When the symbols speak

By Carlos Buby

If we consider Nature as fingerprints of God’s finger, it would certainly be that of the index finger. This is the one that shows the way to follow, while the little, annular and middle fingers indicate the Creator Himself, and the thumb points to the Heavens. In our world, the power contained in small gestures or expressions, signals how much symbols can help us understand the mechanisms of Life.

Umbanda’s symbols, which are rich in details, integrate primitive information of the greatest relevance to the modern world. The meaning of colors, ritualistic clothes, gestures, dances, songs and pontos (cabalistic symbols), transcend their practical form and are meant to translate different manifestations of Nature. Therefore, reading Umbanda symbols cannot be limited to intellectual understanding. We need to perceive the existing symbolic structures that represent the Natural Laws and, without fanaticism, use them in the different levels of communication.

The denial of symbolic representations can be compared with the rejection of dreams. To deny them because they are only dreams is similar as destroying the future in anticipation. The liturgical acts, present in the majority of the religions, generally symbolize and point the ways that lead to the Celestial Father. However, we need to pay attention not to confuse the representations with what they represent. Otherwise, we would be confusing the ways that lead to God with God Himself. In order to prevent the excess of representations, which fatally would induce the adepts to idolatry, the consecrations carried through at Templo Guaracy obey rigorous ritualistic criteria in compliance with the essential Philosophy. Because of this, the representations must include three dimensions: Physical – Intellectual – Spiritual.

From the physical point of view, the elements or spaces used for the consecrations must be the most natural possible, avoiding the use of synthetic, plastic and acrylic products. These products do not allow for good energetic performance. The spaces consecrated to the sacred representations must present ideal characteristics for the goals they are destined. Their preservation is the exclusive prerogative of the mediums prepared to maintain them. The maintenance of the Sacred Spaces requires the performance of regular, specific and well-directed rites.

The intellectual Consciousness on the fundamentals of the symbolic representations and its implications in the mediumistic development is primordial for the establishment of an harmonious relationship between the Medium and his/her Sacred values. This form of Consciousness is fundamental in the construction of the sacred structures of the individual; at the same time it provides practical ethical references. We do not like the idea of promoting mediumistic development based only on automated repetitions.

The spiritual dimension of Symbols is a space that we can only reach by walking the complex paths of belief. The spiritual meaning of a simple forest, is not only measured by its beauty or its biodiversity. These characteristics can indicate the quality of the Oxossi (Orixá of the Forest), but not its spiritual plane. If we analyze the factors of convergence and divergence that exist in the relationships between the observer (Man) and the observed (Forest), we will perceive that the spiritual plane of symbols is proportional to the capacity of convergence existing inside the observer. This means that the access to the spiritual dimension of symbols will depend on the mediumistic ability of the observer “to incorporate” the subtle energies of the Forest, while motivated by the belief of a Philosophical Light.

“The hunger of the generous
is the thirst for service.”
Carlos Buby