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Simbi

topic posted Fri, June 18, 2010 - 8:02 AM by 
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Here is some info I've gathered while researching Simbi:

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In Haitian Vodou, Simbi (also Sim'bi) is a large and diverse family of serpent deities from the West Central Africa / Kongo region. Some prominent Simbi Loa include Simbi Dlo (also Simbi d'l'eau - Simbi of the Water), Simbi Makaya, Simbi Andezo (Simbi of Two Waters), and Gran Simba. Traditionally in their Kongo context they are all associated with water, but in the Haitian Vodoun context they have wide ranging associations. For example Simbi Makaya is a great sorcerer, and served in particular in the Sanpwel secret societies. Simbi Anpaka is a Loa of plants, leaves, and poisons.

Simbi spirits are said to perch in trees like the birds and descend to the ground to create magic. They are believed to be the source of special blessings and a higher class of ancestors, elevated by death to a higher status than humans; yet , still available for consultation and service. Simbi is also a lwa of communication. Things regarding communication which move at the speed of light are in Simbi's domain (such as nerve impulses, Internet, electricity.) He is associated with crossroads and his veve (ritual symbol) encompasses the equal-armed cross (www.sosyetedumarche.com/Vodou_....html).

Milo Rigaud (City Lights, NY; c1969; "Secrets of Voodoo") speaks of Simbi as the Vodou Mercury, the messenger of Legba (the Sun). In this aspect Simbi is the bearer of souls to all places, and the creative principle.

www.mysticvoodoo.com/dragons...lore.htm


The Kongo Lwa of Haitian Vodou

Simbi: Priest King of the Kongo Nation


Simbi_veveSimbi is the collective name for a very diverse group of ancient ancestral spirits, who come from the Kikongo area of West Central Africa. Kongo spirituality is particularly sophisticated and creative. The Kongo world view divides into two pieces - heaven being the place of the gods and the earth the domain of the mortals. Between these two worlds lies a vast sea, an ocean of fluid that spirits traverse in their move between the two domains. Here is where the Simbis live. In Kongo spirituality there is recognized a spiritual hierarchy. Immediately above living humans are the ancestors, or Nkuyu. These are the ancestors who are named. Above them, and more removed from humans, are the Simbi. In the Kongo belief system, all Simbi (also called Basimbi for plural and Kisimbi) are associated with water. They are the source of special blessings but are known to be somewhat unpredictable. They are also said to be "twice born" which means that they have not lived recently on earth.(www.inquincesweb.com, accessed 4/5/04) Hence, they are a higher class of ancestors, having been elevated by death to a higher status than humans, yet still available to us for consultation and service.

Simbi is also a lwa of communication. Things regarding communication which move at the speed of light are in Simbi's domain (such as nerve impulses, Internet, electricity.) He is associated with crossroads and his veve encompasses the equal-armed cross (see above). There are many Simbi, so the colors favored for each will vary. In my own peristyle, I was taught by my Papa Kanzo to associate Andezo with Turquoise and Red; Makaya with Red and Black, Dlo with Blue and Green. Our house associates Simbi with the image of the Three Kings. I realize I am being very radical here, and not using the traditional chromolithograph of the Kings. But as an artist, I am exercising my right to bring forth images that work for me. Other houses use St. Andrew, though that image most often refers to Baron Kalfour. Each house in Haiti has it's favorites, but these seem to be the most common.

Unlike the great serpent Dambalah Wedo, Simbi is considered to be a long, slim snake. Sallie Ann Glassman has interpreted Simbi posed as the Rider-Waite Magician card of the Tarot, with his arms raised in the traditional Western Magic salutation. Whatever his image, Simbi is above all the preeminent magician, statesman and wise soul who brings power, wealth and insight to his servitors. Offer him water (if it's Andezo, offer water from two sources, such as ocean and fresh water), rain water, especially rain water from a lightening storm, green ribbons and candles, snake skins and kleren.

www.sosyetedumarche.com/html/simbi.html

try

vodou.tribe.net/thread/515...286ce580126

But there's a similar-ish spirit called "La Ren Congo" who might be closer to the Mama Simbi you're thinking of. (She's an amazing dancer, and shows up at our fetes a lot, particularly when my brother, the dance teacher, is around...)

www.afoolinhaiti.me.uk/

Simbi is above all the preeminent magician, statesman and wise soul who brings power, wealth and insight to his servitors. He is very helpful with all magical work, divinations & granting second-sight and clairvoyance. Call upon Simbi for assistance in any magical ritual or ceremony. The Spiritual principle of smoothe wavelike fluidity.

OFFERINGS: Water, whiskey, green ribbons or green candles. Speckeled roosters are sacrificed to him. Offer him water (if it's Andezo, offer water from two sources, such as ocean and fresh water), rain water, especially rain water from a lightening storm, green ribbons and candles, snake skins and kleren.

COLORS: Green and White generally. DAY: Tuesday SYMBOLS: He is a crossroads lwa and his vever is a snake in a field of crosses. In this he is related to Legba and also to Ghede.

Like Ogoun, there are a family of Simbi's (or Cymbie's). Simbi is the collective name for a very diverse group of ancient ancestral spirits. His primary Rada function is as patron of springs and rains, of rainfall and fresh water; in this he is similar to Damballah. However, he is most often called in connection with his other major function, that of patron to magicians. All magic is performed under his patronage. Simbi cannot do without the freshness of water. Voodoo rituals are held near springs. He is a very knowledgeable lwa because he spends a lot of time learning about the nature of illnesses of supernatural origin and how to treat them. He oversees the making of charms. Simbi is one of the three cosmic serpents of Haitian voodoo-religion, the water-snake lwa (long, green and slim) NAMES: Cymbie; The Snake in the River. SAINTS: The Magi, Moses, St. Andrew

Gran Simbi

(Grand Zombi)

There are those who say that this name comes from "Gran Simbi."

www.freewebs.com/danbalawe...rhouse.htm

www.sosyetedumarche.com/html/simbi.html

There's a song by Dr. John (Creaux) aka Mac Rebennack (of New Orleans) that mentions "The Grand Zombi" in it:

"Walk on Guilded Splinters"
www.youtube.com/watch

"Some people think they jive me,
But I know they must be crazy
Don't see their misfortune,
I guess they're just too lazy
Je suie le grand zombie
My yellow belt of choisen
Ain't afraid of no tomcat,
Fill my brains with poison."

from some place on the web: (don't know how accurate this is)

"Simbi (snake) manifests itself in New Orleans in a unique form. Voodoo rites often make use of Le Grand Zombi. This is a force called through a snake, at time a rattlesnake. Le Grand Zombi is the channel through which the grace of Bon Dieu Bon flows into the ritual participants. There is a close similarity in the names Simbi and Zombi, the powers of Simbi became associated with Zombi.
Simbi is represented by a water snake, and most water snakes are poisonous; poisons of various kinds are also reputedly used in the creation of the Zombi. In New Orleans, the power that is Simbi rides within Le Grand Zombi."

Here's a good page by Kenaz Filan about it:

kenazfilan.blogspot.com/2009/1...bi.html

Thursday, November 19, 2009
The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook: Nsambi, Simbi, and Li Grand Zombi


****

According to Kongo legend, Nsambi created the heavens, the earth and the animals. Then, after creating man and woman, he taught them how to survive in his world and how to harness the magical power of his creation. By using those teachings they could break the blazing droughts and bring down the summer rain: they could heal sickness and ensure fertile crops. They could also communicate with the mpungas, deceased ancestors and nature spirits who assisted Nsambi in maintaining his creation. Today Nzambi is still honored in Cuba by practitioners of Las Reglas de Congo (also known as Palo Mayombe), who say “Nsambi primero” or “Nsambi is first.”

Kongo cosmology envisioned the cosmos as two worlds – nza yayi (this world) and the nsi a bafwa (the land of spirits). Between these two worlds lay the kalunga, a vast ocean which also served as threshold between the living and the dead. Because snakes were frequently seen climbing trees, burrowing beneath the ground and resting in or near rivers or bodies of water, they were considered travelers between the realms. Since Kongo religious practices were concerned largely with commerce between the various worlds, it is not surprising that snakes play a major role in Kongo religions.

In Haiti Vodouisants honor the Simbi family of lwa. Like the basimbi, snake spirits living in the rivers and streams of southern Africa, they were known to be shy but powerful magicians. Those who approach them with due patience and respect and gain their trust find they are powerful allies who can act as intermediaries between the worlds of flesh and spirit and life and death. Milo Rigaud said of them:

The voodoo Mercury has the name of Simbi, a loa of many forms. He is the conductor of souls, who leads the souls of the dead in all directions bordered by the four magical orients of the cross. He is the Messiah of Legba, the messenger of the sun. Simbi corresponds to the hermetic Mercury of the cabalistic alchemy of the ritual sacrifice.

The lwa Simbi Makaya is one of the great sorcerers of Haitian Vodou. As patron of the secret Sanpwel society, he teaches his chosen followers powerful wangas that can be used for healing or destruction. Those who are not members regularly accuse the Sanpwel of human sacrifice, corpse desecration, and all sorts of related misdeeds. Within New Orleans Li Grand Zombi had a similarly mixed reputation. Believers and practitioners considered the great serpent a benevolent protector and wise teacher. Those who were not so affiliated generally associated Grand Zombi with orgies and devil worship. As with Simbi Makaya, one’s attitude toward Grand Zombi marked your status within the group.

In New Orleans the snake served simultaneously to advertise to one’s clientele and to set them apart as outsiders. This is similar to Simbi’s liminal position in Haiti. As a traveler between worlds, Simbi is tough to pin down. One of the most popular Simbis, Simbi Andezo, literally resides “in two waters” (an de zo), occupying the space where fresh water meets the salty ocean. Li Grand Zombi is similarly placed between public Voodoo rituals for tourists and private devotions, between religion and entertainment, between African root and American money-making spectacles. In this, he is a fitting patron for the city of New Orleans and its religion.

The best way to honor Li Grand Zombi is with a live snake. This is not a commitment to be undertaken lightly. Taking responsibility for a pet is no small matter, especially when that pet is also a spirit animal! While snakes are relatively low-maintenance companions, they have
certain needs which must be met. If not provided with appropriate temperatures and humidity, they are likely to become ill and die. A suitably large cage must be procured, along with a supply of the proper food.

A snake which is going to be handled in public ritual also needs to have a suitably tractable disposition – and when stressed even the most docile snake may respond by biting, musking or defecating on the nearest available target. That large python you are dancing with may be less impressive when you are soaked with runny snake dung or nursing a bloody open wound. The care of your personal Grand Zombi is beyond the scope of this book: as with any other pet, do your research before making your purchase and make sure you are able to live up to your commitment.

Should you be unable to do so at this time, there is no shame in admitting this. Snake sheds can also be used as offerings for Grand Zombi, as well as snake statues or imagery. I do not recommend using snakeskins, since they are harvested by killing the animals. (You want to honor the great serpent, not present him with the corpse of one of his siblings!) These can be placed on an altar along with offerings of eggs, candles or, if you are rhythmically talented, drumming. All these will show your devotion and help you to establish a link with Li Grand Zombi.

Posted by Kenaz Filan

Thanks to Dr. Eoghan Ballard for his very useful comments when I was first drafting this chapter, and apologies for the gross oversimplification of Kongo cosmology. (Giving it due attention would have required a book of its own, never mind a paragraph!)
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  • Re: Simbi

    06/18
    thanks a lot for the information.

    i can just add my own thoughts.
    i will celebrate simbi dlo in the forest where i know a spring - a place water is coming out of the earth.
    simbi andezo as well is at the boarder between salt and sweet water.

    i feel simbi is so interesting becuase he is at the boarder between the two elements. the veve for simbi (cross in a circle) stands in context with the jowa or dikenga cross from the congo people.
    simbi is said to be the coastguard, this is another boarderline again between water and earth. i wish he can protect the coast and the animals there.

    if i can make it that simbi likes to listen to me i will ask him to carry my wish from the source along the great water-network along the hole planet.
    beeing at the boarder, being the patron of magicans. do you know the word hagazussa for a witch, it means "the one sitting in the hedge". from there she can leave to the bush as well to the daily life in office or whatever she is doing.
    • Re: Simbi

      06/18
      Yesssssssssssssssssss, I like this, too, lena. hagazussa--it sounds like something that Simbi might say! Another term for "Witch" is "One with a foot in both worlds." I will think of you at the Spring....springs are such sacred places!

      Also, seems like Simbi is related both to Legba and to Ghede, bridging the boundary/barrier between them......

      I am also feeling the power of the Congo people, and I'm thinking of Nobuoni, who is probably very busy right now with the new baby! :-D

      Maybe he will chime in, about Simbi (or Basimbi) eventually! :-D

      Also, it is said that Simbi can really DANCE! May we dance together in Spirit! And may the spirits of the water dance again!
      • Re: Simbi

        06/18
        ja simbi is at the gate like legba and the ghedes. i have this picture as well in my mind.
        he is at the gate of the water spirits - IoI.
        • Re: Simbi

          06/18
          Oh, one little thing, but it meant a lot to me.....when I was telling Spanish Greggy that we were going to have a service for Simbi for the Solstice, and I wanted to bring offerings to the river.....we were riding alongside where the Cheat River goes into the Monongahela River...and just as I said this, a beautiful Water Hawk swooped in front of our car, barely missing it! It was so close up I could see the pattern on its feathers......

          Since Hawk is a Spiritual ally of mine, this was significant! The Hawk is my Animal Spirit Guide for the North, meaning, it shows me the Path to Wisdom. It shows me when to speak and when to be silent and listen. Hawk is said by many Native American tribes to be a being who reminds us to "Pay attention! Listen!" This, too, is an important part of Communication!!!

          I'm glad Hawk reminded me of this.

          Simbi is said to be able to walk undetected. This is another aspect of Silence.
          • Re: Simbi

            06/23
            Simbi is a Kongo lwa served in the Petwo-Kongo rites. He is a lwa first and foremost of fresh water, including springs, streams, and wells. However, the name Simbi represents a very diverse family of lwa including Simbi Dlo, Simbi Andezo, Simbi Anpaka, Simbi Anpola, Simbi Lawouze, Simbi Maza, Simbi Ganga Djimbowa, Simbi Makaya, and so on, who are served in Vodou. The relationship to fresh water for some of these is more or less apparent, and some, like Simbi Andezo (Literally, "in two waters") have a connection to both fresh and salt water. Others have no apparent connection with water at all. For example, Simbi Anpaka is associated specifically with leaves and poisons. Simbi Makaya is known as a sorcerer, and when he enters the peristil, the Petwo slave whip is tied around him. Neither one are offered water. Some of the lwa called Simbi may be served on the Rada point in some circumstances, though most are served in the Petwo rites. While there are no female Simbi, the lwa called Gran-n Simba is considered by some adepts to be the mother of all mysteries called Simbi.

            Simbi is also a lwa of communication, and in this can be seen as rather mercurial. He is associated with crossroads and the crossing of power, and because of this, he is known to be a consummate sorcerer, lending his skill to many houngan, manbo, and bokò (sorcerer) who have a relationship with him. He is associated with the figure of the equal-armed cross. The Simbi lwa are of Kongo origin. They descend from the spirits known in the Kongo as basimbi who live in fresh water ponds and streams. In the Kongo, these spirits represent the highest class of the ancestral dead. Interestingly, the Native Tayino who first inhabited Haiti knew of similar spirits called Zimi who lived in fresh water streams. These child-like spirits had copper or red colored skin and long silky black hair. In Vodou, these spirits are still known today and, through no small linguistic confusion, are called Ti-Simbi, though they apparently have no direct relation to the lwa Simbi whatsoever. Interestingly, in Louisiana the old people still speak of cymbees or cymees who also did exactly this sort of thing.

            Possessions by Simbi may run from mild to violent, but frequently take a long time to manifest and only after much expedition. Many of the lwa called Simbi, Simbi Dlo for example, are known to be shy and somewhat lazy, tending to stay outside the hounfò until cajoled by the people to enter. Other Simbi, such as Simbi Makaya, are quite bellicose. By nature, Simbi tends to both be with, and protect, the servant with whom he has good relations, or will turn his back on those with whom he does not. Many songs for Simbi speak of him being "hard to know", and this is true even for his children. In the hounfò, Vodouwizan sing, "Gran Simbi Lawouze. M'chache pou'w; mwen pa we'w. M' wele'w; mwen pa jwen ou. Simbi, piga male rive'w." (Great Simbi [of] the dew. I look for you; I don't see you. I call for you; I don't find you. Simbi, be careful; ill fortune will beset you.) And... "Simbi Andezo! Sa ki fe yo pa vle we mwen yo poko konen mwen. Yo bay mwen pwen a; se pou m mache la nwit, O! Simbi Andezo! Sa ki fe yo pa vle we mwen yo poko konen mwen." (Simbi Andezo! The reason why they don't want to see me is because they don't yet know me. They gave me the magic spell; it's so that I can walk in the night, oh! Simbi Andezo! The reason why they don't want to see me is because they don't yet know me.) His base color is white. However, there are many Simbi, so the colors favored for each will vary. For example, Simbi Makaya is served with red and green. Simbi Andezo may be served with red and white. Simbi Ganga is served with red and blue, and so forth. Simbi's day of the week is Tuesday. He is associated with Catholic saint called Charles Boremo. Some houses associate him with St. Andrew, but this is more commonly the saint used to represent Kalfou. Still other houses associate Simbi with the image of the Three Kings of Epiphany. However again, this image is more commonly used to represent the Kongo nation of spirits in general.


            from:
            www.freewebs.com/danbalawe...rhouse.htm
  • Re: Simbi

    06/18
    A little more research about Simbi:

    ----------------------------
    The Simbi lwa by definition are "hard to know", as many songs about them will attest.

    However, the Simbi group is composed of Simbi Dlo, Simbi Andezo,
    Simbi Makaya, and the female Simbi, Gran Simba. All of these lwa are
    Petro lwa, there are no Rada Simbis, and they are believed to be
    Kongo in origin. The word "Simbi" is believed to derive from the
    Kongo word "Nsambi".

    Simbi Dlo, "Water Simbi", lives in streams and springs. He is mostly
    concerned with working magic.

    Simbi Andezo, "Simbi in Two Waters", is concerned with the water
    cycle and the transformation of salt water to fresh and back again.
    He is also very much a magician.

    Simbi Makaya is the final lwa in the Petro liturgy, and he is also
    served in the Sanpwel societies. He is the most important magician
    in the Petro group, without question. Together with Carrefour and
    Simitye (Cemetery), these "big three" are invoked in all sorts of
    magical activities.

    Here is a song for Simbi Andezo:

    Simbi Andezo!
    Sa ki fe yo pa vle we mwen,
    Yo poko konnen mwen.
    Simbi Andezo!
    Sa ki fe yo pa vle we mwen,
    Yo poko konnen mwen.
    Yo bay mwen pwen a,
    se pou m mache la nwit, O!
    Yo bay mwen pwen a,
    se pou m mache la nwit, O!
    Simbi Andezo!
    Sa ki fe yo pa vle we mwen,
    Yo poko konnen mwen.

    (English translation:)
    Simbi Andezo!
    The reason why they don't want to see me,
    Is because they don't yet know me.
    Simbi Andezo!
    The reason why they don't want to see me,
    Is because they don't yet know me.
    They gave me the magic spell,
    it's so that I can walk at night, oh!
    They gave me the magic spell,
    it's so that I can walk at night, oh!
    Simbi Andezo!
    The reason why they don't want to see me,
    Is because they don't yet know me.

    This song, by the way, was recorded by the group RAM, and is
    available on their most recent CD.

    Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen

    groups.yahoo.com/group/Car...ssage/1782

    song:

    www.youtube.com/watch

    Simbi is a Kongo lwa served in the Petwo-Kongo rites. He is a lwa first and foremost of fresh water, including springs, streams, and wells. However, the name Simbi represents a very diverse family of lwa including Simbi Dlo, Simbi Andezo, Simbi Anpaka, Simbi Anpola, Simbi Lawouze, Simbi Maza, Simbi Ganga Djimbowa, Simbi Makaya, and so on, who are served in Vodou. The relationship to fresh water for some of these is more or less apparent, and some, like Simbi Andezo (Literally, "in two waters") have a connection to both fresh and salt water. Others have no apparent connection with water at all. For example, Simbi Anpaka is associated specifically with leaves and poisons. Simbi Makaya is known as a sorcerer, and when he enters the peristil, the Petwo slave whip is tied around him. Neither one are offered water. Some of the lwa called Simbi may be served on the Rada point in some circumstances, though most are served in the Petwo rites. While there are no female Simbi, the lwa called Gran-n Simba is considered by some adepts to be the mother of all mysteries called Simbi.

    Simbi is also a lwa of communication, and in this can be seen as rather mercurial. He is associated with crossroads and the crossing of power, and because of this, he is known to be a consummate sorcerer, lending his skill to many houngan, manbo, and bokò (sorcerer) who have a relationship with him. He is associated with the figure of the equal-armed cross. The Simbi lwa are of Kongo origin. They descend from the spirits known in the Kongo as basimbi who live in fresh water ponds and streams. In the Kongo, these spirits represent the highest class of the ancestral dead. Interestingly, the Native Tayino who first inhabited Haiti knew of similar spirits called Zimi who lived in fresh water streams. These child-like spirits had copper or red colored skin and long silky black hair. In Vodou, these spirits are still known today and, through no small linguistic confusion, are called Ti-Simbi, though they apparently have no direct relation to the lwa Simbi whatsoever. Interestingly, in Louisiana the old people still speak of cymbees or cymees who also did exactly this sort of thing.

    Possessions by Simbi may run from mild to violent, but frequently take a long time to manifest and only after much expedition. Many of the lwa called Simbi, Simbi Dlo for example, are known to be shy and somewhat lazy, tending to stay outside the hounfò until cajoled by the people to enter. Other Simbi, such as Simbi Makaya, are quite bellicose. By nature, Simbi tends to both be with, and protect, the servant with whom he has good relations, or will turn his back on those with whom he does not. Many songs for Simbi speak of him being "hard to know", and this is true even for his children. In the hounfò, Vodouwizan sing, "Gran Simbi Lawouze. M'chache pou'w; mwen pa we'w. M' wele'w; mwen pa jwen ou. Simbi, piga male rive'w." (Great Simbi [of] the dew. I look for you; I don't see you. I call for you; I don't find you. Simbi, be careful; ill fortune will beset you.) And... "Simbi Andezo! Sa ki fe yo pa vle we mwen yo poko konen mwen. Yo bay mwen pwen a; se pou m mache la nwit, O! Simbi Andezo! Sa ki fe yo pa vle we mwen yo poko konen mwen." (Simbi Andezo! The reason why they don't want to see me is because they don't yet know me. They gave me the magic spell; it's so that I can walk in the night, oh! Simbi Andezo! The reason why they don't want to see me is because they don't yet know me.) His base color is white. However, there are many Simbi, so the colors favored for each will vary. For example, Simbi Makaya is served with red and green. Simbi Andezo may be served with red and white. Simbi Ganga is served with red and blue, and so forth. Simbi's day of the week is Tuesday. He is associated with Catholic saint called Charles Boremo. Some houses associate him with St. Andrew, but this is more commonly the saint used to represent Kalfou. Still other houses associate Simbi with the image of the Three Kings of Epiphany. However again, this image is more commonly used to represent the Kongo nation of spirits in general.

    www.freewebs.com/danbalawe...rhouse.htm

    The nanchon or division of Haitian Vodou known as Congo breaches across the rites of Rada and Petro, especially is this the case of Simbi Andezo, the lwa that is seen as having one foot in the sweet waters and the other in the salty waters. Andezo is like all Simbi lwa enigmatic and mysterious, as revealed in many of his songs, which speaks of how his votary seeks to know him, but he hides from getting known.

    The nanchon Congo is a complex fanmi where their complexity is well demonstrated amidst the Simbi lwa. In Congo these spirits were called basimbi and designated the spirits living around ponds, rivers and fresh waters. They were at times considered to be a class of spirit composed of highly developed ancestral spirits. The Simbi ranges from the balanced and benevolent, as we find in Simbi Andezo to forms like Simbi Macaya, the lwa that was adopted as patron for the Bizango cult formed by Makandal during the rebellion in 1757. Simbi Macaya is seen as violent and dangerous and it is said that slave masters were sacrificed to him in the time of Makandal. The Congo petro rites are said to be bakongo in origin, and some say that it is the bakongo way that informed Petro rituals as well as many secret societies and more obscure rites, such as Zandor. The patron for the Zandor rites is Ti Jean Zandor and Erzulie Zandor, but it also count in its fold, Krabinay, Marinette and Simbi Yan-Kita. The Kita lwa being a sub division within the Congo nanchon together with Boumba, Caplau, Kanga and Mandange. According to Metraux the Congo division is also parted into Congo du bord de la mer, “Seashore congos” and Congo savane, ‘wild congos”. It is the latter that forms the influence into the Zandor rites and take of ferocious and nefarious qualities where they impart superior knowledge of herbalism, malefica and wanga.

    The seashore congos are said to be of fair skin and possess long black hair and be of a superior intellect and possess better manners than the wild or interior congospirits. This form suggest a connection with La Siren and Agwe and therefore with the potency of prophecy, dreams and inspiration. Interestingly it seems that this class of lwa was already known in Haiti prior to the population from Africa as the Tayino Indians knew a spirit called Zimi, said to have a copper red hue and long black hair, living around springs and fresh waters. Usually these spirits are called Ti-Simbi.

    Simbi Andezo is the Simbi that, like Leghba and Danballah possesses the perspective that sees two sides at the same time. Like Leghba he opens the crossroad for entrance into the rite, but Andezo opens the crossroad between the rites themselves. He possess the power to make the sweet into vinegar and the sour into honey. He is a Simbi of inspiration and secrecy, and albeit shy and difficult to know, as all Simbis, he possess a unique Janus qualities between the Rada and Petro rites where he brings a form of equilibrium between the sides.

    The Catholic imagery used to display Simbi varies from Moses to St. Charles Boremeo, but quite typical the Three Magi Kings are used to represent Simbi and thus the 6th of January becomes an important day for the celebration of this mystery.

    Simbi is served with the colours white and greed, Andezo for instance is served with white, red and green. On his vévé we give a plate of white china, where a glass of kleren and a cup of coffee are presented along with candles. We give a twist of lemon in his coffee and kleren, as the sitwon tree (lemon tree) is sacred to him.

    Simbi Andezo Sa ki fe yo pa vle we mwen yo poko konnen mwen.
    Yo bay mwen pwen a
    Se pou m mache la nwit O Simbi Andezo!


    1 comentários:

    Audrey Melo disse...

    Oh Simbi,
    Venha à mim
    Com chuva ou raio,
    Pelo rio ou pelo mar.
    Com Céu ou Inferno,
    Com Silêncio ou feitiço.
    Serpente de duas águas,
    Tu que transitas pelo tempo
    Revela os destinos com sabedoria.
    Oh Simbi,
    Cruza o caminho dos meus inimigos
    E leva todo o veneno às suas vidas.
    Tua árvore é o meu coração,
    Meu sangue são tuas águas,
    Meu amor é teu silêncio.
    14 de novembro de 2009 05:19

    speculumcelestae.blogspot.com/200...html



    Swedish Haitian band: “Simbi”
    mog.com/Spike_1/blog/1747845


    ome people erroneously claim that the lwa Simbi (Simbi Andezo, Sinbi
    Anpaka, Simbi Makaya, Simbi Lawouze, et al) come from the Bantu
    concept of Nsambi. He does not.

    Actually, Nzanbi Mpungu, God Almighty in the Kongo, is the origin of
    the Grande Zombie of New Orleans "Voodoo" fame.

    Papa Simbi in Haiti descends from the Simbi spirits of the Kongo who
    are a "high category of ancestors", all of whom are associated with
    and dwell in fresh water springs. See Thompson for more auhtoritative
    info on this...

    He is also cognizant with the Ti-Simbi of Haiti, small, child-like
    spirits with natty hair and red skin that dwel in rivers and streams
    and will entice you under the water. These are actually the Simi
    (no "b",a nd no I do not mean the zemi... another concept
    altogether)) of the Tayino-Arawak "Indians". Their myth is also found
    in S. Florida along the Gulf coast to New Orleans... where we find,
    no surprises, the Cymee.

    Best.

    Houngan Aboudja

    osdir.com/ml/culture.re.../msg00068.html

    Lots of Veves:
    manbodanielemangones.com/art/about.htm



    Simbi Andezo, the Lwa of magic and duality. Simbi is a Master Magician, bringing his energy of movement and currents to the world. When you need to increase the flow between events, call on Simbi Andezo for his electric energy.

    www.sosyetedumarche.com/html/p...go.html



    Simbi Dlo is the shy Kongo spirit of magic who inhabits ponds, lakes and streams. We’ve made his shrine a small piece of the jungle He so loves. The exterior is gilded with periwinkle and peridot colors. Shimmering jewels, golden accents and military style embellishments all echo the many attributes of this Kongo spirit. The interior is a lush jungle of silk ferns, greenery and branches. Entwined within is a boa constrictor skin from Africa. Simbi has many avatars, so we choose His animal form for His shrine. A magical garden for your altar, where the spirit of Simbi Dlo may reside! Shrine includes Simbi Dlo’s elekes, and instructions on the many possible uses of the shrine with Simbi Dlo.

    www.sosyetedumarche.com/html/s...es.html


    Simbi Dlo = Second Sight and Prophecy.
    Simbi Makaya = Increases Magic Powers; Protection against Black Magic and Curses.
    Simbi Andezo = Combines both Simbis above.

    www.legba.biz/wanga.html

    In Haitian Vodou, Simbi are a large family of serpent deities. Simbi is the bearer of souls to all places, and the creative principle. As the water-snake Loa, Simbi is the master of the rains, river currents, and most closely associated with Moses and the Magi. Simbi oversees the making of charms, and is very helpful with all magical work, including divinations & granting second-sight. He has a very gentle nature and usually lives near marshes and ponds. As the master of all magicians, he can bring an incredible amount of power to any ritual or spiritual work!

    Details: This Voodoo art doll is constructed in the traditional New Orleans Voodoo fashion. His face is hand-sculpted out of polymer clay and painted. His head is wrapped with real snake sheds, and he has a water snake crawling up his chest. He is holding a gris gris bag that contains his special magick for you. He measures approximately 14 inches tall and comes self-standing and signed by the artist.

    www.mysticvoodoo.com/simbi-magician.htm

    In Haitian Vodou, Simbi are a large family of serpent deities. Pictured is Simbi of the Water (Simbi Dlo). Simbi is the bearer of souls to all places, and the creative principle.

    www.mysticvoodoo.com/simbi.htm


    Simbi d'l'Eau, also spelled Simbi Dlo, simply means Simbi of the water, ...

    books.google.com/books
  • Re: Simbi

    06/26
    from Leah Gordon's "The Book of Vodou"---

    Simbi is the patron of the rains, the currents of the rivers, and the master of all magicians. He abides in both the heavenly and the abysmal waters, the sweet and the salt.

    Simbi's sphere of influence inhabit the realms of both Danbala---the skies; and Agwe---the seas. In an urban environment, Simbi oversees the flow of electromagnetic energy from lights to telephones. Simbi's roots are believed to come from 'zemi,' the indigenous Indian word for magic fetish. As the patron of magic, he oversees the assembly of paket kongo.

    Simbi is a withdrawn spirit, preferring the solitude of his watery abodes, and people possessed by him will be drawn to ponds and streams.

    COLORS: white, green
    SYMBOLS: Snakes in a field of crosses, a well, or a spring
    OFFERING: White animals
    FAVORED TREES: Mango, Calabash, Elm
    Catholic Counterparts: The Magi, Moses

    There is a yearly festival at Soukri in honor of the Kongo nation of spirits, where hundreds of celebrants submerge themselves in a local river in Simbi's honor. Ecstatic women lie among the reeds in the shallow waters while their white dresses flow in the strong currents.

    Fair-skinned children are warned against playing too close to springs for fear of being kidnapped by Simbi. The abducted children are taken under the water to work as servants. When the children are released from their aquatic prison and returned to the surface of the eart, they are rewarded with the magical gift of clairvoyance.


    From "Vodou Visions" by Sallie Ann Glassman:

    SIMBI LA FLAMBO:
    Call on Simbi La Flambo when you wish to do magic!

    OFFERINGS:
    Yams tied up in red metallic ribbons. Yam cassarole with peppers. Mango chutney. Rainwater collected during an electrical storm. Electronic components and computer parts. Printed email transmissions. Yams cooked in hot sauce. Snakeskins soaked in rum. Vial of Mercury, Simbi La Flambo's image

    Simbi La Flambo is the Petwo Simbi in his purest form, licking, moving, mercurial fire. He is the energy of all that flows. He is the fiery charge of electricity and the transformative energy of magical change. Simbi La Flambo is also fiery medicine, rushing through the blood to cure.

    He can be hard to handle. He can communicate through heated arguments, debate, and fiery ordeal.

    VISION
    Simbi La Flambo works the Tantric Mysteries. He is the alchemical marriage of conjunctio: the union of opposites, heated and transmuted in the furnace of desire. He is the fire of Will, directed through the body of the snake. How can humans swim through Simbi La Flambo's flames? Through love. Through union. Through love under Will.

    ---------------
    SIMBI DLO
    Call on Simbi Dlo for protection of streams, springs, and all fresh waters. Call on his communication skills when negotiating between two parties.

    OFFERINGS:
    Cock feathers, yams, river rocks, mangoes, snakeskin in basin of water

    Simbi Dlo is the best known of the Simbi. While Simbi is generally considered a Petwo Lwa, he is actually a Kongo Lwa who straddls the nations between Petwo and Rada. Simbi Dlo's domain extends through the freshwaters upon the earth, as well as the Abysmal Waters of the soul.

    He is the guardian of fresh water springs, lakes and pools.

    Simbi is tellurian Nature, the underworld beneath the topside world. There, in shadows, we encounter our depths. We fear Simbi's wild eyes, his bite. But his poisonous venom can be medicinal. He slithers through submerged regions where dreams, talent, and magic lie. Simbi bites down on a mouthful of water and transforms it into serpents that slither in a thousand directions. From our shadow side, a thousand impulses communicate our depths to our topside consciousness. If we allow ourselves to eat or integrate these impulses, we gradually transform the depths into konesans.

    SIMBI
    Call on Simbi for healing, to improve communications, and to keep your computer trouble-free.

    OFFERINGS:
    Yams, a Magic Mirror, green snakeskins, light green candles, mangoes, turtle shells, river rocks, mercurial incense, mercury

    Simbi is the magical serpent of Vodou. He is lord of the freshwater rivers, streams, rainfall, and all things that flow, like electricity and electronics. He is the mercurial serpent that carries communications---the perfect patron Lwa of email! His veve depicts the flow of energies around and through the crossroads. Simbi slithers across the crossroads, guides the possessed through the dangerous no-man's land between the moment of loss of consciousness and the taking on of a Lwa during the crisis of possession. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that he is associated with clairvoyance. Simbi's magic extends to the realm of botanicals, the leaves of which he uses for healing.

    Simbi is syncretized with the Three Wise Men. His colors are gray or light green. His animal is the tortoise.

    Thought arises in the Mind and runs in a thousand directions, a thousand thoughts. Concentrating one thought, one word, one Will, the magician makes himself the courier of the magical power of change. As his eye or purpose becomes single, he is flooded with light. It is the flash of the Spirit.

    Simbi delights in this play of magic. It is fun to work with and direct the energy of change, the power of Will. Simbi is a master of magic. He darts and flashes through the dark. It is his work and his joy. Run the mercurial points with Simbi!
  • Re: Simbi

    07/06
    From:
    www.mamiwata.com/simbi.html

    West-Central African Nature Spirits in the South Carolina Lowcountry

    Ras Michael Brown
    Dillard University


    Captives carried from West-Central African ports to the shores of South Carolina arrived in large numbers throughout the duration of the legal and illegal African slave trade, particularly during the years when plantation slavery began to take its familiar form and expand throughout Carolina. These enslaved West-Central Africans played an especially important role in shaping the cultural milieu of the southeastern seaboard. A number of scholars have looked at the influence of West-Central Africans on beliefs and practices in the African-Lowcountry cultural tradition.[1] This paper is part of my contribution to this topic. In particular, I examine the example of nature spirits in South Carolina as reflective of the profound and unique impact that West-Central Africans had on the development of African- Lowcountry culture. I contend that West-Central African nature deities, called simbi spirits in Kikongo, served the enslaved people of the early Lowcountry as spiritual benefactors around which captives of diverse African origins and those born in the Lowcountry built their communities.


    Simbi Spirits in the South Carolina Lowcountry: Evidence & Questions

    In 1843, a geologist in search of marl deposits in the soil of South Carolina recorded in his journal that enslaved people throughout the Lowcountry that water spirits called "cymbees" inhabited certain springs. This early account and later ones from twentieth-century sources also report that African-descended people in the Lowcountry feared the "cymbees," especially in instances when individuals (usually women) tried to draw water or children endeavored to swim in the springs. Enslaved people described the spirits as vaguely human in form, each possessing unique characteristics, and later informants related various names for the spirits such as The Evil, One-Eye (at Eutaw, Pooshee, and Lang Syne plantations), and The Great Desire of the Unrotting Waters. Indeed, from these accounts "cymbees" appear to fit within the category of malevolent spirits that populated the Lowcountry's forest and swamps and included such specters as Plat-Eyes, "conjur-horses," and spirit bears.[2]

    Such an interpretation does not consider additional crucial information, however. The geologist's account in 1843 further relates an incident in which a planter attempted to build a small wall around a spring to make it more accessible. The planter's effort was rebuffed by an elderly enslaved man who argued that the project would anger and drive away the "cymbee." Occasionally springs spontaneously disappeared, which enslaved people interpreted as a sign that the resident spirit had died or had departed because of some human offense, both unfavorable circumstances. Although these water spirits elicited fear, African-descended people desired their presence at these important sites.[3]

    These brief accounts of water spirits raise a few questions for students of the African- Atlantic diaspora. Where did the "cymbee" spirits come from? How did they become part of Lowcountry spirit lore? What purpose did they serve, if any, in the worldviews of African- descended people in the Lowcountry?

    An interpretation of "cymbees" must begin with an examination of the word's origins. First, "cymbee" is clearly an attempt to represent the pronunciation of the Kikongo word simbi. Not only do the words match in sound, they also match in meaning. The nature spirits known as bisimbi (plural of simbi) among many Kikongo speakers often take the form of water spirits. As such, in both sound and meaning, Lowcountry "cymbee" spirits unmistakably derive from West- Central African understandings of simbi spirits. For the sake of orthographic clarity, Lowcountry "cymbee" spirits will be called simbi spirits throughout the rest of this paper. The sure etymology of simbi also points the way in investigating the significance of these spirits in South Carolina cultural history. Our attention thus turns to the enslaved people who brought West-Central African culture with them to the Lowcountry.


    Simbi Spirits in Africa

    Records from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (penned almost exclusively by Catholic missionaries) and twentieth-century explanations (produced by Kikongo-speaking Africans and foreign anthropologists) generally agree in their observations of the beliefs and practices kept by West-Central Africans in regard to nature spirits.[4] Simbi spirits and their analogs in nearby societies occupied especially important stations within West-Central African cultures. Although diverse thoughts about the origins and characteristics of nature spirits existed, the central idea remained that they symbolized the permanence and potency of nature. These spirits, called (in the singular) simbi, nkita, or nkisi among various Kongo-speaking populations and kilundu among Kimbundu-speaking people, were seen as principal sources of Other Worldly power. Above all, the living turned to nature spirits for their communal welfare. Nature spirits provided abundant harvests, rewarding hunts, and social health for communities that maintained shrines, upheld ritual observances, and supported the offices of the human representatives of territorial nature spirits (such as Kongo itomi, singular kitomi). Nature spirits were also the animating forces behind charms employed by groups or individuals for good fortune. West-Central Africans regarded simbi spirits as a fundamental source of political authority as well. Local leaders and invested chiefs required the approbation of territorial nature spirits to command the appropriate powers of and respect due their positions.

    The relationship between ancestors and simbi spirits holds additional significance for the present inquiry. Connections made by West-Central Africans of ancestors with nature spirits suggests that territorial deities represented elders of the Other World as they were once ancestors who entered the land of the dead so long ago that they eventually lost ties to specific lineages to become guardians of all in particular areas. The significance of the linking of ancestors and nature spirits extended to the relationship between the living and the land they inhabited. Through the construction of tombs, the proper decoration of graves, and timely offerings to the deceased, living descendents not only retained contact with the dead but also reaffirmed their own ties to the land. Graves provided focal points for the collective energies of descendents, who hoped to receive blessings in return for the attention, and landmarks of identity in that a person's country was where his ancestors were buried. This sentiment is captured in the Kongo proverb that intones, "Where your ancestors do not live, you cannot build your house."[5] Nature spirits served similar functions. Their presence allowed those who lacked ties with named ancestors or who may have come to a region as strangers to still have access to agents of Other Worldly powers and to feel attached to the land where they lived. In this sense, we see simbi spirits contributing once again to the well-being of communities.

    We should not be misled, however, into thinking that simbi spirits, while essentially benevolent, were also gentle, passive entities. To the contrary, their displays of terrifying might comprised a central component of their being. Kavuna Simon, a Kongo man born in the nineteenth century who wrote about Kongo culture in the early-twentieth century, provided a memorable account of this aspect of simbi spirits:

    Truly they have great power and authority, for their power is revealed by the force they show in the water and in the gullies. They stir up very high winds and unleash tornadoes, so that the bodies of people are filled with fear and trembling. They break people's courage and render it feeble, weak, limp, petrified, hollow and fevered; they are stunned and grovel in terror. This is how the bisimbi show their strength: if they see someone come to draw water from the pool where they reside, they rise to the surface and cover it with foam and turbulence, turning and twisting. So the person drawing the water is scared stiff when she sees how the water boils in the pool. She may tumble into the water because she is dizzy. If she does not cry out so that those who remain in the village hear her, when next they meet her she may be dead.[6]

    Violent displays by simbi spirits demonstrated their Other Worldly power, just as the ability to spill the blood of wild animals showed a hunter's access to the same power or the capacity to spill human blood authenticated a chief's rightful use of it. All people needed intermediaries such as nature spirits, charms, and skilled individuals to ensure survival and prosperity. As such, violent simbi displays did not alienate people. Instead, they simply confirmed that nature spirits and the sites associated with them were legitimate channels of Other Worldly power.

    From this general description of nature spirits, we see that they were vital components in West-Central African communities of the living, the dead, and other invisible powers. Similar conceptualizations of nature spirits existed in many West African societies as well.[7] We should not be surprised, then, to find that captive Africans carried across the Atlantic brought these ideas with them. Indeed, while specific, named territorial nature spirits were not portable, the conceptions about their existence and their relationships to living people did make crossing.


    West-Central Africans in the Lowcountry

    A fundamental step in assessing the development of African-Lowcountry culture and making a historical connection between West-Central African and Lowcountry simbi spirits includes determining the provenience and numbers of African captives taken to the Lowcountry over time. This entails more than simply computing gross figures for captives taken from various African regions during the entire period of importation. Sensitivity to the temporal dimensions of importation permits a better understanding of the processes of interaction among captives in culturally diverse plantation societies. The remainder of this section connects the key factors of numbers, origins, and chronology and applies them to an interpretation of the cultural milieu of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

    The era of importation of Africans to the Lowcountry can be divided into three periods that correspond with significant phases of African-Lowcountry cultural history. The Early Period (c.1710-1744) extended from the beginnings of settlement of the Carolina colony through the establishment of large-scale plantation agriculture. These formative decades witnessed the growth of the enslaved population, which consisted largely of Africans but included an increasingly large Lowcountry-born contingent as well, and the emergence of African-Lowcountry culture. By the end of this period, enslaved people inhabited almost all of the Carolina portion of the Lowcountry. The Lowcountry expanded its territory during the Middle Period (1749-1776) as plantation slavery reached the rivers of the upstart Georgia colony south of the Savannah River. The much heavier importation of Africans during this time contributed not only to the peopling of the Georgia Lowcountry, but also to the continued growth of the Carolina Lowcountry and the recently-settled interior. The Final Period (1783-1808) corresponded with the retooling of plantation slavery following the tribulations and destruction of the War for American Independence, the extension of settlement to the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia, and the explosive expansion of slavery in the southeastern interior.[8]

    The importance of West-Central Africans in the Lowcountry extends far beyond their numbers alone. West-Central Africans, along with smaller groups of captives taken from Senegambia and the Bight of Biafra, built and worked the many rice plantations that set levels of production unsurpassed until the mid-1760s. This means that almost a full generation before the celebrated connection between the Lowcountry and Africa's "Rice Coast" (particularly Sierra Leone) was formed, the foundations for Carolina's pre-eminence in rice cultivation and for African-Lowcountry culture had already been laid in large part through the unparalleled efforts of West-Central Africans. West-Central Africans not only constructed the plantation complex, they also sowed the seeds for the uninterrupted growth of the African-descended population. Following the Stono Rebellion and the outbreak of King George's War, both in 1739, South Carolina's African trade foundered under the weight of prohibitive duties on importation of enslaved people and decreased trade generally.[11] People from West-Central Africa thus constituted the last large influx of Africans for another decade. This brief respite coincided with the stabilization of self-reproducing communities by the end of the 1740s.[12] Taken together these conditions reveal that West-Central Africans were preeminent among the fathers and mothers of a burgeoning Lowcountry-born society.


    Simbi Spirits & the Founder Generation

    Although we lack written sources that identify simbi spirits in the Lowcountry before the 1840s, I maintain that they became part of the African-Lowcountry culture during the Early Period of importation and settlement. The early plantation center near Charleston experienced its greatest influx of Africans, especially West-Central Africans, during the Early Period. Additionally, all the known and named simbi spirits, including the most famous simbi at Wadboo, appeared on some of the oldest Lowcountry plantations. This suggests that just as West-Central Africans were particularly important in peopling the early Lowcountry and building the Carolina plantation complex, they were also the principle designers of African-Lowcountry perception of the landscape, especially its sacred dimensions.[13] Of course, captives from other African regions contributed to the development of the African-Lowcountry worldview, but the core structure remained West-Central African. My placement of simbi spirits in the early phase also derives from speculation on the meaning of simbi spirits in the Lowcountry. Given the historical connection between Lowcountry simbi spirits and those in West-Central Africa, as well as the generally similar descriptions from more recent sources, we may imagine that Lowcountry simbi spirits functioned similarly to West-Central African simbi spirits in that they allowed newcomers to root themselves in a land that lacked adequate ancestral burial grounds, at least in the earliest times. Through the simbi spirits and the continuation of West-Central African burial practices, enslaved people in the Lowcountry claimed their place on the landscape and acknowledged the connection between West-Central African ancestors and their children in exile.[14] Additionally, the presence of simbi spirits may have offered enslaved people powerful spiritual benefactors within the harsh realm of plantation slavery, as captives may have focused their anxieties over health and fertility on the simbi spirits. Sickness during the Middle Passage and several epidemics in the early Lowcountry afflicted many Africans and their descendants. Further, enslaved people relied on the produce of their Sunday gardens and hunting to supplement meager plantation rations. Later generations held many of the same concerns about the maintenance of community and spiritual and material survival. As such, simbi spirits remained vital features of the mental and physical landscape into the twentieth century.


    Lowcountry Simbi Spirits in Theoretical Context

    This interpretation of simbi spirits in the Lowcountry continues the line of research that emphasizes the continued relevance and vitality of ancestral cultures to enslaved people, who consciously maintained African traditions in the Americas. But this is not an exercise in "survival studies" or in the basic identification of "Africanisms."[15] Instead, I have endeavored to show how one instance of the extension of African cultures into the Americas fits within the process of community building in American plantation slavery. Given the multi- ethnic composition of Lowcountry plantations (though they were not as diverse as some have argued), we must consider this process as something greater than the simple retention of one African tradition over many others. By looking at the demography of the Atlantic trade in African captives and the chronology of plantation settlement in the Lowcountry, we see the dynamic interplay of space and time in the formation of enslaved communities in early Carolina. By this path we see that West-Central Africans were especially influential in cultural development because they arrived at certain times that corresponded with formative phases in the growth of Lowcountry slavery, not simply because they dominated numerically among imported captives. Africans from other regions likely maintained many of their own beliefs and practices, at least during their lifetimes. But this cultural plurality eventually transformed into a complex African-Lowcountry culture that incorporated various influences into a framework that had been established by West-Central African founders. In this process the fundamentally similar perspectives concerning nature spirits that Africans from many regions brought with them were retained but ultimately expressed in the idioms of West-Central African Kongo culture.

    At the same time that this interpretation departs from traditional "Africanisms" scholarship, it also rejects the notion of cultural development that emphasizes almost exclusively the creative impulse of enslaved people in making African-Atlantic cultures. Often labeled the "creolization" model, this position typically dismisses the influence of particular African culture groups in favor of the idea that enslaved people acted as cultural free agents who drew freely and widely from the diverse cultural milieu of the Americas to fashion dynamic, new cultures. African contributions are reduced to generalized influences at best, and examples of specific African continuities are regarded as anomalous or insignificant. This model derives in large part from creolization scholars' lack of detailed knowledge of African cultures and their mistaken assumption that African cultures are fixed traditions inherently resistant to modification and elaboration. While the present inquiry into Lowcountry simbi spirits recognizes the imaginative efforts of Africans to understand and adapt to their American circumstances, it does not exclude the fundamental importance of ancestral African culture in shaping the direction of such creative endeavors. In the end, discussion over cultural development in the African-Atlantic diaspora must transcend the familiar tone of continuity versus creativity. I hope that the example of Lowcountry simbi spirits will help to highlight the complementary creative and conservative forces at work in cultural development, and continue the trend toward more nuanced treatments of African-Atlantic cultures.[16]


    ENDNOTES

    1. Begin with Sterling Stuckey, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 3-97; Robert Farris Thomspon, "Kongo Influences on African-American Artistic Culture," in Joseph E. Holloway, ed., Africanisms in American Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 148-84; and Margaret Washington Creel, "Gullah Attitudes toward Life and Death," in ibid., 69-97. On the linguistic influence, see Joseph E. Holloway and Vass, The African Heritage of American English (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993).

    2. On water spirits, see William M. Mathew, ed., Agriculture, Geology, and Society in Antebellum South Carolina: The Private Diary of Edmund Ruffin, 1843 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992), 164-67; F.W. Bradley, "'Knowing Yarbs' Means Ability to Heal with Medicinal Herbs," Charleston New & Courier, 19 February 1950; John Bennett papers, 1865-1956, South Carolina Historical Society; and Robert Farris Thompson's essay in Grey Gundaker, ed., Keep Your Head to the Sky: Interpreting African American Home Ground (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998). On the other spirits, see Writers' Program (S.C.), South Carolina Folk Tales: Stories of Animals and Supernatural Beings, Compiled by Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of South Carolina (Columbia: University of South Carolina, 1941), 44-51.

    3. Mathew, Agriculture, 167.

    4. For a sampling of West-Central African nature spirits in primary sources, see Andrew Battell, The Strange Adventures of Andrew Battel of Leigh in Angola and Adjoining Regions. ed., E.G. Ravenstein (Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1967), 56-8; Olfert Dapper, Umständliche und Eigenliche Beschreibung von Afrika (Amsterdam: Jacob von Meurs, 1670), 534-7; Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, Descrição histórico doe três reinos Congo Matamba e Angola, 2 vols., Graziano Maria da Legguzzano, ed. and trans. (Lisbon: Junta de Investigações do Ultramar, 1965), bk. 2, 59-60, 65-7; and Marcellino d'Atri "Giornate apostoliche fatte da me Fra M. d'A …1690," in Carlo Toso, ed., L'Anarchia Congolese nel sec. XVII. La relazione inedita de Marcellino d'Atri (Genoa, 1984), 483-6, 499. Among the secondary sources, see Anne Hilton, The Kingdom of Kongo (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985), chapter one; John K. Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684-1706 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 55-7; Thornton, "Religious and Ceremonial Life in the Kongo and Mbundu Areas, 1500-1700," in Linda Heywood, ed., Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming); Wyatt MacGaffey, Religion and Society in Central Africa: The BaKongo of Lower Zaire (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 74-81; and MacGaffey, Kongo Political Culture: The Conceptual Challenge of the Particular (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006).

    5. Quoted in Georges Balandier, Daily Life in the Kingdom of Kongo: Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century, trans. Helen Weaver (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1968), 253.

    6. Quoted in MacGaffey, Kongo Political Culture, 141.

    7. John Illife, Africans: The History of a Continent (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 85-8; and John S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophies, 2nd ed. (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1990), 50-7, 76-80.

    8. For tables and a fuller treatment of the numbers, see Ras Michael Brown, "'Walk in the Feenda': West-Central Africans and the Forest in the South Carolina-Georgia Lowcountry," in Heywood, Central Africans. See also, David Richardson, "The British Slave Trade to Colonial South Carolina," Slavery and Abolition 12,3 (December 1991), 125-72; Phyllis Martin, External Trade of the Loango Coast, 1576-1870: The Effects of Changing Commercial Relations on the Vili Kingdom of Loango (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972); and Joseph C. Miller, "The Numbers, Origins, and Destinations of Slaves in the Eighteenth-Century Angolan Slave Trade," in Joseph E. Inikori and Stanley L. Engerman, eds., The Atlantic Slave Trade: Effects on the Economies, Societies, and Peoples of Africa, the Americas, and Europe (Durham: Duke University Press, 1992).

    9. Quote taken from Frank J. Klingberg, The Carolina Chronicle of Dr. Francis Le Jau (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1956) 69. See also, John K. Thornton, "African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion," American Historical Review 96,4 (1991), 1103-1105.

    10. South Carolina Gazette, 6 August 1737.

    11. James Glen, "A Description of South Carolina," in Milling, ed., Colonial South Carolina: Two Contemporary Descriptions (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1951), 45. See also, Richardson, "British Slave Trade," 131; and Stuart O. Stumpf, "Implications of King George's War for the Charleston Mercantile Community," South Carolina Historical Magazine 77 (1976): 161-188.

    12. Glen, "Description," 45. For analyses of demography of the enslaved population throughout the eighteenth century, see Morgan, Slave Counterpoint, 79-95; Peter Wood, "'More Like A Negro Country': Demographic Patterns in Colonial South Carolina, 1700-1749," in Stanley L. Engerman and Eugene D. Genovese, eds., Race and Slavery in the Western Hemisphere: Quantitative Studies (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975); and Menard, "Slave Demography," 291-302.

    13. Brown, "'Walk in the Feenda'".

    14. On burial practices, see Thompson, "Kongo Influences," 167-80; and Jon Michael Vlach, By the Work of Their Hands: Studies in Afro-American Folklife (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1991), 43-7. Creel ("Gullah Attitudes") provides general observations on West- Central African influences on Lowcountry perceptions of death.

    15. For background on the following comments, see Sidney W. Mintz and Richard Price, The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Perspective (Boston: Beacon, 1992); Mervyn C. Alleyne, "Continuity and Creativity in Afro-American Language and Culture," in Salikoko S. Mufwene, ed., Africanisms in Afro-American Language Varieties (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993), 167-181; and Paul E. Lovejoy, "The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery," Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation 2,1 (1997).

    16. For an excellent example of this kind of scholarship, see Michael A. Gomez, Exchanging our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998).

    Send corrections/suggestions to Kenneth Wilburn, Web Editor for SERSAS.

    First Online Edition: 24 October 2006
    Last Revised: 24 October 2006
    • Re: Simbi

      07/08
      Another link about the "Cymbees" (Kongo water spirits) of the South Carolina Low Country:

      www.diaspora.uiuc.edu/news060...07-3.pdf

      From the above:

      "At the end of Ruffin’s account, Matthew notes that in Indian folklore dwarves, water babies, and old women variously inhabit springs and other wet places."

      Just FYI, there is a place near my home, in the woods, where I encountered 3 Indian woman spirits ...."old women" who guard the Spring there.

      "He states that the slaves “have peopled these fountains with spirits which they call cymbies, akin to the undine and the kelpie. On Saturday nights you may hear a strange, rhythmic thumping sound from the spring, and looking out you may see by the wild, fitful glare of lightwood torches dark figures moving to and fro. These are the negro women at their laundry work, knee deep in the stream, beating the clothes with heavy clubs. They are merry enough when together, but not one of them will go alone for a piggin of water and if you slip up in the shadow of the old oak and throw a stone into the spring, the entire party will rush away at the splash, scream with fear convinced the cymbee is after them” (Wilson 1926: 156-157)."

      "If anyone disturbs the spring, the Cymbee would be angry. If it was destroyed or much injured from any cause, the Cymbee would leave it, and the waters would dry up. The Cymbees were proportionate in size to the spring”

      "Pooshee Plantation comes up again as a location occupied by water spirits in a much later context. A black woman by the name of Clara Milligan warned some white children who were playing beside of a pool. She warned “Got to be really carefully if you go in that water. Simbi’ll get you.”

      "In Kongo, bisimbi inhabit rocks, gullies, streams, and pools, and are able to influence the fertility and well being of those living in the area. They are closely related with persons born abnormally (called baana ba nlongo) and minkisi which are magical devices or “power objects” (MacGaffey 2002: 212). They are powered by nature spirits such as bisimbi."

      "The difficulty in categorizing the manifestations of these spirits is illustrated by a 1915 KiKongo text, which states:
      What are bisimbi? They have other names, too. Some are called python, lightning gourd or calabash, mortar or a sort of pot. The explanation of their names is that they are water spirits (nkisi mia mamba). The names of some of these minkisi are: Na Kongo, Ma Nzanza, Nkondi and Londa. They have many appearances of all kinds. Some are seen to be green, or red, black, or perhaps in spotted or sparkling colors. The body in which they are appealed to is of three or four kinds: 1) the body of a person 2) of a snake such as a python or viper 3) a calabash or gourd 4) of wood or pottery. Sometimes a spark of fire (quoted in MacGaffey 2002). MacGaffey (2002: 213) states that they affect the lives of people in three modes. “They are the tutelary spirits of particular territories, they become incarnate as twins and other special children, and they are the principal animating forces in minkisi. Since the destruction of indigenous polities under colonial rule, the great, named spirits are scarcely remembered. Nowadays, bisimbi are most familiar as anonymous spirits able to cause trouble if they are not treated with respect.”

      Brown (2000) suggests that the fear “cymbee” spirits invoked did not alienate people, but simply “confirmed that nature spirits and the sites associated with them were legitimate channels of Other Worldy power.”

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