Umbanda is a Brazilian syncretic religion that is relatively new (less than 100 years?) yet has spread widely in Brasil and a few other countries.
It is a mix of kardecian espritismo, indiginous beliefs (Indian spirits etc), Orisa related beliefs, Western Occultism (wicca, etc) and some Kongo lore.
There are many different styles of Umbanda in Brasil – not all houses operate the same way. In fact, it would be quite hard to find two that are the same.
Music and dance are central to its practice as their mediums, groups of which are usually present at public sessions, usually get possesed by their spirit guides during dance, etc.
The music played and mambos (pontos cantados) sung vary according to the type of spirit the particular session is dedicated to. A Pagode type drum rythm is quite common.
Dances tend to involve the mediums spinning around on the spot whilst carrying out certain hand gestures. It is also usual for a medium to draw a patipemba outline using his/her finger on the floor, at some point, before becomming posessed.
Possessed mediums will sometimes stand with their hands behind their backs, eyes and pursed lips.
The entities they work with include:
Exu types, which are spirits of people who typically lived poor / miserably lives. Street dwellers, etc, which sadly abound in the largest cities in Brasil. They normally begin all sessions by saluting these entities by the front door, keeping them there unless the evening is dedicated to them, in which case they are allowed in. They can be funny, sarcastic and foul mouthed when giving advice. They tend to work with rum and cigar.
Cigana types, Gypsy spirits - a varied and colourful group. Usually work with roses, etc.
Caboclo types, Indian spirits - warrior like and ellusive. Usually worked with outside the temple.
Velho Preto types, ‘black old men’ or Kongo spirits - highly elevated; give some of the best advice.
And I’m sure there were others but these were the ones I got exposure to while I was over there.
Above these spirits there is a recognised pantheon of what they call Orisa. Many will claim that the Orisa they follow are the same as in Candomble, even though the initiation rituals they undergo are totally different.
Many also claim that, unlike in Candomble, sacrificial offerings are not made in Umbanda as it is basically a form espiritismo and not an ATR, yet others I spoke to swore that some secrets of Candomble are incorporated into Umbanda houses – things like House fundamentos (usually buried beneath the floor of the Terreiro) and that some houses do sacrifice a small animal when a new medium is initiated.
The best thing about Umbanda is that most terreiros open their doors to the public and consultation with the spirits, on any given evening, is typically free or donation based.
Training is also typically free, the only constraint being the provision of one’s working clothes (typically white) and regular attendance of all meetings. Most terreiros meet at least once a week and can have any number of mediums in development at any one time.
The other thing about Brazilians, my wife and practically her entire familly included, is that they make excellent mediums, most of whom usually get posessed even before they find their ways into terreiros. They develop fast when guided. Must be the Caboclo / African blood mix most of them have..!
By: NgangaVentana of MySanteria.com
, Caboclo, Congo , Espiritismo/Mediums, Gypsy Spirits, Kongo , Mediumship , Orisa , Orisha , Spiritism , Umbanda , Wicca , what is umbanda