Sacred Alchemy Online Shop

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Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold of Exu and Pomba Gira fame has opened up his brand new online shop, Sacred Alchemy. He is offering traditional services and products from Astrology, Ifa, and Quimbanda. It is an amazing shop and Nicholaj is one of the most talented and knowledgeable magicians of our age. I could not recommend this shop enough! Check him out:




On Facebook!

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After much prodding from colleagues and friends, the House of Quimbanda has joinedfacebook. The page has just been started and will be tweaked, updated, and refined over the course of the week, so be sure to head over and click “like” to make sure that you keep up with our updates. Check it out by clicking here.

Shout out to Mystic Oasis Studios for the Artwork. Check them out.



Awesome Testimonial!

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Jason Miller of Strategic Sorcery fame, recently posted an awesome testimonial about the reading he got from me (ConjureMan Ali) and the House of Quimbanda. Check it out to hear what he has to say:

Be sure to also stop by his Facebook and like his page:

Thanks for the awesome testimonial, Jason!

-ConjureMan Ali

Tata Alufa` Mavambo Ngobodi Nzila




Kingdoms of Quimbanda

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In Quimbanda,Exu and Pomba Gira are organized into Kingdoms and Lines. The Kingdoms represent physical places in nature where Exu and Pomba Gira are found and manifest. The connection between Exu and Pomba Gira and the Kingdoms demonstrates the role of these spirits as guardians of the liminal and points of power.

While there are some slight variations from house to house on the Kingdoms, generally there are seven accepted Kingdoms, with none being lesser or greater than the other. Indeed, the idea of a greater or lesser Kingdom is contradictory to the very idea of Kingdoms each being sacred places of power.


Each Kingdom gathers to it spirits who share similar proclivities and traits and who represent certain spheres of human activity. Each of these sites of power has a direct relationship to the various experiences of life and death. When the Quimbandiero seeks to influence or effect some part of his or her life (or that of another) he would seek out the appropriate Kingdom that corresponds to that aspect of life and work with the Exu therein to accomplish the aims. One could say that the Exu are the forces underpinning and behind what the Kingdoms represent. In this way the Kingdom is both a physical place as well as a link to something larger in the spiritual, physical, and emotional world.

Each Kingdom is organized under a king and queen who preside over generals who in turn rule over legions of spirits. Some Exu and Pomba Gira appear in more than one Kingdom and where they appear will determine the quality that they present.

There are 7 Kingdoms of Quimbanda and they are:


1. Kingdom of Encruzilhadas (The Crossroads)

Here we find all crossroads, where roads meet, cross, and move on. This Kingdom is deeply related to the Line of Malei and here are found spirits who stand at all intersections. These spirits can open opportunities, or close them, they generate movement and change both on a spiritual and physical level. Both the 4 way crossroads of the “X” and the 3 way crossroads of the “T” are found here. Both literal and metaphorical crossroads are found within this Kingdom. These spirits rule all moments when people must choose between this and that. This is the Kingdom that opens ways to all Kingdoms of Quimbanda. They are called upon to pave the way during difficult times, assist when there seems to be no options, for unions and join together as well as dissolve and tear apart. They are tied strongly with destiny and so are good at prophecy. They can be called upon for advice when all seems blocked, and can undo the blockages that hold back a situation, or block your enemies from all areas of life. Magic in all its roads is worked here.

This Kingdom is ruled by Exu Rei das Sete Encruzilhadas and Pomba Gira Rainha das Sete Encruzilhadas. They preside over: Exu Tranca Rua, Exu Sete Encruzilhadas, Exu das Almas, Exu Marabo, Exu Tiriri, Exu Veludo, Exu Morcego, Exu das Sete Gargalhadas, Exu Mirim, as well as Pomba Gira Encruzilhadas.


2. The Kingdom of Cruzeiro (The Cross)

This Kingdom is found at the central cross of the cemetery. In cemeteries without central crosses this can be found on the gravestone with a cross or, the largest or oldest gravestone with a cross. This is the Kingdom of crossing from one state to another, from life to death, and the turning point of all life. Because of this some refer to this Kingdom as that of Crossings which implies that while the central cross is the ultimate manifestation of this Kingdom, that it can be found anywhere there is a crossing from this to that. Found at the central Cross is Omolu the Bone Lord, ruler of the dead, the cemetery, the seal of souls, who is represented by the cross planted into the dirt of the grave. These spirits are called upon to heal and harm the spirit, either heal the bonds of an oath, or shatter them. They can elevate your spirit or cast it in shackles.

This Kingdom is ruled by Exu Rei dos Sete Cruzieros and Pomba Gira Rainha dos Sete Cruzeiros. Pomba Gira Rainha dos Sete Cruzerios is the sister of Pomba Gira Rainha das Calunga and pays respect to Rainha das Sete Encruzilhadas. They preside over: Exu Tranca Tudo, Exu Quirombo, Exu Sete Cruzeiros, Exu Mangueira, Exu Kaminaloa, Exu Sete Cruzes, Exu Sete Portas, Exu Meia Noite, and Exu Calunga.


3. The Kingdom of Matas (Woods/Fields)

This is the Kingdom of wilderness, where the fields grow wild and where the woods grow untamed. Here is the forest, the jungle, and even the open plains. This is the places of power found in nature where the secrets of herb, root, bone, and poison are collected and stored. This is the point of power where the cultivated city life ends and the unknown wilderness begins. It is one of the few Kingdoms where upon the arrival of night, falls under total darkness. Here there are no city lamps,  only the night come to life. Here are the primal spirits that reflect our natural selves, our untamed darkness, but also the side of us that is most attuned to nature. Within this Kingdom is found the wisdom of animal, tree, and plant. The greatest healers are found here, but also the natural witches. This line usually contains the Caboclos or Native Indians and the spirits of hunters of all kind. These spirits are called upon to hunt enemies or send out your own spirit on a hunt, to heal wounds with natural cures, and to craft poisons.

This Kingdom is ruled by Exu Rei das Matas and Pomba Gira Rainha das Matas. The King has a strong relationship with Exu Pantera Negra and the Queen has a strong relationship with Exu das Matas. They preside over: Exu Quebra Galho, Exu Sete Sombras, Exu das Matas, Exu das Campinas, Exu Serra Negra, Exu das Sete Pedras, Exu Sete Cobras, Exu do Cheiro, and Exu Arranca Tudo.


4. The Kingdom of Calunga (The Cemetery)

Some refer to this Kingdom as Calunga Pequena or Small Calunga, often in reference to the big Calunga being the ocean.  The Kingdom of Calunga is the realm of the dead, the ancestral sea represented by the Cemetery. Like the Kingdom of Cruziero, Calunga is close to Omolu. Here is the realm of the dead in all its manifestations from the fresh grave and sepulcher, to living skeletons. This is the Kingdom where life is snuffed out and brought back in its next stage. If Cruzeiro is the transition of death, Calunga is the end result. These spirits can be serene manifestations of death, or the restless shadows that roam the boneyard. They bring the dead to life and the living to death. These spirits are called upon for works of divorce, break up, for decay, and necromancy.

This Kingdom is ruled by Exu Rei das Sete Calungas and Pomba Gira Rainha das Sete Calungas alternatively known as Pomba Gira Rainha das Calunga. Both are stern, serene, and somber. They preside over: Exu Porteira, Exu Sete Tumbas, Exu Sete Catacumbas, Exu Brasa, Exu Caveira, Exu do Cemeterio, Exu Corcunda, Exu Sete Covas, and Exu Capa Preta.


5. The Kingdom of Almas (Souls)

This is the Kingdom of all souls and is where we find the spirits who are the psychopomps and guides of the dead. They are the guides through suffering, confusion, and help make death understandable. Where as Cruzeiro is about the point between life and death, and Calunga is death, Almas is how the living relate to death. Included in this Kingdom are hospitals, morgues, and wakes. Wherever people gather to mourn, is the Kingdom of Almas. It retains the memories of life and is the balm applied to loss, or it can be the torment of loss that stirs the soul. This Kingdom elevates the spirits of the dead and illuminates the living’s understanding. This is the Kingdom where death is communed with through mediumship. These spirits are called upon to heal the spirit, to guide the dead, to cleanse away darkness and pain, and also to bring the sorrow and despair of the soul to others.

This Kingdom is ruled by Exu Rei das Almas or Omolu directly with Pomba Gira Rinha das Almas. They preside over: Exu Sete Lombras, Exu Pemba, Exu Maraba, Exu Curador, Exu Gira Mundo, Exu Nove Luzes, Exu das Sete Montanhas, Exu Tata Caveira, Exu Sete Poeiras.


6. The Kingdom of Lira (The Lyre, or Harp)

Here is the Kingdom of the city full of life. Physically represented by taverns, bars, brothels, cabarets, nightclubs, and the marketplace. It is the bustle of life found in the city with its ebb and flow, seething with life, and with the struggle to keep on living. It is the pulsating nightlife that is filled with excitement, but also with danger. It is where inspiration, wit, and cunning meet. It oversees the activities of the city at night, especially that of the scoundrel, the gambler, the prostitute, the dancers, the merchants, the bartenders, the ladies men, bohemians, and party-goers. This is the most inviting of the Kingdoms, but also highly dangerous for both music and poetry can be found here as well as the brawl and knife fight. This is about life and its constant struggle with all the beauty it has to offer, but a beauty that is tinged with harshness. The spirits in the Kingdom of Lira are called upon in business transactions, to bring in money, for fortune-telling, for success, sex, love, and art.

This Kingdom is ruled by Exu Rei das Sete Liras or Exu Lucifer and Pomba Gira Maria Padilha. They preside over Exu dos Infernos, Exu do Cabare, Exu Sete Liras, Exu Cigano, Exu Pagao, Exu Ze Pelintra, Exu Ganga, Exu Male`, Exu Chama Dinheiro, Pomba Gira Cigana, and sometimes Maria Mulambo.


7. The Kingdom of Praia (The Beach or Ocean shore)

This Kingdom is the meeting place between the unfathomable sea with its tides and depths with the oceanshore and beach. It rules over the mysterious creatures of the deep, especially those that are poisonous as well as those who travel by the seas like mariners. While its physical manifestation is the beach, it can also represents the tides of passion, the depths of memory, and their meeting in mind and soul. The spirits found in this Kingdom have a strong lunar and venusian connection. This Kingdom is also found on the shores of fresh water as much as salt water and so the lake and river can be seen as extensions of this Kingdom. These spirits are called upon for matters of purification, for love, inciting passion, lust, and erotic thoughts, for attraction, bounty, and healing emotional wounds.

This Kingdom is ruled by Exu Rei das Praias and Pomba Gira Rainha das Praias. They preside over Exu dos Rios, Exu Sete Cachoeiras, Exu Sete Pedras, Exu Marinheiro, Exu Mare, Exu do Lodo, Exu Bahiano, Exu Gerere, Exu dos Ventos, Exu do Coco, and Pomba Gira Calunga Pequena has a relationship to this Kingdom.

These are the seven Kingdoms found in Quimbanda, and while there are some slight variations they are the Kingdoms recognized by the traditional houses. Many of the major Pomba Gira fall under these different realms, but under the rulership of their Queen, though the Queendoms tend to be more fluid. In addition the Lines, the Kingdoms are the best way to see the hierarchy of the spirits and how they relate to one another, and more importantly how they relate to the world of magic and life.




Check out Candel’s Corner on Monday!

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My dear brother in Quimbanda, Tata Jesse, is going to be on Candelo’s Corner this coming Monday where he will be talking about his background in the spiritual arts as well as the opening of his store, Wolf and Goat. Tata Jesse holds multiple initiations in various traditions, is a professional reader and rootworker, and a powerful magician. He is a dear friend and brother and I cannot wait for this interview.

Tata Jesse will be joined by the wonderful Troy, owner of Wolf and Goat, Quimbandiero, and a brilliant spirit artist. I myself have a few of his pieces on my altars and they are down right potent. Troy is an Obeahman and a worker of magical Art.

I am proud to call both of them brothers and am excited about the upcoming interview. I’ll definitely be there to hear them speak. Be sure to join us at Candelo’s Corner, it is going to be hot!

Candelo’s Corner will air Monday at 5pm pacific/ 8pm Eastern time. You can find it here:



Personal Exu

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In Quimbanda, the role of the Personal Exu, alternatively known as your Tata Exu, is that of guide, intermediary, and ally in the spiritual realms. Many dive right into Quimbanda choosing to work with whichever Exu suits their fancy, but this is neither traditional, nor safe. The first step on the path of Quimbanda is determining which Exu walks with you, or who is your Personal Exu. This spirit then becomes your introduction into Quimbanda, guiding your steps, walking alongside you, teaching you, and ultimately becoming your partner in magic. This is done by seeking out the counsel of an initiated medium or Tata of Quimbanda who performs a consulta to determine which spirits walk with you. One does not guess or chooses haphazardly. Also this is always done by someone other than yourself, someone with the objectivity and insight. Performing a reading for yourself is not going to reveal accurately who is your Personal Exu.

The role of the Personal Exu or Tata Exu is paramount to any sincere practitioner of Quimbanda. Indeed one’s sincerity can be gauged according to how willing one is in following the traditional path. Those who simply want to do what they want without regard for protocols of the cult itself leave themselves exposed to the dangers that come with trying to walk the blade-thin path that is Quimbanda. For it is in the Personal Exu that protection and stability is found. As the focal point by which the Quimbandiero enters into congress with the legions of fire, the Personal Exu is the spirit that not only grants the authority to carry out work and the means by which this spiritual relationship develops, but is the spirit which will help to temper the fires and ensure stability of your path. Working with Quimbanda can be very tricky and at times it is like trying to direct an inferno and so without the protection and aid one receives from the Personal Exu, much harm can be done rather than good.

In each traditional house the Personal Exu becomes the central spirit of the house and acts as the King of the initiate’s life, holding authority over the rest of the spiritual host. Indeed, the Personal Exu is the emissary of Exu Rei and the Maioral in the life of the initiate. This role keeps all other spirits in line and allows the initiate to safely work with the hosts of Quimbanda. Without the Personal Exu, one is left exposed and at the mercy of the spirits called and they are free to feed on you.

The relationship with the Personal Exu is unlike any other. He becomes a personal patron, whose influence can permeate all aspects of life. Treated as the ultimate ally and friend, he is not worshiped, but is honored and given respect. The relationship is deeply symbiotic and as the spirit grows and matures so too does the initiate and vice versa. The Personal Exu acts as a sort of mirror revealing the shadow of the initiate while also offering the opportunities to perfect the soul. The end result of such a relationship is that the initiate with a crowned Personal Exu reflects all the perfections of his soul while mastering and bringing under control his vices. From this relationship one learns that its not about repressing the shadow, but channeling constructively.

It is through this relationship with the Personal Exu that the hosts are made to work on the Temple of Solomon and the soul is brought into harmony between Severity and Mercy.

Without this first step of knowing who your Personal Exu is and how to work with him, there can be no Quimbanda. Indeed, the sign of an authentic house is that they will speak more about how to work with your Personal Exu than simply teach random “spells” or how to call upon any old Exu. Truly, the focus will be on how to make the initial meeting with the one spirit who will become your emissary, teacher, and friend.

Sarava Exu!




Difference Between Exu, Legba, Eleggua, Eshu

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Rev. Dr. E from the Santeria Church of the Orishas and SAFE has been working tirelessly to present quality information to counter the number of fraud and misconceptions that has been plaguing many of the African Traditional Religions. There has been a great deal of confusion resulting from people trying to equate Exu, Legba, Eleggua, and Eshu together. Many people try to make the claim that they are all the same which is just not correct. The internet is a wonderful thing, but it also gives access for people who have no true background in these cults to start spouting off claims that muddy the waters for those individuals who are truly seeking. So in an effort to set the record straight, Dr. E has presented an opportunity for Hougan Matt and I (ConjureMan Ali) to join him to answer some basic questions about the differences between these entities.

What follows is our compiled answers cross-posted on all our blogs.

Just to clarify, Legba is from Haitian Vodou, Eleggua/Eshu is from Santería Lucumi (and consequently Yoruba religion) and Exu is from Brazilian Quimbanda (and Umbanda). These are three different classes of spirits and he offer this information here for you to understand the difference between them.

Who are you and in which tradition do you participate?

Houngan Matt: Im Matt Deos, known either as Houngan Matt or by my ritual name Bozanfe Bon Oungan, and Im a Houngan Asogwe (senior ranking clergy initiate) of a traditionalist Haitian Vodou house known as Sosyete Nago (based in Boston, MA and Jacmel, Haiti, and run by my spiritual mother Manbo Maude/Antiola Bo Manbo)

ConjureMan Ali: I am ConjureMan Ali, a conjure doctor, djinn conjurer, and a Tata in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Quimbanda. My initiatory name is Tata Alufa` Mavambo Ngobodi Nzila.

Rev. Dr. E.: I am Rev. Dr. E. or known by my initiatory name of Ekun Dayo. I am an olorisha (priest) crowned with Changó in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería (La Regla Lukumí). I am founder of the Santeria Church of the Orishas and a full time conjure doctor.

Who is Legba, Eleggua, Eshu, Exu?

Houngan Matt: (Regarding Legba) The Legba spirits, in Vodou, are a family of lwa who each are responsible for “opening the door” or initiating access to each section, or ritual division, of spirits that are served in our rites. Each nancion, or nation (a term used to distinguish groupings of lwa by their home culture or the people whose spirits they were before those people were brought to Haiti as slaves) has its own door-opening spirit referred to as a Legba. There are many such corresponding divisions of lwa, and each has their own Legba tasked with opening the door and allowing those spirits to pass. The Legbas are spirits of communication and contact, removers of barriers and openers of doors, who speak all languages and know all forms of communication.

In a fete, one of the Legba spirits is always among the first spirits sung for and invited to come to the party with us… but there’s a good deal of misconception out there about what this means. Contrary to internet-misinformation, when the priye ginen (our litany of prayer and song that blesses and begins all services) is complete, the first spirit we sing to is Hountor, the lwa of the drums, who translates our modern speech and song into the tonal language of the drums, the ancient spirit-speak us Creoles no longer shape with our mouths. Then, we sing into being Grand Chemin, the Great Road that bridges our place of ceremony and the land where the spirits reside… a great and golden road the lwa proceed down to come to our temple (and, often, also the poto mitan, the central axis of the temple which our spirits can ride).

Legba nan Rada, or Legba in the Rada Rite, is the first of the Legba spirits we serve, and his task is to open the gate on the Great Road, the doorway that allows the other spirits to come to our celebrations and rites. Without him, there wouldnt be a gap or a coming-together-place where our world and the world of the spirits could touch.

In Vodou’s language of visual symbols that convey meaning, the imagery used to represent the various Legba spirits always features the symbol of the Poto Mitan in some way or form as it is the doorway on the Great Road that Legba controls. For my lineage, the Rada Legba wears a saint known as Saint Anthony the Abbot (a jovial and well-fed man in brown robes, holding a staff, the poto mitan, and standing at a cave door, surrounded by animals such as pigs and chickens). Legba nan Petro, the Legba who opens to doorway for the hotter and rougher spirits of the Petro rite, wears the image of Saint Lazarus (typically an emaciated and sometimes bruised man walking by means of crutches, another symbolic stand-in for the Poto Mitan).

Even the nations that make up the components of the larger Rada and Petro rites also have their Legba figures (who may or may not be members of the Legba family of spirits… often times, Ogou Ossange, a wonded healer who is also always shown with crutches, can serve as the Legba nan Nago, or the Legba figure who opens the door for the Nago nation spirits, or the division that holds the spirits of the Nago people, who are now more widely known by the name of their language, Yoruba.)

The Ghede family, the spirits that are called at the end of every Vodou celebration, also have their own door keepers/Legbas of their group… and are also known for carrying a Baton Ghede, a walking stick that can alternately be a gentlemen’s cane or be placed between the spirit’s legs as the source of many embarrassing jokes… but which is also, in its way, the Poto Mitan and the road by which the spirits in the Ghede’s purview travel.

In Haitian Vodou, the Legbas are not Crossroads spirits; the way our rites work, the road by which the fiery Petro spirits are brought into the rites is conceptualized as being at a 90 degree angle to the cooler road by which the Rada lwa enter. When the Petro rites have begun, songs are sung for Dan (or Don) Petro (mythologized as the creater of the Petro system, but basically the Grand Chemin figure of the new cosmological angle of approach), then comes the Petro Legba, and after a few more spirits the rite reaches Kalfou, the lwa who is the crossroads made manifest (Kalfou is a creolization of the French Carrefour, literally crossroads). To us, the Legba figures are the keepers of gates and doors, languages and communication… not the crossroads, which we have as a different being entirely.

ConjureMan Ali: (Regarding Exu) Exu, pronounced “Eshoo” in Quimbanda is not a singular entity, but a class of spirits that are connected to the Congo and Angolan cults of sorcery and necromancy that took root in Brazil after slaves were brought over by the Portuguese. It would be more accurate to view Exu as a title referring to a class of fiery spirits called upon in the Afro-Brazilian cults for matters of guidance and to work magic. Each Exu is unique and the personalities can vary drastically from one Exu to another. Regardless of the differences what is common is that Exu is a highly dangerous, fiery, and tricky spirit to work with. Exu is not an Orisha, or Lwa, but  are earthly guardians of the liminal who are both a force of nature as well as spirits of the dead.

Rev. Dr. E.: (Regarding Eleggua/Eshu) First we must distinguish between Eshu and Eleggua. Eshu (spelled Esu in traditional Yoruba with a little dot under the “s”) are a family of orishas more like natural forces. Eshus are found everywhere in the wild and each is different from the others. Eshus are wild and uncontrollable by nature. Messing with one without the proper respect will get you in big trouble quickly as it is the nature of Eshu to cause problems, test humanity and upset the balance of things. Babalawos are experts at working with an controlling Eshu for the betterment of humanity. They have the spiritual technology to tame Eshu.

Eleggua (or Elegba) – to contrast – is an orisha that can be considered to be the king of the Eshus. He is refined; civilized if you will. Eleggua is an orisha that has many roads each of which is called “Eshu” (to further confuse the issue). There is an Eleggua that wanders in the wilderness. There is an Eleggua that lives in the river. There is an Eleggua that lives on the road. There is an Eleggua that lives in the house. There are over a hundred different roads of Eleggua and each is different from the others, with different temperaments and different likes. There is one thing in common with all Elegguas – they are always honored first amongst the orishas whenever we have a ceremony.

Eleggua knows everything, witnesses everything and has the key to changing our destinies as humans: ebó (sacrifice). He is the one that can speak for all of the other orishas because he knows everything that’s going on. Eleggua is considered one of the warriors in our religion along with Ogun, Ochosi and Osun (as well as Erinle and Abata). He opens the road to all things and makes the spiritual connection of ache happen between humans, Olodumare, the orishas and the ancestors. Without Eleggua nothing would get where it is intended to go. Because of this we say you must always be in his graces or he’ll shut you down in no time.

Where does the worship of Legba/Eleggua/Exu originate?

Hougan Matt: (Regarding Legba) The Legba spirits are an intrinsic piece of the religion of the Fon people of Dahomey (and modern day Benin) whose cosmology forms the majority of Vodou’s metaphysical foundation. (Even the word Vodou comes from the Fon word meaning “spirit”; Lwa in turn is the Fon/Gbwe word for “lord”) Their religion continues in its homeland, now usually known as Beninois Vodou.

Among the Fon people, Legba is featured as being both the favorite and youngest son of Mawu/Lisa (the Creators/high gods), responsible for the writing (Fa, or destiny) of each man’s life. Within Dahomey, however, Fa is also a vodun (that word for “spirit”), to whom one goes in order to divine, and Legba is his servant. Legba plays a central role in Dahomean society, where it was necessary to divine, or consult Fa (through Legba) before one did anything and about all things. The Dahomean Legba is a young man, youngest son of the Creator deities, and combines ideas that when they reached Haiti would divide into the Legba family of spirits (as well as provide the foundation for the Ghede spirits as the Dahomean Legba changed from a younger man to an older grouping of men, and as the boundary between life and death was divided into multiple spirits instead of being held by their original gatekeeper. Fusing with Taino spirituality in Haiti, the trickster/healer/death aspects of Legba in Dahomey gave birth to the Ghede spirits who maintain the boundary between the living and the cemetery…. itself a crossroads where the living and the dead intersect, with their own crossroads keeper Met Cimitiere, sometimes seen as Petro and sometimes seen as within the Ghede family)

MANY pieces of the Dahomean Legba (the Root legba, if you will) changed with the combination of many different Kingdoms’ religions that happened in Haiti, on its plantations and as a result of the Revolution that made a single united Nation out of the many slaves who rebelled and forced their French overlords off the island in bloody revolt. Knowing there was no way “home” to their ancestral Africa, the new Haitians blended their religions together to keep them from being lost, and the many different manifestations/individual traditions of Haitian Vodou were born… but, in the process, many spirits took new aspects to their personalities and many new needs were filled by spirits who emerged. New Legba figures emerged to open the doors to spirits of new and different populations that took their place among the other spirits of the newly emergent and uniquely Haitian Vodou.

ConjureMan Ali: (Regarding Exu) Exu’s roots are found in the Angolan and Congo cults of Kalunga, Kadiempembe, and Pambujila. He emerges from a fusion of death, fire, and the crossroads. The descendent of these forces is then Exu who finds his home in the Afro-Brazilian religion of Quimbanda. It is important to note, that Exu exists only in South America, starting in Brazil and slowly expanding to neighboring countries, he is not found in any of the North American African Traditional Religions and has nothing to do with Lukumi, Vodou, Palo etc.

Rev. Dr. E.: (Regarding Eleggua/Eshu) Eleggua and Eshu’s roots are in the west african Yoruba people who lived in the area currently associated with southwestern Nigeria and Benin. They were universally revered throughout all of the tribes that spoke the Yoruban language. The slaves that were taken from the Yoruba lands and brought to Cuba brought the veneration of Eleggua/Eshu with them. The understanding of Eleggua as separate from Eshu evolved in Cuba within the Santeria religion. Eleggua and Eshu are seen as pretty much one and the same back in Africa and this may be due to the prominence of the Ifá sect of Babalawos in the motherland versus their late arrival in large numbers in Cuba. To be very clear, Eleggua is not found in Vodou (although the Lwa from the Nago Lwa are technically the same as the orishas, he isn’t worshipped in the same manner as we do), he is not found in New Orleans Voodoo although some modern-day practitioners are attempting to culturally appropriate him for their benefits, and he is not part of Palo Mayombe. He is an orisha, not a lwa, not a mpungo, and not a spirit of the dead.

Is there any ritual or initiatory requirement to work with Legba/Eleggua/Exu?

Houngan Matt (Bozanfe Bon Ougan) is a Houngan Asogwe of Haitian Vodou

Houngan Matt (Bozanfe Bon Ougan) is a Houngan Asogwe of Haitian Vodou

Houngan Matt: (Regarding Legba) Nope. :-)  Well, almost. In terms of initiatory requirement, no… as the Legba spirits govern communication with the rest of the spirits, ALL people are seen as inherently having a connection with these Lwa (unlike the others, which may or may not be “with” a person and whose presence “with” a person must be determined by divination).

As all of us are born with an ability to serve those spirits we inherit or who seek to build relationships with us (those that pop up in that aforementioned divination) ALL of us have access to the Legba spirits, either for opening those doors and forging roads of communication and respect, or for working with the way we would any spirit we serve.

In terms of ritual requirements, yes… to work within Haitian Vodou requires keeping to Haitian Vodou’s ceremonial protocols, rules, and heirarchies. We are not a freeform religion, but one that has a very solid cosmological core and an associated body of traditional rites, songs, and methods of ritual. Not everyone needs to become an initiate to work with their spirits in our religion, but our religion is guided by its priests to maintain its lore and the integrity of its tradition and systems; in a similar vein, not all Catholics need to be priests, and certainly one does not need to be a priest to say the Rosary in home prayer… but for transmission of the faith, the services of the priesthood, and the offering of Mass, the clergy is required. Vodou is much the same in how it works and functions, and the faithful, while they are capable of small acts of service to their spirits at home, also understand that the faith is a community religion that requires the community of priests and laypeople alike in community celebrations to function at anything beyond its most basic level.

ConjureMan Ali is a Tata of Brazilian Quimbanda and founder of the House of Quimbanda church.

ConjureMan Ali is a Tata of Brazilian Quimbanda and founder of the House of Quimbanda church.

ConjureMan Ali: (Regarding Exu) Yes! Exu has a strong sense of respect and honor. In order to call upon Exu, there are set ways that they demand you approach them. It is also the safest way to work with them, for without the context of protection provided by following these well-worn roads, you risk burning yourself. It is like playing with fire. In Quimbanda, there are levels of involvement that one can participate it. Initiation is for those who are called to be priests and priestesses. Not everyone is called to that path. One can also be a licensed medium through a baptism ceremony, or licensa. In this case you can then safely work with your personal Exu and Pomba Gira. Finally, anyone can benefit from finding out which Exu or Pomba Gira form the spiritual court of your life through divination. This latter is only to find out about them and does not require any obligation nor do you need to get involved further. It is basically taking a look behind the curtain. For further involvement, you will need to look at licensa or initiation.

With licensa you take your personal Exu and Pomba Gira as your patron and work with them in a spiritualist or devotional context. You work with those spirits that walk with you and develop a relationship with them which has many benefits. Initiation however is a more intense path with much obligation and so is not meant for everyone. The initiated Tata or Yaya is granted the Keys to the Kingdom of Quimbanda and while the core of their spiritual court is their personal Exu and Pomba Gira, they will become a priest to the entire Kingdom with many spirits working with them. It is also the initiated Tata and Yaya who work as the sorcerers and sorceresses of the cult.

Without either licensa or initiation, calling upon Exu can be quite dangerous. There is a unique format to their rituals that is only taught through the guidance of a House or terreiro of Quimbanda. Without this format you aren’t calling Exu, you are simply opening yourself up to any spirit walking by to come into your life.

Rev. Dr. E. (Ekun Dayo Oní Changó) is an Olorisha in Santería (La Regla Lukumí) and founder of the Santería Church of the Orishas.

Rev. Dr. E. (Ekun Dayo Oní Changó) is an Olorisha in Santería (La Regla Lukumí) and founder of the Santería Church of the Orishas.

Rev. Dr. E.: (Regarding Eleggua and Eshu) Yes and no. Anyone can give offerings of the heart or veneration to the orishas in nature. For Eleggua or Eshu this would be the places where he can be found: the side of the road, the wilderness, the cemetery, the edge of the river, the ocean, the crossroad, almost anywhere – but keep in mind that different Eshus and Elegguas are found in different places. But this is a personal offering made for yourself and you must act carefully as to not offer Eleggua or Eshu something that they wouldn’t like. Guidance of a godparent is probably the best idea in this situation.

It is highly improper and offensive to the orishas to act in the office of a priest or priestess doing work for others without being an Olorisha or a Babalawo. You don’t have the lineage to call upon if you aren’t initiated and as such do not have the support of the ancestors and even they come before Eleggua!

You need to be an Olorisha or a Babalawo to have received the ritual items and shrines of Eleggua or Eshu. This is a highly involved ritual and requires divination before going through it. It’s not something you receive because you want it. It’s something you do because divination says it’s part of your destiny and you need it. Once you have been ordained as an Olorisha or a Babalawo you can then divine with Eleggua’s shells, make ebó (sacrifice and rituals) to Eleggua and act as an intermediary between the general public and Eleggua or Eshu.

How can a person revere Legba/Eleggua/Exu and pay homage to him?

Houngan Matt: (Regarding Legba) Easily! If a person is interested in establishing working relationships with their spirits through Vodou’s traditions and paradigm, the Legba spirits are going to be some of the lwa they’ll be speaking to most!

I recommend starting by reaching out to qualified initiate clergy for advice, or seeing if there is a House (initiate family of priests who offer community celebration of the lwa to the public in their area) that can help guide the new person (as well as make sure there are folks nearby who can help the new person if things go wrong or become unbalanced), but while that’s happening, the Rada Legba is immediately approachable (ESPECIALLY as a fantastic spirit too ask to help convey the new person to a reputable house!)

I recommend seeking out the image I spoke of before, of Saint Anthony the Abbot (this is not Saint Anthony of Padua, who holds the infant Jesus. Instead this is the staff holding monk standing before a cave, surrounded by happy animals, and the image can be found through a google image search and printed out) and possibly creating a small working altar (in a clean place outside one’s bedroom, or able to be screened from view if the bedroom is the only possibility) decorated in cloths of white, red, and brown (white for all Rada spirits, and Red and Brown are the colors of the Rada Legba in my lineage). The altar should also have a glass of cool, clean water, white candles, a crucifix (a strand of rosary beads works in a pinch) and a space for simple offerings such as flowers, fruits, florida water, or specific foods.

Catholic prayers are recited first, to give thanks and recognition to God and to ask him to bless the service, making sure only His clean spirits are allowed to enter. Typically these prayers are an Our Father, three Hail Mary’s, the Apostle’s Creed, the Confiteor, the Act of Contrition, and a Glory Be. Once those are said, offerings can be made and you can talk to Legba about your needs and check in with him; preferably once a week on either a Saturday or a Monday. Ideally you’d take some time to learn the saluting protocols and motions/choreography to salute a Rada lwa (instructions for a basic Rada style salute are available in an indepth article on my teaching blog, found here

Favoured offerings of the Rada Legba are red and white flowers, roasted root vegetables such as potato, yam, and sweet potato, cassava bread, and a mixture of pan toasted (but not popped) corn kernels and peanuts. The Rada Legba in my lineage takes poured offerings of white rum as his favoured beverage, and also likes material gifts of straw hats, pipes, and plain pipe tobacco.

Clergy guidance is strongly encouraged.

ConjureMan Ali: (Regarding Exu) We honor Exu, but we do not worship Exu. This is a very important distinction to make as God, or Nzambi, is the only figure that worship is given to. In Quimbanda, one does not give homage to Exu randomly, but has to find out which Exu specifically walks with you. Because there are countless Exu, you cannot simply decide to light a candle to one, or pray to him. This invites a great deal of trouble as it opens the door to all sorts of trickster and parasitic spirits. It is essential to first find out which Exu walks with you through the divination provided by an initiated medium or priest who can then instruct on how a proper relationship can be formed.

Rev. Dr. E.: (Regarding Eleggua and Eshu) No matter what you do it is important to understand that we do not worship Eleggua, we pay homage to him and work with him. We only worship God – Olodumare/Olorun/Olofi. One of the most effective ways to honor Eleggua in your day is to always ask for his blessing when passing his location in nature that you associate with him. So if you work with the Eleggua or Eshu that’s by the side of the river then make sure to say “Agbe mi Eleggua!” or “Bendición Elegguá!” when you pass the river’s edge. That way you show him continual gratitude and make sure he keeps your road open for you. Before you go making fruit offerings or such to Eleggua or Eshu it is imperative that you work with a godparent so that you can be sure you’re offering him the right things in the right ways and in the right places. It is more traditional to work through a diviner (an Olorisha or a Babalawo) to ascertain whether an offering or sacrifice is needed and specifically what kind (as determined in the reading). Only an Olorisha or Babalawo can do this for you.

Some of the safest offerings you can give Eleggua or Eshu are toasted corn, smoked fish, rum and cigars. These are his favorite items no matter what road you happen to be working with. Keep in mind, however, that Eleggua (as with all the orishas) becomes accustomed to the way you treat him. If you break your pattern or change the way you’ve been treating him he will become upset and block up your paths. Many people work with Eleggua every monday by pouring out a tiny libation of cool water and praying to him, but the first monday you miss that routine will be the day that Eleggua really trips you up. So keep that in mind before you start setting up a steady pattern of veneration. Again, work with a godparent for optimal results.

What advice or feedback to you have for people who mistakenly try to draw parallels between or equate Legba with Eleggua, Eshu, or Exu?

Houngan Matt: DONT! The Legba spirits all stem from the Fon people, who are not the same as the nations who carry those other spirits in their own distinct religions. Legba is NOT Eshu any more than the Virgin Mary is Quan Yin; the powers come from separate religions that maintain very separate and distinct cosmological and metaphysical functions.

Even where there may be SOME passing similarity between the spirits (much like the Virgin Mary and Quan Yin are both known in their respective religions as Merciful) the differences in the religions are vast… attempting to blend the systems or cherry pick between them is a deep insult to the spirits who are accustomed to being carried within their traditions (which, over the centuries, THEY have created and guided in their evolutions). Just as Quan Yin would probably herself be horrified to be invoked in a service featuring a divine son’s blood and flesh being offered to a congregation in the form of Catholic Communion, the different spirits known as Legba, Exu, Eshu, and Ellegua would be deeply unhappy at the resulting dissonance of forcing them into boxes where they do not belong.

Im often asked why they seem to serve similar function (which I gotta say after all of my reading they really DONT) but why us priests involved in the different traditions have little heart attacks when people cherrypick and mix… and my best example is modern math and Physics.

We’ve all heard about Quantum Physics, a series of mathematical equations and theories that seek to explain how the world works at its smallest possible level.

We’ve also all heard about Newtonian and Einsteinian systems of Physics, which are mathematical equations and theories that seek to explain how the universe functions on a grand scale of light, distance, speed, and gravity.

Both systems work…. until they’re mixed. The equations are incompatible, the math cannot be justified, and instead of any answers that make sense the equations produce nothing but meaningless garbage.

With our religions, I recommend keeping the same separateness and approaching each as *what it is* instead of trying to shove them into places where they do not belong. Just as in physics, attempting to place Exu in a Vodou paradigm or lifting a Legba spirit out of his home (or worse, calling Ellegua Legba and insisting Legba works through a concrete head that may or may not have been made by it’s own system’s priests) is bound to fail and practically guaranteed to make very unhappy spirits.

When it comes to the spirits that govern not only our communication skills but out ability to maintain relationships with ALL the other spirits of their respective systems, upsetting these guys or trying to make them work as something they’re not is just a UNIVERSALLY bad idea.

A person CAN work multiple systems when properly guided by initiates, but just like our example of Quantum versus Einsteinian physics, those systems need to be kept separate and worked on their own time, NEVER blended.

ConjureMan Ali: Simply put; don’t. Exu is not an orisha, he is not a lwa, he is not a mpungo, he is a being all himself. Furthermore, Exu is from Brazil and he has nothing to do with the African Traditional Religions more commonly known here in North America. Exu is a very territorial spirit who is HUGE on respect, trying to force-fit him into your own preconceived notions, or misconceptions will only anger him and cause trouble.

If you truly are interested in Exu and feel called, then don’t approach with the arrogance that you are entitled to his power. Instead learn about him properly from an initiated Tata or Yaya and house/terreiro and follow the proper paths of working with him. To give an analogy, if you were traveling to a foreign country that spoke a different language and you approached a very important official and demanded that they serve you and they better speak English, how do you think they’d respond? You’d be lucky if you got away with a crossed look. Just as you’d try to learn a bit of the local language, learn the proper customs and protocol, so too must you with Exu. Don’t think you can buy some “Exu poppet” or “Pomba Gira Oil” and you’ll be able to work with them.

Rev. Dr. E.: Just don’t! To people who try to draw parallels between Legba, Eleggua/Eshu and Exu I say “Please remove your European lenses!” Just because things may have similar traits does not mean they are the same being. Chango throws lightning and so, too, does Zeus but they are not the same spirit/god/entity. When you try to draw parallels and create false equivalencies between spirits of different cultures and religions what you’re really doing is simplifying for your convenience (and laziness). Take the time to understand the differences between the cultures. Follow the proper channels and protocols of each culture and religion to honor the spirits therein, and to respect the sacrifice the ancestors made to preserve these traditions in the face of slavery.

If you’re going to work with the orishas, then do so through the religion THEY passed down to us, not in an invention you created out of European traditions and techniques. Keep things separate because they ARE different and they ARE separate from one another. If we painted everything in the same light the whole world would be a boring shade of grey.

Learn More About The Contributing Authors

A special thanks to Houngan Matt and Dr. E for allowing me to join forces with them to present this highly informative piece!

Houngan Matt’s Vodou Blog

Dr. E’s Santeria Church of the Orishas

ConjureMan Ali’s House of Quimbanda



Join Me On Candelo’s Corner

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Categories: News, Tags: , , , ,

Join me, ConjureMan Ali, on Candelo’s Corner as I join Candelo Kimbisa of to discuss my book, Santisima Muerte: How to Call and Work with Holy Death and the launch of The House of Quimbanda.

The show is on Monday Feb. 25th 5pm-7pm Pacific/ 8pm-10pm Eastern. You can listen via the internet or by phone, call in to join in the discussion, or stop by the chat and say hello.

Hope to see you all there!

ConjureMan Ali

Tata Alufa` Mavambo Ngobodi Nzila



True Love Bath

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Categories: Magic spells, Pomba Gira, Tags: , , ,

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” –Rumi

What can be said about love that has not already been said before. It is a transcendent state of being that raises up the soul as it is entwined passionately with the soul of another. It comes in all varying shades from platonic love, to brotherly love, to deep erotic love. Sometimes it is an enduring fire that burns for years until we pass on, and sometimes it flashes briefly like a shooting star, lighting up the dark, but is gone all too soon. No matter the form or shade of love, it always leaves us transformed. Its sting is keen and its nectar intoxicating. Love can uplift into powerful mystical states of clarity, or descend into the fog of madness.

So powerful is love, that there is not a single magical tradition or system in the world that does not address love and how to attain it.

In Quimbanda, one may say that the message of one our primary spirits, Pomba Gira is one of love. She teaches the mysteries of love; the beautiful and liberating as well as the dark and enslaving. The arsenal of the Quimbandiero’s sorcery and macumba is filled with many means of drawing love, kindling passion, returning old flames, and even binding possessively what should be free. But one of the most effective magics to draw love is that which starts with the intent to find true love. For true love is defined by what the heart yearns for and needs. While some define true love as only the type discussed in movies and books, the reality is that its true definition comes from the heart that seeks it.

For some true love will be a passing night in passionate ecstacy and for others a deep and abiding rapport that lasts a lifetime. Who is to judge which is better?

An easy way to open the path for true love to come is this powerful amaci or bath used in Quimbanda. This powerful love spell is simple and straight-forward, but greatly effective whether you are seeking a new lover, trying to rekindle the flames of an old love, or drawing someone specific.

What you’ll need is :

Fresh Red and White Roses




Your Favorite Perfume


Place these ingredients in a pot of hot water and allow to boil. Boil the Roses, Cloves and Cinammon first while adding a dollop of honey at the end. Allow to cool and sprinkle a little Cachaça and three sprays of your favorite perfume.

While you are adding each ingredient focus strongly on your desire for true love however you define it. Next take off your clothes and stand in your tub. Pour this over your body as your pray from your heart that your true love be brought to you. If it is a specific person see them coming to you and loving you, or see your future lover coming to you.

You can also pour this into the tub with water and let yourself soak. Both ways work in this particular bath, though standing tends towards the traditional.

Once you’ve done this, step out and let yourself air dry. You can gather the raw materials left over from the bath and leave by a tree or bush in front of your house.

Now, the key to this work is that after you take the bath, you must go out with an open heart, trusting the spirits to bring to you what you truly need. If you keep your heart and mind open, love will find its way to you. This bath can be repeated over a number of days: 3, 7 until effects are realized.


ConjureMan Ali

Tata Alufa` Mavambo Ngobodi Nzila



Maria Padilha

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Categories: Pomba Gira, Tags: , ,

Maria Padilha2No conversation about Quimbanda nor Pomba Gira is complete without discussing the famed Maria Padilha. Known as the Queen of Candomble`, Maria Padilha is sometimes considered to be the ultimate proto-type of Pomba Gira. In Brazil, she is one of the most famous of spirits called upon and over the years her ability to come through for her devotees has increased her fame.

The historical root of Maria Padilha can be found in the mistress of Dom Pedro; a woman of humble origins she combined sorcery with enchanting beauty to ensnare the affections of the king. Though the king was married to another, the mistress soon became highly popular and the mother of his illegitimate children. Though she did not wear the crown, she became a power in her own right, even controlling who had accesss to the king. Other legends mention that she made a trip into the heart of Africa to learn the sorcery of the Angolan Muslims and the Congo Ngangas and therefore mingled the power of seduction with sorcery and divination.

Therefore, Maria Padilha is the ultimate manifestation of Pomba Gira: a spirit with historical and legendary roots, tied to the powers of seduction, European witchcraft, and the sorceries of Africa. She is the irresistible seductress who emobdies the free woman, rejected by society for her unabashed acceptance of her sexuality and the threat she poses to male-dominated society, she is a witch and force of nature who offers power and wisdom to those who seek her out.

In Brazil, there is no spirit more famed than Maria Padilha. Her fame springs from her ability to effectively carry out spells, especially those of love. Like all the Pomba Gira, Maria Padilha is legion and under her name are hosts that form the various roads of manifestation that contain her force. Maria Padilha’s power is irresistible and she can swiftly resolve any matter. To the heart broken woman yearning for her wandering lover, she offers solace and the swift return of the lover, to the man competing for love, she ensures victory.

But the most important lesson she teaches is the majesty that is womanhood. She is the victory of beauty, love, and Woman over all the forces that attempt to restrain, define, and control her. Society treats her like a whore and marginalizes her, but her force cannot be restrained, her power cannot be denied, and her lessons cannot be ignored. Though called the wife of Exu and the Devil, she belongs to no one, but herself.

But not all the lessons of Maria Padilha are so easy or light, for she also represents the power of obsession and the decent into the darker strains fo sexuality. Indeed, like many of the spirits of Quimbanda, Maria Padilha, while certainly not the devil she is made out to be, is neither a fluffy spirit to be trifled with. To those who do not respect her, she has harsh lessons, but to those whom she walks with, she can offer great bounties.

Among the many things Maria Padilha is given as her offerings, she takes anisette, champagne, lipstick, perfume, red/black candles, ribbons, jewelry, thornless roses, and fruits.

At The House of Quimbanda, Maria Padilha is one the Pomba Gira that we call upon to carry out our spells and works of macumba. We honor her for all she’s done for our House, for the wisdom she offers us, and hope to continue to spread her name.


Sarava Maria Padilha!


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