Spirited Away + Tropes
'I once knew a guy whose name was Rose, John Rose' by myself.
some rituals are like woow nice good serving perfect realness
and some rituals are lame, like this one I just did
pls zeus don’t strike me with a thunderbold
srsly, i wasn’t expecting that bloody cockroach
Been a while since I shared my altar here. There’s usually a cat sleeping against it as well.
Who is Pomba Gira?
Pomba Gira, the Mistress of Witchcraft, is a spirit veiled in mystery and magic. She forms one part of the principle spirits called upon in Quimbanda though she also makes an appearance in the other Afro-Brazilian cults. Her nature, like that of her counterpart is often a mystery revealed only to those who are her devotees and initiates.
To the outsider she is known as the Lover and Mistress of the Devil; a woman of the night who embodies sensuality and witchcraft. But to her initiates she is the wise sorceress born from a legacy of African necromancy and European witchcraft.
It is theorized that the etymology of “Pomba Gira” can be traced back to the Bantu spirit of the crossroads, Bombojila who known by some as Pambu Jila. How the rather masculine figure of Bombojila became Pomba Gira, a decidedly female spirit, rests in the nature of Bombojila as containing both sexes. Some depictions of this spirit often showed both male and female combined into one figure.
Along with this connection to the Kongo spirit of the crossroads, the figure of Pomba Gira is also linked to the concept of the African witch. Any syncretism between the iyami and Pomba Gira would be misleading, but certainly the idea behind the African witches can be seen as the spiritual ancestor to Pomba Gira. She is the force of woman that is lethal in its power and mighty in sorcery, a nearly inhuman force of the night. From this springs the image of Pomba Gira as a serpent descending from a tree in the middle of the crossroads.
Her European heritage can be found in the figure of the red witches of Spain and Portugal. Women who worked malefic magic for love and destruction and who find their epitome in Maria Padilha, the legendary sorceress and mistress of royalty whose name is immortalized in incantations that call upon her alongside devils and demons. The red witches, like Maria Padilha were famed for their mastery of gypsy potions and poisons, and for their mastery of the magic of the Moors and the necromancy of the ngangas.
And it is through this melding of the red witch schooled in the magics of Africa with the inhuman night witch of the West African people birthed in the fires of the crossroads ruled by Bombojila that Brazilian Pomba Gira is born.
While both Exu and Pomba Gira are deeply connected to their African roots, Pomba Gira in her various incarnations is a true spirit of Brazil. Like the nation that birthed her, she is rooted in Africa, accepts a European influence, and yet retains her own unique identity. While there may be attempts to syncretize her with other deities and spirits, she is uniquely her own and there is none quite like her.
Pomba Gira is legion, and like her counterpart, she is the collective sorcerous spirits of witches and priestess of Quimbanda, nurtured in fire and found in her respective queendoms of crossroad, tavern, ocean, forest, and cemetery among other such places of power. Her power rests in the liminal tied to the fires that spark in the night. Sometimes called Exu Woman, she is in reality no one’s woman, but her own. She represents the free woman whose powerful sexuality is both a seductive lure to men and a threat to patriarchal society which seeks to label her.
The vulgar see her as a whore to be bought, but the wise recognize her as Woman unfettered by the restraints of society and brimming with sexual potency and sorcery. She is sex for the purpose of sex, love for the purpose of love, and best knows the human heart with all its woes and troubles. To those who place these woes at her feet, she offers quick solutions bringing them the love that they desire while offering them solace and comfort.
She is a demanding and voluptous mistress whose path truly is harsh. Born from a mingling of blood, fire, and sulfur, Pomba Gira is a force that sometimes defies definition and challenges you to see beyond the restrictions our socialized mind puts on her. Approaching her can be dangerous to the uninitiated for she is fiercely protective of her cult and will challenge the weak of mind and heart.
While her magic is capable of anything, she is particularly skilled in all matters dealing with women, the erotic, and love. She combines her sensuality with her sorcery in the most lethal of witchcrafts; with a look she can inspire lust and love in the hearts of even the coldest of humans, or lay waste to her enemies. She is the crossroads where death, love, and sex meet.
Where Exu is met at the four-way crossroads, Pomba Gira rules the T-crossroads. When her devotees call she arrives in a flurry of skirts to grant prophecy and work magic. Each Pomba Gira has their own tastes, but generally enjoys roses without thorns, wines, champagne, cigarillos, ribbons, fruit and fine cloths and jewels. But for those who attempt to use her as a whore, or appropriate her from her cult, she’ll feast on them rather than the offerings.
There have been some attempts by North American and European practitioners to appropriate her into Thelemic circles as Babylon, or by others (like the so-called New Orleans Voodoo practitioners) as a Sacred Feminine. These attempts are based off incorrect ideas about her and contrary to her nature. She is neither Babylon nor is she some love goddess. She is a legion of spirits who in addition to love and sex is associated with death and destruction. Such appropriations are not only incorrect, but potentially lethal for they assume that she nothing more than an idea to be used. She cannot. She is a demanding spirit who will burn those who dare to try to use her.
To those she takes as her devotees she is the oracular serpent of the crossroads whose words of truth bring wisdom and whose magic can weave the threads of destiny in their favor.
While there are legions of Pomba Gira, some common ones are:
Pomba Gira Rainha das Sete Encruzilhadas
Pomba Gira Maria Padilha
Pomba Gira Cigana
Pomba Gira Maria Mulambo
Pomba Gira Calunga
Pomba Gira Menina
Pomba Gira Rainha dos Sete Cruzeiros
She is Queen, She is Legion, She is Pomba Gira. Sarava Pomba Gira!
It’s funny to see Umbandistas/candomblecistas using statues of Aphrodite to represent pomba-giras.
Cybele or Magna mater ‘Great or Mother Goddess’.
The altar I just reblogged isn’t mine, if it’s this one you’re talking about.
April and May are probably the most dangerous months where I live in Tornado Alley. Between damaging winds and hail and a near constant threat of tornadoes, Spring is the season I dread the most, despite how much we need the rain from these storms to break the drought we’ve been in for a very long time.
Last year I had a Storm Candle that I would light whenever a storm was heading our way. We suffered minimal property damage last year, so I thought this year I would expand that idea to a full Storm Altar.
The various things pictured above are to encourage rainfall while maintaining protection from wind and hail.
From left to right:
- The Lantern - To me a lantern has always symbolized vigilance. It represents Heimdall on my altars and shrines.
- The White Candle - This is my Storm Candle from last year. The rune on it is the protective version of Hagalaz.
- The Rain Bottle - Filled with the rain from the first spring rainfall from last year, this bottle is here to encourage helpful rainfall and rejuvenation of the land. The rune Laguz is written on the front. However, on the back is the rune Algiz. When we are at high threat of a tornado, I use this bottle to try to encourage the storm to unwind.
- The Sun - Hidden almost as often as it is shining during Spring, I keep this here as a reminder to myself that the storm and stress is necessary. Summer will come eventually.
- Thor - Pretty sure he’s self-explanatory. The candle and stone next to him are there for more storm imagery.
- The Green Candles - There is a line of four of these against the west side of the altar. Most of our storms approach from the west. The idea here is to break up wind in such a way that it can’t organize into a tornado. The rune Eihwaz is written on each of these.
- The Two Feathers & Black Stone - The feathers are blue to emphasize the wind element. The black stone has Algiz written on it. When the wind picks up to where I don’t feel comfortable, the black stone goes on the feathers.
- The Nine Tealights - I use these any time I am asking for the assistance of Northern European deities because nine is a sacred number. Burning nine candles down is also how I activate the altar.
- What’s with the bull in the background? - Well aside from the bull often being tied to fertility as is rain, it also is there because of personal associations I have with the rune Uruz and Thor.
No, I don’t have any illusion that I am capable of controlling the weather. But if I can have any influence on keeping my family and house safe aside from the mundane things we do anyway, I’m going to do what I can.
I hope all of you who are in a similar situation get through Spring in one piece.
what a lovely altar.
i wonder why i’m still single