Consejera y Curandera

Sra. Nancy's cure-all.

Sra. Nancy’s cure-all.

Botanica la Fe.

Botanica la Fe.

I spend most of my days in a heavily Latino neighborhood and often feel like I haven’t left Chapinero in Bogota. Most of the shops and stores are run by and cater to the Latino community, most churches offer Spanish-language services and come 5:30pm, the entire community comes out to socialize. It’s like a block party everyday! I’ve talked about it in the past, but most of the population is from Guatemala, mostly of indigenous descent.

Anyway, yesterday I found this flyer on my car for a botanica run by a Senora Nancy. I don’t know exactly what a botanica is…some kind of old-fashioned pharmacy maybe? I really don’t know. But Botanica la Fe makes a lot of promises…it appears that Senora Nancy, a self-proclaimed healer and counselor, is also a specialist in all love-related matters. She offer palm readings, tarot card readings, cleanses, reunification with dearly departed ones AND can help you ward of envy and bad influences. If you feel disillusioned by life, Senora Nancy is the place to go. Whether you suffer from headaches, nerves, sexual impotence, insomnia or alcoholism, she can help. Need a love/money/health/protection health? Nancy’s your lady. She helps you with all your problems, no matter how complicated. I sometimes feel like this neighborhood is magical realism come to life.

One of the things I learned during my time in Panama and Colombia is that many, many people believe in things like ghosts, healers and curses. One time, doubting a story my grandma was telling me about the ghost of an old friend visiting her husband I asked her why is it that all this paranormal activity only seems to happen outside the developed world? Are Colombians just more sensitive to these kinds of things…or is there something I’m missing? God, the otherworldly, the paranormal, spirits, evil, demons and bad energies seemed to intersect and overlap with some frequency. Even my mom has her superstitions  If I put my purse on the floor, she immediately picks it up because she says a purse on the floor results in financial difficulties (hmm…maybe there’s some truth to this…).  But I do wonder why there seems to be more belief and acceptance in the paranormal than there is in wealthier places. Is it that wealthier people in wealthier countries can solve most of their problems with money, education and resources and don’t need to turn to the paranormal? Anybody have any theories?

I am half tempted to contact Senora Nancy. I’ve never received a flyer offering paranormal services.

Categories: D.C Culture, Suburbs, The Urban Anthropologist Files, Virginia

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