10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Brujería

by Anna

Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Katrina Rasbold, author of the new Crossroads of Conjure.

Brujería is the sacred practice of Mexican and Mexican-American Witchcraft, but how much do you know about it? Here are ten facts that lend texture and flavor to this fascinating path:

  1. Brujería embraces gender equality. Male witches are called “Brujos” and female witches are called “Brujas.” In the past, there were generally more Brujos than Brujas, but the recent surge of Brujería as an expression of feminine power resulted in more Brujas than Brujos.
  2. Brujería has an unbroken lineage tracing back to the pre-historic magical practices of the Mexica (Ma-shee-ka) civilization that formed what we now call the Aztec or Maya.
  3. Brujería did not “come to” America. It was always here in the practice of the people living in states that were once Mexico and became part of the United States through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.
  4. In addition to its Mexican and Spanish roots, Brujería absorbed components of Judeo-Christianism, European Witchcraft, Greek philosophy, Hoodoo, Haitian Vodou, and Arabic healing practices. It does not follow Wiccan concepts of harming none or the three-fold law, but instead judges a magical work as “justified” or “not justified.”
  5. People often confuse Brujería with Curanderismo. Both are Mexican healing traditions that use magic. Curanderismo closely equates to the herb witch or naturopathic healer. A Curandera (female) or Curandero (male) views a physical condition and wonders if there is a spiritually-based cause (such as a crossing or curse). The Bruja/o views a spiritual condition and wonders if there is a physical or mental cause (such as a toxicity or injury). Brujería views all magical work as a form of healing for the client.
  6. Whereas Curanderismo is a respected practice within Hispanic communities, Brujería is often feared and maligned due to the power the Brujas/os hold and misinformation spread by the Catholic church, which does not formally endorse Brujería.
  7. Although many Pagan people practice Brujería, it is not itself a Pagan path. Brujería has been a Catholic-based practice for approximately five hundred years, since the Spanish conquest. Technically, it is a Christian system of folk magic.
  8. Brujería is a path of service to the community and to the clients who come to the Bruja/o for care. It is not about magic for personal benefit.
  9. Brujería judges a practitioner by ability and results rather than ethnicity, gender, or age. Most Brujos/as generally welcome those who are called to the path provided they work with integrity and produce quality results.
  10. Little written information exists about Brujería, especially in English, because it is an orally conveyed practiced learned experientially through apprenticeship rather than academically through text. As such, Brujería presents differently for individual practitioners because each apprentice is learning a non-standardized practice from their own mentor.

Interested in Brujería? Check out my new book, Crossroads of Conjure: The Roots and Practices of Granny Magic, HooDoo, Curanderismo, and Brujería.

Our thanks to Katrina for her guest post! For more from Katrina Rasbold, read her article, “Glitter, Glass, & Flame: The Power of Candle Magic.”

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