Palo Mayombe as a wisdom tradition is often misunderstood; the effectiveness of its thaumaturgical practice has left the impression that practical magic/brujeria is the entirety of its wisdom. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mayombe is an alchemical and evolutionary spiritual tradition. It is as brutally effective theurgically as it is thaumaturgically, which hasn’t helped it’s reputation either. In order to understand the alchemy of Palo Mayombe it is necessary to understand the nature of the relationship between the Ngangulero, Nganga, Kalunga, and the creator Nzambi.
The Creator Nzambi is the alchemical and life-giving Fire. The first sulfuric principle,
the spark of growth and life and existence. If we were to relate it to the human figure,
Nzambi would be the spark of soul.
The Kalunga, the great sea of the Dead, is the Conscious and living sea of spirit that
interpenetrates and lubricates. It is the mercuric principle, subtle and ever-present. This
sea carries the fire of Nzambi, as the sea of the Earth carries within it the life-giving
energies of the Sun. If related to the human figure, Kalunga is the blood, carrying the
life-giving sustenance of Nzambi throughout the body and enabling life. The Ngangulero
is less a “necromancer”, and more a “vitamancer”, working with the principles of life.
The Kalunga is the direct source of Life itself, carrying the creative fire of Nzambi into
The Ngangulero is himself the coagulated and concentrated Kalunga, within which the
fire of Nzambi burns. The Ngangulero is like the solid tip of an iceberg, the point of
projection which bursts from the sea of Kalunga. Underneath the water, within the sea,
the great mass of ancestors (Bakulu) and the fire of Nzambi press. The priest himself is
the alchemical salt principle, the living solidification of spirit. If we were to relate him
to the body, he would be flesh and bone, solid and coagulated. Through action of the
Kalunga, and grounding within the Body, the fire of Nzambi is given a living presence in
The Nganga itself is, fundamentally, a spiritual bridge between the worlds of the dead
and the living. Through relation with the nganga, the Ngangulero becomes a conscious
and aware manifestation of Nzambi in the world. The nganga is a dark mirror of the
priest, a reflection of his self into the world of the Dead. Once the pact has been made
with the nganga, the priest finds himself with access to not only the created physical
world, but also to the subtle realm within which physical things have their roots. This
places the priest at the center of the Yowa, halfway between the mountain of Life and the
sea of Death, perfectly balanced and in reflection of the Nzambi. The priest becomes the
Living Dead, and his ancestors walk in his flesh.
This pact is the most powerful alchemical transformation of Mayombe, lighting a
powerful subtle fire that burns within the Ngangulero. Through true communion with the
dead he attains an immortality, as death becomes only a transition. Through the priests
cut into his line the Ngangulero walks the Earth and has influence far beyond that of the
man without this fire, who sinks into the Kalunga and joins his ancestors but becomes
blind to the physical world. This fire continually burns and calcines the subtle nature of
the Palero, lending increased impetus to his working and his works.
Access to the realm of the dead, and understanding that this realm interpenetrates all
things, is at the heart of the effectivenss of Palo as an evolutionary spiritual practice.
The Palero’s nature becomes more refined and attractive, a magnet to spiritual forces.
Now, refined doesn’t necessarily mean Good–this isn’t a matter of morality, but of
spiritual quality–and the Palero who tends toward the negative will quickly find negative
forces and situations coagulating in his life. The Palero becomes an architect of fate,
and actively creates his own existence through his actions with much greater intensity
than the common man. This can lead to sublime states of spiritual enlightenment and
joy, or incredibly foul states of depravation and rage. All that the Ngangulero does is
amplified and powered by the nganga, given further creative potential by the immersion
It is through manipulation of these forces of life that our bilongo work so effectively. We
alter the nature of the Kalunga around a person or thing, surrounding them with dead of a
particular nature which works to manifest in their life. Powders that contain a violent and
disruptive virtue change the nature of the Kalunga around them, so that the dead take on
that nature and then permeate the body and life of the targeted person. This is why it’s so
important to take spiritual baths after performing maleic workings; immersing ourselves
in malefic powders and intentions change the nature of the ambient dead that surround
us as well, leading to negative manifestations in our own lives if we aren’t careful. Our
actions in life work as bilongo, continually altering the nature of the dead around us and
attracting things to us that are similar to ourselves in nature. Like is attracted to like, this
is a universal principle that is often poorly understood even by our own priests.
The power of the nganga is one of direct access to the powers of creation through pact
with the dead, who are the substance of the Kalunga. We don’t just create sorcerous
effects, we are constantly creating our Selves, and powerfully so.
Through Palo Mayombe we become the Living Dead, complete beings, living reflections