The Palo Mayombe has been kept in secret for a very long time leaving little or no knowledge. This is because it has been condemned and negative actions were made towards it. Now it has resurfaced and people are curious about it. They want to know its origins, traditions and beliefs. If you’re part of the curious cats, you’ve come to the right place.
The origins of the Palo Mayombe
The Palo Mayombe which is also known as the las reglas de Congo originated in the early 1500s during the slave trade in the Cuba era. It is divided into denominations; Mayombe, Monte and Briyumba. The Palo Mayombe has its roots in the Congo basin where a large number of slaves were brought to Cuba and from there the religion evolved. The Palo Mayombe can also be found in brazil and Mexico. In brazil the religion is known as Quinbanda. The Palo Mayombe has its main roots in the Bakongo religion. The language of the Palo Mayombe is a mix of both Spanish and bantu languages.
Traditions and beliefs of the Palo Mayombe religion
The Palo Mayombe are one to believe in spirits and natural powers. Their worship altars are called Nganga, el Cadero or Prenda. The Palo Mayombe believe that natural objects especially sticks have powers of the spirits. The spirits in the Palo religion are called Mpungu in the singular form and kimpungulu in the plural form. They inhibit sacred objects called Nkisi. These spirits are known for their good deeds and their names. They are often associated with the human emotions. Some of these spirits are; the Zarabanda, San Simon, El Christo Negro and El Christo rey. These spirits are said to be very powerful but not as powerful as the god the creator who is known as the Zambi or Nzambi.
The Palo religion does not make use of clothing, colors and dancing style linked to the deities unlike the Santeria and other Yoruba religions. The Palo Mayombe religion makes use of music in their rituals and the music sounds are made from wooden percussion instruments and drums. Some of the music tunes they use in their rituals are the cata, Guagua and the ngoma or conga. In the Palo religion, they make use of different spells and divination processes. The most common method of divination is the use of coconut shells. The priests are called Paleros and their initiates Ngueyos or Pino nuevo. To get initiated into the Palo Mayombe, is not as easy as becoming a member of any other religion out there. Its quite different in the Palo Mayombe. Normally, non-initiates are not to know about the Palo Mayombe unless they come across it somewhere. The initiation ceremony is called Rayamiento which in English it means being snatched. Special marks would be carved on your skin during the initiation. To undergo this initiation, you have to prove your courage, confidence and loyalty by taking an oath. it is done secretly.