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.