Palo Mayombe, II.2.



The Fundamento & Its Secrets

pp. 68-126



pp. 68-74


Origin of the Prenda

pp. 75-9



pp. 80-5



pp. 86-90


Vence Bataya

pp. 90-93


Nsasi/Siete Rayos

pp. 94-7


Tiembla Tierra

pp. 97-100


Mama Chola

pp. 101-3



pp. 104-8



pp. 109-11



pp. 112-5



pp. 116-9



pp. 120-3

II.2. 13

Nganga Kissi

pp. 124-6





pp. 68-74

pp. 68-9 spiritual resurrection of the dead : divine life

p. 68

"Palo Mayombe is about making ... death come alive, it is necromantic sorcery at its most refined. The resurrected dead are commonly resurrected within a divine setting, being subject to the creative powers ... and within mpungo. The mpungo represents a spiritual reality, the natural truth behind ... the nkisi. [Kimpungulu] are the powers that move the world ... in the guided gathering of the items of the world of

p. 69

matter that upon being infused with life and breath will manifest ... its unique focus and religious arboretum ... from this sacred province. ... However, Palo Mayombe is not a personal cult and its sacred province of lore is not subjective, but a divine modality teaching how to bring divine life into unique representations of divine possibility within given parameters."

p. 69 universalistic ethics as synthesis of the fundamento

"This is all rooted in respect, a sense of sacrifice and honor. Borrowings and exchange occurs when cultures meet and people meet, but universal understanding ... must be the foundation of this. Here we find ... synthesis ... being motivated by a natural sympathy that generates a wider horizon of agreement ... . This is important to keep in mind as we now turn out attention towards the nkisi".

pp. 69-73 secrecy of name used as code-word to connect with mpungo of the nkisi

p. 69

"The ... prenda ..., and also fundamento, foundation ... is the unique material representation of cosmic and terrestrial powers adorning the resurrected dead, the nkisi. ... This nkisi is always unique and is given a name and signature, symbolized by the firma, which makes part of the intimate secret between the Tata and his

p. 70

[prenda]. Only the Tata knows the name and sign of his nkisi and as such is the only one who can control it, by the intimate token of trust represented by the true name. ... This ... is also found in ... kimbanda where ... the name proper is a matter of trust and dedication that is only revealed over time."

pp. 70-3 varieties of prenda & their construction

p. 70

"The forms most well known are those utilizing terracotta or iron cauldrons with a skull in the centre and circled by sticks. Others are given inside wooden figures, or what is properly a Chichereku` in the original sense. ...

At times a chain is placed around the cauldron which is ... a token of securing the soul of the nkisi ... . The various metals used in the construction ... are ... sacred representations of the powers of [kimpungulu] as they manifest in stars and planets. ...

The sticks are of utmost importance ... .

p. 71

... The woods must therefore be chosen on the basis of understanding which woods naturally draw which vibrations and energies. ... The knowledge of how to assemble the prenda is naturally bound by oath ... . ...

The [prenda] takes a minimum of one month at assemble, if done properly. It is hard work for the Tata because legions upon legions of [kimpungulu] ... will walk and speak with the Tata during this time. ...

The prenda is known by the name of a man or woman who once walked the earth ..., it is the work of the skull -- kiyumba. As such ...

p. 72

we think of the prenda as composing a body for the soul to live within.

This means that ... creating 'astral prendas' has no root in reality in Palo Mayombe and cannot be taken to reflect its mystery in any way. ...

{Actually, though the prenda (caudron etc.) cannot (at least on the material plane) perhaps be quite constituted of astral substance, yet nevertheless the soul itself must dwell in (at least) an astral body, and if associated with any prenda would need to do so through (at least) an astral connection, in every way.}

The essential parts of the prenda resonate with the faculties of the body and even the {praeternatural} abilities latent in humans ... such as bi-location and astral travel.

{Bi-location and astral travel are certainly not any faculties of the material body, but only of the astral body (and in the case of bi-location, of the mental body), so that astral (and mental) components would have to be included in any prenda in order to rendre these available to that soul in any communicative manner.}

All prendas need the matari, which is the thunderstone. The matari can be ... actual ... fulgurites ... . The matari is the seal and solidification of the prenda. It represents the power of Nsasi ... to create life, and at the same time it is the solidification of life-force ... .

Seashells must make part of the prenda as this is ... nkisi that brings ... money ... .

{sea-shells (such as cowries) being used as money throughout West Africa} ... .

Feathers are added in ... the prenda, and

always, absolutely always Mayimbe, the vulture, must be present. ...

{because vultures naturally feed on corpses, and human corpses are in Zaratustrianism always fed to vultures, and often in Bodish funebrial custom (of so-called "sky-burial")}

Many prendas are given mpaka nganga which is the prenda in miniature. The mpaka is the horn of a ... buffalo filled with the same contents as the prenda and sealed. In this way you can easily carry the prenda with you to different locations.

Another horn can also be prepared, which is the mpaka vititi. This mpaka serves as the eyes of the prenda and is the vinculum that makies divination exceptionally accurate. Through this mpaka the nfumbe/nkisi sees the world and on the basis of the mysterious connection between the worlds of death and nkisi it gives counsel. ...

p. 73

Though it is not a prerequisite {perquisite} it is also good to give the prenda an mpolo nan known as Sese, the companion of Gurunfinda. Sese is seen as similar to the Yoruba Aroni, the dog-headed servant of [Osanyin]. This is a macuto that calls the spirit of the forest and enables work with the wilderness, it should be carried on your body ... when gathering the sacred palos or wooden sticks. ...

Chicherichu is represented by maggots and termites ... . ...

Equally important ... is the mati mati or the heart of the prenda. Its construction ... involves the heart of a chicken sacrificed to the mpungo which you want to beat inside the body of the nfumbe. The first task in making a prenda is to gather the secrets of the mati mati upon ... the central pillar. The central pillar is a prepared piece of the Ceiba which serves as the axis for the descent of ... the Nkuyo .. to lead the construction of the nfumbe's body.

Nkuyo ... is a divine linguist, ...

{Likewise is (BP&FGVR, p. 142) Hermes Trismegistos esteemed by the "linguist" as "patron god of scribes and writing."}

he leads the herds of nfumbe and nfuri through the treetops. He is the mercury of Palo Mayombe.

{perhaps alluding to the leading, by Hermes into a concealment-cave, of the oxen of Apollon (according to the Homeric Hymn 4 to Hermes -- "HMTh2")}

In all this ... are needed ... chamba -- which is a fiery drink made from ... gunpowder, spices, bones and peppers ..., given its sacredness to {and by?} Cobayende, the Boneherd."

BP&FGVR = Avery Hunt, Margaret C. Jacob, & W. W. Mijnhardt : Bernard Picart and the First Global Vision of Religion. Getty Research Institute, 2009.

"HMTh2" =

p. 74 exhumation

"There are various types of exhumation that can be performed. ... The essential idea is to reveal the nfumbe and interact with him or her with the object of forming a contract. The nfumbe must be willing to be seated in a new body and to become a part of your household. Defying this principle can lead to occurrences of nfuri, the restless and malevolent {malevolent toward its exhumers} dead ... . The contract takes the form of purchasing {services of} the soul of the nfumbe. The underlying idea here is that the soul has engraved {some means of access to} its memory and qualities upon the bones. When the bones are reanimated {viz., by being rendred into a mode of communication with the soul (or guardian-angel) of the dead} the virtues are once again brought to life. You will pay for the soul {viz., for the soul's services} with tobacco, ... gunpowder, coffee, candles, money ... . This must be left in place of the nfumbe as a price paid to Cobayende and Centella, the owners of the boneyard {and ex-officio the supervisors of the soul}. ... But this work is always focused on bringing to life {a contract with} an ally, a family member {perhaps adopted thereinto} into the existing fold".


Origin of the Prenda

pp. 75-9

pp. 75-8 Brillumba Society's mythical account about the 1st nkisi

p. 75

"in the land of Brillumba [there] was born Mambe, the child of Murabanda. This happened in the land {world} of Nkita {water-spirits, i.e., undines}. In Brillumba lived a tribe known as Lumboma. ... In memory of his father, Mambele,

Murabanda named his son Mambe.

Mura[-]banda had also another son, Bara[-]banda. ...

{Athamas had (GM 70.a) "two sons : Phrixus and Leucon."}

Barabanda ... gave tongue to the revelation that Mari[-]quiri's {Mari[-]kiri-s} wife, Mari[-]wanda, was having a secret affair with Barabanda. ...

{Phrixos was falsely accused of trying to ravish (H:A 2:20 -- "PH") Kretheus's wife Biadike.}

Aware of the danger[,] he ran into the wild without leaving any tracks. ...

{Phrixos fled (through the air above the trackless sea) aboard the back of a divine ram (GM 70.d).}

Barabanda ... carried at all times the mpaka (sacred horn of vision) of Mambele, his grandfather. Through it he could orient himself and see what was going on. ... Murabanda, his

{Of the sacred ram, Phrixos and his sister Helle "clutched the horn" (O:F 3:853 sq -- "PH"). Their mother Nephele "sees them as she hangs upon the air" (loc. cit.).}

p. 76

father, had at all times used the drums to call his people and he knew the keys to call each and every one except for the key to call Barabanda, which he had forgotten. ... He had the keys of the drum from Lowanda, Marocuto and Gangalewga ... . The sanctity of the leopard came to be such [that] ... Mambele, at a young age[,] found under the work {strike} of the lightning

a young {cub} leopard shivering from cold and fear at the side of

{Dionusos "changed his shape, becoming ... a panther" (GM 27.g).}

his mother

{The mother of Dionusos is Semele.} {Cf. also goddess Thetis who became (GM 81.k) a lioness.}

who had been struck by the bolt.

{To Semele, "Zeus ... appeared as thunder and lighting, and she was consumed." (GM 14.c)}

Mambele took Ngo {the leopard-cub} and raised him in a cave where he grew into maturity by his side. ...

{"Athamas ... persuaded to rear the child" Dionusos (GM 27.a).}

Every time Ngo was attended to ... his roar was heard over the land causing great awe amongst the tribesmen. But with time the vigor of his roar became weaker.

The weakness of Ngo was mirroring the state of the dying Mambele who in his fading state urged Murabanda to come to the cave to help Ngo. Mambele sensed something horrible taking place.

{This would be intended to indicate that this leopard was the bestial alter-ego (/tonal/, in Aztec; the aequivalent also being known amongst tribes of the several Wayana-s -- Spanish, English, Dutch, French) of Mambele.}

Murabanda called Nbako, Sakilande, Enkarime, Wariani, Entumbirona and Mambe who were the strongest and wisest men. ... They went to the cave and found Ngo dying and there they prayed until he gave up his spirit. Mayimbe (vulture) knowing his role in the halls of death was ... making his funeral rites, ... to consume Ngo's rotting flesh. They placed the remains {skull} of Ngo in a calabash and closed it ... . ... In order to keep the spirit of Ngo strong even in death ... Mambe ... voluntarily offered himself to serve as the sacrificial victim ... . The divination told them to ... gather seven stones. ... The carrier

p. 77

of the stone that looked like the tongue of Ngo would be the victim.

{Goddess Thetis's husband (GM 81.l) Peleus, having successfully hunted wild beasts, "had cut out their tongues, and now produced them" (GM 81.h).}

The carrier of this stone was Mambe.

{God of stones (and of stoning) is Itztlacoliuhqui.}

Murabanda in silent acceptance placed a blindfold ... . ... .

{Ixquimilli the blindfolded is associated with Itztlacoliuhqui.}

... Entumbirona made his entrance carrying chains ...

{Prometheus was "chained",

[but was excused for this because he said] that the chains ... were to blame for this [the strangling of Mambe]. ...

though Epimetheus "excused himself" (from accepting Pandora as a gift) : but as for Prometheus,

The liver was delivered ... to a place for Mayimbe to eat ... . ...

"a greedy vulture tore at his liver" (GM 39.h).}

The Kiyumba of Mambe was carried by all, after smearing their hands with honey ... .

Glaukos "drowned in" a great jar-ful of "honey" (GM 90.d).

p. 78

They placed the kiyumba ['skull'] in the calabash ... together with the egg ... as payment. ...

{At Sikuon [/sikua/ 'calabash' (G-EL"S")] Prometheus placed "bones" in bag (GM 39.f).}

His entrails were placed inside a can[~]a brava ..., making it ... sacred ... . ... .

{Prometheus placed fire within "a giant fennel-stalk." (GM 39.g)}

... the tongues were brought together with seashells ... and be able to talk through the chamalongos. The conjoined tongues were then consecrated by the tongue ... of a talking bird (parrot). ... .

{"a trained talking bird, a tui, ... was purloined by the strange sea-denizens and ... , the sound of his bird's voice as though it came from the sea. " (FLM, p. 316)}

... severed the toes from the feet and gave them to Sakilande who buried them

{One of the "toes ... Thórr broke ... off ..., and made thereof the star" (Skaldskapar-Ma`l -- "VAS&CN") Rigel.}

in a particular place where the four winds meet[,] and summoned the winds.

{The sky is styled "Wind-Weaver [Vind-O`fni] by the Vanir" (Alvi`ss-Ma`l -- "VAS&CN").}

They then took the tibias and made from them a cross ...

{in order to complete the skull-and-crossbone flag-emblem}

so the 'leopard-man' could walk only when authorized,

since crossing the tibias would hinder his movement."

{padma-asana -- but this is the initial posture for the swift levitating-stride, as learned by Bodish occult messengers}

With a piece of Mambe's heart the other fees were prepared as an ankuto (makuto)

{The heart of Tezcatlipoca may be grasped by a mortal.

and turned into food for the Caiman ... .

The foot of Tezcatlipoca was eaten by Cipactli.}

Since Caiman does not speak and

snake does not sleep,

{Serpent Ladon "never was overcome by sleep or closed its eyes" (H:A 2:6 -- "DH").}

they would guard the secret."

H:A = Huginos : Astronomika.

"PH = "pontios Helle"

O:F = Ovidius : Fasti.

G-EL"S" = Henry George Liddell & Robert Scott : A Greek-English Lexicon, s.v. "Sikua".

FLM = Elsdon Best : Forest Lore of the Maori. Government Printer, Wellington, 1977.

"VAS&CN" = "Viking Age Star and Constellation Names"

"DH" = "Drakon Hesperios"

Prometheus = Itztlacoliuhqui

Prometheus "was exposed to cruel frost and cold" (GM 39.h) : because

{Itztlacoliuhqui is god of frost [= Norse "frost-giant", GM 39.9] and of cold,

goddess Athene (GM 39.i) "had invited Prometheus to Olympus for a secret love affair."

and is also god of (punishing) secret adultery.}

At Thourioi, Prometheus "was shown holding a fire-drill." (GM 39.8) In Skt., 'fire-drill' is the phonetically similar /PRAManTHa/ (loc. cit.).

{In MesoAmerican codices, fire-drilling depicted in heart-cavity : cf. Kemetic /I,B/ 'heart', cognate with Hellenic /OIPH-/ & Skt. /YaBH-/ (both 'sexual intercourse').}

The ring-setting worn by Prometheus was from mt. KAUKAsos.}

{cf. KOKA S`astra as name of erotic treatise.}

Mambe was the first mortal to be immortalized, much as (GM 126.c) "Prometheus later offered to accept immortality in his [KheIRon's {a name cognate with Skt. /HIRaka/ 'diamond', cf. Prometheus's ring-setting}] stead, and Zeus approved this arrangement".

pp. 78-9 founding myth of the Carabali (Kalabari, in Biafra) Society

p. 78

"Sika`n, a princess ... at the

p. 79

river catches an odd amphibian fish like creature {lungfish?}. This creature {creator, not "creature"} is Obon Tanze, the reincarnation of a Leopard society king. {Or rather, the Leopard-society king was an incarnation of the "amphibian fish" god.} He is noted for his voice, his roar. Sika`n unknowingly catches 'the voice', ekue {ekpe} (symbolized {signalized} by a drum and a drumbeat), and witness to this act is

Nangabio`n, the serpent who fell from the crown of the Ceiba (the silk cotton tree, Ucano Beconsi).

{As such, this Kalabari god upon the Ceiba tree would be aequivalent to the Mayombe god Luufu Nkuyu (Lucero -- whose firma is upon the Ceiba, according to p.73 supra).}

The sorcerous warrior Ekueno`n {Ekpe[-]no`n} also sees Sika`n's capturing of the voice ... . He tells this to Sika`n's father who orders her secret execution. What transpires is a transformation of Sika`n where she becomes the womb that holds the voice of Tanze."

In U-ganda, Kintu the lion-leopard married Nambubi the daughter of Walumbe the lungfish-god at Bugulu. Another local lungfish-god was Mubiru at Magira. (Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century. UNESCO, 1984. p. 519)


Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold : Palo Mayombe : the garden of blood and bones. Bibliothe`que Rouge (Scarlet Imprint), 2011.