SPIRIT CLEANSING; CURANDEROS, CARE SEEKERS GATHER FOR INDIGENOUS HEALERS FEST.Byline: DENNIS J. CARROLL
By Dennis J. Carroll
For The New Mexican New Mexico Abbr. NM or N.M. or N.Mex.
A state of the southwest United States on the Mexican border. It was admitted as the 47th state in 1912.
The primal call of Rita Navarrete's conch conch (kŏngk, kŏnch, kôngk), common name for certain marine gastropod mollusks having a heavy, spiral shell, the whorls of which overlap each other. seashell See C shell. horn could be heard even as one approached the hogan at the Institute of American Indian American Indian
or Native American or Amerindian or indigenous American
Any member of the various aboriginal peoples of the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of the Eskimos (Inuit) and the Aleuts. Arts' Center for Lifelong Education.
Navarrete, a curandera curandera /cu·ran·de·ra/ (koo-ron-da´rah) [Sp.] healer; a woman who practices curanderismo. , or healer healer Mainstream medicine A romantic synonym for physician. See Traditional healing. , from Cuernavaca in central Mexico, was blowing the horn Sunday over the supine body of one of her patients, attempting to thwart the negative energies apparently running through her body.
The horn was one of numerous instruments of healing -- including maracas, bells, chants and most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially the healer's hands and heart -- being used by Navarrete and the other 22 curanderos participating in the Indigenous Healers Festival. Most were healer teachers at the Center of Human Development to the Community in Cuernavaca, run by director Arturo Ornelas.
"The Mexican therapy approach is spiritual, mental and physical," Ornelas said as he sat at a table topped with numerous balms, tinctures and "microdoses" made from various parts of indigenous Mexican plants.
One of the most sought-after treatments by the dozens of care seekers who attended the festival was the Mexican sobada massage. "Some people were crying when they heard they could get the sobada here," Ornelas said.
He said practitioners of the sobadas give the massage with an intense sense of care and emotion, causing both troubling and positive emotions such as love, hope and contradictions to come flowing out their patients' bodies "like a river."
Rose Keir of Eldorado, diagnosed with an incurable disability, had just finished receiving the massage.
"I could feel her heart flow through her fingers," Keir said of the masseuse masseuse /mas·seuse/ (-sldbomacz´) [Fr.] a woman who performs massage. . "It was the most freeing and comforting touch I have ever had."
Keir said there was a calmness and sense of caring among the curanderos she has not experienced among traditional Western medical caregivers. "It doesn't hurt. It's not toxic to my body," she said of her treatment in the hogan.
Curandera masseuse Magdelena Brito said she has been trained to "pull away the bad energy people have inside ... so they feel better instantly." She said her hands can detect from where in the body a person's troubles may be emanating -- such as warmth over the liver or vibrations around the head.
Salvador Aldama, a physician who works at the Cuernavaca center, said that although the traditional Mexican healers' methods may sound mysterious and even of questionable value to skeptics, traditional Western medicine gets much of its power from the mystery of the words only doctors can pronounce.
"You go to a hospital, and (much of what happens to you) you don't understand," Aldama said.
He also noted the white coats and ties doctors wear and the medical degrees they post on their office walls to instill in·still
To pour in drop by drop.
instil·lation n. a sense of trust in their authority as physicians.
Outside the hogan, Alander Seoutewa, 30, of Zuni Pueblo had just finished receiving a spirit cleansing from a curandera who circled him with pine sap smoke from an incense vessel.
"I am trying to get purified," Seoutewa said. "I am trying to get comfortable with myself. I want to get rid of negative energy I have had for the last months."
Seoutewa said the Mexican healing methods on display at the IAIA hogan are related to traditional American Indian medical treatments, both of which have roots in the Mayan-Aztec medical practices.
"I still believe that we (North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. Indians) are one united people" with the Mexican descendants of the Mayans and Aztecs.
The healing festival continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the hogan on the IAIA campus, 83 Avan Nu Po Road, and also includes Native food booths, indigenous dances, and arts and crafts arts and crafts, term for that general field of applied design in which hand fabrication is dominant. The term was coined in England in the late 19th cent. as a label for the then-current movement directed toward the revivifying of the decorative arts. . All healing treatments are free, but donations are welcome.
Contact Dennis J. Carroll
at 986-3091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.