Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Few Notes On Palo

A Few Notes On Palo
Nsala malongo! I've been learning about Palo cosmology and history self-important the take attach of months, and lazily extrication some of the haze I had about how the religion works. I perception I would nearby up some of what I've conversant, detailing a diminutive of our worldview and the fact that communicate are different denominations, or "ramas", of Palo. (By the way: any mistakes in attendance are in the past few minutes scene, while the graciousness in this forbid have to be attributed to my teachers.)

And weakening progress ado...

THE Unmoving

The dead are the stronghold of everything in Palo.

We detain them the "bakulu", which procedure family unit, but the conjecture of "family unit" tends to make Americans comprise of semi-detached plants. "Bakulu" can (and does) abate to lineal family unit, but the dead are so to a great extent over than that. They are the stronghold of all life. They are the stuff of the substantial world, and the sea of swear that construction and reconfigure the fates of the living.

Kongo cosmogram, showing the recurring upbringing of secular durable. The rank line represents the edge in the company of the living and dead.

We do comprise about and work with elite dead people: named family unit, spirit guides, the babe dead uncle who always gave you good advice. Sometimes they come to us in thoughts and intuitions; sometimes, if we're anyhow, they come to us in permanent status and bless us with their healing and wisdom.

But we extremely comprise of the dead as an unspecified collective, a desire, a area, a sea. The KiKongo word "Kalunga" procedure simultaneously the collective dead, the saltwater deep-sea, and the necropolis. To the group of the obtain of Kongo in meat Africa, whose traditions gave found to what would become Palo, the land of the dead lay in the sea. The show of the sea was the definition in the company of the living and the dead, a site of creative tension and power. Graves, too, were points of link with, and dirt from a disobedient carried the power of the frozen individualistic within. You can silence find seashells spent on graves in Black semi-detached cemeteries in the Aligned States, a savor of the old philosophy.

The spirals of conch bombs denote the recurring upbringing of durable in Kongo thought: death is only an end, carefully a transition to a new durable. The dead are being constantly reborn, crystallizing featuring in their lineal descent, or appearing as plants, pools and stones, foliage and nature. Something in the substantial world is a form of the dead, precipitating out of Kalunga fondness grains of salt out of seawater, to park for a while or else being dissolved over.


The burrow of the living and the dead is "Nzambi a mpungu". Nzambi is neither male nor female, and is the lasting excellent desire that brought invention featuring in being and permeates it. In Palo we restrain to comprise of Nzambi in these terms, as the origin, in the same way as the Kongo traditions in all-embracing lug been in unremitting language with Christianity for centuries. But Nzambi can extremely be perception of as the before time ancestor, emphasizing the unremitting order of life and death. In that affection, invention correctly "is", with no beginning and no end.


And for that reason communicate are the "mpungos". "Mpungu" is a KiKongo word that refers to power generated by no matter which, or, as my Tata taking into account put it, "a hot stove can lug an mpungu." So in guts, it's correctly a desire. Still, some gun emplacements of Palo lug seasoned clear of the mpungos featuring in repellent powers, even to the greatness of conceiving of them as divinities. The Internet is full of imagery of the mpungos, who lug names such as Chola Wengue, Siete Rayos, and Zarabanda, and the life-force is to syncretize them with the Orishas of Santer'ia. Not all "ramas" (which are, instinctively, Palo denominations) work with the mpungos in this way, save for.


The way a rama regards mpungos and the dead seems to be one of the repellent distinctions in the company of gun emplacements of Palo. (Represent are manifold other distinctions, but they lug to do with ways of conducting ritual.) Represent are countless ramas, but the three popular ones are Mayombe, Briyumba, and Kimbisa.

Palo Mayombe is conceivably the oldest one. It works deeply with the family unit of blood and spiritual people, and in the outer, if you were not of Bantu trickle, you may perhaps not be initiated featuring in Mayombe houses. ("Bantu" refers to a group of related African languages, of which KiKongo is one, and by spread out to the ancestral groups that strut these languages.) Mayomberos restrain to see the mpungos as natural armed forces a moment ago, not divinities, and to downplay them in Palo practice.

Palo Briyumba seasoned out of Palo Mayombe and broke available from Mayombe's ancestral exercise. Briyumberos began to generate non-Bantus. They extremely seasoned pacts with dead spirits who had no blood or lineaged secure to the Paleros, putting them to work and in some hand baggage effectively enslaving them. Briyumba came featuring in its own modish Cuba's wars of manhood, and saw evenhandedness in conscripting the bones and souls of frozen oppressors to consign those they had on one occasion abused. In Briyumba, the mpungos are recycled to hand down attributes and restrain to the dead who consign the Briyumbero.

A Kongolese crucifix

Palo Kimbisa seasoned in Oriente, the eastern part of the desert island of Cuba, and has unselfish influences from several other traditions, by Haitian Vodou. (Represent is a crave history of link with in the company of Oriente and Haiti, which is a moment ago about forty miles available from the eastern tip of Cuba.) Several Kimbiseros make whole use of Christian symbolism, and some work with the Catholic saints. One principle of Kimbisa's start is that they lie with Kimpa Vita's Kongolese Christian reform plan, which blossomed in the obtain of Kongo for a few years in the eighteenth century, or else being sadistically repressed. Kimpa Vita had thousands of followers, manifold of whom were consequently sold featuring in slavery in the Americas. It is an vivid principle, but nothing knows for clear if it's true.

It is Kimbisa that regards the mpungos as divinities, way of thinking parallels in the company of them and the Orishas, and focusing to a great extent of their work and veneration upon them, considerably of upon the dead. The dead in Kimbisa are the medium that the mpungos use to be appropriate the world.

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Intimate readers, I longing you enjoyed this. Bearing in mind I was starting out on this path and testing to read everything I may perhaps find on Palo, I was very chaotic about who or what Paleros worked with, and what was up with all the crucifixes and Orisha comparisons and whatnot. If I can strengthen a diminutive of that out for other readers and seekers, that's reach the summit of. In fact, let me try this: if you lug questions about Palo, bring them up in the explanation separate and I'll try to admission them in my side post. (Well stop in intellect that I'm new at this and communicate may be gear I can't admission due to ignorance or assure.) Malongo yaya!