One man holds another as a spirit takes possession of his body during a Palo Mayombe ceremony in Camaguay, Cuba.
In the second photo, a man collapses after the spirit possessing him leaves his body during a Palo Mayombe ceremony in Camaguay, Cuba. On the left, is the ‘nganga’ (also known as a caldero or prenda), an iron cauldron comprising human bones, earth, sticks, herbs, and other objects believed to have spiritual powers. The altar is covered in blood and animal parts from sacrificial offerings to the spirits.
Palo Mayombe is a religion rooted in the Congo basin of Africa. It was developed in Cuba by slaves, who were transported from Africa to work in the sugar and tobacco plantations which colonized the landscape from the mid 1600’s. The religion combines veneration of the dead with a belief in the forces of nature. The pictured ceremony is a form of Palo known as Palo Cristiano which uses Catholic iconography such as saints and crosses to express these beliefs.
“Everyone pretends to be normal and be your best friend, but underneath, everyone is living some other life you don’t know about, and if only we had a camera on us at all times, we could go and watch each other’s tapes and find out what each of us was really like.”
Me cansé de andar siempre detrás de ti. De ser yo la que te busca aunque tú me ignores. Aprendí que si tú no me quieres en tu vida yo no tengo nada que hacer ahí. Lo siento si ahora sientes que no te tomo en cuenta pero tú no me tomaste en cuenta cuando yo te quería.