Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
The Lady on the Stairs
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
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Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
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A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
Article ID: 15776
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,544
Times Read: 5,060
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Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: March 29th. 2015
Times Viewed: 5,060
Whenever I hear the urban legend that witchcraft died out and then was recently re-discovered… well, I have to shake my head in disbelief. Such a mindset digresses from the expansion of witchcraft, which has been in existence since the dawn of humankind. And which continues to flourish to this very day. There are many threads that lend themselves to the tapestry of witchcraft. And for one thread to claim to be the weaver is very naďve.
In many instances, a witch is simply a healer. Witches employ knowledge of herbs and folk magic to assist those who seek out such help. In spite of all of the negative hype, not all witches engage in seeking out malevolent spirits or seek to engage in grand acts of esoteric knowledge. Unlike religions, witchcraft is not defined by a particular dogma, but rather is a mystical spiritual path with an ever-expanding body of knowledge. It is up to the individual as to how to harness and utilize that knowledge.
In keeping with this thought, back in the mid 1980’s I was married to a wonderful Hispanic woman. And by way of her family, I became aware of the practice of curanderismo. In fact, I recently completed a short course in curanderismo, which was offered through the University of New Mexico.
What is a curandero, you may ask? The word "curandero" is Spanish for "healer". These healers are found throughout South America and, in recent years, through parts of North America as well. These healers are sometimes known as Shamans. Curandero, as a form of healing, has been around for over a thousand years or so. These folks are healers who manipulate the supernatural world as well as the physical world in an effort to heal. One of the earliest depictions of curanderos is found in the ceramic artwork of the Moche people. Theirs was a civilization that flourished in northern Peru from about 100 C.E to circa 800 C.E. And though Curanderos do not call themselves witches, they employ identical elements in order to heal others in their community. I have no problem as seeing them as yet another thread in the tapestry of witchcraft. For at the end of the day, labels are for those who create them and are often narrow in interpretation.
Within the Hispanic community, if one were to refer to a curandero as a Bruja (female witch) or Brujo (male witch) , this would be seen as an insult, as these terms for "witch" are used to identify folks who engage in sorcery. And the practice of sorcery is considered to be negative as compared to the practices of the curandero. Due to religious persecution and as a matter of survival, curandero became intertwined with Catholicism, much like the Vodou belief system did in order to survive and prosper. As a result of this, Curanderos tend to be very religious and very spiritual and believe that you have to have the Christian God in your heart to be a true healer. Curanderos (male healers) or Curanderas (female healers) believe that illnesses are caused by malevolent spirits, a life lesson from Deity, or from someone placing a curse.
As with any practice, there are specialties that one may engage in, in order to relieve the afflictions that are present in their patients. For instance, "Yerberos" are primarily herbalists. These folks are generally well trained in hundreds of different herbs and their medicinal values. As a witch who lives a homeopathic life, I can certainly relate to such folks. And like many traditional witches, they gather their herbs from the surrounding fields and woods of their locale.
"Hueseros and Sobaderos" are bone/muscle therapists who emphasize physical ailments. They are trained in healing methods that use rub and massage techniques. These healers look for abdominal tenderness, feeling knots in the calves, and/or rolling a fresh chicken egg over the abdomen. Empacho (impact of the stomach) is confirmed if the egg appears to stick to a particular area.
"Parteras" are the midwives and for decades have been the only source of such aid in many Hispanic communities. The Parteras will often employ a method called "manteadas". This is a form of body rocking on a blanket or shawl, with precise rhythmic movements in an effort to facilitate delivery, promote conception in infertile women and to relax the body by removing stress. It is also used to rearrange the whole body and/or bone dislocation and so forth. Often a rebozo is utilized for this type of healing. The rebozo is a type of long shawl.
Then there are the "Oracionistas" who work primarily through the power of prayer. This type of Curanderas healing is heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic views that have been intertwined with the Curandero path. They are viewed as a type of faith healer. Among these primary specialties there are a number of sub categories. For instance, Yerberos who work primarily with tobacco to heal patients are known as "tabaqueros" (Tobacco-using shaman) . As part of their healing process they employ the use of Nicotiana rustica, (Amazonian wild Tobacco) .
There are Curanderos who employ limpias energeticas (clean energy) , which is a form of ritual for spiritual cleansing. There are those who utilize Jugo terapia (juice therapy) , which as the name indicates is a method of mixing various fruits and herbs as a means of healing.
There are Curanderos who work primarily with ayahuasca and are known as ayahuasqueros. These shamans utilize the spirit of ayahuasca as a means of physical and spiritual healing.
By the same token, Curanderos who work with peyote are known as peyoteros. And akin to the ayahuasqueros, these shamans utilize the spirit of the peyote for spiritual healing. As an interesting side note, as of this writing, there are only three peyoteros in the United States who are licensed to harvest peyote, which is classified as a Schedule I Controlled Substance by the U.S. government.
In closing, I have barely covered the healing techniques, which fall under the description of curanderismo. The whole point of this article is to shed a bit of light on one of the many pools of knowledge that are available to the aspiring witch.
As I stated earlier on, witchcraft is not a single body of knowledge encased in some form of dogma, but rather an esoteric path that is constantly being expanded upon by applying both old and new knowledge. By opening one's mind and horizons, one is able to continue to grow both mentally and spiritually. A witch is one who is constantly seeking the path to wisdom...
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