Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Commission of La Madama and el Congo

Commission of
the Madamas and Congos

La Madama is one of the most loved and respected groups of Spirits of the various courts or commissions in Caribbean Hispanic Espiritismo.  Many confuse La Madama, or "La Negra" as many Caribbean Hispanics call her as being one spirit but this is not the case, the Madama are many.  The Madamas represent the Female Force, and wisdom within a family unit.   Historically las Madamas or Las Negras where the Mammys, the Mamei, Mama Mei or Mai, the house slave servant who where responsible for the caring and well-being of a master’s family.  They where the matriarch, the eldest and wisest of the Masters slaves, and where loved and respected by the family

The Madamas where the healers and the midwives and where well knowledge in midwifery.  They had a vast knowledge of herbalism, and home remedies, and as one today enters into a pharmacy to seek a remedy for what ails one.  The Madamas could enter any forest or wooded area and find the correct herb for what it was needed for.  

Las Madamas where also termed as Brujas by the Spaniards as they had a vast knowledge in magic, it is a fact that the first quemaduras "witch burnings" in the Americas happened in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The historic location is in front of el Castillo de San Cristobal, today the location is marked by the Lincoln School.  In those days this area was called el Charco de las Brujas (the Puddle of the Witches).  African slaves who practiced their African magic and sorcery and where accused of Witchcraft which in the Spanish point of view was connected to the Devil where paraded through the old city walls and then brought to el Charco de Brujas and tied to stakes and burned alive.

One important historical case which took place in 1608 was that of African woman who proclaimed to have  Mayorazgo "Spirit Guide" that resided within their stomach.  The eldest of the women became possessed by her Mayorazgo Spirit and spoke in a man's voice.  The spirit even said that his name was Pedro Lorenzo, and that in Africa all Spirit Guides resided within the stomach, abdomen. Miraculously these women lives where spared, and ordered to be taken to the The Catedral de San Juan and immediately exercised and properly baptized.   Note if you look at most statues of a Madamas you will notice that either one or both hands touches their waist or abdomen.

Present day statues of La Madama are usually considered a Spiritual Vessel and Espiritistas always cleanse, baptize and open the bottom of the statue and fill her with an orange or red cloth bag with her mysteries.

La Madama has many sacred emblems, of those, a straw wooden broom which is her tool for cleansing and purifying, a pack of La Baraja Española,  Spanish playing cards which she uses to tell fortunes, a knife which she uses for protection and cutting herbs, and a bowl or basket which she uses to place  healing herbs and make healing brews.  Each of the items represents one of the four elements. Broom, air, cards earth, bowl water, knife, fire.  A wooden rosary is always places around the statutes neck.  Tradition says that the African slaves could not afford the expensive imported European beaded rosaries of their masters so they made their own out of wood and rope.  African women where often fond of rosaries.

La Madama has been venerated in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba since the days when these wise women took care of the children and there wisdom has never been forgotten, so much so that they have been sanctified within Espiritismo tradition.  There was even a law in Puerto Rico that declared that if a slave were left as guardian to his/her master's children he/she became free.

  I once spoke to a practitioner of Hoodoo who mistakenly called the Madamas  Sorceress and a conjure and root worker,  or root doctors, this is far from the truth.  A sorceress in Spanish is an Hechizera or an enchantress who works magic for personal gain, and power, something La Madamas are clearly not about since all their labor on earth was for the greater good of their oppressor and kinfolk, and it is known that in Africa root doctors where primarily men, this tradition came along to Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Venezuela.  The women where the healer women who worked with herbs and the men worked the roots.  The Congo Spirit is the typical root worker conjure man. 

There where African women who worked in black magic and roots, these women in Caribbean Hispanic communities where called Las Congas.  While the Madamas had a motherly nature one thing is true about the Congas and the Madamas, as viewed in Espiritismo tradition, they have a strong character and are very opinionated and outspoken.   One famous Conga is that of Negra Fransisca there are two historical Negra Fransiscas one was Dominican the other Venezuelan interestingly both where powerful Spiritists and well knowledge Witches.  The Dominican Francisca was married to Don Francisco while the Venezuelean one was married to el Negro Felipe.

The Venezuelan Negra Francisca Maria Dolores lived in the 1800, her fame is as respected as that of New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.  Legend says that La Negra Francisca Maria Dolores  was an exotic mulatta beauty of caramel skin with hazel eyes, her father was a Spaniard and her mother was a freed slave.  Her character has been described as sweet, loving, flirtatious, with superior intelligence as a business woman. 

She was well sought of from both blacks and whites as a Macumbera practitioner of Macumba and because of her superior talents as a clairvoyance and a medium.  She was married to el Negro Felipe Rodriguez who has been remembered as a womanizer and alcoholic.  (His statues always depicts him poring liquor from a jug to a cup.)  Negro Felipe was also a powerful medium and Macumbero, and is said to have been married to 9 Women, all named Francisca.
Francisca Maria Dolores was believed to have been barren, a curse placed on her by Felipe's other wives who where also all practitioners of Macumba and envious of her power, fame and beauty.  

As the legend goes Francisca through a dream was told that Felipe's other wives had placed the barren curse upon her.  The following day Francisca prepared a powerful bilongo (black magic) to lift the curse and return it to her enemies.

Shortly afterwards she became pregnant but miscarried after the death of Felipe.  Deeply saddened she went into seclusion until her death.  She is buried in the town of Ocumare de la Costa, and her tomb has been visited by Espiritistas from all over the Caribbean and Venezuela, as the tomb is always full of candles and offerings. 

Little is known of the Francisca of the Dominican Republic with the exception that she was a powerful Vodou priestess and was married young to Fransicisco and they where inseparable until the day they died.  Statues of the Dominican Francisca is always accompanied by el Negro Francisco because in embajadas (ceremonies where they are invoked to come down) she refuses to work without her life long partner.


The Congos are the spirits of the witch doctors, paleros, juju man, root workers.  They are often of a strong character, demanding, and up front.  They never hold their tongues and love to smoke tobacco and drink hard liquor.  They are often invoked in lifting curses, and combating black magic.  Many are suspicious of none black people.  In Africa they where kings, and great shamans who where captured and became slaves.  This is the reason of their suspicion to none blacks.


The commission of the Esclavos are the spirits of the slaves both male and female.  They usually appear in embajadas and sèances as very wise, soft spoken and inquisitive.  I have been working with a Esclavo by the name of Otelio since the mid 1990s.  He often comes to embajadas and sesiones, to lift causas, and give words of wisdom.  In life Otelio's face was branded, as was tradition for slaves to get branded on their foreheads by their masters.  He tried to fight it and got the left side of his face branded.  He became blind in his left eye and speaks through the right side, rarely moving if ever the left side of his face.

Some Escalvos fall under the Majordomo Court, or the Butlers.  Other where Marronage or  Cimarrón, the spirits of runaway fugitive slaves who hid in the mountain areas of Puerto Rico and lived amongst what was left of the Taino or in caves.  The unpaved roads and heavy jungles and rain forests insured their safety and freedom.
Names of famous Madamas and las Negras.  These are some of the names of various Madamas that come down during Sesiones and Velaciones, there are to many to name but these are the names of those that make frequent appearances and help to guide.  Understand that in present Hispanic Caribbean cultures the word Negra is not an offensive or racists word.  It is used mostly as a term of such as honey or dear.  Many Carribean Hispanic use the word Mi Negrita, to mean my love.


Names of Some Madamas

Negra Tomasa
Ma Fransisca
Dońa Elena
Doña Amparo
Tia Maria Calunga
Negra Josefina
Maria de la Luz
Maria Conga
Ma Cesilia
Ma Anabel
Mai Maria Cuatro Costal
Negra Ophelia
Ma Juana
Mama Ela

Music.  Bomba and Plena
Offerings. Tobacco and black unsweetened coffee.
Color. Orange and Red
Flowers.  Carnation
Patron Saint. San Martin de Porres
Ascended Spirit. Afra
Names of Congos and Negritos

Ta Jose
Negro Francisco
Negro Felipe
Candelo el Negrito
Pa Tomas
Pai Jose
Hermano Juan
El Prieto Candido
Congo de Guinea
Hermano Moises
Tata Jaquin


Oh holy spirit of La Madama. I Implore your sublime influences, for my protection. By the Virtues that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost have placed upon you, I ask you to help and Guide me. Oh Grand Spirit of La Madama, give me courage! use your divine wisdom, and your divine influences, so that no man or woman, under the eyes of God, may harm me. I ask this with pure respect, pure faith, pure hope, and pure charity.


Oh Madama, I humbly invoke your sublime holy spirit.  Lady of waters, I invoke you by your name Negra Tomasa, Negra Francisca, Mama Juana, Mama Ella, Ma Elena Ma Amparo, and Mai

I invoke you as my fortress of protection and by the virtues bestowed upon you by God, intercede on my behalf. 

Liberate me from all that is evil, and bring only righteousness and goodness on my path.  May the light of God eliminate my home and all that I hold sacred.

Oh Madama, liberate me from tormented souls, and may those who wish me ill, repent and come asking for forgiveness from the offense they may have done against me.

May my pathway be clear and smooth.  May your Ascended Spirit guide me and may all evil be banished from my life.   Amen.


La Madama are known for being Yerbateras and Santiguadoras, and they used herbal infusions for baths.  This is a bath and not meant for human intake.  Pregnant Women should not handle Rue (Ruda)

With Rue Rosemarry, and Basil. (Ruda, Romero, Albahca) My body I shall perfume so I may be cleansed in invoking you.

With Wormwood, Bonesett, and Sage (epasote, rompe zaraguey and salvia) to cleanse purify and remove bad thoughts, and evil vibrations.
With Marjoram  (Mejorana) so that luck come my way.
With Wild Mint, and Holy Thistle (Yerba Buena, Yerba Santa) so that I can have light and clarity of mind.
Oh Madama, as I light this candle, illuminate my life and pathway.  As I pour this herbal infusion over my body, cleanse and purify my aura.
Oh blessed and glorious Madama I place my faith under your protection.  Amen


Oh glorious black queen, your heart is as pure as all the Ascended Souls.  I implore that you calm my anxieties and aid me in being victorious in all my undertakings.  Show me the virtues of patience so that when times of turbulence arise,  I may deal with them accordingly. 

Oh Negra Francisca, bestow upon me courage, and values I so need in this life.  Fill me with your spiritual fluids and faculties so that no evil under the Sun and Moon may not cause me harm.  Lend me some of your wisdom and the knowledge to know the difference from what is correct and what is incorrect.  Show me a sign and let me know that where ever I go and where ever I am, I will be in peace and tranquility because your guiding spirit is not far.
I implore you Negra Francisca, as my Centinela, protective Spirit Guide, protect me in all my journeys.  In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Oh Glorious Congo Spirit, for your virtues you have enteted the Kingdom of Heaven and have obtained the Holy Blessings of God.  You are a leader of the heavenly commission of spirits and you are surrounded by Angels.

I an admirer of your strength and courage, knowledge and wisdom, ask in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost that you fill my body with your powers and help me in separating the evil thoughts my enemies send towards me.

Free me Oh Congo from the snare of the Devil, and the embrace of his demons. Vanish from me all evil spirits and bind their hands and feet, may they never reach me.

Oh Glorious Congo, With you at my side I shall defeat my enemies, and with your strength I shall overcome all my obstacles.  With your sublime powers that have been given to you by God, I ask that you help me in my daily needs.

Guard my home against envy, jealousy, and bad faith, and free me of all negative influences.   I light this candle in your honor, and ask that you illuminate my path.  Amen.


Oh divine redeemer, spirit of the Congo.  I call to you, may you come and work the spiritual labor.  May you work both the  material and the spiritual. 

You Congo that in life suffered what we consider unimaginable.  I implore that you protect me from suffering the same fate.  Protect my beliefs and do not let others judge me, or make me feel like I have to hide what in my heart I know is wright. 

Oh my beloved Congo, be my guiding light in this life, and keep all that is wicked away from me.  Bring only that which is good to my life.  I ask this in the name of God.  Amen.


Negro Felipe and Negro Jose, you that where captured from your motherland of Africa and brought to the Americas against your will.  By God sent and by the Virgin protected.  In Africa you where a king, a prince, and of noble blood.  Striped  of your honorable titles and given the title of Slave.  But still you endured, and became immortalized as ever wise and ever humble, and the very descended of those who persecuted you, today honor you as living saints of the celestial courts.

Oh Negro Felipe and Negro Francisco, I ask that you make impotent those that wish to strip me of my freedom, and wish to conquer my mind, body, soul, and my freewill.  Keep away from me all black magic, evil intentions and ill will.  All this I ask with much faith and  reverence of the eternal freedom bestowed upon you by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen.

To you Brother Negro Juan, who was in the canoe when our Lady of Charity appeared before You, Juan Indio, and Juan Blanco.  You who are the backbone to my spiritual frame, and to all the good spirits  that take an interest in my well being.

Oh Negro Juan you that knows first hand my tribulations, I ask that you help me in making my life peaceful and still, as peaceful and still as Our Lady made the waters for you and the other Juans. 

You know all my necessities, I ask you to intercede on my behalf in front of Our Lady and the Celestial Court.  I ask this with much faith.  Amen.


10.24.1790 to 07.5.1869


Our Lord and Heavenly Father, you that took into your Kingdom the Sage amd Teacher Rafael Cordero Molina, the Afro Puerto Rican Freeman, who had a burning desire within his soul to teach all children, black and white, rich and poor. 

Born of a brilliant Wisdom, and a charitable heart for his fellow man, poor and homeless.

Let me be as he was and be like a good neighbor, and a good Samaritan.  Let me be generous in serving all those who are in need. 

Lord I ask, let the memory of his charitable works be remembered and may his name be Holy and elevated upon the altars.

Veneration of Virtue, respect for the good man who devotes himself, like the Divine Master Rafael Cordero Molina, to the teaching of those who do not know.  To pouring into the hearts of the youth the principles of Faith, Hope, Charity, Love, Knowledge, and Glory.  Bring me to shed a tear, not on an opulent tomb, but on a humble grave, brightened by the merits of the virtuous man who sleeps within.Such a man as was Rafael Cordero y Molina.  AMEN.

Hermano Brujo Luis
Sanse Santerismo, Brujeria, Espiritismo  Puerto Rico

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