beliefs of the Palo Mayombe religion

The Palo Mayombe originated as at the time of slave era in Cuba in the 1500s. It consists of a combination of the religions and beliefs of different slaves’ religions that were captured and taken to Cuba. Another name for Palo Mayombe is las Reglas de Congo. The term Palo is a Spanish word that means stick. This is because in the Palo mayombe religion, they make use of sticks to prepare their altars and this altar is known as the Nganga.  The priests of the Palo Mayombe are called Paleros. Their priests can either be male or female. The members or the initiated of the Palo mayombe are called Ngaeyo.

The Palo Mayombe have a special and strong belief in spirits. They believe in the:

  • Veneration of spirits
  • Use of supernatural powers and earthly materials

They believe that these spirits which are spirits of the dead are living among us and also inside of us. They believe that these earthly materials are infused with the spirits which make them very powerful. The Mpungu (spirits) of the dead are said to be very powerful and each deity has a special Nganga built for them and can only be summoned by an ordained Palero. These spirits have different and special powers assigned to them. They are mostly called upon during rituals such as initiation or when the members need guidance and protection. Some of these spirits are the Zarabanda, El Christo Rey, El Christo Negro, Madre Agua and some others.

The ritual of the Palo Mayombe religion is done with music and also dancing is involved. The sounds and music are made by wooden instruments and drums. The Palo mayombe do not pay special attention and detail to colors unlike the Santería which is commonly compared to the Palo Mayombe. The Santería is a black magic religion that was originated from the remnants of a Yoruba religion practiced in Nigeria. The initiation process of the Palo mayombe is simple. You can be initiated as a member or as a Palero. The initiation process is called the Rayamiento which means being scratched. An oath of confidence, courage and loyalty is sworn to prove yourself to the Palo Mayombe. If you undergo an initiation as a Palero, after the ritual you have to follow som guidelines such as eating meals on the floor, wearing white always, not staying out after dark and avoiding contact with non-initiates for a year and seven months.

palo mayombe santeria

The Cuban religion and the different religions under it

In Cuba, there are various practices of different religions in Cuba. The most common religious practice in Cuba is the Roman Catholic Religion. It is the biggest form of religious practice in Cuba. Apart from the Roman Catholic religion. Christianity being the most prevailing religion in Cuba, in other areas of Cuba there are religions that syncretize the Roman Catholic Doctrine such as the Santería.  In Cuba there are other religions that are not related to Christianity or the catholic religion. They are based on traditional beliefs and traditional worships. Some of these traditional religions practiced in Cuba are The Santería, the Palo Mayombe and others. These religions would be discussed below.

The Santería

The Santería is a traditional black magic religion practiced in Cuba. It can also be known as Regla de Ocha. The Santería originated in Cuba in the midst of West Africans.  The Santería is a Spanish religion and it means “worship of the saints”. The Santería has been infused and syncretized by the catholic religion. The Santería makes use the Lucumí language. The words and phrases used in their worships and rituals is a part of the Yoruba language. The rituals of the Santería are not usually done in one place, it could be done in the house of saints or the house of the priests and priestesses. Their space of worship for their rituals is called Igbodu which means altar. The igbodu consists of three different thrones which is built for the king, the queen and the warriors. The Santería have a strong belief that the universe was created by one god and it is being ruled by lesser gods.

The Palo Mayombe

The Palo Mayombe is another Cuban traditional religion, which was originated in the 1500s during the slave trade era in Cuba. The Palo Mayombe roots can also be traced to the Bakongo. In this black magic religion, they have a strong and special belief in the spirits of the dead and also the use of supernatural powers as well as earthly powers because they believe that the spirits are connected with the earthly materials. The Palo Mayombe is also known as las Regla de Congo. Their rituals involve singing and dancing to instruments which are made from wooden percussion instruments and drums. Their common form of divination is the Nganga which means altar. The Nganga is usually prepared for a particular deity and which can only be summoned by a Palero. Their initiation process is very simple but can be complex. It is called the Rayamiento which means “being scratched”.

These two religions, the Santería and the Palo Mayombe are traditional Cuban religions which makes use of black magic. They are very powerful religions which is widely practiced by the majority of the Cuban people. Among these two, the Palo Mayombe is the most powerful and the most effective unlike the Santería which has been syncretized with parts of the Catholic Church religion.