Palo and Godparenting Skills

An X-Ray Look into Godparenting in Palo

“A child has no wisdom, only potential. It is up to their fathers to give them wisdom so they may grow.”
– A northern Bantu proverb.

The relationship between godchild and godparent is a very important affair. The survival of our respective traditions depends upon the effective teaching and training of godchildren – of which everyone, regardless of what title or rank we hold, are. There is a frightening trend that seems to only be getting worse as time goes by, and that is the trend of not properly educating those who wind up at your door step. All that this does is waste the time and potential of the respective parties, and only serves to degrade our traditions.

Something that I have been hearing for quite a while is that the parents won’t properly raise their children for fear that the child will outshine the parent. This is ridiculous. We could all only hope that someone we raised grew to be a spectacular priest, filled with a great depth of knowledge, understanding, and good character. If a godparent is not striving to make someone at least their equal – then the time of both parties is wasted. If they are not trying to have their child outshine them, then we are wasting our future. The true genius of all godchildren may very well not be being a priest or an educator. Some godchildren may not grasp some concepts as quickly. Some people may very obviously be in it for selfish purposes. However, it is up to the godparent to assist them through these problems and evolve. There is always a reason, whether obvious or not, that the person wound up in your house.

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Helpful Guide for the Urban Palero

The Laurel tree. Paleros must learn to find resources in suburbia.
The roots of Palo are not in cities, and are definitely not rooted in urban North America. We are removed from the ability to gather many of the sacred plants and woods that grow freely in Palo’s homeland – rural Cuba. This can provide some interesting challenges. Yes, there are botánicas – online and brick and mortar, but for some things the visceral experience of going into Nfinda to gather medicines for nsalas is much more gratifying. In the first part of this series, I want to give some pointers and tricks I have learned from being a Palero in a city. This applies to more than just Palo too.

1. Know what you are looking at!

While we can’t go and find everything in the natural areas within and around our cities, we can always find some of them. For example, lets take the Laurel (for those of you who get the reference, this is where i buried my secret 😉 ). There are many varieties of Laurel in North America, and many of them have something in common. However, if you are used to buying palos in small dried up bits, you may not recognize it. You new best friend is Google Images. Bookstores will often have field guides based on regions as well, and these are pretty cheap.

2. Tools!

Gathering raw materials can’t be done solely with hands. I have a number of useful and inconspicuous things in the trunk of my car just in case i see something. Plastic bags, empty water bottles, an exacto knife (with a pull saw attachment), a very small gardening shovel, tissue paper (for wrapping fresh plants in), and a Swiss army knife, complete with scissors. Having a collection of useful tools can make cutting, digging, loosening much easier…especially when you need to be quick and sneaky.

3. Be mindful of your neighbors – especially…

Being as how Palo is a religion that practices animal sacrifice, it is important to keep this out of the eyes and ears of our neighbors – especially when no one else around us understands what we are doing. Noise complaints, police, evictions, ostracism, scared looks – nobody needs that. Just be quiet, clean, and courteous. Also, the first track of Midnight Marauders by a Tribe Called Quest has some great parts for hiding certain kinds of sounds. This works very well if you live in an apartment.

Stay tuned, there is more to come…

Tata Nkisi Lucero Vira Mundo

The History of Lucero

A Representation of Lucero

Editor’s Note: The following article is a contribution from Tata Nkisi Luceroviramundo. Although it is not from the experiential point of view The Mystic Cup encourages, the information is very much welcomed as it presents a foundation about of Lucero. This foundation could be further enriched by other tatas and yayas who could contribute to the dialogue by telling us about their experiences with Lucero.

Gobernar Lucero
Lucero Prima, Lucero Gobernador
Lucero, Lucero Gobernador
Lucero Abre Camino, Lucero Gobernador

Lucero is the keeper of potential, possibility, and the great secrets of Cosa Congo Mayombe. Lucero is the hidden foundation that has stayed a constant throughout all the changes in Cosa Congo Mayombe history – changes that still continue as I write this. I think though, that it is important that people know a little about his origins, and what he truly has meant for people for untold centuries.

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