Brujeria, which in English means witchcraft, was taught to me in high school with a book. The teacher assigned “The Crucible” written by Arthur Miller in high school. The purpose of the book is to educate the class about the horrific history of The Salem Witch Trials and the beginnings of structured religion. The tone of the book described an era of fear among the witches, painting a dark and dreary image. Now fast forward to the present, my fellow Latinx millennials and I are digging through family history. While digging through family history we are figuring out aspects of witchcraft that is left out of the book. For many people of color, there is a positive impact in the practice of Brujeria while rediscovering our roots.
“The Crucible” explains how the hysteria of witches came to break the norm in a small, strict town named Salem. One day in Salem a group of young curious Caucasian girls and a female slave from Barbados. They tried to raise spirits from the dead. Coming from a strict town, they knew there would be some form of punishments for their curiosity.
To avoid the worst from happening they start pointing their fingers at other members of the society. They made it seem as others were doing the practices they were guilty of. The finger-pointing got out of control, and as the arresting of witches increased, the town turned into a frenzy of the fear of the “devil work” walking among them. At the end of the century, the court executed about nineteen men and women.
Addressing the book written through Euro Colonial lens teaching women of color, that Bujeria is a bad thing. However, learning about the Afro-Carribean ancestor’s findings of Brujeria, I don’t believe it was a coincidence the slave girl in the book was from Barbados. Slaves from Barbados that practiced brujeria is known as Igbo.
Igbo was the national hero and major slave revolt leader of Barbados. Every Caribbean member had their name and practice rituals that helped address the culture including the land, water, and their self-being.
In my personal experience as a Latinx from Puerto Rico, I believe Brujeria is a necessary part of ritualism. Our roots are a fundamental part of witchcraft. As I view the uprise among other feminist Latinx millennials, it brings me joy that we haven’t shut out our culture. Some of the women embracing the movement are:
- Singer-rapper Princess Nokia
- Skateboard team Brujas
- Editor of online publication Wwwayward.com Yeni Lopez
- Vynal Club B-side Brujas and so much more.
In the modern age, The taboo of witchcraft has a different view. We use it for pushing ourselves to have a positive life and mind through different practices not known through structured religion. For example lighting sages, aligning crystals, studies of moon phases, practicing yoga, eating healthy and so much more. The motive is empowerment and embracing our culture.
I believe the dream catcher shirt I’m wearing, from Merch Nerds help align who I am as a person and honoring my heritage. The site is not only limited to t-shirts. If you love the print and want to embrace your inner Bruja, you can get it in other fits. The other fits Merch Nerds carry on their website is tank tops and hoodies.