These two words mean the same thing but both can cause people to feel uncomfortable. Some may only associate Brujas or Witches with Halloween characters and nothing else. In “Hocus Pocus” the witches lure children and take their life while in “The Conjuring” the witch Bathsheba killed her child for Satan. In “American Horror Story: Coven” there are witches from different cultures and practices, but they have supernatural powers. In the movie “The Witch,” witches are depicted as child killers who feed off animals. It also portrays the practice of witchcraft in a negative light. Media only portrays witchcraft and witches as evil.
Brujeria dates back to Spanish colonization when healers were referred to witches because they did not believe in a Catholic God. During the Salem witch trials, which occurred in the 1600s, two women stated they were possessed by the devil and blamed other women of witchcraft. Growing up Catholic I was taught that people who practiced witchcraft were evil and worshipped Satan. I feared the pentacle symbol, the five points on the star that represent: fire, water, air, earth and spirit, or anything that was related to the devil. However, I always had an affinity for astrology and horoscopes. I also found rituals and potions both alluring and stimulating. It was not until my sophomore year of college when I discovered moon rituals. Moon rituals is using the phases of moon to help with manifestation of goals. When starting a moon ritual, I have my crystals, sage for cleansing and artifacts that represent my goal. I always make sure to cleanse the energy of my area and I say all my goals out loud to the moon.
I learned that each moon phase represented different energies. For example, the new moon, when the moon is near the Earth and sun, is about new beginnings. This could mean starting a new venture or wanting a fresh start in life. Each new moon and full moon I would sage myself and my healing crystals and then I would write my intentions. I began doing this practice for a year while collecting crystals such as amethyst, rose quartz, opal, tourmaline, and onyx. I craved more information, so I began searching different spells to conduct with each moon phase. While searching for spells I discovered Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism and I felt so connected to all three of these religions. I secretly read articles about these practices as well as performed more rituals. I draw the pentacle on my wrist with sharpie for protection against negative energy. The reason why I feel so protected with the pentacle is because I feel like the Goddess with the four elements are guiding me on a right path. It was not until June 2017 that I finally proclaimed myself a Bruja and that I practice Witchcraft.
Just to clarify, Wiccans are not all witches and witches are not all Wiccans. I believe that religion is a personal journey that should bring peace, love and comfort. I cannot say I am Wiccan nor can I say I am Catholic. Personally, my beliefs are a mixture of Catholicism and Wicca, but I practice Witchcraft. I have a firm belief in La Virgen de Guadalupe, which is a prominent figure in Catholicism. However, I do not live my life by the Bible nor do I go to church, but I do believe in heaven. Wicca is an earth-based religion that believed in one-ness with the Earth. Wiccans believe in summerland where the soul goes to reflect on its past life.
When I do rituals I cast a circle that include the four elements (fire, earth, air and water) as well as my pentacle that is shaped by pink peonies, which are my favorite flowers. I do a basic ritual with white candles that represents purity, hope, and peace. Black candles represents protection and banishment of negative energy. If I do a money spell, a spell to attract more money into my life, I include green candles and I use my spell book to say some chants. Each spell also needs to be done under a certain moon phase and should be conducted at midnight. I do my rituals in my room with the lights off and just my Christmas lights on. The most important thing is to feel both comfortable and powerful. I always tell myself that I am a magical being.
Now that I am a proud Bruja I do get upset when people start to ridicule me by calling me a Satan worshipper or evil. Sometimes people are scared that I will hex them or hurt them in any manner. But the number one rule is The Rule of Three, which means that whatever energy a witch puts out into the universe they will receive times three. I only put out positive energy so that it can be returned times three. Those who are Wiccan never harm animals or innocents; this ties to The Rule of Three.
I also have encountered people who try to coerce me into Christianity through guilt. Certain family members are still having a hard time grasping the idea of me practicing Witchcraft while being a hybrid of Wiccan and Catholic. Other family members like my mom and my tia (aunt) have accepted me and are generally curious. Ever since my transition from strict Catholic to Wicca, I feel more passionate about my spirituality. Moreover, my discovery of Wicca has taught me to love nature and myself, including all my imperfections. I meditate almost every day and I make sure to make time to talk to the universe and the Goddess.
I am still on this journey and I am constantly learning about this spirituality.
Header illustration by Jenni Holtz