Read Related: Latino Traditions and SuperstitionsThat said, I don’t remember talk of consulting psychics or brujas among the older generations. I guess they saw no need to buy the cow when they could get the milk for free? My parents’ generation however, coming of age during the Age of Aquarius, took very naturally to astrology, psychics, mediums and more. Most of of my aunts and uncles have, at the very least, had their astrological charts compiled and interpreted for them. By the time I came along, the occult and alternative medicines were a deeply integrated and accepted part of my family culture. None of these “occult” practices seemed the least bit odd to me as a kid, certainly no more odd than the things that went on in our Catholic church.
I don’t know if this is true of Latinos in general, but we have a long tradition of bruja tendencies on both sides of my Mexican-American family. When anyone on my dad’s side of the family was going through a stressful situation (a bad breakup, job troubles, even health scares) my Mama Lola would always have a dream about that person. If she had one dream, she might ask how you’re doing the next time she saw you. Two dreams meant she’d call someone in your immediate family to make sure you were okay. Three dreams? You’d get a call from her the moment she woke up (no matter the time of day or night) and without even identifying herself she’d demand to know what was wrong. There are countless stories of ghosts, hauntings, sightings of La Virgen, you name it. It’s all just par for the course in my family, like the many home remedies we still utilize. No one even bats an eye. Speaking of which—don’t even get me started on the evil eye. My mom’s side of the family speaks about curses the same way other people talk about property taxes or parking tickets. Virtually all of my relatives (even now and yes, even I) have an altar in their house dedicated to some purpose or other, with the velas burning 24 hours a day.