Caboclo of the Seven Crossroads

In the early twentieth century, conventional medical treatment failed to heal the paralysis suffered by a young man from Rio de Janeiro named Zélio de Morais. His father, seeking spiritual solutions, brought Zélio to the Brazilian Spiritist Federation. It was a time of conflict among Brazilian spiritualists. Brazilian Spiritualism is based on the teachings of Allan Kardec and is known as Spiritism. Kardec was from France; the system originated in Europe. Some wished to keep the tradition exclusively European and white; others wished to incorporate African practices.

As a result of colonialism and slavery, tremendous numbers of Africans and Indians had suffered death and inadequate funeral rites on Brazilian soil, yet their souls were not honoured or propitiated. Although many practitioners of Kardecian Spiritism were of African or mixed descent, attempts to honour or incorporate souls of deceased Africans or Indians into Spiritist traditions were officially rebuffed. Rather than being given respect, they were insulted and described as “low spirits.”

At the Federation, Zélio received a visitation from a spirit identifying himself as a Jesuit priest, who revealed that Zélio’s illness indicated his spiritual mission to found a brand-new Brazilian tradition, which would incorporate devotion and propitiation of Caboclos, souls of Brazilian Indians, and Pretos Velhos, souls of Africans enslaved in Brazil. The Jesuit told Zélio to await further instruction.

Zélio went home and miraculously recovered. Shortly afterward, he received a visitation from a spirit identifying himself as the Caboclo of the Seven Crossroads, several centuries old. He told Zélio to found a new religion called Umbanda incorporating indigenous Brazilian, European, and African spirits and promised to reveal doctrines and rituals. Soon after, Zélio de Morais officially inaugurated Umbanda. Many consider Seven Crossroads to be the patron and spirit founder of Umbanda. He continues to communicate with spirit mediums.


Caboclo das Sete Encruzilhadas (Portuguese)



Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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