The Shadow(La Sombra) What truly is it?

When we think how life was formed from nothing came something out of the darkness and the shadows into the light. The shadow in birth has always walked with us in essence it is a sentient being that makes up one half of our soul which is made of 2 parts. Physical and the Spiritual. Many people understand many views and how the soul and the spirit work in many aspects of a persons transition between different spiritual practices and beliefs.  The focus of this article is to open the idea that your shadow though born with you can pick up from other people and be shaped and reshaped good and bad. When in a munanso you are brought to the foot of the nganga or nkisi and are your journey begins to take shape from the moment you walk in to the time you leave the reading. The process of the shadow casts down into the firma and or firmas that are drawn on the floor to vibrate that energy into a state of being. The shadow picks up this vibration and in turn walks with you throughout your life and follows you wherever you go. The practitioner and priest or priestess then should be able to determine in the reading how your shadow has walked with you Past,Present and how you should push it forward into the future.

“Every shadow that has cast on to you from the moment of birth effects your spiritual growth.


Ancestors that have long past are part of this cycle in the shadow who live in this world cast their shadow on to you (Buen sombra buen ensenansa) Good shadow good teachings and so the shadow of a Patimpemba lives with us as well. The shadow that casts from the sun and the moon walk with us. As many houses of palo  mayombe know that Casa Nsambi(house of nsambi) is the Sun(Ntangu). The shadow that casts from it  flourishes us with good and strong spiritual binds to the realm of the ancestors. Mposi(moon) also casts a shadow as you can see on the featured pictured from a solar eclipse on 2006. The Moon casts its own shadow which live in the realm of kalunga also another aspect of the ancestral link or bind to all living things.

There is this concept that is misinformed(kongo tiene mana de su padrino/madrina) the kongo picks up the habits of his godfather/mother.

In bantu culture it is said that ceremonial practices are to uplift a person and they concentrate on making one’s life better through the actual ceremony and the people around them(kanda) community. In palo mayombe this is also true but what happens is that the shadow of your godparent is  attached also to this ritual as in ceremonial practices in bantu practices.

The community at large who participated in that ritual their firma,(patimpemba) is attached to that ritual and their shadow is also casts on the new initiate. The problem you see with this type of situation that people pick up the Rastro(trace of the persons shadow) . This in turn is added on to yours and if you are not spiritually sound and this person is on drugs guess what. Most likely you will end up in drugs, If this person was cut by a murderer, Most likely you will end up a murderer. Well you say to this well “I am my own person and I do not follow this type of behavior”. Your spiritual path at this point will and can be compromised. Illnesses can become prevalent, Financial difficulties, all other aspects of physical and spiritual problems.  Our shadow has to be strong and well fed with libations and all sorts of offerings so it can fend off all types of spiritual and physical situations.


One way of making sure your spiritual path is clean and moving forward is making sure which house you practice with, Who are they truly and you do not learn this by rumors or gossip. You learn by sharing a table with them, getting to know the house of worship you are involved in. How they keep their home, What is their relationship with their family? do they work? Are they living off the misery of others? etc.

You can never be truly guaranteed that situations in your life will not arise if that were the case then we would not need of this practice to resolve. We would be in a world of Green Acres. But life is just not cut out that way we are all warriors and we come in this world fighting to survive. The shadow even lives on after death so that shows you how the potentiality of how we must try to rule over our lives and destiny. “Many elders have been led astray by money and the evils of ownership over godchildren.”

Many of their godchildren have followed in the footsteps of these elders and have created a bad concept of palo mayombe and this trend seems to get worst and worst. But our goal here is to bring an understanding to palo mayombe.  Initiatory rites are made to put you in the path of palo mayombe, the shadow can create obstacles until free choice and will and spiritual strength make you seek out the truth and a better fulfillment in life and in learning. So that future generations stop the misinformation coming out of the mouth’s of these would be practitioners. Learn from people who truly respect and love this religion, not those that are seeking a profit margin from the community who is already hurting and in need.

The shadow is a double-edged sword and so learn from someone with an understanding of this sentient being, he is not a mpungu, or a nkisi, he is us in our spiritual form an extension of us. Learn who you are so you can give good sombra to others. Buen Sombra Buen Lumbo to all.. Tata Musitu






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3 Responses to “The Shadow(La Sombra) What truly is it?”

  1. Khepri Temu Ra says:

    Greetings Tata Musitu-

    Can you explain where and how the shadow lives on after death? And is this a good or bad thing? I would not want to end up on the wrong side of that double edged sword!!


    • Greetings,

      The shadow is the extension of yourself so when the physical body ceases to exist the shadow moves with the spirit and the soul. Many of times ceremonies in the cemetary are took pick up a trace aka the shadow of your former self to work. It can be a good thing or bad just depending on if your shadow transitions into the realm of the ancestors or it stays behind to work. Also who is working with your shadow as well. Tata Musitu

  2. Tukuenda says:

    Nsala Malongo Tata Musitu
    I fully agree with your wisdom concerning looking at potential Padrinos/Madrinas very carefully and looking at their family situation, their stability, success and general wellbeing, health, tranquility and focus. Too many are being initiated in unstable and chaotic situations.

    In contemplating the shadow and the “imprints” it can absorb, I would add that we need to also look at the historical imprints that the Ancestral Tree has absorbed, and the historical terrors and abuses that our Ancestors have endured that continue to be imprinted upon our people today in more multiple ways and in many more subtle way that can be harder to detect. I also have to consider the imprint that Christianity has had upon our traditional ways, because we need to remember that Christianity came to us through violence and deceit, therefore we cannot consider this to be a positive imprint, and it is my understanding and experience that the imprints from Christianity can be some of the most difficult ones to overcome as it has placed a false god (a false sun/ son) in front of the “SUN”. This false sun projects “light” but a deceitful light that creates a second shadow which functions as an imposter shadow. It is one thing to speak of the Padrinos and Madrinas who through the ills of colonialism have resorted to petty bickering and negative energies during ceremonies and initiations, however we also need to acknowledge the greater injustices and greater negativities that are rooted in our historical past and in our present. Long before these Padrinos and Madrinas, our collective Ancestors had been brutally attacked and these attacks have definitely impacted our shadows in far greater ways than the contemporary Padrino and Madrina who are doing what they are doing because of these attacks. There is a collective impact in the shadow of the whole community, for example when self-identified christians enter an Indigenous Village, whether it be in the Caribbean, up North, or in Africa or anywhere in the world, and take multiple pregnant women and slice open their bellies in front of the community, stamping on the fetuses, this creates an impact on the shadows of all present but also on the collective shadow and Ancestral shadow.
    My two cents…

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