The process of initiation in the Palo Mayombe religion

Palo Mayombe is among the black magic religion that has been practiced over the years. It is a sacred religion which is practiced secretly to avoid misinformation and the mis-practice of the religion. To get initiated into the Palo Mayombe religion, you have to undergo some process either if it’s an initiation to become a member or an initiation to become an ordained Palero. In the Palo Mayombe, initiation is described and death and rebirth. It’s the dropping of the old life and awakening into a new life. During this initiation ritual, they make use of drums known as Ngoma. This drum is said to be the drum of affliction. The initiation process is called the Rayamiento and it means being scratched. This involves the carving of special marks unto your skin. You have to take an oath to prove your courage and loyalty. There are 14 oaths to be take.

Oaths of the Palo Mayombe initiation

  • Do you vow to believe in the existence of only one god?
  • Do you promise to love and to have loved your parents?
  • Do you vow to accept and be obedient to the laws that you know of and not know of that guide this religion?
  • Do you vow to be devoted and free?
  • Do you promise to furlough all the obligations given to the servants of this religion for your own welfare?
  • Do you solemnly promise to embrace the cravings of knowledge of the religion and apply it to the religion?
  • Do you vow by the crucifix you hold and by your word that no one has coerced you into being a part of this religion without your approval?
  • Do you promise to embrace the craving of knowledge with the aim of helping a fellow man give absolute loyalty to the religion?
  • Do you vow to forgive all your enemies?
  • Do you promise to never be involved in an act of blasphemy?
  • Do you vow never to go against and betray the religion?
  • Do you vow to help your fellow members even if it means personal sacrifice in terms of disgrace, illness or death?
  • Do you vow to never disperse from these sacred teachings of the religion that gives spiritual knowledge?

These oaths, once they have been said, they help in bonding ties and also in spiritual development of the individual and spiritual alliance with the ancestors. After an initiation, there are several positions to take. The first initiation process is usually into the Pino Nuevo. You could decide to remain a pino Nuevo for a very long time. If one should decide to proceed into other positions, once can study for about a year to become a Tata or a Yaya. Once you become a Tata or a Yaya, you undergo what they call a cleansing ritual for a year and seven months whereby you have to do the following, eating of meals on the ground, avoiding contacts with non-initiates, wearing of white all through and not staying out after dark.