Palo Mayombe, III.


Part III -- Nzo Ntoto

pp. 127-168



pp. 128-139


Art of Seeing

pp. 140-154

III 3.

Pact & Road

pp. 155-168

III.1. Temple of Land, Star, and Earth

pp. 128-139

pp. 128-9 home of traditionalism & of environmentalism

p. 128

"The ... nzo, house/home, finds resonance both in the stars and in the ntoto, the earth, the land itself, which reflects the ina (light ...) of Nzambi. ... The palero is ... one of the walking dead ... . He has ... established his nzo in the starlit ntoto. ... The sacredness ... is axial in Palo Mayombe and it uses the wisdom of the dead to guide the palero towards his own centre. ... It is about gaining insight into understanding thepowers ..., be they visible or invisible.

Palo Mayombe reflects a creative traditionalism. This traditionalism shines through in its regla conga, rules that are founded on a traditional world view. The creative element enters both through rama and the personal involvement that occurs in initiation. ...

p. 129

Rama, that is {spiritual} lineage, is crucial, as this is the fiery cord that connects the new palero with his ancestors ... . ... The rama are the long line of spirit guides which are particularly focused on guiding you ... to wisdom and fullness.

The palero works with the environment surrounding the nzo. ... Guided by his nfumbe and Gurunfinda he will form a link with this specific environment and the spirits. ... This understanding can be absorbed by sharing knowledge with other practitioners, researching local folklore and in particular by the spiritual guidance arising from being connected to one's nfumbe."

pp. 130-1 sacred animals




traits of animal


arriero / great lizard cuckoo

Saurothera merlini

"a bird ... often seen ... as it warns of dishonorable behavior amid one[']s closest kin."


Colaptes superciliaris

"important due to its dominion over trees." {in gratitude by the trees for protection of them from beetle-larvae which eat trees}



Crotophaga ani

"also known as Anu ... is a relative of the cuckoo. ... an manifestation of ndoki in the sense of the power that brings transformation {becoming an animal?} and movement {astral projection?}."


Nyctibus griseus

"In Europe it is known as the nightjar or hexen. It ... makes ... for ... the creation of nightmares."

lechuza / owl

[various spp.]

"the messenger of Mama Chola."

loro / parrot


"omen of gossip".

sabanero / piranga / meadow starling

Sturnella ludoviciana

"wise bird with prophetic abilities."

crocodile / caiman

Crocodylus rhombifer

"the eggs are hatched only when thunder, lightning and storms are raging".

pp. 132-3 sacred plants




attributes of plant


albahaca / mecheismo /basil

Ocimum basilicum

"a ward agains the evil eye ... it excites optimism and brings good fortune."

artemisia / dioke`

Ambrosia artemisifolia

"another great herb with powerful ... qualities"

carbonero / naona

Cassia biflora

"to stir sexual feelings and ... emotions."


Pilea microphyllia

"relative of the cactus, ... it is a remedy against restless and obsessive sprits."

jiva brava

Casearia aculeata

"said to represent Lukankazi and holds strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties."

jiqui / ntuenke

Pera bumelifolia

"the heart of this plant serves for the mati mati of the nganga and cuts any witchcraft."

jucaro bravo

Bucida buceras

"Black Olive tree ... . ... It is particularly good in cases where the law is involved."


cereke / laurel

Ficus nitida

"to inspire confidence, loyalty and protection."


Sapiumi jamaicensis

"excellent exorcising properties".


Andira jamaicensis

"bastard almond {sic!: actually, this legume tree A.j. is not the bastard almond, but instead the "Bastard Mahogany" ("AI") or "river almond"} ...vermifuge properties and is to some extent narcotic."

"AI" = "Andira inermis"

p. 133 interaction of spirits with the palero

"Given the intimate congress with dense {i.e., able to interact with the material world} ... spiritual influences it is of great importance to maintain the soul in an elevated state. Some paleros describe ... the palero ... is the walking dead carrying a forceful light. He is light embodied in the sensual {material} world and as such has become something other, a memory that attracts all kinds of spirits, no matter what their intent."

pp. 133-4 purification or the palero, generally

p. 133

"The bath of the palero ... frequently ... is called by the lukumi term omiero. Omiero is from

the yoruba omi, water, and

{/o-MI/ may be cognate with <ibri /MaY-/ 'water'.}

e`ro` denoting something macerated or marshy. ... The baths are usually made by macerating leaves that are prayed and sung over to charge

p. 134

them, in order to turn the herbs ... into ... power. ... Ideally you enter nfinda in the hour before the sun is rising and gather herbs still wet with the dew of the night. When the herbs are macerated it is good to pray and sing to the nkisi".

pp. 134-5 purifications using specific deities

p. 134

"Make the firma of Lucero Quatro Vientos and ... is then placed on the firma ... a lemon. Cut the lemon into four pieces and place ... them at the four corners of the house. Then take ... the petals and leaves of marigold, the petals of blue lotus and flowers ... of cherry. Macerate ... . Sing to Baluande ... . ... Gather the pieces of lemon ... and take

p. 135

... to a crossroads away from the house and throw the water and lemon there."

"bath made under the influence of the earth shaker Tiembla Tierra. .. In this bath you will combine Tingoro (Jathropa deversifolia), Palo Amarillo (Cocconia frutescens) ... and some patchouli. Draw the firma of Tiembla Tierra ... . ... Macerate the plants ... while you pray and sing asking to dispell the negativity. ... Every morning for three days comsume ... goat's milk and honey."

"Take Palo Amargo (Picramnia reticulate), Palo Blanco (Simarouba glauca), Palo Vencedor (Zanthoxylum arboreum) and make from them an mpolo. Take dried leaves of Guava, leaves of chilli peppers, cayenne peppers and ... alligator peppers. Gather this ... and present it ... in front of Zarabanda. ... feed Zarabanda with chamba (a sacred ... drink) and fula (gunpowder) ... and a ... quail and start your nocturnal bilongo[-]s."

p. 136 mpolo-s for specific deities

"turn Palo Peralejo (Brysonima crassifolia) into a powder while singing to Mama Chola ... to make a man lose his virility ... in terms of lust".

"when you seek to alter someone's opinion or change their {his or her} mind ... work Palo Cuaba / Palo Cambia (Amyris balsamifera) into a powder under the influence of Nkuyu.

If you seek to sweeten {rendre agreeable} someone take ... hibiscus flowers, petals of roses and orchids and present them first to Lucero. ... let the petals ... dry in front of him. You will then at the feet of Baluande turn this into a ... mpolo."

pp. 136-9 bilongo-s employing specific deities

p. 136

"take mustard seeds, sesame seeds, chili peppers, peanuts ... and turn this into a mpolo at the feet of Cobayende on his war firma. You will then ... blow it on the land or the house of the person ... . This is an interesting mpolo as it actively uses one of the taboos of Palo Mayombe, namely sesame seeds. Sesame seeds agitate the dead ... and must never be used as a part of the prenda or the bilongo to gain favors.

Some paleros say that the best way to dismantle a prenda is to fill it with sesame seeds and bury it inside an anthill."

p. 137

"with Vence Bataya you will take the name of the person written on a piece of red cloth. You will spray the name with chamba, and place apinch of the nfumbe powder and a pinch of pepper seeds on it and fold into a square. Then take Mansagro (Macfadyena unguis cacti)[,] Malacara (Plumbago scandens) and Camaguey (Stigmaphyllon sagreanum) ... . Sacrifice a quail ... and leave it with Vence Batalla".

"To make guardians of the house with Zarabanda you will take mpolo Diavolo ..., ... peppers, beeswax, a main track {not a railway-siding} nail, fula, ntoto from the police station ..., and some red ribbons. Bring this to Zarabanda ..., wrap it in ribbons and place it on the firma of Zarabanda ... . ... Better still is if you make two nails, one to guard the front door and one to guard the back door."

"To win a court case with Tiembla Tierra ... you take the the bark of cinnamon, Palo Raspalengua (Casearia hirsute), hibiscus, cascarilla, ... pheasant feathers and on a piece of white cloth write the name of the judge and your own name ... . Anoint it with honey, fold it and seal it with beeswax."

p. 138

"To open opportunities with Lucero you will write your name seven times on the leaves of Abre Caminho and present them on the firma of Lucero, add to this mpolo of Palo Jaguey (Ficus trigonata), valerian root and seeds and petals of sunflower. Let it day at the foot of Lucero for three days and wrap it in a red cloth and seal it with cowry and beeswax."

"To break off negativity with Tiembla Tierra and Centella you will take ginger root, Mastuero (Scoparia dulcis), four sticks of Palo Ramon ..., cloves, feather of Mayimbe and Orange flowers. You will gather these items on a black cloth and place it on the firma of Lucero Quatro Vientos ... . Call on Lucero and ... Centella ... . ... Wrap it up ..., tie it up ... and place it on Centella ... and take the bundle and present it to the four corners of your home before burying it in front of the munanso."

"To attract someone {erotically} with Mama Chola you will take Lechera (Euphorbia heterophylla), Vergonzosa (Mimosa pudica), convolvulus ..., Palo Dominador ..., roses, brown sugar and sandalwood. Take a knife and write {carve} the name of the person you seek to attract on the palo. Write your own name five times on a piece of paper ... in front of Mama Chola ... and add it to the ingredients. Gather this inside a red cloth and tie it to the palo."

p. 139

"To bring negativity to someone's life with Centella ... Place ... inside the husk of a coconut ... rock salt, sulfur, graveyard dirt, ... mpolo Palo Rompe Zaraguey (Eupatorium odoratum) preferably its root, rat-weed (Psychotria tabacifolia) ..., mpolo of the shell of a turtle. ... Seal the husk and place with Centella for the night whilst burning black candles. The night after take it to the house of the one ... and bury it at the gate."


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