The Misa de Investigación is one of the first ceremonies that is undertaken within Espiritismo and the Sanse Religion It is a séanse of four or more Espiritas and Mediums seated around a person who is to find out the Spirits that make up his or her Cuadro Espiritual. During la Investigacion it is rare for anyone to become possessed by a Spirit, but it does happen. A spiritual consultation is given through divination from either the cards, tobacco, sea shells, or other methods. Through this process one finds out the various groups that make up a person's Spiritual frame, and who are some of the Ancestors or dominant blood lineage and if the person needs to undertake any further initiations of development; and if the individual is elected to become the head Medium's (Presidente de Mesa) ahijado / ahijada (godchild). It is important to have a Clairaudient medium a Clairvoyant medium and at least one physical medium which is the Mediamnidad de mano derecha in addition to the person presiding over the misa, which is the Presidente de Mesa and will become the Padrino or the Madrina of the person undergoing this misa.
The Centinela and each of the spirits of ones Cuadro will be invoked with prayers and songs enticing them to participate and if possible make their presence be known and what are the Cortes or Comisiones (Courts, Commissions) of spirits that make up the ahijado's Cuadro Espiritual.
The bautismos are baptismal ceremonial or los Puntos are rites of passage that an individual undertakes which usually last anywhere from four to seven days. During these days the individual undertaking los Bautismo will officially become the ahijado / ahijada of the Presidente de Mesa "head medium" performing the ceremony and the head medium will become the Padrino or Madrina of the person receiving the bautismos. The ahijado / ahijada will undergo various bautismo ceremonies, depending on the tradition of el Padrino or la Madrina. In tropical areas such as Puerto Rico it is always performed outdoors within a rainforest, river, lake, wooded area or mountain top, but in urban settings within the United States the bautismo are done indoors in a Centro Espiritual or the homes of the Padrino, Madrinas, or ahijado.
Some of the Bautismos and their Puntos are as followed, Bautismo de Agua, Bautismo de Fuego, Bautismo de Tierra and Bautismo de Humo y aire (air). Each night the ahijado will receive, a special cleansing prepared with herbs, oils and perfumes called a Punto for the Centinela (head spiritual guide) and other spirits of the Corte / Comision, Angel de la Guarda, Misterio and Santo Patron.
The Alineacion de Cuadro Espiritual, Alignment of the Spiritual Frame is a special Mesa Blanca Espiritismo ceremony performed by the same group of mediums mentioned above for the purpose of identifying the actual names of the ahijado's Centinela, and other spirits guides that makes up the Cuadro Espiritual. The Ceremony is performed differently by various Centro Espirituales, and depends if the Centro de Mesa Blanca Espiritismo is purely Espiritismo or more Santerismo or Sanse, in Sanse this procedure is known as la Consulta de Investigacion. The difference with the Consulta de Investigacion and the Alineacion de Cuadro Espiritual is that the Consulta deals with finding out who ones various Puntos, Jefe, Santos and Mysterios are while the purpose of the Alineacion is to find out the name of the Centinela Principle Guide, and the names of other Commissions that make up the ahijado's Cuadro Espiritual.
Before the ceremony the ahijado undertaking the ceremony must fast that day, or consume raw vegetables and fruits until the ceremony is complete and refrain from sexual activities and vulgar usage of language. His/her Padrino or Madrina, the Mediamnidad de Mano Derech and other mediums will prepare the altar and adequately purify and cleanse the location where the misa is to be held.
The altar usually consists of the basic Mesa Blanca layout, a table covered in a white cloth, with one Fuente Espiritual, and a large White candle and Vases full of water are placed on the altar, but some traditions add more Fuentes. The ceremony usually starts by the ahijado or ahijada privately stripping himself/herself of the clothing warn that day and taking a despojo herbal bath prepared by the Padrino or Madrina. Then the ahijado will dress in clean white clothing and cover the head with a white head dress, cloth or cap. The ahijado will then be presented to the altar and a sahumerio will be used to cleanse the ahijado of any negative vibrations the bath did not pick up, this sahumerio is a mixture of garlic skins, herbs and resins that burn on a charcoal. Then he/she will offer bouquets of white carnations to the altar, crossing him/herself with them, kissing them and placing them into the Vases on the altar and light the white candle, as all the mediums chants prayers to the Spirit Guides.
The Padrino or Madrina holding the ceremony will recite special prayers to invite the various courts of Comisiones to come down, this is called an Embajada. Usually the first presence or dominant presence is that of the ahijado's Centinela, and usually takes possesions of one of the Mediums, usually the Mediamidad de Mano Derecha, or speak to the Clairaudient or show visions to the Clairvoyant.
The ahijado is seated directly in front of the altar while the Padrino or Madrina or both sit on either side while the rest sit around the ahijado.
During the Misa de Desarrollo the ahijado/a is in his/her apprentice stage and is taught through careful observation how to properly conduct a Misa Espiritual, reunion and a sesion. How one must behave and conduct themselves during spiritual labor and what procedures must be taken to ensure that only positive spirits are invoked while the Espiritus Atrasado are left out, and the proper and correct prayers for any and all situations are taught, and how to detect and lift causas. The appropriate way to communicate with the Spirits, and how to get answers. The ahijado is also taught the importance of both material and spiritual hygiene, and the importance of performing an Amparo ritual before and after every spiritual work and how to lift causas.
The ahijado assists the Padrino and Madrina in many Sesiones and Misas, and plays a small but important role in the gatherings such as lighting candles and filling the Fuentes with Fluidos, dressing altars, handing the Mediums Florida Water and other spiritual waters and attending to the needs of an Espiritistas, Presidente de Mesa or the Mediamidad de la Mano Derecha. When the Padrino or Madrina are sure that the individual has grown in Facultades Espirituales, the ahijado is ready for further ceremonies. In this stage of development and apprenticeship the ahijado never becomes fully mounted or possessed by a Spirit. Instead they are taught to listen to ones intuition and inner voice, and act accordingly.
This Misa is a divination, cleansing and purification ceremony where the Padrino or Madrina use an oracle to discover and decipher the ahijado /ahijada's spiritual, and material problems, the causes and effects, and what must be done to lift any negative vibrations and remove any Espiritus Atrasados that accompany the ahijado / ahijada. The severity of the negative vibrations and what must be done to remove it. Some Padrinos and Madrinas with the help of other mediums including a clairaudient, a clairvoyant and a Casilla "physical medium" who is usually always la mediamidad de mano derecha can also perform a past life regression to see if bad karma from a past life was brought into this life and how to lift and remove it, and to give the initiated a clearer understanding of who he/she was in previous lives and how or why the cadena espirituales (spiritual links) that bind him/her to past life spirits. Various cleansing techniques are done during this Misa such as pases, santiguos, despojos and sahumerios depending on the negative vibrations and Causas. Some Causas vary from bad karma, to the individual being the recipient of black magic, or the individual attracting Espiritus Atrasados; to paying unpaid debts from past lives, to having a link with the spirit of a past life partner or family member that is attached to the person in the present state, and is the cause for the Causa.
The Misa de la Coronacion is where the Centinela and the various spirits that make up ones Cuadro Espiritual are symbolically placed on the Head. Each individual has a different Cuadro Espiritual, most individuals have two or more Spirits from the various courts of commissions, while others may have various spirits from the same Commission. It is impossible to know all the names of the spirits that make up an individuals Cuadro Espiritual, and as the newly initiated is instructed; he / she will come to find out on their own while growing in spiritual faculties as the spirits will, unravel themselves and as the medium develops they will come in contact with other spirits and their names through out their life will come to them. During the Coronacion, the ahijado/a makes his/her first physical contact with the Centinela, during a ritual mounting. After the Coronacion a Fiesta Espiritual is done, and family and friends are invited to congratulate and celebrate the new Sansista, Santerista, Espirita or Espiritista, depending on the religion or spiritual path. After the Coronacion, the ahijado / ahijada can work his own spiritual tableau.
I have been to many Novenas most for departed family members and loved ones. It is a Hispanic tradition that Espiritismo and Catholicism share in common. I personally have only lead one Novena, and at first it was very nerve wracking, I thought I was gonna blank and forget the Credos, Our Fathers or Ave Maria, but thankfully I pulled through. I know of a ten year old Puerto Rican girl who is so gifted in Novenas, that she has been leading the Novenas prayers since she was seven. I once spoke to an older Puerto Rican neighbor of mine in her late 60s who performs 2 or 3 a month. She jokingly told me that if she had gotten paid for all the Novenas she has lead in her life she presently would be a wealthy woman. Novenas are done through what we call, la obra de la caridad.
The Novenario del Recién Fallecido, or Novenas is a Rosary prayer ceremony done one day after a burial and lasts for 9 consecutive evenings, usually begun when the sun sets.
An altar is prepared and adorned with white candles and the funeral wreaths, in some Sanse and Espiritismo traditions a Fuente Espiritual with a cross or crucifix within the water is placed as the central piece, while others do not place the crucifix within the fuente, and others do not include the fuente; and the wall is adorned with a portrait or photos of the person who passed. We recite the Rosary but also include prayers from Allan Kardec's books of prayers.
It is a tradition for each person or family who brings a wreath to a funeral to drop a single flower from the wreath on top of the casket and then bring the wreath to the house where the Novenas is to be held. These wreaths adorn the altar.
The Rosary is recited and the recently departed is invoked to the altar with the prayers of the Rosary. Many of these spirits are confused and dazed from the transition of life into death and the purpose for a novena is to lead them into the light so that they do not remain trapped in the material plane, thus becoming wondering spirits or worse, restless souls. The Novena is a spiritual tool in helping the spirit except death and find spiritual elevation.
This misa is done to help elevate earth bound spirits, tormented souls, lone souls, the disembodied spirit, full bodied apparitions or the soul of a deceased person that has passed and never been spiritually elevated or gone into the light. Usually these spirits become angry, afraid, or confused and cause uneasiness on the living they get in contact with or properties they attach themselves to. The purpose for the Misa de Elevación is to help them except that they need to leave this plane of existence and enter into the next. Many of these spirits can be very difficult, stubborn and quit frankly dangerous, if this is the case, the Centinela, Cuadro Espiritual and Archangel or an Ascended Spirit are invoked to help intercede.
The Collar de la Protecion is given to the newly initiated medium during the Coronacion in the form of a necklace or a bracelet that is placed on the left wrist or around the neck It is cleansed, purified and blessed and placed on the person as a charm of great protection and to ward of evil, and is always worn and never removed with the exception of sexual activities and releasing the body of bodily waists. If the charm breaks or is lost, this is a symbol that it picked up on strong negative vibrations, danger, envy or the evil eye and must be replaced by a new one. If found it is cleansed and purified before being warn again. No one but the Padrino, Madrina and its owner is to touch it. They are a protective symbol of ones Centinela, and are made out of hematite, azabache stone, peony seads, gold or silver. A medallion such as an Indian head, an Indian arrow head, a tooth, a congo spirit, mano de azabache, cruz de caravaca, star of David, a pyramid, a cross or crucifix, or an amulet of a saint. One two or three are placed on the Collar de Protecion to represent the Centinela protection. A hematite bracelet can be plain round stones or depict images of Saints.
The Colors represent
Black, the unseen, the unknown, but from darkness comes light.
Red, the blood of life, the essence of existence..
Silver, clarity, visions, insight.
Gold, spiritual faculties, light strength, endurance, durability.
Some also receive a Rosary and an Escapulario as a gift from a loved one during the Coronacion. This Rosary is used during times of Novenas and Misas, and the Escapulario represents ones Sanse Spirit, or Patron saint. These items are also blessed, purified and cleansed by the Padrino, or Madrina.
The tradition of giving a mano de azabache to a new born is widely popular in Hispanic countries, for protection from evil, this is the same concept, to protect the newly initiated from evil, envy and malice.
Lately allot of Espiritistas, Sansistas or Santerista who have been initiated into Lukumi Santeria and 21 Division use and give blessed eleke collares to their clients as a talisman for protection these are not traditional in Espiritismo but are widely respected.
This literary is one of the most exhausting but spiritually uplifting and powerful misa performed. In Puerto Rico this rite is performed solely for the Commission of the Indians, the caciques and the Cemi Spirits. Traditionally only performed by the ascendants of the Taino people, it is becoming popular within Espiritismo and Sanse traditions. Traditionally the Taino celebrated Spirit and life with a ceremony called the Areito.
In Espiritismo an Areito begins with the traditional prayers recited in Misas, then everyone stands up in a circle and begin to slowly chant and dance counter clockwise all the while stomping their feet upon the ground. The women usually shake gourd rattles and the men hit two palo sticks. At first the dance begins slow and becomes quicker as the music plays and chants are sung and everyone involved enters into a trance like state, as the Great Cacique and Cemi Spirits are invoked. Some include instrument players that play the Mayohavau, the Guiro, and sea shell fluits.
The ceremony is always held outdoors, and the Fuente Espiritual is replaced by a large gourd filled with river or rain water. Although descendants of Puerto Rican tainos have always been performing private Areitos, and since the 70s has become very popular amongst Puerto Rican Espiritista circles, in Cuba an Espiritismo sect called Espiritismo de Cordón has always been practiced. Also the word Areito is used in the Puerto Rican language to mean Danzas Folkloricas everything pertaining to folk dance be it African or indigenous is titled an Areito, or baile folklorico.