Alive and Well In The Home
The medicine we’re talking about here is not approved by the American Medical Association or any other association for that matter. It’s folk healing and magic we’re talking about, the power to change circumstances the medical associations and government offices can’t, or won’t, touch.
We’re talking about las curanderas, las parteras y los brujos – healers, midwives and witches who serve La Gente, the People.
Yes, that medicine.
During the alleged conquest of Mexico, the battle raged – life, death, religious beliefs, medicine, everything was up for grabs. Precious things destroyed, others stolen, while the blood flowed.
As you may imagine our leaders and elders had to make some decisions. Groups from the military, from the local communities and from the spiritual people of the times gathered for counsel. Most saw the inevitable outcome of this war and considering how much medicine these conquerors brought from across the sea, our elders felt we needed to learn about this European power, for the future of our people.
Long story short, our medicine people kidnapped the European wizard who helped Cortez burn his ships and conquer Mexico, a man named Botello. In the Spanish historical accounts the man disappeared, but in truth Botello was as fascinated by our medicine as we were with his medicine.
Botello became one of us and our medicine began the long dance of both defending against that European medicine, while learning to cooperate with it to survive. The combination of our best with their best resulted in a mixture, a mezcla, of medicines. Since our temples and our control of the environment was gone, this mezcla went into the home altars, in oh, so many forms and functions.
These mixed faith altars arose in all directions and spread irrespective of borders and governments, again, in the homes of the People. Everywhere the mixture of the peoples happened, these altars arose and continue to this day. Indigenous and European healing methods, including sorcery and high spiritual understandings, along with the talent to use them, fused into a cultural, no borders, phenomenon.
The result is the mixture of European/Catholic medicine with Indigenous ways and medicine, found on home altars, literally, around the world, where it’s not rare to see a Catholic saint standing next to a snake’s head soaking in saltwater.
From that great mezcla came this altar, a speck in the infinite number of altars that have birthed from that legendary time.