Candomblé: A small glossary


Alapini: supreme high priest of the Egungun cult.

Axé: sacred energy, vital strength that can be found in man, animals and vegetables.

Babalaò: high priest of Ifà, the divination Orixà.

Babalorixà: same as pãe de santo, leader of the religious community.

Barracão: the room in which the public rituals take place.

Bùzio: shells that are used for divination.

Caboclo: divinity that represents an indigenous spirit, in Candomblé de caboclo and in the Angolan Umbanda.

Candomblé: Afro-Brazilian religion. Literally a Negro dance or musical instrument.

Ebo: offering, or sacrificed animal offered to the divinities.

Saint Son/Daughter: all those that have accomplished the initiation ritual.

Ifà: the Yorouban god of destiny.

Ialorixà: the leader of the Candomblé community, with most inner Axé. In Brazil this role is more commonly called mãe de santo.

Nago: ancient tribe originating from Nigeria.

Olorun: the supreme divinity of creation.

Roça: it’s the same as terreiro. An open space surrounded by trees.

Roda: the circle that is formed by the priestesses in dance.

Sapucaì: this is the name of the famous sambodrome “Merquès de Sapucaì”, that was built in Rio de Janeiro in 1984. The architect that planned the sambodrome is Oscar Niemeyer, this structure can hold a Read more

Pierre Verger in the memory of Zélia Gattai

Zélia Gattai, Brazilian, niece of Italian emigrants, memorialist and “Contadora de Historias”, as she likes to define herself, today is 88 years old. She lived 56 years of her life with the great Brazilian writer Jorge Amado sharing everything: love, friendship, work, politics and that bitter exile that forced them to live in Europe from 1948 to 1952. She shared with him even the adherence to the candomblé and the friendship with great figures like Pablo Neruda, Nicolas Guillén, Pablo Picasso, Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Pierre Verger. Pierre Verger was a great friend of theirs, and Zélia remembers him with affection: “He was an extraordinary person and I had great admiration for him. Think,” she tells me on the phone during a dialogue that almost transformed into an interview “we can say, in a certain way, that he came to Brazil thanks to Jorge. Pierre read the book “Jubiabà” by Jorge Amado and was enchanted by the description of Bahia and its nature. He became curious to the point that he wanted to see with his own eyes that nature that was so out bursting. So he Read more

“EWÉ”, Pierre Fatumbi Verger, Odebrecht / ed. Companhia das Letras, São Paulo, 1995, 758 pp.


In this artiche the author presents the last book written by Pierre Verger. This book, of which now there are only a few existing copies, offers precious information on Yoruba medicine and on the formulas used for the medical and magical trabalhos, this book is the result of the field research that Pierre Verger Read more

A Samba for Pierre Fatumbi Verger


In 1998 the carioca School of Samba “União da Ilha”, In occasion of the great  Carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro, dedicated to Pierre Fatumbi Verger a whole bloco (group of costumes/masks) with the title “Fatumbi, a Ilha de Todos os Santos”. The bloco began with this presentation:
“It’s the deserved homage
that the União da Ilha
offers to the Bahian-African-French Pierre Fatumbi Verger Oju Obà”

The presentation was signed in Bahia by a group of distinguished personalities: Jorge Amado, Carybé, Dorival Caymmi, Estela de Oxossi, Ilê do Axé Opô Afonjà, Balbino do Ilê Agaujù. During Read more