Folowing up on my last post about curanderos, there's this.
According to the article, there are 3 types of curanderos. Reading the definitions, it would appear that most of the people practicing around where I live are of the second type, those who are taught their skill, e.i. "These usually read coca leaves, and perform other rituals such as “pasar cuy” and “pasar huevo,” where the guinea pig, or egg, is gently rubbed over the person’s body in order to remove negative energy. The guinea pig is then killed, or the egg cracked open, to see what illness the person was suffering from. There are many of these all over Peru, and while some practice their trade well, others don’t."
I went back to Moisés, who's business card appears in the first photo of my last post. He claims to practice black magic, so I asked him what exactly that meant. He let me know that, for a modest fee, he will cast a spell on someone for the client. The spell usually involves causing some kind of illness to the target. This spell is performed there in his booth at the feria, then a "spirit helper", one of his messengers, delivers the notice of the spell casting to both the client and the target. Depending upon the strength of the beliefs of the target and the client, one will feel satisfied that vengence has been dealt, and the other may fall into the sick bed until payment has been made to another curandero to undo the spell and stop the illness.
This kind of thing seems to go against the stuff I've heard in talking to the witches in the US, but I don't know anyone who actually practices black magic, except now for Moisés.
And then there's this, which almost put me off eating at Doña Maria's Anticucharía a few blocks away. Hmm...not my idea of the best type of seasoning.
It seems like a lot of people in Lima believe in brujería, or there wouldn't be a curandero on every street corner. But belief in black magic and voodoo is strongest in the provinces of the north and the jungle. O told me that his mother is big believer in voodoo and the black arts, and she is scared to death of it. When she was younger, she heard through the grapevine that her cousin, who was called a witch by people in her neighborhood, had put a spell on her. O's mother was sick with headaches, vomiting, and general anxiety and weakness for weeks, until her husband finally called another witch doctor to break the spell by rubbing her forehead with a black guinea pig, then killing it and burning the entrails. Within a few hours she had completely recovered. Another Hmmmm...
What do YOU think?