Pombagira At Her Crossroads
Pombagira At Her Crossroads. The clock strikes midnight as a woman dressed in a black blouse and red top approaches the center of the crossroads. With a piece of white chalk, she draws a sigil on the road. She places 7 red roses whose thorns she has painstakingly removed due to the entity’s preferences, on the symbol. She lights a cigarette and uncorks and a bottle of champagne spilling a few its contents onto the street. Smiling seductively, she says, “Laroie Pombagira!” greeting the spirit of the crossroads.
In recent decades, the Afro-Brazilian entity known as Pombagira has become increasingly popular outside of Brazil. The names of her path and titles are legion, Maria Padilha, Maria Mulumbo, Pombagira Sete Sais (Seven Skirts), Pombagira Cigana (Gypsy), the Queen of Umbanda, wife of Lucifer, the Queen without a Crown.
Who is this sexy woman with red skin like a devil, decked as a queen in jewels, giving us a seductive sneer, a glass of champagne in one hand, a cigarette in the other, and a skull at her feet? Is she a demon, a prostitute, a witch, or all three?
Pombagira is part of a class of spirits known as Exuas or female Exus. In Brazilian traditions such as Candomble, Quimbanda, and Umbanda, there is the orixa Exu, the Yoruba deity of the crossroads, and there are the Exus, a group of spirits who are once human and become servants of Exu and the orixa after their deaths. The Pombagiras in some traditions are the messengers of the female orixas.
There are 7 kingdoms of these Exus and Pombagiras and their rulers are Exu Lucifer and Pombagira Rainha. Some believe that Maria Padilha and Pombagira are one and the same.
The origins of Pombagira are as culturally diverse as Brazilians themselves. One root is from the witchcraft traditions of Spain and Portugal, where Maria Padilla, the powerful mistress of a medieval Spanish monarch was revered as the wife of Lucifer and a queen of witches after her life. There are spells in the Iberian peninsula that invoke Maria Padhila, Lucifer, and Barabbas, the zealot leader who was spared by the Jerusalem crowd who called for the death of Christ and Barabbas’ release.
The other root of Pombagira is African, with a mixture of both Kongo and Yoruba beliefs. Pombagira is linked to both the magic of the Kongos and the Yoruba orixa, Eshu. In recent years, Pombagira and Exu have appeared as costumes in the famous Carnival parades of Rio de Janeiro.
Many invoke Pombagira for matters of love and sex, but she can also be petitioned for prosperity, victory over one’s enemies, and opening one’s path to success. It all depends on what you invoke her for, as she deals with both workings of blessings and destruction. Working with her without the guidance of an initiate of an Afro-Brazilian tradition isn’t advisable as she does not walk with everyone nor is she necessarily an easy entity to deal with. She can be quite demanding and extremely selective in what she accepts as offerings. She is however a bewitching and captivating figure and it is easy to see why she has grown in popularity outside of Brazil.
~Dominick Guerriero (Guest Blogger)
Dominick Guerriero has been an initiate of Afro-Brazilian Candomble and Quimbanda since 2005. He resides in New York City where he conducts workshops on various spiritual topics and is a Tarot reader and spiritual medium. He also practices his ancestral traditions of Southern Italian Catholic folk magic. His website is www.tarotvoyages.com
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