Combining faith in healing

Combining faith in healing

Here in New Mexico where I live there are Currnadera

Image courtesy of the University of New Mexico

The Currandera Currandero is still a major player in Northern New Mexico Health care. We here have gone to both the doctor and the Currandera. Mostly it depends on the 1 if it is convenient  and 2 The cost. They came in many flavors They were multi-disciplinary field that were made of parteras (midwives), herberas (herbalists),sobadoras (massage therapists) and curanderas religiosas y espirituales (religious and spiritual healers)



It was a big misconception that the currandero were ONLY female. The real fact is that the majority of them were female but the male side worked in the field also.

But that is not what this week’s blog post is about.


This week I want to float an idea off our readers. One of my dreams that I have had since I became involved in medicine was to bring the history of my Spanish and Indian ancestors and  that were curanderos into the 21st century and combine it with MY faith as a Heathen (Asatru).

Traditionally they were and are Catholic. One thing after living in a state with the Catholics I have come to see that they are more pagan than the pagans! Really Each small town in Northern NM has a patron saint. Each house has its own patron saint and they left offerings to different saints for different wants and needs. If you want to see that world I grew up in rent The Milagro Beanfield War. It was filmed in the small town of Truchas NM. A very good copy of my home town of Wagon Mound NM. Amarante the old man in the movie, tells the young college  student to leave some tamales or some beer for the Saints to bring good rest. Not so different than the average heathen who leaves offerings of mead beer milk or bread to our gods goddesses and landvaetter.

Image courtesy of The Milagro Beanfield War Archives

So what is to stop a person from bringing the style of healing of the Northern NM Currandero and applying the same process to a Northern NM Heathen? As far I a can see nothing.


But the top 5 questions are….


The the top 5 items I have heard are:

  1. Dude but its WEEDS
  2. Prayer to heal. What, are you trying out for a spot on The Church Channel?
  3. Uhh where is your license to practice medicine?
  4. There is nothing in the Lore that says they were a part of the Norse Culture.
  5. It’s a women’s only game.


So let’s take them in order

First yes it’s a plant. In the modern pharmacopeia there are over 100 chemicals pulled from plants that are actively used in modern medicine. One good example is Tamiflu. You know the commercial . The big guy in the little house BIG flu symptoms make things worse yada yada. Tamiflu used to be made from the humble Star Anise seeds. Today the name used is oseltamivir phosphate, I want the guys job who makes up this stuff!! the actual active ingredient is called shikimic acid.


Chinese Star Anise







Prayer to heal? Now not in the manner of the the Christian guys on TV that pop some poor schlep in the head he hits the ground and stands up healed. Working for decades in Cardiology I saw people come in with a heart attack that had NO BUSINESS surviving it. Walk out a week later. Why? They believed they would live and the had FAITH. And I have seen people show up with a minor heart attack that should have been a 10 minute fix and send em home. DIE. Why? They convinced themselves the were dying and they died. So combining faith and healing seems a natural thing to do. BUT without the multi-million dollar studios and bashing poor sods in the head.










  Image courtesy of Benny Hinn Exposed

License to practice medicine. OK you got me on this one. Technically you can not diagnose, give medical advice dispense “medications” Practice in any way shape or fashion in the State of New Mexico for hire WITHOUT A LICENSE. Currandero/a’s they are left strictly alone here in Northern NM. Elsewhere in the state not so much. One herbal friend of mine and another who is a 78 year old Currandera tell me that they get around it by selling the knowledge of healing. Not the practice of healing. They teach you and provide you with the materials. Now I know that Mrs Quintana (NOT her real name) actively heals her patients . She delivers the babies fixes the hangovers. Cures the bad stomach and keeps La Llorona away from children. And she charges 5-20 bucks or a sack of flour. A bag of pintos, some cut and wrapped beef. Or her windows washed or trim painted. So use your own judgment.


It’s not in the lore. Well yes it is and its in other places. The Havamal has a BUNCH charms and chants devoted to healing. The 13th century Icelandic law book Grágás says that one must hold harmless a person who bleeds or cauterizes someone for the good of their health. In Gunnlaugs Saga Ormstungu, Gunnlaug’s ankle was twisted out of joint in a wrestling match. Later, his foot was bandaged and the joint re-set. (Þá var vafiður fóturinn og í liðinn færður.) Also there is large amounts of evidence taken from graves that show evidence of minor to moderate to advanced setting of bones and moderate surgical procedures. And looking at the “Worldview” at the time I can not fathom anything being done with a little bede to Eir (Friggas handmaiden the goddess of healing The best of leeches) Mother Frigga or even the Allfather Odin. The term then used for a healer was læknir.  Hmmm has a nice ring. Perhaps we should bring it back into use. The best evidence of the healer was from the  Þórðar saga hreðu, Indriði suffered gaping wounds during a battle. When asked if he might pull through, he said, “I think there is some hope of it, if a healer sees me.”

Runes courtesy of Stefn Thorsman

And it’s only a womans game. Ummm. No. In the the Spanish Currandera was the female side Currandero was the male. The majority were female but some men would be called.


By bringing our own brand and method of healing that includes our gods goddesses ancestor and ladvaetter would be one step closer to the reconstruction of our faith and cementing it firmly in the 21st century.

We have a very long history that was lost for a while,  but is being rebuilt rediscovered and put back into use. This is a work in progress and one day I will be able to carry on the traditions that my grandmother great grand uncle and ancestors that stretch back to the beginning of time and use my skills to help and maybe even heal my folk.


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