Introduction to Palo Mayombe
BY: Tata Nkisi Malongo Antonio Ashe Bey
Is Palo Mayombe the dark side of Santeria?
For many generations, our Ancient African Traditions have suffered through the persecution of colonial powers. Our traditions were oppressed, because of fear of it shining its light. But our fire was never extinguished; it was only contained and locked away in the hearts and minds of our beloved Ancestors, during their oppression in chains. The captors of our ancestors understood the depth in which our tradition empowered our Ancient societies, people and even the kingdoms. As a result, to break their spirits and tear them away from their identities. Prohibition of the practice of our spirituality was made law, in the communities they inhabited. This practice was a technique to enslave a man or women.
So why is our tradition Palo Mayombe, called and identified as the dark side of another tradition? Let’s look at some reasons why that is so. The internet is flooded by websites advertising of our tradition, as “quick fix” gimmicky sales men, attempting to make a profit, by offering as services, our rituals and divination's, alleged love spells and good luck charms. Rituals and divination's are meant to empower our destinies and our living situations. But instead, many have found our tradition as a business opportunity, thriving on the hope and aspirations of our communities.
The reason for this mass problem is happening across America and more. In part, our communities are mis- educated on the basic structure elements of Palo Mayombe and the realistic expectations one should have in following our tradition. Witchcraft, sorcery, good luck charms and fortune telling, are all elements that embody the image of our tradition now. And never have they been more far from the truth. Never the less, our tradition has the ability to manifest miracles in our lives. But not in the fashion harry potter does when he waves his wand. The creator, Nkisi, Bakulu ( ancestors) ….Nzambi Mpungu ( the creator) posses a divine essence that allows for great things to happen. Never, in a magical Disney like way. Nor is it dark or satanic.
When we are born, we are never born with an instruction manual that teaches us how to navigate through life….but we have a solution….
The root teachings of our Bantu Ancient African traditions revolve around the purpose to empower an individual to attain their highest personal potential; So that they may attain abundance in health, wealth and fulfillment of their destiny. The embracement of our tradition becomes a compass to lives situations. So that we may handle them with the wisdom received from the divine. For a successful outcome.
What is Palo Mayombe ?
Palo Mayombe is the attribute our Ancient African Spirituality received during the Spanish colonial times in Cuba. The name somewhat puts the various Bantu practice styles in a general category. But the name really cannot be taken as a title, but more as an introduction. Throughout the website, you will see me address Palo Mayombe, using the terminology of Ancient African spirituality very freely. Reason being, separation of spirituality in everyday life was really non-existent in Ancient Bantu tribal life. You could walk up to a Bantu indigenous and ask them what was their religion, and they would not have an answer to give. It wasn’t until colonial spiritual influence, fused itself into our traditions. Did our traditions begin to change shape.
Palo Mayombe in translation means ( stick of Mayombe).The name Reflects one of our ritualistic aspects of our tradition. And before you ask yourself, are we worshiping sticks. Allow me to take you through the basic spiritual principles of our Bantu Ancient African Spirituality.
How is God viewed in Palo Mayombe?
The fundamental principles of our spirituality revolves around the teaching that the creator Nzambi Mpungu is a divine energy life source that gives existence to everything that is in existence and what is nonexistent throughout the universe. The ocean, river, forest, living cells and even the smallest forms of life. All exists because its divine essence derived from The Creator. That even includes us. The creator is not viewed as a separate entity in a far away realm, managing its creation. But that everything in the entire universe including us, are OF the creator ( Nzambi Mpungu) and that we are part of the entire creation. When you put it all together, you have one. One God. Only one creator. So it doesn’t matter if you practice Christianity, or are of Islamic decent. We are of the same source. To love another is to love yourself. Because we all are an aspect of the creator.
By understanding this view of universal belonging. Explains our ritual process and relationship with nature. Breaking the barriers and limitations men place on the perception of The Creator. (Nzambi Mpungu). This said, the creator is not viewed as GOOD or BAD, but as a balance of positive and negative. A union of two opposing forces in order to give existence to each other. There cannot be light, if darkness wouldn’t exist.
Imagine you were walking into your bedroom, and it was completely dark. Well you look for the light switch and flick it on. The light source of the room will illuminate the area, but it doesn’t over power the room. Because if darkness didn’t exist to contrast the object around the room. There wouldn’t be a possible way you would recognize the items around the room, without first either being blinded by the light or not recognize the definition of your items in your room. Balance of opposing forces must exist in order TO exist.
Stay with me, because I will explain how it all applies…next!
We looked earlier into how the name of Palo Mayombe was acquired and its basic meaning. A basic meaning is all it can be given in order to explain the title. Now we begin to give you an explanation of the tradition, one has to understand it several characteristics to merely begin to understand the profound Ancient African Spiritual Tradition. To begin we start from the top..
1. In order to begin your Spiritual journey though the teachings of Palo Mayombe, one must first, find a spiritual teacher in which one will learn under; that will operate in a Munanso. Munanso in translation means ( Spiritual House)
This first step is the most important one you will give. This step will determine your success, not only in growing in this tradition, but also determines how successful you will be in your own personal life under the guidance of a spiritual teacher.
Your spiritual teacher takes on the task of helping you grow to your maximum potential in your life, spiritually and personal Success. Warning! They say, the road to hell, is paved with good intentions. There are “initiates” out there. That practices the tradition. But never the less they are not Masters. A true Master is successful in their own life. Many will step on my toes for saying this but it’s necessary to speak the truth although the truth may hurt.
Anyone can work a job, hold a job and stabilize themselves. And truth be told. A person may seem to know what they are doing. But never the less. Like a saying goes “the proof is in the pudding”. Get to know the person well, meet and learn the person’s ways. Does he reflect what he speaks? Have the students of the Munanso grown any, or are they in great positions in their life? How have they grown from when and where they started? Is it easy to learn from your teacher?
These and more are the questions that you must ask. Asking as many questions as possible will help you determine if the person your meet, has what it takes to take you to the next level you want to be at. Your personal and spiritual responsibility and success lies within your hands. The only person responsible for our spiritual and personal success is our selves. Getting to know a person to learn if this person really qualifies to take you to the next level that you need in your life, only puts you in the winning seat. It’s your right to know this, when you are confiding your life decisions in another person, decisions that will either make you or break you.
A great spiritual teacher will understand where you come from and will not take this personal. Look to see if the person has demonstrated that he or she is at the level of success that you want to be at or has super exceeded. Nobody can give what they don’t have. Not to say, the person has to exactly where “You” want to be at. But demonstrates the result of his teachings can produce above average results in their personal lives and in others.
“Como Lumbra mi Tata, Lumbro yo. Como Lumbra mi Yaya, Lumbro yo”-Mayombe song (how my teacher shines, I will shine)
BY: Tata Nkisi Malongo Antonio Ashe Bey
FOUNDED BY: Tata Nkisi Malongo Antonio Ashe Bey
At Intercontinental Bantu Spiritual Society you will find the basic principles that explain the basis of our tradition. Most commonly known as Palo Mayombe.