Friday, July 08, 2005

Principles of Umbanda

Like in any dogma, Umbanda also has its own specific principles. In Umbanda the principles are voluntary abstinence, which benefits the positive or negative side of each individual.There are three groups of principles:



It is the indispensable principle to all mediums with no exception. These principles are the preparation every medium needs to go through before the work in the terreiro begins.

They are 7 basic principles:

1. Refrain from having sex at least 8 hours before the spiritual works begin.
2. Refrain from eating any animal product with its origin based on the animal’s sacrifice, including fish, at least 24 hours before the spiritual works begin.
3. Refrain from having bad thoughts (hate, anger, envy, jealousy, etc) at least 12 hours before the spiritual works begin.
4. Wear appropriate clothes during the spiritual work.
5. Discharge bath, as previously determined to each medium.
6. Punctuality, so the spiritual work can start on time.
7. Devote yourself completely to the spiritual work, without the worry of how long it will take.

Notes: The idea of not having bad thoughts, although for some people could sound like a very hard one to control, exists in order to call the attention of the medium to not let himself/herself be driven by emotion only. Keep a good humor, serenity and your heart open.

With few exceptions, during the Umbanda rituals all mediums wear white (white shirt, white pants, no shoes or socks). The people who go to ask for advice is also requested to wear clear color clothing. The exceptions happen during festivities and Exu sessions, where red, black and, sometimes, purple are required.

The discharge bath is a specific bath designed for each individual. This is usually requested by an entity such as a preto-velho. Take the discharge bath the same day the spiritual work will take place.


The optional principles are the ones determined by the Spiritual Guider or by the Chief of Terreiro, for some mediums:

1. Refrain from eating animal products, even if those do not depend on animal sacrifice (i.e.: butter, cheese, eggs, milk, etc).
2. Very specific discharge baths.
3. Extraordinary energy (firmeza) to your Guard Angel.


It is the emergency principle, which is only practiced during an emergency, whenever needed to complete a spiritual work, outside of the fraternal spiritual chain.

1. To energize (to firm) the guard angels, both yours and the person who is in need.
2. Demand absolute silence and concentration.
3. Ask for permission and salute the orisha Time (I will give more details about this part on a later post).
4. Concentrate on Jesus Christ, asking Him for His permission for the spiritual works to begin.

Independently of all these principles, all mediums should never wear personal objects such as jewelry, makeup, necklaces, as well as money or metallic objects. All mediums should be as natural as possible in order to better work with its entities.


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