Monday, August 29, 2011

Babaylanismo- Bringing Back the Old Ways




The Pagan ways of the people of Panay has been lost to us. The pure shamanic/animistic practice that was a part of our ancestors daily lives was demonized by the Catholic Church and anyone who practiced it were called Aswang, Heretic and worst a demon.


The practices of the Babaylans are very unique and powerful. As healers, advisers, seers and intermidiary to the Spirit Realms, they are sought out by nobles and alipins alike. They are wanted for their insights and their power to heal and if needed to kill. They commune with the denizens of all the three realms- the heavenly realms, the middle and the underworld. They do this communion to diagnose the sickness of people or get a glimpse of the future. They could utilize these kinds of rituals to collect contracts with powerful entities that would help them honing their craft and strengthening their magicks.


With the coming of the Spaniards and the conversion of the people to the Catholic Faith was unstoppable, the Babaylanes tried to blend in to society and even rewrote their Animistic rituals and mix Catholic prayers with it. The one existing in the form of the "orasyones" from the libretas of the mananambals or albularyos are not the pure form of magick of the baylans. These are already mixed with Pig Latin and Catholic Prayers.

My Pagan faith leads me to the worship of the Etruscan/Roman Gods- Hekate and Janus. The reason is quite obvious, the Gods has called me to this path and has given me signs that some may call coincidences. Though in this life, especially if you are studying the Occult, there is no such thing as a coincidence. The magick that I perform also stemmed from Ceremonial Magick, thus, when I cast spells I really prepare them and create magickal seals and sigils to serve as a focus of my intention. I also try to use Latin evocation and invocation to manifest my Will in this reality.

However, as much as I want to leave these long lost Ilonggo Rituals, my blood calls out to it more and more. As I have written on my blogs before, I can identify myself as a 5th Generation baylan. My Granma's grandfather was a healer though he uses orasyones in Latin. My grandmother, the last "Cunningwoman" alive in the family (at least the last that I know), uses rituals that are very basic. Using herbs like luy-a (ginger), bunga (betelnut), alibhon (comfrey) she would diagnose sickness and heal them. She would use the luy-a to know if it is an infirmity caused by a tamyaw (greeting) of the dead, the elementals, or even a live person, she also knows how to check the person's health by checking the pulse. Then, she would heal you by doing the "tuob"- covering the person in blankets while burning kamangyan (a form of incense) and other herbs. She could also do the "waswas", a form of cleansing a person using leaves of malunggay or other herbs. She would also give us red pouches (with stones and herbs inside it) or would pin a piece of ginger as protection to young cousins and siblings.

These practices in the Philippines are slowly dying and it is our responsibility to save and revive it. Though the practice of Babaylanismo is difficult to recreate because of the lack of materials (especially Babaylanismo is an oral tradition), we need to listen to our "ubay" since they whisper to us old and lost rituals. All we need to do is listen and acknowledge them.

Perhaps it is time for us to reclaim this ancient Tradition. We need to be "Hedge Witches" that our ancestors were and be a Babaylan. Though my faith in my Gods will not waver and change, my blood sings the songs of my ancestors. It is leading me to the old forgotten knowledge of the Babaylanes, after all, I still am a proud Ilonggo and a proud Tigadluman.

I will leave with you guys a chant I made...


Akon ginapangayo sa akon mga ubay, sa mga kalag sang akon katigulangan

Sa mga espiritu sa katalonan kag kalasangan

Sa ulan, sa suba, sa mga tamawo sang duta

Hatagi nyo ako sang gahum kag kaalam sang huna-huna."



"I ask from my Guides, from the Spirit of my Ancestors

From the Spirits of the Forest and the Plains

Of the rain, the river, and the beings of earth

grant me power and wisdom of thought!"



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