Palo Mayombe; the Religion And Its Higher Deities

The gods of Palo Mayombe are also called Nkisi. They are believed to be the first ancestors on earth, placed by Nzambi the god of creation and were later elevated to the status of gods by the Paleros. They have reverenced alongside the spirits of the dead by the Paleros. The ngangas; that is the sacred altars and shrines are also dedicated to these deities.

Each deity is in control of a unique part of nature. They all have their path in the cosmos and are called upon in respect to different situations, needs, and requests.

The common deities worshiped by the Paleros include:

Nzambi: This is known as the High God of creation. He created the universe and withdrew from it but yet still controls and inhabits all the elements of nature. 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‚Äôs power.

Lucero: This is also known as Nkuyu. Nkuyu is the god of the wilderness and crossroads. Lucero meaning light (morning star) of the world in regards to his wisdom. He is believed to be the key that opens all doors to the supernatural realm. He is said to act tricky, childish and mischievous and extra care must be taken when going into agreement with him. It is said that without him, no power can be accessed even among other deities so he is usually acknowledged first in every ritual. To work effectively, every priest or medium must be in good standing with Nkuyu or they would fail to access any power. Every priest must have a nganga dedicated to Lucero in his home.

Zarabanda: This is also known as Zumburanda. He is known as the god of war and justice. He is usually consulted for protection and defense. He is known to be short-tempered, fierce, protective and can be aggressive. He can easily be angered and is said to dislike women on monthly periods being close to his nganga. He is usually called upon by any priest who wants to make mediation or seeks power. Oaths and initiations are usually performed in front of his shrine as it is believed he is responsible for executing justice in the event a party fails to keep their part of the agreement.

Mal Kengue: He is known as the god believed to be in charge of wisdom and logic. He is the father figure. He is said to be a god of peace and purity, hence represented by the white color. However, he can also rise to warfare if the need to ensure justice arises. He is said to be able to grant the Paleros foreknowledge of the future and mystical insights.

Madre Agua: This Sea goddess is known for her gentleness. She is often referred to as the patron of little children. She is also believed to be the ruler of the seas and all life in the water.

These are the higher deities or gods/ goddesses of Palo Mayombe and they are heavily regarded and reverenced.