Syncretism has no place in Mayombe.

A kingdom’s strength is in mutual honor.(bantu proverb)


When the first boat loads of  Trans-Atlantic slaves were brought to the newly formed islands and continents of the Americas, The majority of the cargo were from the Congo and the Bantu regions of Africa. Initiating the very first slaves to inhabit the new colonial lands and in turn bringing with them culture and practices native to Africa. One of the most interesting concepts that brought about this realization of syncretism were the actual slaves who had escaped into the mountains of many regions.  Some people called them Maroons but they were not truly stranded they just revolted and left , Many were cimarrones who integrated with the native people of the land. Out of this marriage came about the learning of the terrain and the plants to harvest. Many were medicinal plants as well as cultivation of lands to consume food.


Along with this came customs that were intermarried due to the conditions and the survival for any culture to adapt in a new environment. This marriage of cultures took place with the people of Bantu origin and was established in the island of Cuba for at least 300 years. During this time more slave ships and more slaves escaping, the Nanigo’s(Abakua) and then the youngest of all groups Yoruba. There are many mayombe priests out their who understand what I am talking about and many may feel offended by this. But again this is to show that we must re-educate this ideal that Mayombe has suffered at the hands of syncretism.  One of the biggest setbacks that mayombe has suffered due to syncretism is this amalgamation of Orisha having precedent over what mayombe is as a religion. No other religion can dictate if a person has a spiritual path in mayombe. That can only be ascertained in front of the nganga through divination. Specific divination like with chamalongos, or vititi mensu. Plate and a candle or spirit possession in front of the nkisi is a sure-fire way of knowing a persons path.


The next syncretized disaster is this ideology of a mpungu(o) having caminos(paths) 21 different paths to quote many a writer out their. Mpungu is energy from a source. Animate or an inanimate object can be a source of energy. A hot stove for instance can have a mpungu yet it is not put inside of a nkisi. Unlike the energy that may be personified in Orisha practice with orisha as an elemental form. In mayombe this is not so because when we are initiated into mayombe our patimpemba(firma drawing) which represents our true road in the religion has a road in which is not only part of the house of palo we come from. But all the people who were in our ceremony and all the firmas that were drawn make up a part of your road. Also with all the proper ceremony we have in the elements we are presented to all of the time this is our path. Nsasi, zarabanda, chola, tiembla tierra, etc, etc, these ritualized identities that have been misrepresented throughout are just nkisi’s in the past that became famous in palo. Now everyone has a zarabanda but what distinguishes one from the other? If there are 50,000 zarabanda’s out there who comes to you to respond or resolve?


Just a thought for a moment distinguishing the identity of your spiritual path is a serious deal and so for you to walk this path you must have this in your blood and genes. It is not made up from the blue, with 7 shells and people saying you are a child of this and or that. It is more preparation and dedication and know how then you can possibly imagine. The Nkisi is a representation of you in form of a sentient being a spiritual being that is living within a fetish. In other words what characteristics do you have that make you a separate individual from others. This is what a nganga that is truly made for a person responds through a spiritual pact as it is a part of you. Not a mpungo that comes from an ideology of the orisha concept. Many people can have Chango, but only a palero can have his own nkisi which represents him as a sentient being.


When you have different philosophies intermingling with an already set way of worship you have a really bad set up for disaster in the making. Mayombe may have suffered the hegemony of other religious groups coming to lay their two cents in it, But we are here to say enough is enough with the lies. No neo-christian, Knights Templar, Moor science, free masonry, or any other type of religious rhetoric should be trying to put erroneous and bad information out their on Palo Mayombe. We are mayombe and this is about community and if we don’t instruct our community the right way you will have more mixed up Paleros putting crucifix and european family crests on top of a nkisi, or better still claiming 2012 is the end of the world and they are the palo anti christ.


Words like “moyubando la prenda” or “Ashe pa mi nganga”  this needs to stop honestly when we got people doing cross comparisons of the words like Ashe and Ndoki, One is not the other and even if similarities can be brought about they are different. “It’s like a Jewish rabbi telling a catholic that his salvation is in Islam“. Lets keep it real people,What can the oppressors ideology show the ancestors who suffered under the brutality that is slavery? Under arab moor oppression, then christian oppression with the false doctrine of free masonry that all men are created equal? Under what banner? The banner of the cattle prod and the whip?… Bring mayombe back to the way it should be and not the new nuances you  are portraying out their. Tata Musitu.



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2 Responses to “Syncretism has no place in Mayombe.”

  1. taumarcus says:

    great lecture,i call it yorubasizing when people want to transfer nigerian strutures to palo.there is a need for guiding elders,also we need the stories within the palo system,like the pataki of the ifa and ocha system.with what little i know on palo(not much)i speak to my prenda in english and i try to use the the wording according what little of congo sysmbolism i know until i learn more.also i have a problem equating the nkisi with christian saints because as i tell people the saints are elevated dead.i…st peter is saint peter and zarabanda is zarabanda.thank you for teaching us that the prenda is an extention/outward projection of one has ever expressed this idea in the comunity here.
    peace tau marcus

  2. tiembla ntoto ndoki fun says:

    Want very much to learn true pure congo traditions had no idea unsyncretised palo was available in the diaspora.

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