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Mariwanga

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Mariwanga or Centella throwing fire and conjuring tornadoes
Mariwanga or Centella throwing fire and conjuring tornadoes

Mariwanga (also called Centella Ndoki, Mama Wanga, or Yaya Kengue) is a fiery, female mpungo who rides on the winds and owns the cemetery. She is a powerful warrior and a fearsome weaver of witchcraft. She also commands the spirits of the dead as her personal warriors. Centella Ndoki is petitioned by paleros and rootworkers for protection, enemy work, and for assistance with spirit work.

Centella, Mariwanga’s common Spanish-language name, means “spark” (as in the English verb "scintillate," which means "to sparkle"); this is a reference to her hot, reactive, and impulsive nature. Ndoki is a Congo word that means "one who casts magic spells", a title that refers to her sorcerous powers. Centella Ndoki intercedes on behalf of her petitioners with sudden upheaval and dramatic change. Most of her magical work is done in graveyards. Her ritual number is 9. Her colors are purple, black, and red. Animal sacrifice is used to propitiate Mariwanga within the Congo-derived religions. Altar offerings for Centella Ndoki include eggplant, red wine, plums, and rum.

In the syncretic practices of Palo Monte, in which mpungos are associated with Catholic Church saints, the representative of Centella Ndoki is Our Lady of Candelaria. Because of their shared traits, Centella Ndoki is sometimes syncretized with the orisha Oya of the Santeria and Lukumi traditions. Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who are adherents of the Palo Religion and who petition the mpungos on behalf of clients may petition Centella Ndoki for protection, enemy work, and assitance with spirit work.

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