Culture

Here Are Just Some Of The Ways My Abuela Taught Me How To Remove The Negative Energy From My Life

If you were lucky enough to have a loving, doting abuela who looked after you while your parents worked overtime, you may have faint memories of her doing strange things around the house. She may have placed a cup of water behind the door, propped a broom upside down in a corner, or shooed everyone out the house so she could clean. No ordinary cleaning, it could be that on those Sunday mornings full of loud music and earthy aromas, your abuela was cleansing the house of negative energy. Feelings of unending exhaustion, illness, frustration, stress, or worry are signs that your home could use a limpieza too.

When I was a child, I would accompany my gold-toothed grandmother to Newark Avenue on Saturday afternoons. She would put curtains on layaway at Woolworth’s, and stop by the meat market and the fish market. Some Saturdays, our last stop before heading home was at la botanica. More than a magic shop, this was a place to procure spiritual elements from statues of Catholic saints to potions guaranteeing love and money. My grandmother would move nimbly about the shop selecting Indian Spirit money spray, incense, frankincense, and myrrh. Pretty biblical, right? I recall watching Sunday morning cartoons as she cleaned the apartment from back to front, windows open, a ritual concluding with her swinging her tiny cast iron cauldron, resin smoldering inside, while wearing an iconic bata. You know the one!

If you asked Abuela, she wouldn’t say this was Santería or Brujería of any sort.

Credit: Karim MANJRA / Unsplash

Latinidad is abstract in the way it allows a constellation of diaspora to take cultural practices from here and there, creating our own interpretations according to our needs and resources.

While energy-cleansing rituals can be extremely complicated; like the one where you buy a coconut, bathe it in Florida Water, and gently kick it around your entire home while smudging sage then kicking the coconut of your house, picking it up with your left hand, walking far away from your house and throwing the coconut over your head, making sure it splits, otherwise you will need to start the ritual again with a new coconut.

If you’re short on coconuts and time, but would like to try simple ways of cleansing your home of negative energy, here are a few simple suggestions inspired by Abuela.

It all begins by cleaning your home.

Credit: JESHOOTS.COM / Unsplash

De-clutter, organize, and arrange items neatly. The science behind cleaning shows your space is a reflection of your mind. Marie Kondo your situation to clear away bad energy, calling forth peace of mind and calming spirit. A real-deal abuela would advise you to clean your floors with La Bomba, a spiritual floor cleaner. Mop from the back of your home to the front door, and throw away the mop head. You probably won’t find La Bomba in Target. Check online botanica retailers, and look for all-purpose La Bomba solutions that can be used to clean your car and other spaces where you may have experienced a bout of bad luck.

Channel the elements: earth, air, fire, and water in your energy cleansing enterprise, like Earth.

Credit: elementsofsage / Instagram

Boasting benefits like curing insomnia, boosting your mood, and neutralizing ions, smudging sage has been widely attributed to Native American tradition. Sage sticks, and smudge kits are widely available, but if you are into drying your own sage, consider adding dried roses, lavender, palo santo, and rosemary. If nothing else, it looks pretty and your home will smell lovely.

Air

Credit: JOHN TOWNER / Unsplash

Open the window. It’s as simple as that. Release stale air to remove negative energy, and in the spirit of my own abuela, take down your curtains, give them a wash while you put up beautiful new curtains. Maybe you don’t believe in negative energy, but you can’t deny the uplifting effect of getting some fresh air.

Fire

Credit: Theresa Vargas / Unsplash

Burn bay leaves. Also known as laurel, the practice of burning bay leaves dates back to Ancient Greece. Write down all the things you want to release directly on the leaves, burn the leaves in a fireproof bowl, and safely discard the ashes.

Lighting candles is a large part of the cleansing process for abuelas too. Light candles of your favorite saint, or cruise your botanica for some highly specific candles promising to banish the evil eye—if that’s your thing.

Water

Credit: Anita Austvika / Unsplash

Like my abuela, place a glass of water behind a door, or place a glass of water under your bed, which is said to absorb negative energy.

Bathing, a literal cleansing, can also serve to clear bad energy. Abuela would advise you to bathe in your favorite flowers, perfume, milk, and honey, an ancient tradition found around the world. Light a candle, turn the lights down and ask for the things you want to receive as you luxuriate in your bath. 

Last, but not least—Florida Water! Wipe some across your forehead when you have a headache. Add it to your La Bomba floor cleaner. Pour some in your bath. Use it to wipe down your altars, doorways, and wash your hands with it after meeting with people who harbor negative energy. Or, quite simply, dab it on mosquito bites.

Finding peace in your home is imperative to your wellbeing. 

                                                Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Experimenting with energy cleansing practices can take you down a winding cultural, and traditional path that can prove to be effective in your life. It can also bring a sense of closeness with an abuela who is no longer with you. Even if energy cleansing is not your thing, actively taking steps toward peace of mind is great thing, and I’m sure your abuela would love nothing more than to see you at peace. 

READ: This Woman Found Brujería In Her Wall During A Home Renovation And How Is She Still Standing There?!

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Watch This Video Called ‘Project Abuelita’ About COVID-19 and Try Not To Cry

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Watch This Video Called ‘Project Abuelita’ About COVID-19 and Try Not To Cry

Screenshot via YouTube

Slowly but surely, the COVID-19 pandemic is winding to a close. If you’ve been following the news closely, you know that the CDC has given the go-ahead for fully-vaccinated people to gather indoors without social-distancing or having to wear a mask.

This is especially good news to those of us who haven’t had close-contact with our family members in over a year.

Unfortunately, many Latinos are suspicious of the COVID-19 vaccine–especially the older, less-informed generation.

Luckily, the Ad Council has partnered with ad agency Pereira O’Dell to create a marketing campaign called “Project Abuelita”.

“Project Abuelita” is a campaign aimed at encouraging older Latinos to get vaccinated. The campaign is part of the Ad Council’s Vaccine Education Initiative. And as a side note, we dare you to watch the minute-long video and try not to cry.

The video shows an abuela cleaning her home and getting dressed. She has knick-knacks and sentimental mementos around her house, like kids’ drawings and family photos. The doorbell rings and the abuela greets her daughter and two grandchildren.

The children, visibly excited to see their abuelita, hesitate to touch her. But after their mother gives them the go-ahead, they rush into her arms. The abuela looks overcome with emotion as she is finally able to hug her grandchildren for the first time in ages.

Despite COVID-19 hitting the Latino community particularly hard this past year, Latinos remain skeptical about the safety of the new vaccine.

According to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 26% Latinos said they would get the vaccine as soon as possible, compared to 40% of white people. 43% of Latinos said they would “wait and see”.

Latinos aren’t skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine for no reason. There are multiple historical incidents where the U.S. government has exploited people of color and Latinos in the name of “health”. Like when U.S. Public Health service purposefully exposed unknowing Guatemalan prisoners to syphilis in order to record its symptoms. And unfortunately, there are many other examples.

But the COVID-19 vaccines are nothing to be afraid of. Scientific consensus is that the vaccines are safe. Not only that, but getting vaccinated will help us get back to our normal lives.

The “Project Abuelita” video is for a free service of the same name that the Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force launched.

According to a press release, the service will utilize bilingual volunteers to reach out to the elderly, monolingual Latino population to help with vaccination efforts. The volunteers will schedule testing, vaccination appointments and follow-up appointments.

As Jay Tamsi, co-founder of the Kern County Latino COVID 19 Task Force says: “Our abuelitos need us more so now than ever in setting up their vaccination appointments solving transportation issues, and helping them make sense of our changing ways.”

Find out more about Project Abuelita here.

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Chingona 105-Year-Old Abuela Says She Survived Spanish Flu, 3 Husbands, And COVID-19 By Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins

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Chingona 105-Year-Old Abuela Says She Survived Spanish Flu, 3 Husbands, And COVID-19 By Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins

For Lucia DeClerck, nine gin-soaked raisins have kept doctors and pandemics away. The grandmother of 11 great-great-grandchildren celebrated her 105th birthday on January 25 in Mystic Meadows Rehab and Nursing Center in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

That same day she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Staff members at her nursing center say DeClerck was pretty much asymptomatic and was in the facility’s COVID-19 unit for 14 days.

Now a COVID-19 survivor, DeClerck is the oldest person at her nursing home, according to The New York Times, and has survived two pandemics. DeClerck was born in 1916 in Hawaii to parents who came from Guatemala and Spain. She was two years old and living in Hawaii when the Spanish flu broke out. Since that time, she has survived two world wars, survived three husbands, and one out of her three sons. 

“She’s just been open with everything in life and I think that has really helped her because she hasn’t hesitated to do whatever she’s wanted to do,” DeClerck’s son, Henry Laws III, told CBS Philly in an interview.

Speaking about her secret to longevity, DeClerck says it takes equal parts belief and diet.

“Pray, pray, pray. And don’t eat junk food,” she told the New York Times before going on to explain that the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she eats every morning might have helped in her survival.

According to DeClerck she has eaten the special recipe every morning for most of her life.

“Fill a jar,” she explained giving NYT her recipe. “Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.” The New York Times describes her diet as being a part of a ritual that her children and grandchildren chalk up to being just one in the entirety of “endearing lifelong habits, like drinking aloe juice straight from the container and brushing her teeth with baking soda. (That worked, too: She did not have a cavity until she was 99, relatives said.)”

“She is just the epitome of perseverance,” DeClerck’s 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil explained. “Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.”

Ms. DeClerck, tested positive for the virus on her 105th birthday, just one day after she had gotten her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“At first, she said she was scared. She did not like being isolated, and she missed the daily chatter from the parade of caregivers at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 120-bed facility in Little Egg Harbor,” reports the New York Times. “Within two weeks she was back in her room, holding her rosary beads and wearing her trademark sunglasses and knit hat.”

According to O’Neil, DeClerck has a new nickname amongst her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren: “The 105-year-old badass who kicked Covid.”

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