After reading Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo: Limpias Espirituales of Ancient Mesoamerican Shamans, by Erika Buenaflor M.A. J.D., I have to admit that I will be searching more about Curanderismo in the future. It is one of those topic I never felt curious about, but this book proved to be interesting enough to change that.
Before explaining her limpias, the author examines the historical background behind them and explains the beliefs and methods used by curanderos/as, how they work and any mythology that may be related to the traditional cleaning methods.
These could be very dense, hard to follow segments for those unfamiliar with academic formats and structures. I myself found it challenging, but Erika Buenaflor does a good job simplifying the parts and ideas she can, while leaving the real important issues in a more formal tone.
Following the examination of each type of limpia, Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo presents the author’s methods to perform them, giving different examples of what should be done in order to have the desired effects, along with some comments on them and some anecdotes from Erika Buenaflor that serve to have a better idea of what to expect from them.
I have always been more interested in European traditions, folklore and magic forms, just as a matter of preference and personal likes. Although I ignored practically everything about Curanderismo and Mesoamerican shamanism, this books serves as a good introduction on their limpias, one of their most popular practices.
Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo has a very complete approach on the subject, making it easier for newcomers to get to know more about it and provides enough guidance in order to perform the limpias listed in it. I’m not sure if reading would be enough to do so, but seems like the basics are covered.
Erika Buenaflor has a strong, confident voice and consistent style. The tone varies slightly when including personal experiences or those of her clients, but always writing in a highly informative and friendly manner. It bothered me a little to see a few misspelled words in Spanish, but I can understand it may be hard to switch from one language to the other.
In short, the book has well-researched content presented in a casual manner most of the time, combining history, mythology and personal approaches, along with anecdotes to make it all easier to understand and practice. I’m not sure if I could consider this a workbook, but includes several exercises a.
It could be too early to say I will search more about the topic, but Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo has changed my level of interest for the better and now will have a more receptive approach the next time I see a book about it.
About the author:
Erika Buenaflor, M.A., J.D., has a master’s degree in religious studies with a focus on Mesoamerican shamanism from the University of California at Riverside. A practicing curandera for over 20 years, descended from a long line of grandmother curanderas, she has studied with curanderas/os in Mexico, Peru, and Los Angeles and gives presentations on curanderismo in many settings, including at UCLA. She lives in Altadena, California.
About the book:
Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo: Limpias Espirituales of Ancient Mesoamerican Shamans
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Bear & Company (July 10, 2018)
About the reviewer:
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and self-published writer; a solitary, eclectic Wiccan interested in the darker side of magic and divination; a gothic guy who tries to educate whenever he can. He hopes someday to succeed in one of them.