Nov 19, 2009

Curandero...healer or quack?

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Several years ago, I got into Lynn V. Andrews's books (the Medicine Woman series.) I still enjoy them, but the author claims that all these stories are true. Maybe they are, amazing as they seem, but as I've been traveling around Latin America lately, I've come across some of the kinds of people she mentions in her books. Not all of them seem to be as genuine as she claims.

"Curandero" is one of the terms she uses often in her stories. In Spanish, the definition of curandero" is healer or quack. Quack is further clarified with the phrase false doctor. And you know what? There are many curanderos and curanderas who practice their trade right around where I live. In the downtown area, curanderos are a dime a dozen. They advertise a number of practices that make me go HMMMMM... For example:

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"Read your luck with coca leaves, playing cards, plumb bob (I think this must be like a pendulum), candle, and magnet...cure fear, diagnosis of illnesses with black guinea pig, and cure unknown diseases. All is not lost. Find the solution to your problems right here."
You can see some of the things that are used if you enlarge the photo.

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Here's another shot of a curandera's booth. She wouldn't let me photograph her, but the booth itself was fine. La Señora Agusta cures fear with an egg, detects disease with a guinea pig, cleans away the bad vibes, and makes payment to the Sacred earth on your behalf for success in work, health, money, and love. And she has lots of goodies for sale there in her booth for do-it-yourselfers.


Pondside said...

I wonder what La Senora Agusta would recommend for H1N1!

knittingdragonflies said...

Humm interesting.
I like the photos, very cultural.
I would stay away from her recommendations though, just to be on the safe side.

Kathleen said...

Pondside, I'm pretty sure Señora Agusta would recommend passing a black guinea pig over the ill person, and then cooking it for dinner! Guinea pig, is a delicacy here, you know...