By Roman Delgado
What is Brujería? Most pagans I have met simply know it to be the Spanish translation for the word Witchcraft. Many more I have met seemed to be, at one point or the other under the misunderstanding that it is the same thing as Paganism, but with a local Latin American flavor. As true as it is that there is a great deal of magic in Mexican Brujería that echoes other forms of magic from around the world. Mexican Brujería has a unique flavor that is completely its own. This is also true of magical traditions in other parts of the Spanish speaking world.
Where I grew up Brujería was something you did not talk about. It was something the adults whispered about away from the ears of children. I got used to the members of my community pointing at us and whispering about us as we walked by. While at the same time; when things got rough they always knocked at our door in the dead of night to speak to my Abuela, my Mother or my Grandfather.
You see in my Mother’s side of the family were all practitioners of traditional Mexican spirituality. Both Brujería ( Sorcery) and in my Abuelas case Curanderismo ( folk healing ) My Abuela - Mama Tacha was a Yierbera, a traditional Mexican Herbalist. She was my first magical teacher and I did my best to follow in her footsteps, in some regards I have succeeded. In others I have failed as I have a difficult time making green things grow.
Living in Mexico with my Mother’s family until the late 1990’s was illuminating. I got to see the slow trickle of European Paganism into Mexican culture. For you see Brujería and Curanderismo are mixtures of Native Mexican beliefs, Catholicism and influences from the slave trade. Most Mexican practitioners of either art consider ourselves Catholic, and calling a Bruja or Brujo ( or a Curandera/o ) a witch or a pagan can land you in a lot of magical trouble, for it is considered an insult. We are, by tradition still Catholic. Even myself as an adult exploring Wicca consider myself a Christian Witch, as my private Patrons are Jesus Christ and Santa Muerte. Both entities very much Catholic amongst Mexicans!
Growing up in Mexico when I did was powerful ! There was the energy of the local Natives who wanted nothing to do with Mestizos like me ( people of mixed heritage) because they felt that by trying to bring the modern world to Native Mexicans we were gentrifying them and attempting to destroy their traditions. Then there was the energy of most modern Mexicans that both feared and respected the medicine men and women of the natives, while at the same time thought of them as primitive and behind the times.
In Mexico and amongst Chicanos ( Mexican Americans in the US) Magic has its place. But that place is always in private. Away from the prying judging eyes of your neighbors and community. You go to the Brujo and the Curandero, not because you want to, but because you have no other choice left.
As time passed I have seen cross pollination in the Mexican community with European styles of magic and occultism. Amulets from medieval grimoires have become a part of Brujería. Yet it has worked in the reversed fashion as well. During my time with The Fellowship of Isis I learned of a Iseum that utilized Our Lady of Guadalupe as their version of the Goddess they worshiped.
I have seen people outside of the Mexican community be chosen by spirits to learn the ways of my Ancestors and bridge the gap into western occultism. While some spirits like Our Lady of Guadalupe love to be worshiped in Eurocentric ways. Others do not. Santa Muerte hates being wiccanized! You do not take Santa Muerte out of her culture to worship her your way. You bring your new Eurocentric worship to her, and build on the foundation she has built for you.
This new style of practicing a Brujería and Curanderismo foundation, with elements from European paths to build with has brought me success in working with Wicca, and with the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. I have found a welcoming home for my path there. However the community is still growing and changing! Outside of the ATC I often encounter pagans that when they meet me in a magical setting, they immediately ask if I am a Brujo. When I explain that it is part of my path, but Wicca, Egyptian Religion, Goddess Worship and Shamanism among other things have highly influenced me, I am often met with resistance or even anger. I am not alone in this. I have known other People of Color in the pagan community that have often been told to stick to the religion of their own ancestry. We have a lot of growing to do. I however am glad to have found a coven and church that accepts me for the spicy melting pot that I am. I am excited to see where my Mexican and European mix of spirituality will take me next.
The next question is: Where is your path taking you? Do you hear your Ancestors calling? Mine as a Mestizo are both Native Mexican and European. Will you only focus on one aspect of your culture of origin like the people in my childhood in Mexico? Or will you embrace your own little melting pot of ancestry and spiritual interest? You see the world is not getting bigger. It is getting smaller, and the days where each path was strictly closed to all other and we do not ever mix or learn from each other died with the invention of the internet. It is time to let the knowledge of our magic be free to those who seek it authentically. After all nobody lives forever and it is by teaching that our traditions survive and evolve into something new.
This is why I am bridging my Native and European Ancestry. Why I share my Mexican path with my Wiccan friends; my inspiration is simple: To make sure the new generation of spirituality being born and presented to the masses is built in a foundation of true spirituality, and the new towers built upon that ground are strong and unique to our next generation of practitioners, regardless of heritage.
Nothing escapes the touch of Santa Muerte, as such nothing ever stays the same: That includes Religion.
Roman and The Ever Green Hearth would like to invite you to a special online ritual: Meeting Our Lady of Guadalupe. In this ritual you will be introduced to the Mother of the Americas, the Queen of Heaven and Earth; Our Lady of Guadalupe. Learn the story of how she became the Queen of Mexico and protectress of Indigenous people. You will experience a guided meditation to meet our Lady and Mother. Events | Ever Green Hearth (theevergreenhearth.org) Ritual will be held online on Sunday, June 13th at 7 pm PST. Check the Events page or our Facebook page for details.
Roman Delgado is a Psychic Reader and Shamanic Healer at Teotl Tonalli Intuitive Arts. He is a Dedicant of the Keepers of the Flame Coven, ATC (The Ever Green Hearth) Please check our Community Connections page to find ways to connect with Roman or other members and Affiliates of The Ever Green Hearth.