the way home

My Tia Andrea and my grandmother Guadalupe were curanderas; Aztec-desended healers whose general practice was integration of the body and soul, and the curing of both. When my cousins or I had a headache, we would not be fed aspirin; we would use our minds to stop it, and it totally worked. Every chest cold and flu was cured with one remedy: a boiling pot of hot water, half a lemon and honey; drink it as a tea. Take away the honey and add cayenne, and you’ve got a sort-of Jamaican wake-up drink that’s better than coffee; add maple syrup it becomes the basis for Stanley Burrough’s Master Cleanser. Great for the liver. Tastes awesome. Gives you a rush. We talk a lot about global culture now, especially in the “We are all connected through the internet” context, but centuries before the harnessing of electricity, indiginous cultures all over the planet were using the same herbs as medicine, worshipping versions of the same gods, and performing some of the same rituals. In other words: the internet has always existed, it’s just another version of a constant. Certain Aztec healing rituals are very similar to those in Santeria, Yoruba, Vodun (and everybody was hiding those rituals in the context of the Mass after they were forcibly converted to Catholicism).
So in 1972, my aunt and mother were in Guadalajara visiting Tia Kuka, my grandmother’s sister, who died before I was born. They had been out in the city, walked the path back to Kuka’s and along the way, heard a baby’s yawl from a neighbor’s house. They stopped in to see what was wrong. The baby was colicky and had a sunken spot on his head, and there was no money to go to the doctor. “How much is the doctor,” my mother asked. “Thirty pesos,” they answered. My mother responded, “We have thirty pesos; we’ll give them to you.” Tia Kuka said, “No. I will do it.” She sat the baby on her lap, said a prayer to La Virgen (Tonantzin), and blew one sharp breath into his mouth. The baby stopped crying, and after an hour, his soft spot “just filled out, like a balloon,” my aunt recounted.

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4 Responses to the way home

  1. jck says:

    cool story

  2. exo says:

    Pretty jumelles.

  3. Aunt Josie says:

    You got it almost right.

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