There are two currents that are presently shaping the future of a religious movement. One is more of a tidal wave dragging with it a host of trash such as such as greed, spiritual colonialism, and flagrant breaking of rules, this wave is trying to violently carve a hole against the shore or the true foundations of Palo. The other current is one that runs deep and profound, like a bloodstream carrying nutrients to the very core of a being, this one is driven by a primal need to survive, honor ancestral pacts and preserve a legacy.
In the case of the first current, know and understand a very simple fact: It is hard to kill that which is fundamentally dead. In black and white terms, in Palo if changes do not rest on the solid foundation of established and ratified treaties, the result is a dead amalgam of Nouveau or Faux Palo. How do you distinguish a ‘live rama’ (branch) in Palo from fake stuff?
Here are some clear indications:
1. There are wari wari (homosexuals) initiated into the lineage or the initiator (tata) himself is a wari wari.
2. Women are allowed to be initiators, the person who actually cuts the neophyte.
3. There are flagrant importations and integrations of ideas and practices from other religions such as Santería, Umbanda, Satanism, Ceremonial Magick, Spiritism, Voodu, 21 Divisions or Wicca to name a few.
4. Tatas do not know the fundamental treaties, cosmology, and theosophy of the religion nor can they trace a clear lineage with names and last names.
What to do with confronted with such sort of practices? If you are seeking initiation in Palo, walk away from that house. If you already a Tata or Yaya, you have choices, either take a stance and call them out or simply steer clear from them but inform others in your community and ostracize them.
When a house breaks rules, they are dead. You can’t kill what is already dead, but sometimes its own fetid stench will not be enough to alert those who may confuse the smell of decay as the real thing.
On the other hand, there are those of us who have started a movement. Call if you will, the Palo Underground Movement. What is that? It is a process of reseeding and cultivating new houses where the ancestral pacts and practices are respected and enforced. Entrance is, as with any other underground movement, strictly limited and selective. These Munansós are the future of Palo. There are meant to guard with zeal what makes Palo a powerhouse of shamanic, animistic and ancestral knowledge.
Where do you find houses like that? There are very few in the United States, non to be found thus far in the U.K. or Spain, there are some in Cuba, Venezuela and very few in Puerto Rico. How do you spot a house belonging to this movement? You don’t. If you are worthy, they will spot you.
Yaya 7 Nkele