- El EMBAJADOR Male LA EMBAJADORA, Female: An assistant medium who will recite the prayers during the seance and make sure all runs smoothly and safeguards the Casilla while under possession.
- El BANCO or LA CASILLA. The bench or vessel, a medium who will transmit messages received from the spirits or become possessed by a spirit to lift causas, and give spiritual advice and consultations.
- Los Participantes, El Publico. Those who attend a Séance, "Sesion Espiritual'. la reunión espiritista
The Reunión, or Sesion Espiritual "Sèance" is at the heart of Puerto Rican Espiritismo, Santerismo, Sanse, and the Brujeria traditions. It is where we come to gather in a small group to speak and get information from our Seres, Muertos, Centinela, Santos, Cuadro Espiritual and Commissions. The séance is a private gathering similar to the larger public Misa Espirualeits, Fiesta Espiritual, and Veladas.
A reunión or sesion is done under faith hope and charity, meaning no one gets paid for this service, not even the Mediums conducting the séance, but it is expected of all attending and participating in the event to collaborate with the expenses in some form and bring the necessary ofrendas to the séance. The oftendas are offerings to the spirits and include items such as cigars, florida water, holy water, flowers, and incense to name a few.
In Puerto Rico a Séance is never practiced with less than three people, and no more than nine. More than nine would fall under a misa espiritual or velada. What I will be describing here is how I personally do a séance and how it is practiced amongst the Puerto Rican community. From this point on I will be using both the English word Séance and Spanish words Sesion, or Reunión as they are often used interchangeably within the Hispanic community.
The preparation call for the table that will be used for the Reunion, it should be cleaned and wiped down before la sesion, with florida water and holy water, and the table is always covered with a white table cloth. A large glass fuente is filled with cool holy water and placed on the center of the table surrounded by white candles, usually three, or nine.
Another table is set aside which will be the tableau espiritual, an altar for the Centinela or Guardian Saint and other protective spirits guides of the Cuadro Espiritual pertaining to the person whose house the sesion is to be held. This table becomes a shrine to the protective spirits and the items and ofrendas used for the Séance are kept there such as food, rum, coffee, cigars, flowers, a bell, florida water, a gourd instrument such as a maraca, and a black cloth. A large fuente is also placed on the tableau espiritual, this one will have a mixture of Holy Water, anil indigo water, Florida Water, Bay rum, Kolonia 1800, Colonia Patchouli, Locion Pompeya, and Agua de Sandalo. Within the fuente a metal soup ladle is placed and around it enough fresh clean white face cloths for all attendants. Packets of wooden matches and fresh cigars are also placed around the altar. Behind the fuente two white seven day candles are lit.
The house where the sesion is to be held must be physically and spiritually cleaned before the séance is to begin. Garbage is removed, dishes are washed and the house must be neat and organized. The house should be fumigated with frankincense sandalwood, and myrrh or with nag champa incense before the sesion begins, and four clear glasses with ice water and camphor is placed within the four corners of the house.
The actual table where the sesion is to be held was traditionally a round dinner table, if it is imposable to have a round table, this does not matter as the candles around the fuente will create the spiritul circle.
Before the sesion it is imperative for the Embajador and the Banco to refrain from having any form of sexual activities that day, and that they fast for 6 hours prior to the Séanse. It is not that these things are bad for the Mediums, but that it causes the mediums to become spiritually grounded and it also creates a spiritual barrier or blockage. Food and sexual intercourse, grounds a person, and in order to receive messages, the body should be as light and as clean as humanly possible. Both the mediums prior to attending the Séance must relieve their bodies of bodily waist, and cleanse themselves with a spiritual bath, prayers and fumigation. The bath is done at home and prior to the sêanse, it consists of taking a hand full of fresh sage and mashing it into a gallon of cool holy water. The water will take on a green tint, to this is added a large bottle of florida water and it is carefully strained and placed into a large glass bowl. A white cloth is placed over the bowl and it is placed on the mediums altar as candles are lit and the medium says prayers to his Cuadro Espiritual. This is left on the altar until the candles are consumed, usually small tee lites. (NEVER LEAVE CANDLES UNATTENDED) The mediums will take a bath with this spiritual wash by pouring it over the head in a bathtub as prayers are recited. Half of the spiritual bath is saved to cleanse oneself when returning home at the end of the night. This is an Amparo ritual that must always be done prior to the Seance. During the seance, both the Embajador and the Banco, should remove any belts jewelry, and shoes. If the shoes are not removed then the laces must be untied.
The only thing kept on the table where the sesion is to be conducted is the fuente espiritual with 3 or 9 white candles surrounding it, and Allen Kardec's book on Selected Prayers, a few bottles of florida water and ash trays for the cigars.
Everyone participating in the Seance are asked to arrive at a certain time and always as the sun begins to set, usually around seven in the evening. They are instructed not to be late and that good personal hygiene is observed by all attendants.
At the entrance of the home a fuente is filled with a mixture of indigo, Rompe zaraguey herb, florida water and holy water so that all who attend may bless and protect themselves by making the sign of the cross when they arrive. Also a ritual chalk made out of white egg shells is placed next to the bowl so participants can draw protective crosses on their wrists and in the back of the neck. On either side of the fuente is a lit seven day white candle.
During the sesion all participants must keep their legs uncrossed and their arms should never be folded and during the actual séance both their hands palms down are kept on the table at all times; unless they are flicking a cigar, this is called la cadena espiritual. The Embajador should keep his/her head covered by wearing a white head cloth or white bandana upon the head, this is a protective measure so that he/she can control the Séance and not become possessed. Although Higher Spirits can speak through the Embajador, and the Embajador can pass messages from the spirits to the living, he must stay in control of the reunión at all times. Spirits will often give messages to other attendants, if they feel a strong message, they will politely wait until the Banco is quiet. Many Spirits want to come through during a seance, and the Embajador must insure complete control and order and that respect is observed at all times. Benevolent spirits are not the only ones who will want to attend but los espiritus intranquilos will try and come. If an evil entity is present, or takes over the body of the banco, it is the Embajador responsibility to remove it or command it to go to leave. If the spirit or entity refuses, the black cloth is placed over the bancos head, as a prayer of protection and banishment is said while wringing the altar bell. Also Spirits might not ever posses the banco, they might let their presence be known, by wrapping noises or moving objects.
The reason why it is important the Embajador should say the proper prayers and invocations that will follow, is because it is the responsibility of the Embajador to insure the safety of all present, that he calls on benevolent and protective spirits,only, and to make sure an earth bound spirit or demon is not invited into the sesion, or that negative spirits are not left loose to wonder this plain of existence.
The Séance should commence one hour after the sun sets. Everyone participating should wear clean light colored clothing and come with a respectful attitude. All cell phones are turned off and all forms of distractions. Once the reunión begins no one is permitted to leave or come in during the sesion.
During the Sesion, the Centinela or one of the spirits from the commissions might come down to consult of lift a causa. The spirit within the casilla often stays seated but many times it will stand up and move around cleansing and purifying. If this happens it is the Embajadors responsibility and job to ensure the safety of the casilla. The Embajador stands behind the casilla and makes sure the material and physical body of the possessed casilla is not harmed.
When the sesion begins all the candles are lit and electrical lights are turned of, and everyone takes their seat. The Embajador begins to recites the prayers from Allen Kardec^s prayer book, beggining with the prayer of the Medium, at this time both the Embajador and the banco takes a ladel of the blessed water from the fuente and pours it on the clean face cloth and cleans his aura. Then the embajador begins to recite the opening prayer, and counter clockwise one by one, the participants gets up, salutes the spirits of the tableau altar and takes a ladle full of liquid from the fuente and cleanses themselves. The embajador continues reading the opening prayer as each individual salutes the altar and cleanses themselves and then again takes their seat. Sometimes after the prayer and blessings, spiritual songs are sung as the participants light cigars to entice the spirits to join the reunión. If songs are not sung, then quiet espiritista music is played in the background.
When the sesion is over all the waters from the altars and the table are thrown out the front door, Lights are turned on and all who attend enjoy a light meal, and talk about the event or messages told during the sesion.
If the participants and mediums are up to it they can call friends over to dance as a Fiesta Espiritual is underway and the spirits and commissions are invoked to dance and trabajar las causas.
*** FOR THE MEDIUMS. ***
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord. I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those last days of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy." Acts 2: 17/18
Almighty and Powerful God, allow the enlightened and benevolent spirits to come and assist me in the communication that I seek. Protect me from being enveloped by malevolent entities, and distance me from judging myself and from the pride of egotistical thoughts that will deter me from the purpose of your spiritual mission, which can cause conflict in my communication with other spiritualists and towards other mediums. If I should fall into error, inspire others to advise me of my mistakes and instill within me humbleness. And If I for any reason should fall into the temptation of abusing the gift you have bestowed upon me, I pray that you aid me in seeing the errors of my ways before it deters me from the purpose of using this gift for greater good of mankind and my spiritual progression.
We pray to the Almighty Lord to send us good spirits to assist us, to keep away those who could induce us in error, and to give us the necessary light to distinguish the truth from the impostors. Also keep away evil, incarnate or dis incarnated spirits that could attempt to place discord among us and deviate us from charity and love for our fellow man. If any attempt to introduce itself here, prevent it from finding any access to anyone of us. Good Spirits, that condescend to come here to instruct us, make us gentle to your advises and deviate selfishness, pride, envy, and jealousy from us. Inspire in us indulgence, and benevolence for our present and absent fellow men, friends, and foes. In ending, make it that in our feelings of charity, humility, and abnegation, we would feel in good spirits, and recognize your healthy influence.
To the Mediums who you will put in charge of transmitting your teachings to us, give them knowledge of the holiness of the command that has been entrusted upon them and the seriousness of the act they will accomplish, for the purpose that they would have the necessary fervor and devotion. If there are persons in this reunion that have been attracted by another feeling, different to good, open their eyes to the light and may GOD forgive them if they come with bad intentions. We particularly pray to the Spirits of (....), our Spirit Guide to help us and watch for us.
We ask the Divine Spirit and all our spirit guides and guardian spirits that are here tonight to watch over our work. We ask that only good benevolent spirits be present and that our spirit companions protect us from harm and mischief from any troubled spirits whom may be attached, attracted, or sent to this place.
Lord with your Grace we invoke the Spirits of your Court, sweet emanation of the Sublime, of all the great and all the infinite good, holy, and just. Elevated Spirits by your virtues to such a high grade of perfection and joy, where the Almighty's mission is directly received, so that the effects of his paternal love reach us; messengers of the divine word; come closer to us by Charity, because we are calling you with all the effusion of our souls, so that it vibrates in our hearts with the echo's soft emotion to our entrapped spirit, and to our gross senses, which are used to be dis according accents of our earthly lyres, and cannot conceive the beauty of our harmonies. Let us glorify the Lord, whom by his mercy, we are beginning to enjoy in his dwelling of exile from the light of the truth, the hope of its love and the incomparable embrace of his paternal love, say that we wish the gift of suffering our tests with patience, because his infinite love has made us understand his great knowledge and our healthy mission in this world. Thank you for such great benefits! Guide us with Spirits sent from God, clear our souls, enlighten us with your knowledge from the rugged path of our lives, may the torch of truth shine in him, so that our souls would purify with your beneficial influences, and when our deserved peregrination ends, you lead us as simple doves to the foot of the throne of the King of Kings, to ask him for forgiveness for the faults and sing with you his praises.
Sensible and benevolent spirits, messengers of God, whose mission is to assist men and lead them through the good path, support me in the tests of this life, give me the strength to suffer them without muttering, deviate from me bad thoughts and make me not have access to any of the bad spirits that attempt to induce me to evil. Enlighten my conscience so that I can see my defeats, lead away from me the eyes of the veil of pride, which could enable me to see them and keep them to myself. You. Above all. My Guardian Angel, who watches over me particularly, and you, protecting spirits who take interest in me, make me worthy of your benevolence. You know my needs; make it then, for me to receive the grace according to God's will.
Woe and Pity upon you Scribes and Pharisees, you who cleanses the outside of your chalice and plate, but within you are full of after anger and filth.
Blind hypocrites, first cleanse the inside of the chalice and plate so that the outside may become clean and pure. Pity upon you Scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites, you that act clean and seam beautiful upon the eyes of men from the outside, but within you are full of putrefaction and filth. As such on the outside you also show as just in the eyes of men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and anxiety.
In the name of the omnipotent God, the All Powerful God, may the bad spirits turn away from me and may the good spirits defend me from their influence.
Wicked Spirits, you who inspire confusion and bad thoughts within men. Deceiving and lying Spirits, who delude men. Mocking Spirits, who amuse yourself with mankind's incredulity. I repel you with all the strength within my soul, and close my ears to your suggestions. I implore that God's mercy be upon you.
Benevolent Spirits you who undertake the task of accompanying me in this life, give me the necessary strength and enlightenment to resist the influence of these malevolent spirits. Benevolent Spirits, Safeguard me from pride and presumption. In the holy name of God.
We give thanks to the benevolent spirits who have come to communicate with us. We implore them to help us put into practice the instructions they have given and also that upon leaving this ambient, they may help us to feel strengthened for the practice of goodness and love towards our fellow man. We also desire that your teachings help all those Spirits who are suffering, are ignorant or corrupt, who have participated in our mission and for whom we implore God's mercy. Amen.
FOLLOWING BLOG POST, THE INTRANQUIL SPIRITS AND BLACK MAGIC