Palo Mayombe, Santeria and Voodoo — are they the same?

The world has produced different practices of the black magic; and powerful ones at that. There are three major ones which are known as Palo Mayombe, Santeria and voodoo. These are the major powerful forms of black magic practiced in the world. Are they similar? Are their beliefs the same? Let’s find out. Carry on!

Palo Mayombe

The Palo Mayombe is a black magic practice which emerged during the slave era in Cuba. They have a strong belief in the veneration of spirits and the use of supernatural powers combined with earthly materials. They claim that the powers of the spirits are in this material and they also live inside of us. They have priests called Paleros and they can be male or female. Their members are called Ngueyos. They have various kinds of spirits like the Zarabanda, San Simon, El Christo Negro and others.  They have various spells, curses and rituals. In their rituals they make use of dancing and music which is made by wooden percussion instruments and drums. To be a part of the palo Mayombe, you have to undergo an initiation ceremony which tests your courage and loyalty.


Santeria is a form of black magic also known as Regla de Ocha or La Regla De Ifa.  It is a religion that consists of a Yoruba origin but developed in Cuba in the midst of West African descendants. Santeria is a Spanish word that means “worship of the saints”. The Santeria has a bit of Roman Catholicism infused in it and makes use of the lucumi language which is said to be very sacred. They perform several rituals and also healing practices. They read meaning to certain colors. Their priests are usually known as santeros or olorichas.


Voodoo can be seen as a caricature of voodoun.  It is afro-Caribbean and originated in Haiti. Its followers are from Jamaica, Brazil, Dominican Republic and the United States. Voodoo has no scripture or word authority. It is based on individual experience, empowerment and responsibility. They believe there is a visible and invisible world and that these world are intertwined. They believe that death is going to the invisible world so their predecessors are with them in the spirits and are there to guide and inspire them. Their male priest are called Hougan and the female are called manbo. They have various rituals which involves dances and use of instruments.

The Palo Mayombe, Santeria and the voodoo are similar in some areas such as the area of rituals which involves dancing and the use of instruments and also dancing. Overall the Palo Mayombe is more powerful and more effective. Its history can’t be dated to central Africa meaning it has been here long before. The Santeria and voodoo are also powerful forms of black magic but its roots are not as deep as that of the Palo Mayombe which has been in the world and practiced for over 200 years.