The Palo Mayombe is a black magic religion that has been practiced for over two hundred years in the world. It officially originated during the slave era in Cuba but it can be traced back to the Congo basin of central Africa. The Palo Mayombe is a Spanish religion where the word “Palo” stands for stick because in the Palo religion they make use of sticks to prepare their altar. This Palo Mayombe altar is called Nganga or la Cadero and it is very sacred because that is where they perform all their different kinds of practices and their rituals.
The Palo Mayombe makes use of priests which are called Paleros. The male priest is called tata while the female priests are called Yayas. Their members who are not priests are called Ngueyos or Pino Nuevo. They have a strong believe in spirits and the use of earthly powers. In this Palo religion, spirits are very vital to them; everything they do, they do it in the name of the spirits. Theses sprits are very powerful and are called upon for protection and for advice. The spirits can only be summoned through an ordained priest or priestess. Some of the spirits are known as the San Simon, El Christo negro, El Christo Rey and the Zarabanda which is the most commonly summoned spirit. All in all, theses spirits are not as strong as the God the creator known as the Nzambi or Zambi. They believe that these spirits of the dead live inside of us and are here to give their followers guidance and protection.
The Palo religion performs different kinds of rituals. They make use of wooden percussion instruments and also drums. They have rituals such as cleansing rituals and other forms of rituals depending on the problem of the initiate. The Palo Mayombe rituals are very simple but can also be complex. They Palo Mayombe is also known as las reglas de Congo.
It is very easy to get initiated into the Palo Mayombe religion. You have to undergo a ceremony that is called the Rayamiento which means being scratched. It’s a special ceremony that deals with the carving of special marks on the skin. To undergo this initiation ritual, you have to display courage, confidence and loyalty by swearing an oath to the Palo religion.
In recent times, the Palo Mayombe has been compared to the Santeria and voodoo. They all have similarities but differ indifferent ways. The Palo Mayombe in different parts of the world such as brazil; here they call the Palo religion Quinbanda and Mexico. Their main form of divination is on their altar which is called Nganga. It is a holy vessel. Each vessel is dedicated to a specific spirit and it acts as a guide to all the religious activities that is been performed on the altar. They believe that all the natural and earthly objects are filled with the power of the spirits. The Palo Mayombe is very powerful and effective.