Ritualistic Tradition

By Carlos Buby

Interested in the process of spiritual development in synthesis with Nature, Templo Guaracy has structured its liturgy with a base in the fundamentals of Umbanda. TGB understands that African/ Native American/Brazilian culture, is not merely a simple collection of folkloric manifestations, but a pure and spontaneous outcome of reflection and interaction with the Totality. The nomenclature adopted from African languages and the Tupi-Guarani language, observed in the rituals and publications of Templo Guaracy, represents the Templo’s respect for the somber, historical period of slavery. This period, which lasted several centuries, forged the symbols of Umbanda from those of African and Native American descent.

For the purpose of study, TGB defines Umbanda as a philosophy, occult science, art, and religion, with the goal of coordinating the phenomenon of communication between the material and immaterial planes of existence, through the development of mediumistic perception, which is active or latent in all human beings. In Umbanda, even though the philosophical bases are the same, the ritualistic fundamentals vary from temple to temple. This often engenders distortions that can result in contradictory interpretations between the stated principles and rituals practices. The freedom of ritualistic expression, associated with the different socio-cultural background of the many directors of Umbanda Temples, has contributed to the formation of groups with different tendencies. Different terms were created to define and justify different methods. Thus we can find White Umbanda, Table Umbanda, Esoteric Umbanda, Popular Umbanda, Umbanda de Nação, etc. These are but a few examples that characterize different ritualistic modalities and doctrines, all seeking to attain the same objectives.

While not sharing the idea of labeling and thus fragmenting a tradition, Templo Guaracy holds, toward this plurality of forms of Umbanda, a position of respect, a fundamental respect for the simple recognition that, by analogy, these various forms function much like how water manifests in several ways and exercises different functions in nature. Because Umbanda is like this fresh water, we might say that it can be presented as a river, dew, rain, waterfall, source, snow, vapor, etc. feeding everyone with the magical delight of the cycle of its ever-changing forms.

Ritualistically, Templo Guaracy is founded on the traditions of the West African people already influenced by aspects of the Christian doctrine. The established relationship between the African Orixás and the Catholic Saints during the period of slavery, is seen, by the Templo Guaracy, as historic facts and not as liturgical foundation. In order to be a spiritualist institution and not a dogmatic religious institution, Templo Guaracy grounds its rites in the spiritual light contained in the philosophy of all the masters.

All manifestations of wisdom, Eastern or Western, are always welcome. As a ritualistic resurgence, Umbanda is considered to be Brazilian, and like Brazil, is still in the process of formation. However, in its fundamentals, this Synthesis of Light is perfectly in tune with our times. In this aspect, Templo Guaracy is determined to remove any interpretation of its mystical ritual as arising from folkloric superstitions.

« The Tradition of the Seeker
is not to be traditional. »
Carlos Buby