Mungo Inkiso! Our Camino lead us down the mountain, and at a certain point in the pathway we came across a small Mountain Spring gently seeping clear water. We took the opportunity to appreciate the Spring and to cleanse and refreshen our heads. Spring water is water that is emerging from the Earth herself. It has been filtered naturally by the Earth, and absorbs properties and minerals from the stones that it travels through in its process of filtering down to where it emerges from. Generally as long as what is uphill from the Spring is clean, Spring water is safe to drink and tastes wonderful. As Paleros when we find a spring it is always a blessing, and we always utilize the opportunity for cleansing, healing, and refreshening. We also from time to time collect the Spring water as the true "holy water". Many times people will send someone to the church to collect holy water, however as Paleros we know that the true holy water is that which is emerging directly out of Ntoto!
Springs are very sacred, be they a small seeping spring or a gushing erupting dramatic spring. The Spirit is there and must be respected and appreciated. A Spring can quench a spiritual thirst, and a Spring can bring healing when utilized by a Palero/ Palera in a conscious and focused manner. Consciousness is everything for the Palero, and we always stay humble to recognize the greatness of the Spirit even in its more humble manifestations. These explorations of consciousness are the continuing evolution and education of the Palero. Without them we are glued to a mambo that becomes stale and stagnant and can create torments of the mind because of lack of information. It is detrimental to simply take on face value the limited information that is given to one within the Tradition, it is our imperative as initiated Paleros to take our understanding further and further every day through in depth explorations and investigations of the Misterios in their natural manifestations. Playing Palo is a way of life! There is actually no reason for any Palero/ Palera to limit their scope and understanding of this natural and raw Tradition of Life!
An inattentive passerby may dismiss this Spring as a wet area or puddle. However the Palero who is walking with the Nkisi quickly notices this phenomenon! The exploration of the Spring reveals various openings, some covered with leaves, others more obvious.
We recognize the Spring as a "source" for the River, it is a constant source, as opposed to the Rain which fills the river rapidly when it is falling. Spring water either filters down from rainfall higher on the mountain to a lower area where it emerges much later, or it wells up from a underground "pool or lake". The current of the water entering the Spring comes from below, creating a different effect and energy than the rain hitting the water from above. The Spring water has traveled through our Mother Earth, absorbing her energies. Water absorbs whatever is around it, be it electronics, emotions, sounds or rocks and Soils even bones! The Spring water has been empowered and purified by the Mother herself!
In this watershed approximately 40% of the water in the Rivers that run through this area come from Springs and water seeping from the River bed itself. This is a "mundane fact" but has a great deal of Spiritual Significance. We recognize that mundane facts have been robbed of their spirituality and it is one of the priorities of our Munanso to reinstate the spiritual understanding in the context of the mundane fact. We are always seeking to retrieve misplaced knowledge, because as Paleros we know that nothing is lost, but that we find ourselves in a place that we have to cast our net widely to retrieve that misplaced knowledge. This is especially critical because we are in a time when much of the knowledge that the Elders of Palo carried was not fully transmitted to the subsequent generations of Paleros. We also cannot overlook that there has been an attempt to erase the significance and spirit of the Indigenous Cultures of the Caribbean (such as Taino, Arawak, Carib, Garifuna, etc) in the contribution made within the development of Palo. Likewise there has been an astronomical attempt to erase the significance and spirit of the African within the Caribbean among some of those identifying as Taino.
In thinking about the Mpungo, Chola Wengue, who is embodied within the River, we look to the sources of that water! One source being the Rain coming from clouds formed through the evaporation of the ocean waters, the other being Water coming from the Earth herself. These are two distinct phenomena which are related through both being aspects within the greater cycle of water within our Mother Earth which includes the Mpungo Chola Wengue and the Mpungo Kalunga. Those who are considered a "Child of the Two Waters" meaning a child of both Chola and Kalunga must look carefully at those places where the cycle of Kalunga and the cycle of Chola meet. These points are where the River meets the Ocean but also includes a point somewhere in the sky or within the rain where the water which has evaporated from Kalunga becoming clouds, precipitates and falls down upon the Earth and Waters becoming the waters of Chola Wengue. The Spring brings us to a point of particular interest for these children of the Two Waters as a third "Mother/Father" is present, the Earth herself, inclusive of the stones, minerals and soils of her. Whether we are a child of Kalunga, a child of Chola Wengue or a child of the Two Waters we can explore what that exactly means in terms of our Camino. We also must consider the whole cycle of the Water upon the Earth in terms of the energy that we walk with as a "child of Kalunga, a child of Chola Wengue, or a child of the Two Waters".
It is also appropriate to consider the journey of this Spring water in the context of "life and death". This water has come from the entity of the rain and been absorbed into the soils of the Earth, slowly trickling down through soil(with its multiple inhabitants, microorganisms, fungi, bacteria) and rock, perhaps gathering within a large underground river or lake and eventually emerging as a new entity, the Spring. It is a Spirit that 'disappears' into the Earth, and emerges at a totally different point further down the hill of time with a new "face", having been "transformed". In the context of the absorption of the water into the Earth we can think about the absorption of the human body upon death and burial into the Earth, assuming a natural burial. The waters of the body are absorbed by the Earth, and those waters will assumably eventually emerge somewhere as a Spring! We can certainly say a Spring represents Rebirth! Metaphorical and Spiritual!
Within all of these photos the faces of the Misterio manifest themselves and are speaking to us as long as we have "eyes to see!" They will reveal wisdom to us as long as we are wholeheartedly embarking upon an exploration to understand these Misterios without prejudice or shortsightedness.