Cheryl Wiltse
SCMLA 2013 notes

Southwest or Hispanic stories–curanderos

Curanderos are indigenous folk healers who do miraculous feats with hands and herbs.

Conquistadors brought
hot/cold, dark/light
power to heal from God
herbal remedies
body and spirit are one

All say “called to the service of the people.”
an 8 year old in 1898 healed the presidents daughter
a mute was brought, set him in front of swings and bumped into him continually, he found a voice

girl–daughter of an Indian woman and nobleman did massage, herbalism, and simple surgery

most will not accept payment

People leave buckets of cherries, lamps, etc.

Put person in the chair and brush with cloth.
Feet are important.
Massage, with oil, in a triangle.

Illnesses spring from physical and spiritual causes.

Lemons and eggs get rid of evil. Destroy the lemons and eggs and destroy evil.

Healing isn’t really free.

Curanderos have altars in their homes.
In 1988 an anthropology student took picture of one of the altars. A small vial broke during the photo shoot. Shortened her life by 1/3 when broke. …How do they know that?

Eva–Home was full of power in the back room.
That room burned.

Evil eye comes from excessive admiration.

A bruja (witch) is a curandera who is evil.

El Nino left a recipe against hexes.

Plant world has lots of uses.
Herbalism taught in families.
“You dig some of the roots.”
Learn location of herbs.
How to clean and dry, whether inside or outside

Curandera sobradora (one who heals with her hands)
This is what my cousin is/does.

Pancreas is “loose” if there are stomach issues.

Jesse, from Vegas, baby deliverer (20,000+ kids)
used hands for heartbeats ???

uncomfortable space between science and faith = curanderas

medicinal magic
natural prescriptions in the cities
Curanderos don’t isolate symptoms/parts like modern medicines.

The speaker said that people often go to the curanderas after modern medicine has failed them.
A person, at the end, said that many of those people would have been healed if they had just gone and gotten modern medicine and that it was all hooey.
I said that modern medicine fails many people, even those who seek it assiduously, and that if there is something else that works, then we ought to be able to see the efficacy of that and use it as well.

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