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Spiritus Arcanum

Rosaries, Toads, and the Miraculous: Magia, Brujeria, y Curanderismo with Jesse Hathaway Diaz

Rosaries, Toads, and the Miraculous: Magia, Brujeria, y Curanderismo with Jesse Hathaway Diaz

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Rosaries, Toads, and the Miraculous: Magia, Brujeria, y Curanderismo with Jesse Hathaway Diaz

A part of the Voices of Folk Magic Series
This class was livestreamed  via Zoom in November 2022 and is now available as a video download.

While certain elements of Folk Magic are almost universal cross culturally, there are cultural markers embedded within the unique worldview of each specific community. American folk magic has many overlaps with Mexican magic and beliefs - indeed depending on where you are in the United States, Mexican folkways can be a huge influence and even primary expression of everyday practical magic. The border shifting also means that many people find themselves now labeled ‘American’ who were labeled ‘Mexican’ 150 years ago, creating a rich ‘in-between’ that is both as American as it is Mexican. This class focuses on the Chicano and Mexican magical folk traditions, looking at the landmarks that identify the Indigenous, Iberian, and Catholic influences that help delineate what makes Mexican folk magic what it is. We will contrast and compare with those folk magics of the Eastern US, as well as discuss the Catholic world view that allows for the miraculous in daily life, for people to work with both Saints and devils, to clean troubles off them with everyday objects, where midwives fly through the air as birds to combat those darker witches who have made pacts with the devil to achieve their destructive desires, where the rosary can become a noose and a common toad may grow to be a Saint. This is the magic of the borderlands, of those between cultures, of the pocho, the devout healer and the heretic, of the folk saint and the miracles born of necessity.

Jesse Hathaway Diaz is a folklorist, artist, performer and independent scholar with a Masters in Performance Studies from NYU. With initiations in several forms of witchcraft from Europe and the Americas, he is also a lifelong student of Mexican curanderismo, an initiated priest in the Lucumí Orisha tradition, and a Tatá Quimbanda. He co-hosts an occult themed podcast called ‘Radio Free Golgotha’, and edits the ‘Folk Necromancy in Transmission’ imprint through Revelore Press. For the better part of two decades, he has been involved with Theatre Group Dzieci, a New York based experimental theatre ensemble which explores theatre and ritual as a way, blending service with self-exploration and performance. Dividing his time between the Bronx and a farm in the Hudson Valley, his artistic and written work navigate the world-as-magic through exploring orality and transmission, decolonialism, ritual theory and praxis, herbalism and healing modalities through private study, apprenticeship, and community involvement.

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