Cornwall The Museum Witchcraft
Re-creation of a country witch in her cottage, at the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall (PHOTO BY AUTHOR; COURTESY OF MUSEUM OF WITCHCRAFT)

curandero/curandera Medicine men and women of Mexico, Mesoamerica and Hispanic communities. The curandero and curandera have a different healing function than their counterparts, the brujo and bruja (male and female witches). Curanderos are folk psychiatrists, providing magical cures for mental and emotional problems. For example, a curandero will "clean the soul," which may involve exorcising spirits believed responsible for problems. Both curanderos and brujos use herbal and folk remedies.

curse A SPELL intended to bring misfortune, illness, harm or death to a victim. The most dreaded form of magic, curses are universal. They are "laid" or "thrown" primarily for revenge and power but also for protection, usually of homes, treasures, tombs and grave sites. A curse can take effect quickly or may be dormant for years. Curses have been laid upon families, plaguing them for generations.

Any person can lay a curse by expressing an intense desire that a particular person come to some kind of harm (see ILL-wisHING). However, the success of a curse depends upon the curser's station and condition. Curses are believed to have more potency—and therefore more danger—when they are laid by persons in authority, such as priests, priestesses or royalty; persons of magical skill, such as witches, sorcerers and magicians; and persons who have no other recourse for justice, such as women, the poor and destitute and the dying. Deathbed curses are the most potent, for all the curser's vital energy goes into the curse.

If a victim knows he has been cursed and believes he is doomed, the curse is all the more potent, for the victim helps to bring about his own demise, through sympathetic magic. However, curses work without such knowledge on the part of the victim. Some victims are not told a curse has been laid, lest they find another witch to undo the spell (see PELLAR).

Like a blessing, a curse is a calling upon supernatural powers to effect a change. Intent makes the difference between benefit and harm. Witches and sorcerers perform

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  • Lea
    Does a curandero use witch craft?
    8 years ago

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