The souls of the old ancestors
Pretos velhos (read velyos) – or “old blacks” are the souls of old black slaves that tasted one of the hardest lives here on earth. Dragged away from their land, robbed of their culture, they were enslaved and tortured. Living in inhumane conditions. They are one of the purest and kindest entities, which, despite their experiences, chose to take the path of mercy and forgiveness. In the form of guides in Umbanda, they help all people in their spiritual growth no matter their religion, social class or their race, be they descendants of their own blood or of their oppressors. In their case, the strength of their spirit won over their material predestination.
The souls of Pretos velhos overflow with the knowledge of magic and the healing properties of herbs that they preserved from their African traditions. The leading orixa of this lineage is Obaluae. Just like this orixa, they can provide faith and hope in the hardest points of life. Pretos velhos are workers of light, who bring unconditional love, cleansing and healing. They are the people of prayers. They have understanding and solace for every hurt. They are a well of wisdom of our elders and our ancestors. On paths of humility they lead us to an inner peace and reconciliation. They are patient guides on the spiritual path, helping us become better people.
They are often depicted as suffering through fatigue and hurt, bent over from their old age or sitting on stools, puffing smoke from pipes with Tabasco. They move slowly. They are gentle and lead with simplicity. They already know what is truly important in life. Their colours are black and white representing the balance between the earth-dwelling life and the spiritual life. Their holiday is celebrated on the 13th of May and the day best suited for their honouring is Monday.