As time passed and the world evolved, religion also evolved. New religions started and old ones developed. Palo Mayombe is a part of the many religions that developed over the years. The Palo religion was originated in the 1500s during the slave trade in Cuba but it goes way back in the Congo Basin of central Africa when a large number of slaves were brought to Cuba and from there the Palo religion evolved.
In recent times, the Palo Mayombe is often compared to the Santeria. The Santeria is a different form of religion that comes from the Yoruba people in Nigeria. It is sometimes referred to as the twin of the Palo Mayombe. Though, music and dance are very fundamental to the two religions. Overall, the Palo Mayombe is more powerful and more effective than the Santeria because the Congolese slaves were brought to the Caribbean much earlier than the Yoruba so it’s harder to trace their history and culture to Africa. It is the dark side of the Santeria. Palo Mayombe is a solitary religion practiced secretly with no place of worship or a count of their worships. Their practitioners or priests are called Paleros.
The Paleros don’t usually show off their powers and they only perform spiritual works on individuals through referrals. Most Latin American and Caribbean political leaders are said to be members of the Palo Mayombe in order to keep themselves in power and have constant control over the people.
What do the Palo Mayombe initiates believe in? Let’s find out.
The Palo Mayombe worshippers strongly believe in the summoning of spirits and the use of nature or earthly powers. They specifically have a strong belief in spirits and ghosts. These spirits and ghosts are broken down into categories:
- Kilumbo (ghosts who have been forced)
- Nfumbe (spirits or ghosts who have been harnessed)
- Mpungu (greater spirits or angels)
There are also various spirits they summon doing their rituals and initiations. They summon these spirits depending on its functions and the problems the worshippers need to solve. Spirits such as the Zarabanda, el Christo rey, El Christo Negro, San Simon and others. It is believed that the spirits live inside of us and they them protection.
How can you get initiated into the Palo Mayombe?
The initiation of the Palo Mayombe is called Rayamiento which means “being scratched”. Being a very secret religion, the Palo Mayombe ceremonies are very secret, serious and sacred. This initiation takes courage, honor and loyalty to prove yourself through an oath. Discussions concerning initiation are never discussed with non-initiates. It is highly prohibited. It is kept this way so fraudsters wouldn’t be able to get their hands on it and perform false ceremonies. The initiation process usually takes place during a full moon. If there’s no full moon, it cannot hold.
There’s hasn’t been much publicity of the Palo Mayombe unlike the Santeria because the information released to the public is negative and has brought fear to the people. Palo Mayombe does mostly good and causes no harm unless warranted for.