Consistency in Palo

Sala Malongo,

Have you done anything to learn a little more about Palo today? This week?
….this month?

It’s very, very easy to get into the routine of giving nsunga & malafo, mpembe, and singing your favorite mambos when interacting with nkisi….and then leaving it at that.

Staying comfortable. Only stretching out to work some malongo when someone falls ill, or when someone has run they mouth a little too hard.

But Palo is medicine. Medicine don’t do you no good if you don’t take it.

There is so much depth to the practice that it’s difficult to grasp, and sometimes I think that depth makes it somewhat intimidating to approach with the aim to grow in understanding and wisdom of it. My padrino Tata Colon has given me a *ton* to pour over, and each idea leads to other ideas, other practices within our spirituality…I’ve found myself making *big* plans that never get finished. Instead, I should be making small plans that grow big when watered, the way a seed planted becomes a tree.

Today I read a little deeper into the letters formed when Chamalongo are thrown.

Yesterday I worked my tumbo, played with the toque de palo while singing mambo….seeing where the little cracks are, the spots where fire can leap up while I keep rhythm.

Tomorrow I may spend a little time on Patimpemba. May leave a little something at the huge Oak I drive past on my way to work everyday, see if Simbi is watching.

To be consistent in Palo we’ve got to make Palo part of our worldview, part of our lifestyle. If you don’t live in the same town as your padrino, this means you’ve got to make a conscious effort to integrate your practice into your way of being.

Being a busy fellow, sometimes I struggle with getting time to all my passions. But you know what? If I have a couple hours to binge something on Netflix last night, I sho had time to get out back and sit with the nkisi for a minute. Sit in silence listening for wisdom from the Bakulu. You don’t need to spend an hour each day.

Spiritual work is often about relationships, and relationships require regular investment and care. That one hour long phone call on Saturday won’t make Moms anywhere near as happy as a ten minute call Every Day of that same week.

I got a little note/message from one of my Bakulu that I’d fell off a little bit in connecting with her. Not a smack, just a nudge, a reminder. Made me think about where else I’d not delegated time, and helped me refresh my gait on the path a little bit.

If you haven’t done so, find time to do that little bit each day. I suspect that’s where real depth of understanding in Palo Mayombe comes from.

–Tata Sima Ngango

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