What is a Curandera or Curandero?
Curandera (or Curandero for a male) is a traditional folk healer or Shaman in Latin America. A Curandera is an intermediary or messenger between the human and spirit world. Curanderas are also known as Healers, Brujas, Shamans or “Gente de Conocimiento” (People of Knowledge). I am writing with the “a” in Curandera, not because I am a feminine activist, just because I am a woman and I am writing about myself and the Curanderas around me.
There are different types of Curanderas. “Yerberas” are primarily herbalists. “Hueseras and Sobadoras” are bone/muscle therapists. “Parteras” are midwives. And the Brujas or Curanderas deal with spirit issues.
In the past, Curanderas were famous for their primitive rituals. Modern Curanderas, use any healing tool as a regular healer along with old fashioned ways. Crystals, singing bowls, feathers, drums and rattles are the main tools you will find in a medicine bag belonging to a Curandera.
The Curandera treat physical illness from the mind, the soul, the spirit as well as the body. The Curanderas belief is that any problem, condition or disease is related to the soul and this can be solved by treating the soul in the spiritual world this will be reflected in the physical world with restored health and wellness.
The Curandera can enter different realities or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems that afflict not only a person but also a group or even to the community itself. The role of the Curandera is to serve their community and its inhabitants. According to the Curandera’s ability to attract peace, harmony and health to the community, is the degree of respect that the people of the community have towards her.
Individuals, who are “called” to be Curanderas and serve their community, typically have had a rare disease, perhaps “incurable”, or near-death experiences. This dramatic experience awakens her dormant abilities as a Curandera. This is one of the different ways to become a Curandera.
Other way; is by family, friends or relatives. Somehow a future Curandera is always surrounded by potential teachers. They are just there, waiting for the moment of the Curandera abilities to be awakened, to start the training. This is why the Curandera often come from families of Curanderas.
There is another type of Curandera’s birth: The “Academic Birth.” Just as a good athlete is formed with hours of training and diet, a good Curandera can be formed with hours of study and practice. These Curandera-scholars generally are not as talented in the beginning of their Curandera’s practice, as those who have been “natural born”; but the hours of effort eventually bear fruit and exceptionally good academic Curanderas are “born.”
The life of a Curandera is a lonely life. It is often accompanied by a lot of pain. Somehow, God or the Higher Creator sends the Curandera many painful experiences so that the Curandera can connect with her clients and have compassion for them. At first glance, the life of a Curandera does not seem lonely. Her magnetic personality attracts people. Keeping her always surrounded by family, friends and clients; but in the end, nobody really knows the world of a Curandera. Everyone is floating around her like the moth that flies around a night light in the dark.
Curanderas need to follow strict dietary habits and continually strive to develop stronger skills. These habits and diets can be imposed by their teachers or even by the spirits and therefore will be unique to each particular Curandera.
The Curanderas have many functions in the community. Some typical activities are: to heal, give advice, serving as intermediaries with the spirit world, helping souls to cross to the afterlife, interpret dreams, clear negative energy, predict the future, bring wealth, and performs ceremonies, blessings and protections.
Every Curandera has her unique way to perform her duties; therefore, there is no right or wrong way. If you are looking into become a Curandera or use the services of one, just follow your intuition about what is right for you.
Recommended reading: Curandera Beliefs (check our blog)
Paloma Cervantes is the Author of the book “A Shamanic Way: Rituals, Rattles, and Recipes for Awakening Your Inner Spirit” and the e-books “10 Steps to Stop Feeling Drained after a Shamanic Journey”, “Spiritual Intention or La Mira”, “Spiritual Baths in the Mexican Shamanism Tradition”, etc.
She is a Mexican Shaman or Curandera practicing since 1987. She writes and teaches about Shamanism, Curanderismo, Spiritual Herbalism and Ancient Healing Traditions. She has her practice in California.
In 2013 Paloma finally obtained permission to share the teachings learned from her mentor, a Mexican Shaman or Curandero trained in the traditional way, in order to keep alive the tradition. In 2014 her mentor retired leaving her in charge of the practice and classes.
Visit her blog: www.palomacervantes.com
Support our store: www.curanderoproducts.com
Disclaimer: The information given is strictly for educational purposes and does not imply or express any health benefit. This information is historic, cultural, folkloric and traditional in value. The author cannot proclaim the effectiveness of the contents of this writing and does not have any responsibility for the use that the reader gives it.