Curanderismo in South America

The strong beliefs in the supernatural is recognized to the pagan religious practices and the integration of beliefs that were instilled by the Conquistadors in their quest to convert the natives to Catholicism. Because of the conquest by the Spaniards and their settlement in South and Central America, there were intermarriages between the natives and Spaniards. This created the race referred to as the mestizos or, in the U.S., Chicanos. Their beliefs and religious practices have survived through the generations. However, the belief in folk illnesses and curanderismo does not usually deter anyone, whether Hispanic or Native American, to seek conventional health care. None the less, supernaturalism concerning curanderismo and witchcraft is a large part of the intriguing history of the natives and Hispanics of the Southwest. A curandero is a healer. Curanderos help treat personal things that can't be healed without having faith. The word derives from the Spanish verb, curar; which means to heal. Many Mexican Americans believe in the curanderos power of healing and visit a curandero when they are sick or having family problems. Even though medical doctors are available, many Mexican Americans still choose to see a curandero in times of illness. Unfortunately, some people seek a curandero because they have little or no money to see a doctor or have no health insurance. Although known to be good some curanderos tend to take advantage of the needy. Poor who have no money and that is unfortunate, a curandero works on one or more of the three levels of healing. These three levels include the material, the spiritual and the material. There are six major historical influences that have shaped the beliefs and practices of curanderismo. Thefirst influence is the Judeo and Christian religious beliefs, symbols and rituals. The second is early Arabic medicine and health practices. The third is medieval and European witchcraft. The fourth influe…


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