As we look into the many practices of and identities of Palo Mayombe we can never forget the basis of our practice. The Congo and the ancestors who roamed those mountains and plains in which we call bakulu. Deified ancestors who before us paved the way so that we as practitioners of this religion can understand the embodiment of every aspect that we hold dear. For the laymen out their the word bakulu in palo means ancestor in Congo Cosmology. Many people do not understand that the cultural identity of Palo Mayombe is in peril with Syncretism from other religious denominations. Such is the influence with Orisha worship in the americas. Many people have a total misconception of the meaning in the diaspora that everyone is going around labeling eggun, bakulu, nfumbe as all the same which they are not. It seems for many people out their they want to mix the pot into an invariable gumbo, But the recipe is wrong and many people out there are walking around confused.
When the word eggun in Orisha practice is used in this conceptual idea based on the afro-cuban concept we see that, Eggun relates to family or what many may see as familiar spirits of your bloodline. Hereditary and those that have passed before you who are in your Orisha house of worship or branch aka rama. Many of the elders and forefathers we propitiate to have to be an initiated orisha priest.
The ancestral rites are based on masquerade dance in honor of the dead. Mostly the people who do this may or may not be initiated priests of orisha worship. The collective identity is mostly to people in your family that have died and are now being propitiated to come to speak to the community at large. the come down as a single entity through song and dance.
Why this clarification?
Well let’s be honest with ourselves how many people in passing has heard some person stating. Palo as eggun. You hear it all the time with these unscrupulous individuals who are going around talking about how they want to make a change in palo but are the first to go and make cross comparisons with other traditions to validate that they supposedly know what they are talking about. As beautiful and as complex both practices are it leads you to believe that someone out there is crazy enough to give their nganga an offering and claim that it is eggun that it is all one in the same.
The source of our existence unlike other traditions the bakulu are ancestral spirits that transcended into the stars as part of the continum of life that is looking over us. These transcended souls are part of Kalunga, Mpemba as my brother Alex La Salle quoted in our group (“Remember that Fu-Kiau teaches that the word kalunga (ka/lunga)is literally translated to mean “that which is complete within itself”.) When we speak of bakulu we speak of our connection to the world and the universe.
A nfumbe is the ritualized bone or powdered bone which is set ceremonies take into play as most paleros would say(jueg0). An nfumbe is set in ritual to work with the person who is receiving it what is most interesting of this. Most nfumbes prior to the early1900’s were ancestral bones and those nkisi’s were bakulu and were not worked like fundamentos today. Most fundamentos today are not even bones that are used that worked palo before ever in their lifetime. So ceremonial incorporation are done so that this bone can function. A nfumbe is not an eggun, egungun.
People may take offense to this well if they would be more conscious that being clear with people is a part of making a difference than i would not have to point out their stuff. Many people take an approach of well people know what they are talking about. Honestly they do not and so what happens is that we go into the same old thing. The blind leading the blind and the Deaf leading the deaf. Well our point is to open the door of understanding so that the conscious reader can get a better grasp of things. When you effect the foundation of people and you challenge the thought process they want to make names for you. Cloak and dagger or whatever erroneous ignorant comments one makes. Coming from people with bad past lives and now wanting to make a mark on their life now. Well start with education and stop being ignorant.
Mayombe tiembla tiembla pero nunca cai!.
Mayombe shakes and shakes but never falls open your minds. Tata Musitu