The National Hispanic Cultural Center, has a special exhibit on visual interpretations of the book. The event we attended included a talk by Toñita Gonzales, curandera and educator, and Dr. Eliseo Torres, author and scholar of Curanderismo at the University of New Mexico. Virginia Marie is herself a curandera, as well as an Episcopal priest. The talk began with a ritual to honor the four directions and the Creator and the Mother Earth.
Curanderismo includes the use of herbs for healing, and many other modalities. It works in conjunction with western medicine, though for many years was viewed with suspicion, as most traditional healing methods have been viewed. It includes making a relationship with plants, treating them with honor and respect for their power to heal us. Ultima would always say a prayer to the plants before she dug them up for use in healing. I think about the plants I have been getting to know back in Maine.
Back at Virginia Marie’s home, we also watched the movie that was made from the book. Today, she will do a healing session with me, though in reality, this whole time has been a healing ceremony.