The responsible and well trained Sancista or Presidente de Mesa, with his Mediamnidad de Mano derecha and the trained aprendiz "ahijados" that make up his Sociedad or Centro are there in order to help those in their Spiritual needs. May it be lifting a causa, removing a curse, a prayer session, cleansing, or a spiritual consultation.
The first step in Sance as is with Espiritimo is an Investigacion de Cuadro and a Misa de Ratificación, "an Alineacion de Cuadro", then if the Sance call onto an individual to follow or be registrado and coronado as a Sancista de la Siete Divisiones del Panteon Sancista, one goes through various Presentaciones a los Puntos and then other ceremonies which include el Bautismo and so forth. Many Sancistas do not take on godchildren or as many, as other traditiones do because to be honest many people dont need any religious ceremonies to heal or get better, they need a good limpia, despojo and a therapist. (Trust me I have come across some Sancistas who need the same.) Also many Sancista work la Mesa del Espiritismo Criolla or Folclorica as Presidente de Mesa or Mediamnidad de Mano Derecha. Know I personally dont agree with being of multiple tradition unless they compliment each other, many times various traditions clash, but to each their own, and as my Abuelita (grandmother) usto say. Cada Cabesa es su Mundo. I respect all Faiths and Religions for each has its mysteries and its beauty, but sometimes to mix these traditions is like mixing bleech with amonia, and one can come up with a deadly clash of Titans. Most Sancistas practice for their own well being, or for their family and close kin, and clients are taken for consultas, limpias and despojos. Sanse although a branch of Haitian Vodou, is also deeply Spiritism, and Cristian (Catholic) and is clouser to Brazilian Umbanda Blanca and Maria Lionza Espiritismo of Venezuela in structure and beliefs.
In Sance and I am speaking only for Sance and with a Sancista's point of view, smaller is often better, although a large Espiritismo Reunion, Velada or Misa gathering is always a good thing. "Sesiones are often smaller" In which of course we work in harmony with other respected traditions such as Ocha, Vodou, 21 Division and so on, while Fiesta Espirituales tend to be larger.
Sanse is a mix of three traditions, European, African and Native American (Taino) Chamanism; and is a folk magico spiritual religious tradition that again although is considered a branch of Vodou, is more Amerindian "Taino" in structure and nature than its Haitian Vodou counterpart, which has more African elements and roots. Puerto Rican Sanse is a combination of Spiritism and Vodou and deals with Spirit and ancestral veneration as it does with elements, such as wood, metal, crystals, mineral, plant, fire, air, earth, and water.
It seams where ever one goes, people like to point out that Sance is not of Puerto Rico, well duhh, this would be like saying Espiritismo is from Puerto Rico, its not, its from France, as the roots of Sanse are from Haiti. Much of what is Sance as followed in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland has its influence in other cultures, but it is as Boriqua "Puerto Rican" as los Taino who thousands of years (before Christofer Columbus) came to the islands from modern day Venezuela. To say a tradition of a place is not theirs is ignorant. It is insulting the Afro Puerto Ricans and saying they had no culture, no identity, its insulting the descendants of los Taino of Borinquen the same way. Espiritismo is not Puerto Rican, but Espiritismo Criollo, Foloclorico and Mesa Blanca as practiced by Puerto Ricans is. Also Vodou is not Puerto Rican, but Brujeria, el Vudú, Curanderismo, and Santiguarismo as practiced on the island is. Mix this all together and you will have a Sofrito of cultures, and this my people is what Sanse Borinqueña is. It is similar to New Orleans Voodoo, and Southern Hoodoo which is not Haitian Vodou, but its origins are from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but it is as American as American Apple Pie. The same can be said for Puerto Rican Sanse, it may have many elements of Haitian Vodou, but it is very Puerto Rican in structure. If someone says its a Sancocho, pues O Cara, la Yuca de los Taino, el Platano de Africa y la Aceituna de España make a damn good stew.
As with Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santeria and Dominican 21 Division, Puerto Rican Sanse synchronizes the spirits with that of Catholic Saints. But this is not to be confused with the belief that the Catholic Saints are the Loa, they are not. They are representations of the Loa, and is similar as saying. "You are of your father, but you are not your father."
The names of these Spirits are known as Misterios or Lwa and where brought to Puerto Rico with Dominicans and Haitians who migrated to Puerto Rico as early as the late 1800s who brought with them the customs and folk religions of their native home. Although many Lwa are from Haiti, new Lwa "Misterios" have arisen in Sanse. Often times these Puerto Rican Misterio "Loases" are not in all actuality neo-spirits, but ancient Taino Ceml spirits of nature, Cacique Chiefs, Bohique Shamans and Nitaino warriors or ancestors who have elevated and have taken their rightful place amongst the Divisions.
Although both Haitian Vodou and Dominican 21 Division deal directly with the Loa, Sanse being also an offspring of Espiritismo, and while they do venerate the Lwa which are also known as los Santos or Los Misterios, Sanse deals with the working of spirits within one's spiritual frames. These Spirits are known as los Emisarios, los Seres, las Comisiones, los Muertos and los Sance. These Spirits manifest themselves in Fiestas, Veladas, Misas and Sesiones, and often manifest in a similar ways in which they may have acted in life, during their material incarnate existence. But many times they come to give messages, or warnings of things that are yet to come. When these spirits manifest within a banco or casilla they often salute in the traditional language, or form of salutations of the times or location in which they where alive. Each of the Spirits often act as they were when they were alive, and each groups of Spirits acts in the traditional stereotypical way that they may have been viewed in life. For example the Spirits of the Comisiones, Las Gitanas often come twirling around in Flamenco fashion, the Madamas are loving and nurturing while the Esclavos are quiet and wise, and the Congos are fierce Paleros. In Puerto Rican Sanse a new group of Comision or Court of Spirits has arisen, these are known as Los Sanse. Los Sanse or Emisarios, or Mensajeros as they were called by our parents and grandparents in Puerto Rico. The Sanse are a group of Spirits that work as Emisarios or Embajadores "emisaries or embasadors" for the Loa. For example, while Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santeria and Dominican 21 Division work on calling the Loa or Orisha themselves, which often rely on lengthily ritualistic chants and an order of music and sung invocations, in Puerto Rican Sanse, a spokesperson or messenger for each Misterio in called. These spirits as I have stated are known as los Sanse, and in life they where followers, priests or priestesses of a certain Loa, or Orisha and come speaking on their behalf. So lets say we invoke the Loa Ogou, a messenger of Ogou will come down, a Sanse, and this spirit will often demonstrate the Loa or Oricha corrientes and characteristics, but with many characteristics of their own. But the Sanse are not the only ones to be invoked, Spirits of one's Cuadro such as Comiciones, Antepasados and even Santos are called.
As I have stated while Haitian Vodou or Cuban Santeria call on the Loa / Orisha in lengthily ritualistic ceremonies. In Puerto Rican Sanse as it is in Dominican 21 Division, often only a certain amount of Misterios are called. Example, if we are having a fiesta for Santa Marta or Candelo, then they and the Spirits of that division are called, and often times other Misterios or Sanse will come, if they so wish to come. At times we can call on a Spirit from one Division, and a Spirit from another will come.
The Sance always act in a similar fashion as the Loa they are coming down to represent but will have many characteristics that are of their own. The Sanse, as the Emisarios of Puerto Rican Espiritismo Criolla often come to help us or those around us in finding solutions to every day problems, removing curses, cleansing and even aiding us in finding closure to a problem we may have. These very Sance are a part of what we call our Cuadro Espiritual, and they are as strong as the person's connection is towards them. If the person ignores his/her Cuadro, and their responsibilities for those spirits, then it becomes weak, if you deviate from them then they will move away from you, leaving you weak and accessible to lower level spirits and other demonic forces. Know there are Spirits within your Cuadro that will never leave your side, but each Spirit works as a frame or a shield that not only protects the spiritual body, but also the physical, mental and each of the seven layers of the aura which are the Etheric, the emotional, the mental, the astral, the etheric template, the celestial body and the causal. (Which should be studied as a subject apart.).
When an individual is disconnected to their spirits, their aura becomes weak and instead of getting help from ones protective spirits, what happens is that they begin to attract negative spirits and forces which bring confusion, discomfort and disorder. These Spirits are known by many names, such as Atrasados, Burlones, Enduresidos and Causas. One would be surprised how much this occurs in modern day Spiritual houses, Templos, Sociedades and Centros. Many times individuals who lead a life of charlatans, believe themselves to be mounted by Spirits of their Cuadro when in all actuality what is being manifested are Atrasados and Burlones who come down not just to moch and ridicule the Medium or Channeler but the congregation, society and temple alike. These Spirits are not spirits that want to help individuals but cause fear, discomfort, confusion, disorder and come to mock Espiritismo, Sanse and its followers.
I was taught early on, both by my grandmother and padrino, not just in Sance but Espiritismo, that one has to be very careful, and vigilant when mounting one's muerto or working one's Cuadro for la obra de la caridad within a room full of strangers. Many well trained and knowlwdgable Sancistas or Espiritistas will never mount in a room full of desconosidos. We don't mount because every one is mounting, or because it seams like the in thing to do at the moment, or that we feel we have to prove something. In all actuality in the Centros and Templos of times past el Presidente de Mesa did not mount, this was the job of la Mediamnidad de Mano Derecha, el Presidente de Mesa's job was to make sure no malignant spirits would come forth, safeguard the body of the mediums who did mount and keep order in the Centros. Also Espiritistas and Sancistas when dealing with muertos should also understand the rule of "Las Tres Gotas de Sangre", and prior to any Misa or Sesion we go before our Cuadro so they may protect us from those who would only wish harm upon us. We need to understand that we must spiritually, physically and mentally protect ourselves before Sesiones, especially in a room full of people we do not know or fully trust. Traditionally a Sancista and Espiritista prepares themselves for the task mentally, physically and spiritually. A knowledgeable Sancista and Mediamnidad of Espiritismo should fast 8 hours before sesiones or misas, releave their bodies of human waists, take herbal baths, pray and meditate, asking for inner strength and protection. Not just from the evil eye and the wagging tongue of those who may be present at any given gathering, but also that an Espiritu de Causa is not absorbed into the Sancista by those who carry them, or to protect their Spirits from those who envy them and would do anything to have that Spirit work for them.
The Tableau Espiritual, Mesa Blanca and Santuario, are the sacred house and central shrines which is the altar kept for the various Santos, the Mesa Blanca / Mesa Espiritual "Boveda" is the house shrine for ones dead and ancestors. La Plaza Espiritual is a special altar made for ceremonies such as misas, veladas and sesiones, and within a Plaza Espiritual one places all the candles and offerings, pańos, ritual objects and items that will be used during the spiritual ceremony. These altars can be as elaborate or as simple as one's personal financial means allows, and are as different in every home as the Loases and Sanse themselves are within each individuals Cuadro. Every Muerto, and Sanse works different for every person, and no two Sanse or Muerto are ever quite alike.
Many of the characteristics and mannerisms of the Misterios, Muertos and Sanse venerated and respected in Sanse can be viewed as offensive in other orthodox traditions. They often enjoy the material pleasures of life as they mount a host's body, they enjoy to smoke tobacco, drink rum, and pitorro, dance, and can at time speak in vulgar languages. Some of the female Lua and Muertos can be flirtatious and coquettish, while male Lua and Muertos often demonstrate strong male characteristics. They salute the public in the traditional language of how they may have saluted in life, and love to cleanse the public with smoke, liquor, fresh herbs, coconuts, eggs, and perfumed scented herbal waters.
As I have stated before a Sancista baptized in Sanse de las 21 Division de los 7 jefes del Panteón Sancista, who has been Presentado a los Puntos, and those Mediums who practice Espiritismo Criollo and Folklorico must be well educated and knowledgeable not just in the world of Spirits, but also must demonstrate mediamistic and psychic abilities and although most of their knowlwdge will be learned with the participation of a Sociedad or Centro, much is also learned through prayer and meditation infront of his/her Spiritual Table and Spiritual Frame. "Mesa Espiritual y Cuadro Espiritual."
Again I want to reinstate that traditionally speaking a Sancista or Espiritista that was perceived as a Presidente de Mesa was not viewed as such until a mature age of 30 and over. I mean no disrespect to the 30 and younger Sancistas and Espiritistas that are out there today, I am speaking about the way it was traditionally done, not just in Puerto Rican Sanse and Espiritismo but in Espiritismo in Venezuela and Brazil and traditions such as Umbanda and Maria Lionza Espiritismo. At any age one can be a Mediamnidad of Espiritismo and be baptised into Sanse, but this alone does not give you the title of Presidente de Mesa or Sancista Mayor, at these ages one in an aprendiz or an ahijado / a. While we are all born with a degree of phsychic and mediamistic abilities, it takes development, learning and wisdom accumulated through age to run a Centro, Templo or Sociedad. The individual must first Desarollar Espiritualmente "Spiritually Develop" and be of a mature age; el desarollo espiritual takes much time, patience and great faith. There is allot of studying and learning that the Espiritista and Sansista must undertake. Baptism into Sanse is a way one can begin to develop spiritual faculties, development of Mediamistic abilities, but these ceremonies alone will not give them to you. They give you the key to the car, and you must learn how to start the car and learn how to drive it responsibly. Reckless driving can lead to serious injuries including death, this is also true when dealing with the realm of Spirits.
In today's modern society I have noticed a trend, every one is baptised or crowned something and often crowned multiple traditions that was unheard of in Africa, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Many times apposing traditions are intermingled into a poisonous gas that is more dangerous than that of mixing Bleach with Ammonia, something that traditionally was viewed as apposing forces or apposing religions. Also many individuals are Jacks of all trades, but masters of none, few have taken the needed requirements to develop spiritually, and Sanse like all respected traditions often take a life time of learning.
Skills such as the different type of psychic or mediamistic abilities such as Seer "Vidente / Clairvoyance", Auditor "Oyente / Clairaudience", one should know the difference between an Espiritu de excistencia, a causa, an espiritu endurecido, espiritus obscuros, arastrantes, and burlones. One should know the difrent between dark spirits, demons, and good spirits and so forth, and this list goes on and on.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
¡Ay de ustedes, maestros de la ley y fariseos, hipócritas! Limpian el exterior del vaso y del plato, pero por dentro están sucios, llenos de avaricia y de desenfreno y se permiten todo tipo de excesos!
¡Fariseo ciego! Limpia primero por dentro el vaso y el plato, y así quedará limpio también por fuera.
Ay de ustedes, maestros de la ley y fariseos, hipócritas!, Qué aflicción les espera, que son como tumbas blanqueados. Por fuera lucen hermosos, pero por dentro están llenos de huesos de muertos y de toda clase de impurezas.
Por fuera parecen personas rectas, pero por dentro, el corazón está lleno de hipocresía, maldad y desenfreno.
Sadly to hear, I recieve many emails and am hearing horror stories all over on Sancistas doing Investigaciones and Alineaciones for ridicuolouse amounts of money, I have also heard of stories of individuals paying 400 for each presentacion a los puntos, 1,500 for Bautismo and other ceremonies. I have even heard how all the ceremonies start to finish are being done in several hours, a process that should take 5 to 7 days are being done in two hours, this of course saddens my heart as individuals are being taken advantage of. Each Punto is like a baptismal and should take a few hours of prepeartion and ritualistic work, and there are various ceremonies, not just that of the Puntos.
What ever happened to La Obra de la Caridad or charitable works that was highly practiced in Centros in the time of my parents and grandparents. Also I am hearing stories of Padrinos and Madrinas doing black magic and sorcery on their godchildren, and pitting godchild against godchild, these Sancistas who are suppose to be a role model are unscrupulous, having little if any moral values and principles.
This abuse has gone long enough and this goes for all traditions of the Caribbean. I understand that each spiritual punto has costs and items to purchase but this does not go into the thousands.
Also charging for Misas, Veladas and Sesiones would have been viewed as scandelous in the eyes of our grandparents. These individuals have no respect or love for themselves and their spiritual families, let alone for the tradition of their ancestors. They have no true love for their tradition, they honor manipulation, power and the almighty green dollar bill. Also these individuals love to have control of their godchildren, they love to manipulate them into other things in order to get more money, even for an advice that should come naturally and from the heart.
I educate my ahijados and ahijadas very carefully and the ways in which it was done in the old days, and take the time to get to know each and every one. I have only had one problem with one, who wanted fame and power and tried to intimidate me into ceremonies. I am generally a prochable and mild mannered individual, but not easily intimidated, and will never tolerate or stand for disrespect or being intimidated. Respect me and I respect you. Eventually my Spirits told me to let him go and I did and I will never place myself in a situation such as that. "knock on wood!". I teach them the way I was taugh, an Investigacion is 25.00 a consulta the same, and together if possible we will get the items needed for the Puntos, the only ceremony that is a bit pricey is the last of the Ceremonies, which in my Sociedad does not even reach past a few hundreds because of the items required for the final ceremonies. Also I teach my ahijados as I was taught, that the first year after bautismo and initiation, one is still under development until the first year is over in which they recieve their Cuaderno Libreta Espiritual "the text book of our tradition, and then and only then are they considered Sancistas and if they choose can take on their own ahijados.
Sancista Brujo Luis
Grandioso Padre Dios, Ojo visor que siempre me proteje y elumina mi camino. Cuidame y amparame de las lengua maldita de mis enemigos, que solamente quieren traer culumnias, abuso, aggression, mentiras, desafios, y la muerte a mi. Que la Sangre de Cristo los Reprenda! Protegeme y amparame de los Mal de Ojos y la habladuria de personas negativa y miserables. Paz, Paz, Cristo, Cristo. Dominus Nostrum. Amen, Ache y Asi Sea!!
Great Heavenly Father, your watchful eyes always protects and lights my path. Guard me from the hateful language of my enemies, who only wish to slander, abuse, submit aggression upon me, lie, challenge my worth, and wish that death be brought upon me. May the blood of Christ Repel Them. Lord I Pray, remove all negative influences and harmful individuals from my path. Protect, Guard and Spare me from the envy of those filled with misery. Paz, Paz, Cristo, Cristo. Dominus Nostrum.
Amen, Ache and so Be it!!