Mayombe & Candomble`

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Mayombe in Cuba

deities

p.

deity

239

"Sambia, a corruption of the Kongo name for the deity Nsambia." [p. 241 "Sambia left he world and went very far away; but even from that remote distance he is very attentive to what is happening on earth and keeps on ruling everything, no matter how insignificant."]

239

"Kadiempembe, the name given to the devil by the Kongos ... (In Santeria the devil is known as Olosi.)

241

"Nsasi, which is also the Kongo name for the palm tree".

p. 240-242 terms

p.

term

meaning

240

yakara

man

 

nkento

woman

241

bilongo

magic spell

 

ezulu

heaven

 

kisangele

species of snake

 

kuna

place

 

makuto

protection against evil

 

malembe

cautiousness

242

masango

evil spell

 

mbua

evil spirit used in a bilongo

 

mpambu

crossing of 4 ways; where masango is sent to victim

 

ngau

invocation to call on protective spirit

 

nkisi

spirit

 

npaka

animal-horn filled with liquid, to force nkisi to manifest itself

 

ntoto

earth

 

telemene

to spy

various practices

p.

practice

239

"The source of the paleroís power is the prenda (jewel) or cauldron where the spirit or spirits of the dead used by the palero are said to reside. ... Within ... are kept the human skull, bones, graveyard dust, ... and hot spices that are its foundation. Upon these ingredients are rooted the forces of the spirits who inhabit the ... prenda."

242

"Before his initiation into the palo mayombe, the neophyte must sleep during seven nights under a ceiba. At the end of this period he takes some new clothes and brings them to the cemetery, where he buries them in a previously chosen grave. The clothes remain buried during three Fridays ... When the ... days are over, he returns to the cemetery, disinters the clothes, and puts them on. He is then taken to a ceiba by his teacher and initiator, and other mayomberos who serve as witnesses. They invoke the spirits of the dead and the spirit of the ceiba to witness and approve the initiation."

244

"The mayombero usually knows the identity of the cadaver, which is known as kiyumba. They are usually recent graves, as the mayombero insists on having a head in which the brain is still present ... The body of the mayombero becomes rigid and then goes into convulsions as the spirit of the kiyumba takes possession of him.

245

... the mayombero adds to the cauldron ... a piece of bamboo, sealed at both ends with wax, and filled with sand, sea water, and ... This gives the kiyumba ... the persistence of the sea tides ... The body of a small dog is also added to the cauldron to help the spirit "track down" its victims. ... The last ingredients to be added are red pepper, chili, ... and rue, together with ants, worms, lizards, termites, bats, frogs, Spanish flies, a tarantula, a centipede, a wasp, and a scorpion. ... [The cauldron] is brought back to the cemetery (nfinda kalunga) ... and left for three Fridays. {cf. southern Chinese & Laotian practice of leaving bones of the dead in jars in cemeteries} The it is ... taken to the woods ... for another three Fridays ... At the end of the combined period ..., the [cauldron] is taken home by the mayombero, where ... it ... is finished and ready to work."

246

"Sometimes the mayombero prepares ... without a cauldron ... a boumba, which is wrapped in a large sheet {cf. North American Indian sacred bundles} or placed inside a burlap sack. This sack, with its macabre contents, is known as a macuto, and it is kept hanging from a beam of the ceiling in the darkest room of the house."

247

centipede-sorcery : "The mayombero ... heats a pin, which he uses to run through the body of a live centipede that has been tied with a black thread. ... He takes ... the pin with centipede to a large tree, where he sticks the still-squirming animal to the tree bark."

248

frog-sorcery : "A handkerchief of the intended victim is then sewn to the frogís mouth. The frog is put inside a large-necked bottle ..."

249

zarabanda ; "Very similar ... is another "prenda," very popular with the Kongo, called zarabanda. The basic difference ... is that ... [instead of using] the kiyumba, the zarabanda has as its spiritual entity a powerful Kongo deity also known as Zarabanda, who is the equivalent of the Yoruba orisha Oggu`n. ... The zarabanda ... must always be made inside an iron cauldron, never in a sack". [this iron cauldron of the palero is also mentioned on pp. 232-3 in chapter 18]

 

ndoki : "the infernal ndoki ... is prepared by boiling a black cat alive ... After the cat has boiled ... from its carcass the mayombero removes a few bones, which he adds to seven phalanges from the little fingers of seven corpses ... All these ingredients are placed in the cauldron with garlic and pepper. ... He takes

250

the cauldron to the woods, where it remains overnight. It is then ready to work. This ... is ... of the devil".

myths

p.

myth

240

"Sambia made ... the first man and woman. Then, through their ears (nkutu), he blew in intelligence ..."

243

"In an African myth, the sun married the moon and they had many children. The daughters are the stars (irawo) {cf. /IRAWati/, an advent of the goddess Viraj (AV)}, and they never went anywhere without there mother. The sons decided to follow their father, and the sun, annoyed by the persistent company of his children, told them sternly to return home at once. The small suns lost their way {cf. the planets as wandering or lost sheep} and fell into the ocean, where they drowned." {When the stars complained about sun-god Heliosís the errant son Phaethon, Zeus knocked Phaethon "into the deepest sea" (OG, p. 17).}

AV = Atharvan Veda http://www.mythfolklore.net/india/encyclopedia/prithi.htm

OG = Erich Von Daniken (tr. by Matthew Barton) : Odyssey of the Gods. 2000.

"Palo" chapter 19 (pp. 238-251) of :- Migene Gonza`lez-Wippler : Santeria the Religion. Harmony Books, NY, 1989.

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Candomble` &c. in Cuba

pp. 256-257 waiting-times for initiations into the several ranks of Candomble`

p.

time

title of rank

distinguishing insignia

257

for 1 year

abian

armband of raffia

256

after 5 years

ebomin

entitled "to wear shoes in front of the priests"

 

after 7 years

bagan

 

p. 257 Macumba, consisting of "Angolan practices"

"Macumba is divided into

Umbanda, or white magic, and

Quimbanda, or black magic."

"Candomble`" chapter 20 (pp. 252-259) of :- Migene Gonza`lez-Wippler : Santeria the Religion. Harmony Books, NY, 1989.

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