Venezuelan Spiritism: Practice, beliefs, the 3 powers and more

Venezuelan Spiritism

Venezuelan spiritism is essentially governed by the cult of María Lionza. It is a popular belief that constitutes an interesting phenomenon that involves the customs transmitted orally through specific rituals and the direct connection with the heroes of its history and other ancestral spirits that accompany the Queen.

What is Venezuelan spiritism?

Venezuelan spiritism is a cult of rural origin, which became better known at the beginning of the XNUMXth century., and popularized since the time of the President of the Republic Marcos Pérez Jiménez, who ordered to place a statue of the Queen at the entrance of the Sorte mountain. In it, ancestral practices and beliefs are combined, inherited from the indigenous people, from Africans brought as slaves for work during colonization and from Catholic evangelization.

Within the cult there is a certain hierarchy within the spiritualities that make it up, but the main figure and leader of this popular belief is Queen Mara Lionza, who is believed to be a beautiful indigenous princess whose history is charged with great mysticism.

Within the Venezuelan spiritism also known as "marialioncero" diverse beliefs converge where the adoration of the ancestors is enhanced. The spiritualities that are part of his cult are relevant characters of his history, independence or heroes who in life and after death have popular admiration in any corner of the country, that is why his doctrine itself has strong historical nuances and in some sense even nationalists.

The 3 Venezuelan powers

The 3 Powers

As we mentioned above Queen Maria Lionza represents the highest scale of the pantheon of spiritualities of the marialioncero cult. She is known as the leader of Venezuelan spiritism. Her figure is identified as Queen, mother or guardian of the cult, all the spirits that work with her owe her obedience and respect, in the same way that followers and practitioners do.

In the company of the Queen ruling this mythical universe are two male spiritualities. One of them is «The great Cacique Guaicaipuro». It is believed that in life the Cacique commanded much of the indigenous resistance against the Spanish conquerors in the valleys of Caracas during the XNUMXth century. His legend identifies him as a brave warrior protector of his community, always attentive and in defense against the abuses to which the natives were subjected in their territory during colonization.

The historical existence of Guaicaipuro has also been difficult to sustain. There are hypotheses that indicate that their identity is the product of the creation of the same eighteenth-century Venezuelan Mantuans who wanted to recreate a figure that represented a negative leader to give a form to the enemy who opposed the Spanish "civilizing" conquest and that by being defeated, the crown would be seen as the victor over evil and backwardness of ignorance. Be that as it may, the opposite ended up happening. The stories of Guaicaipuro gave him great respect and admiration on the part of the mestizos as they were a reference to popular sentiment, oppressed by "the whites." Finally, he ended up becoming a main figure in the cult of María Lionza by being recognized as a hero in the history of Venezuela.

The other spirit that makes up this trilogy is the «Negro Felipe». The history of this character in essence is very similar to that of Guaicaipuro, with the exception that it is a maroon who fulfills the function of representing the blacks brought to America as slaves. His legend tells that he was a victim of abuse and harassment by the colonizers, for this reason, that he joins the liberating cause and participates in the independence process.

It is then that the 3 powers: María Lionza, Guaicaipuro and El Negro Felipe, come to represent the trilogy that is located at the top of the hierarchical pyramid of the marialioncero pantheon, which represents a symbolism that preserves the essence of many spiritual cultures and a remnant of Catholic concepts related to the supremacy of 3 fundamental spiritualities for the conformation of a spiritual dogma such as the Holy Trinity.

The Sacred Mountain of Sorte

The sacred mountain, cradle of the marialioncero cult and home to the devotees and practitioners of Venezuelan spiritism is known as "the mountain of Sorte." Located in the Yaracuy state, in the western center of Venezuela. Its main entrances are: Sorte, el Loro and Quibayo.

Although it is true, the practice of spiritism is carried out in incalculable places in Venezuela. Believers are used to raising their spiritual portals in their homes or in the vicinity of countless rivers and natural landscapes throughout the national territory. Even so, it is in the mountain of Sorte, that the practice reaches its maximum expression.

Within that thick forest there are multiple spiritual portals, rivers, wells and enchanted paths, which are filled with large numbers of people who come to that place to put their faith into practice.

Learn: All about Spiritism

Celebration of October 12 or "dance in candlelight"

Celebration of October 12 or "dance in candlelight"

October 12 is an important date for marialioncero. Previously, the day of the race was commemorated, in reference to the mixture between indigenous, Spanish and African during colonization. Recently, the name of the festival was changed to "day of indigenous resistance." Regardless of the name of the celebration, in Sorte and Quibayo a ritual takes place that reflects the power of all those Indian ancestors who belong to that court and who come down to earth taking possession of the body of the mediums or materials to perform the well-known dance in candle.

This impressive ritual takes place in a considerable space where hundreds of kilograms of red-hot embers are scattered. The spiritists in the middle of the trance dressed in few clothing and barefoot, cross the long corridor of burning coals to the rhythm of the drum, while they dance and shout so that it is identified which Indian spirit has been coupled in that body, and that it walks without physically affecting the mediums' feet that are in direct contact with the burning embers.  

The courts within Venezuelan spiritism

The spirits live in a spiritual ecosystem just as all the natural elements coexist in the natural ecosystem of the mountain. Led by María Lionza, followed by Guaicaipuro and Negro Felipe, the spirits receive an organization that groups them together through "cuts."

The members of the courts are defined depending on their origin, race, profession, knowledge, culture and characteristics. The investigations show that originally, only the Indian court existed, in which María Lionza was included.

By the 80's it is known that around 15 cuts were already popular. Later, more than 30 were known. Entering the XXI century, the number of cuts exceeds 40, and some may even increase or decrease, since it is known that with the passage of time some spirits disappear and reappear in another place , or simply change their structure due to the migration of their members to other courts. Some of the most common courts are:

  • Celestial Court: made up of the saints of the Catholic Church, such as: San Luis Beltrán, Santa Clara, San Martín de Loba, Santo Niño de Atocha, among others.
  • Indian court: María Lionza belongs to this court, all the great indigenous chiefs in history, in the company of the most outstanding Indian women. All of them participants in the struggle and resistance against the Spanish colonization.
  • Corte Negra: led by Negro Felipe and Negra Matea. It is made up of Africans and Afro-descendants who made life in Venezuelan territory, such as: the black Francisca, the black first, the black Pio, the black Matea, among many other maroons who participated in the black revolts against the colonizers.
  • Court of the Don Juanes: it is made up of outstanding characters within various populations, especially peasants. Many of its members were rezanderos and healers with natural mystical knowledge, such as: Don Juan de los Caminos, Don Juan del Dinero, Don Juan Retornado, Don Juan de las Aguas, Don Juan del tobacco, among others.
  • Chamarrera Court: headed by Nicanor Ochoa, it is very similar to the Don Juanes court, in fact, sometimes some of their spirits can be identified as belonging to both courts. It is made up of elders who know the power of healing herbs, rezanderos and popular witches from various Venezuelan peoples, such as: Toribio Montañés, Macario Blanco, among others.
  • Medical Court: led by the venerable Dr. José Gregorio Hernández. It is made up of renowned doctors whose work was of national or local importance, such as: José María Varga, Luis Razzeti, and some saints such as San Gerardo and San Pancracio, considered protectors of doctors. It is believed that the spirits that belong to this court have as mission to help people who face health problems.
  • Corte Libertadora: headed by the Liberator Simón Bolívar accompanied by the heroes of independence. This court's mission is to bring justice and emanate wisdom among the followers of the cult.
  • Viking court: headed by Erik the Red, it is made up of warrior spirits known from Norse culture.
  • African Court: includes spiritualities from the African continent that became known in the region by the arrival of slaves, such as: the shaman of Africa, the great Centaur of Africa, the black Congo, Chango macho, among others.
  • Student Court: led by Lino Valles, it is made up of spiritualities whose mission is to help people in their academic activities like María Francia.
  • Corte Calé: led by the thug Ismael, it is made up of a number of characters from contemporary Venezuelan history, who during their lives committed criminal acts, but who were welcomed by popular appreciation because the benefits obtained from their misdeeds were shared with the most needy. Some of them are: Isabelita, Tomasito, Jhonny, crude oil, among others.

The mediums or spiritists Marialionceros

marialionceros spiritists

Also known as "the materials" are people who undergo a prolonged spiritual development and preparation to be able to lend their body to house the spirits through a trance in which the entity will speak, dance, drink and eat through the mediums.

It should be noted that all matters cannot "be transported" or receive into their body all existing spirits. Their receptive capacity will vary depending on the level of development reached (the lights they have) and the license granted by Queen María Lionza, who chooses which of them will be able to occupy their bodies.

The rituals by which the materials are transported giving way to the spirits are usually very impressive. Usually, the spiritists wear only flannels and short shorts, the men with bare chests, all without shoes to be in true contact with mother earth, experience convulsive movements and their bodies and voices are transformed. Some spirits when reaching land chew glass, pierce needles, cut themselves with blades, light their skin on fire, carry those present regardless of their size, and emit conversations that reveal things practically unknown to mediums at work.

You can read: What is the spiritual vault?

What is required of marialioncero spirits?

The followers of this cult make requests for the healing of diseases, to improve their love and financial situations, or to solve any other conflict of interest; too. You can also invoke the spirits to thank you for having received their help, to consult what destiny has in store for you or when you are in search of spiritual development.

How are spirits cared for?

Each spirit in particular has a number of specific elements to be served, however, in general the most used are: prayers, flowers, candles of different colors, incenses, alcoholic beverages (brandy, wine, champagne rum, whiskey, anise) ; fruits, cigars, cigarettes, sweets, and candies. You can also offer parties that are celebrated with songs to the rhythm of the drum beat.

Venezuelan Spiritism Prayer

«In the name of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer these holy lights, always with the license of the Holy Trinity, and requesting the blessing of the Heavenly Court, saints and saints of Heaven, and the Queen Mother María Lionza.

In this hour and in this moment, I request that with your strength and your power you give me light and protection. Make me the victor over every obstacle, and give me the strength and courage to move forward at any time and circumstance that may arise. Amen and so be it, so be it, amen.

Song of Venezuelan Spiritism

The songs within marialioncero spiritualism are fundamental. They are used to call upon spiritualities, to entertain them or to prepare subjects to enter a trance. There are many songs, among them we have the following:

Stripping commission, commission that I come here, crossing and stripping in the name of God.

Chorus: pray, pray, pray, pray, pray, pray my brothers pray, pray for that being.

From heaven has come down, the mother of God, let us sing the Bird to her appearance.

Chorus: ave, ave, ave Maria. Hail, hail, hail Maria.

Saint Savior, bless him Saint Savior, Saint Savior bless him, bless him in the name of God.

Chorus: Oh bless him Saint Savior, Saint Savior bless him in the name of God.

If the redeeming light calls you, good being, and calls you with love to the earth, I would like to see that being singing the verb to the divine Enmanuel.

Chorus: oh good being, go ahead and come, the choir calls you and tells you come.

All about Spiritism and the Mystic arts

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