The following are common terms and words used in Quimbanda drawing mostly from Portoguese or Bantu and Kimbundu languages.

Alguidar- A terracota bowl used in Quimbanda and other Afro-Brazilian traditions to hold offers or as part of magical rites.

Amaci`- Specially-prepared herbal baths used for initiation rites, to wash sacred objects, or for cleansings.

Amarração- A term literally meaing, “binding” or “mooring.” Refers to works to binds individuals together. A coercive love spell to inspire lust, love, and ensure fidelity.

Arruanda- A reference to ancestral memory through a place where many Congo slaves were shipped from. Arruanda is included in songs and invocations referencing the ancestral root.

Assentamento- The spirit vessel usually made of metal or terracotta to house and seat the spirits.

Caboclo- Native Amerindian spirits, especially those of Brazil. Generally associated with knowledge of wilderness and the powers of nature.

Cabula- Refers to the Temple of Quimbanda.

Cachaça- The sugarcane rum of Brazil and one of the most common drinks given to the spirits.

Cambono- Initiated assistant who attends to the mediums and assists in the directing of possession ceremonies and rites.

Campo Santo- The cemetery though occassionally refers to the church or chapel found on the cemetery grounds.

Charuto- Cigar

Compadre- Term referring to the personal spirit guides that walk with an individual.

Demanda- A petition or demand given to a spirit to carry out in a magical act or spell. To make a demanda on a spirit one must have the authority to do so.

Dende`-Palm oil. Often used for offerings to the spirits.

Despacho- A spiritual cleansing or exorcism. A magically work literally to dispatch a spirit on a mission usually done through the use of offerings like a pade`.

Ebo`- Yoruba term adopted into Quimbanda to refer to sacrifice or offering.

Feitiçaria- Sorcery or witchraft

Fula/Fundanga- Gunpowder. Used to call down the spirits or to send them away.

Gira- Literally means “spinning” and refers to a ritual celebration or party in which the spirits come down to be honored.

Kiambote- Kimbundu greeting.

Kiumba- A shell or ghostly spirit of the dead that is unelevated. They are commonly seen as the houds of Quimbanda and are called in works of malefica.

Laroye`- Adopted from Yoruba as a greeting to the spirits.

Lomba- Refers to a sepulchre or the grave mound as one spiritual component of the cemetery.

Luz- Literally means “light” and refers to the spiritual elevation of spirits and ancestors. Offering of candles given to spirits.

Macumba- A universal term used for most of the Afro-Brazilian religions, though especially Quimbanda. Often used in a derogatory fashion to refer to black magic. Used in Quimbanda to refer to a spell or magical work.

Magia Negra- Literally, “black magic” and commonly refers to spell work in Quimbanda.

Malandro- Refers to the rascals of the street associated with womanizing, drinking, gambling and living by one’s wits.

Marafo- Alcohol

Mau Olhado- The evil eye also called the fat eye in Brazil. The disruptive power of envy often directed unconsciously that causes misfortune and ill-health. One of the common ailments treated in spiritual work.

Menga- Blood

Mironga- A term refering to magical workings, from the making of powders, to more elaborate forms fo spellcraft. Used to give direction to a despacho or offering. Refers to a secret or mystery, or forumla.

Nkulu- Congo ancestral guide used in Quimbanda to refer to one’s guiding Exu or Exu Tata`.

Nzo/Nzila- A term referring to the Quimbanda family, or group of initiates associated with a house.

Pade`- An offering dish made from corn flour, or manioc flour and other ingredients as part of offerings, spell work, and despacho in Quimbanda.

Patua`- A magical talisman often containing minerals, herbs, and prayers. Alternatively called macuto.

Pemba- Special ritual chalk often made in varying colors. Used for cleansings, to seal one’s body from evil, to draw pontos riscados, or included in powders.


Pontos Cantados- Special songs used to praise, honor, and call down the spirits.

Pontos Riscados- Spirit signatures that contain the essence of the spirits. Used to call down the spirits, or invoke their power in works of macumba and to give them direction.

Preto Velho- Translates literally to ”Old Black” and refers to a class of spirits representing old slaves preserving the wisdom of the ancestors. Often depicted in white, with a cane, smoking a corncob pipe. Called upon for works of cleansings and healing.

Salve- Salutation and greeting given to the spirits and when greeting fellow initiates.

Sarava`- A term used wishing luck and benediction to the spirits and initiates. Often used as a rallying cry.

Tata`- Refers to priests of Quimbanda who possess the mysteries of Exu and Pomba Gira and who have received the assentamentos of the spirits. The head of a Quimbanda temple. Also refers to one’s initiator and teacher as well as your guiding Exu.

Terreiro- The Quimbanda temple, or the place dedicated to Exu.

Tostão- Coins usually given as offerings to the spirits or in spells to draw wealth and money.

Tronco- Literally means “trunk” and refers to the spiritual root of the Quimbanda temple. This can refer to the first assentamentos of the temple and its core.

Yaya`- The female counterpart of the Tata`; the priestess of Quimbanda.