Reflections: Holy Cards

This is one of the most enjoyable of all my personal spiritual practises: making and giving away Holy Cards. They are scanned from my personal collection, and cut and laminated by hand; after making them, they get a special blessing from me and my Spirit Guides.

Once blessed, they are sent for free along orders, given to anyone I meet, or left in public places where they will be found easily. The point is to give them all away quickly and without any choosing about who will find them – because everyone, absolutely everyone, can take an extra blessing :).

Being an Espiritista is, first of all and above all, being a messenger of Grace, of the Blessing of Spirits. While I have absolutely no problem or shame with charging for my work, hope is something we must always give freely and abundantly, and I do all I can to give that hope to others – through these posts on my social media, through caring of our wildharvesting areas, and of course through these Holy Cards.

In the pic, the latest batch, finished just yesterday. Today, I invite you to think of ways to extend the Holy Grace to others, in a new way. And don’t forget – there is no such thing as a small gesture. If you had had the most horrible day, and found Yemanya’s loving face in your cafeteria’s table, a Holy Card peeking from under the serviette holder… would you see that as something small?

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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Visual Inspirations: A Collection

In the past few months, I’ve been posting little snippets of inspiration for my readers and social media followers. This post contains the first four, including a new one that was just created today – feel free to get them for personal use, and to share them (and the post itself) as you please!

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May 30, Day Of The Canary Islands

My small collection of Guanche reproduction statues.

Today, May 30, it is the day of the Canary Islands. It is a holiday for the two Canarian provinces, and all over the seven islands there are Romerías (pilgrimages with parades and dances), Bailes De Magos (traditional folkloric dance shows), and celebrations at all levels. Although it is very early in the morning as I am writing this, I am sure the scent of barbeques all over our neighbourhood will begin to spread very soon.

For us, it is a day of communing with our Ancestors and our heritage. We are fiercely Canarian all year round, and honour our Ancestry almost daily, as all Espiritistas and Curanderos do – but still, today we take that extra step to celebrate with our spiritual family. Please allow me today to share a bit of ourselves with you.

A Brief Introduction To Our History

Canarians descend from the Guanches, the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands, which were of Amazigh Berber origin. The Spanish invaded the islands in the 15th century, enslaving and slaughtering thousands of Guanches. Although the invasion actually took two centuries because of the fierce resistance of the Guanches, in the 17th century the islands were finally part of Spain’s territories – during those two centuries, Guanches were stolen of their very existence and unique culture, forced to baptized into Christianity and speak Spanish, and became Canarians.

From there, Guanche history was erased from all areas of education and culture, and it still is an outlaw in many ways. It survived in folkloric traditions, and in the underground of society itself, as it always happens with colonized people. Craft and agricultural traditions, musical folklore, curanderismo, and our unique dialect*, still exist thanks to oral traditions, to the presence of the elderly in our families, and in syncretism with Christian practises and customs.

I have to say – even though we are extremely critical of any colonization, we are not Guanche reconstructionists, and we do not deny our identity as colonized people, because our direct Ancestors are part of it, and because we are too. It was my paternal grandmother, a devout Christian and totally patriotic Spanish lady, who inspired my love for Our Lady Of Candelaria, the colonized advocation of Guanche Goddess Chaxiraxi. So, I do not honour Spanish culture, but I do respect my own Ancestors’ traditions and life experience.

*Canarians speak Canarian, a dialect of Spanish and Guanche language that has been recently recognized as such by the Real Academia De La Lengua Española, the highest authority on the matter in Spain. We also speak with an entirely different accent to the rest of Spain.

Our Lady Of Candelaria, Patroness of Canarians.

Our Traditions On This Day

To be completely honest, this day is not really so different from our everyday life, because of the work I do, and because we do make a conscious effort on preserving our culture all year round. Today, we are only slightly more Canarian than we are the rest of the year :D.

Since I work mostly with international customers, I don’t take the day off, but after my work is finished, we prepare to enjoy the day with our Spiritual family. Of course, the first step is to cleanse our home, physically and spiritually. We will be receiving the visit of our Spirit family, and we want them to be happy and proud. After the regular cleaning, the house is cleansed with herbal incense smoke, and blessed with Holy Water.

The altar, of course, gets candles all day, and simple offerings of fresh water, incense or herbs. The celebration is not closed only to our biological Ancestry, so all the entities we work with are invited to participate in an informal way. Most will visit briefly to give their blessing along the day.

Canarian food will definitely be on the menu: today, it will be Puchero Canario, which is a dish of stewed vegetables and meat that we both love. Again, not so different from any other day, because we make this dish very often, since it’s so tasty and healthy – but today, our Ancestors get served at the table, instead of at the altar, and share the meal with us.

Without a fail, we eat gofio, a toasted flour made with many different grains that is absolutely essential to our gastronomy and culture. Since gofio is already toasted prior to grinding it, it does not need to be cooked, so it’s usually kneaded into soft balls with honey and milk, and eaten that way along any kind of dish, or by itself. It’s filled with nutrients (vitamins, fiber and minerals aplenty), so it’s usually part of a power breakfast, or eaten as a snack through the day.

It is very likely that the day will end in the garden, burning some herbs in the barbeque. Although this is not a Canarian tradition at all, I am a Bruja, and I love Burning Stuff Magic :D. Herbs of cleansing and protection are used to keep negative entities and energies away from our home and our neighbourhood – Rosemary, Rue, Wormwood, Moorish Sage, and Canarian Juniper will be the most likely options.

In all, it is a happy and relaxed day with family, that celebrates who we are, and who we can become. I sincerely hope you enjoyed this post – here’s a short documentary about Tenerife, my island, that showcases the most beautiful cities and landscapes. It’s in English, so all readers can enjoy it!

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After a morning epiphany during my meditation time, I worked my witchy ass off all day to give a huge turnaround at my art website. I realized that since I see no difference between the many manifestations of my art, and that I believe them all to come from the same source, they should all share the same space, and the same importance. I invite you to visit it, and enjoy the new galleries – plenty of magical, herbal, artsy eye candy!

http://carolinagonzalezart.weebly.com/

 

Visual Inspirations: The Island In January

Happy New Year to all readers and subscribers!!!

January is the greenest, most beautiful month of the year when it comes to our tiny islands. This year, after an unexpected (but deeply grateful for) very rainy autumn, Winter has started cold (by our standards :D ), sunny, and totally delicious.

The places where we wildharvest regularly become our gardens, our adopted areas; we know every tree that grows there, when they flower and seed, and when they are not to be cut. Many of the older trees hold very powerful Spirits, and they have become our friends through each visit, each offering, each time we clean the place from trash. We see seasonal plants come and go with the year, rejoicing by their return every single time. We are as attached to these places as if we owned them, and when civilization ends with them, our heart will be broken.  So, what you are looking at is not only pictures of pretty things – it’s our green family :). Enjoy!

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Hibiscus (above) and Bird Of Paradise/Strelitzia (below) are in full bloom during this season.

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Gorgeous moss textures on the bark of a bottle tree (Adansonia Genus, Baobab).

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Canarian Ivy (Hedera Canariensis) growing over a Pepper Tree (Schinus Molle).

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The Canarian Palm tree (Phoenix Canariensis) is giving fruit abundantly – only animals eat their dates, but the sap that is taken from the crown of the tree is the origin of the Canarian Palm Honey, one of the most delicious relics of Canarian cuisine, and sadly a disappearing tradition.

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Inside the branches of one of my “adopted” Dragon’s Blood Trees. This one is actually the biological mother of the one I grew from seed, and that lives in our garden.

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And finally, my beloved Juniper trees. These five trees grow around a well that is centuries old, and are the home to several families of blackbirds,  so they are quite magical indeed.

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Visual Inspirations: Magical Winter Crafts

In this post, I will go through three crafts for your Winter/Christmas/Yule decorations, all filled with magical symbolism but completely non-denominational, and all really discreet – if you have to hide your Bruja stuff from family, these are some good examples to keep your practise alive without feeling alienated from it because of judgemental visitors. The point of these examples is not to make them as I did, but to inspire you to find a deeper relation between you and your direct environment, your home, creating connection between the symbols of winter and your own experience and Ancestry.

Ancestral Candle Bowl

How To: Take a brass bowl, place a glass with a candle on one side, and fill the rest of the bottom with moss – this is Usnea moss, wildharvested. Add shells from your beaches, one vintage ornament for a little sparkle, and a couple of owl feathers from the giant owl that hunts on your neighbourhood.

Magical Why: we are islanders, so winter holidays are beach holidays for many of us, and since we both were raised on coastal towns, the sea is always tied to our family memories. Since most elements belong to our favourite places in Nature, it is energetically tied to them, and to our Ancestry. Shells are a symbol of love (not only for a couple’s love, but also family and ancestral love), feathers a symbol of communication, and the owl a symbol of wisdom. Every time the candle is lit, our Ancestry receives the message of how loved and remembered they are, and how missed they are during winter festivities.

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Lantern Of Blessings

How To: old and rusty garden lantern, bottom filled with wildharvested moss. Add a vintage ornament, a wildharvested pine cone, a huge cinnamon stick and lots of fresh lavender from the garden. On top, a lovely ribbon holds a bell and a smaller sprig of Lavender.

Magical Why: the lantern represents what guides us in the dark, and thus our goals and dreams for the new year to come. These elements of nature attract luck and opportunity (cinnamon), cleansing (moss), susteinance (pine cone), blessing (lavender), and the bell and the ribbon represent joy and family ties, respectively. As the season continues, we may change the contents accordingly, renew the fresh herbs, or add petitions in paper scrolls… options are many!

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Protection And Blessing Magic: Herbal Bundles

How To: In the pic below, you can see two bundles – the one on the left is eucalyptus (dry), and the one in the right, fresh Lavender from the garden. Both were ornamented with a vintage ribbon bow, a bell and a vintage ornament.

Magical Why: herbs own magical properties by themselves – eucalyptus is chosen for protection, and Lavender for a happy and peaceful home :). The ornaments represent our families (one comes from each side), the bells represent joy and laughter, and the ribbons what tie us together.

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And, of course, Herbal Sachets – filled with any combination of herbs of your choosing!

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Service Preparations: The Fortuna Tree

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As most readers know, we have started the preparations for our upcoming Service on December 21. I am very proud to present you our altar’s centerpiece – the Fortuna Tree.

· The tree shape was made entirely of twigs and wool (no nails, and no glue), just as the trellis for the last Noche De Animas Service. That took about three hours of very patient work, since it measures 1 metre tall/1,1 yards.

· The pyramid shape of the structure is a very magical one, that attracts beneficial energy and focuses it on the altar area. To raise energy until the 21st, it will be lit every day for a few hours, and candles and incense will also be added daily.

· I chose the colour scheme of red and gold, because those are the best for the purpose of the Service. Red is blessing and protection; gold is wealth and health.

· The Poinsettia flower grows abundantly here in the islands during the winter, and to me, it is a symbol of love and family.

· The multicoloured lights represent the participants’ wishes, and make for all possible purposes of the Service that may not be covered.

· Just so, absolutely everything is brand new; although I am all for recycling, this time it has a specific magical purpose – to bring in the new blessings with the new year. Also, what I spent on all decorations is my personal gift to my customers – because you are amazing and you deserve it <3.

If you want to participate in our Blessing Service, you can do so at: http://www.brujacarolina.com/product/new-2017-blessing-service-december-21

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Preparations For The Service: A Photo Post

This post is a selection of images of the preparations for our upcoming Noche De Animas Service that I have posted in the past three weeks in my social networks, for those of you who do not visit them often, or have been away for any reason. With it, I want not only to inspire you, but also to invite you to participate in the Service, and show how every detail is cared for lovingly. Spiritual Services are, for us, the top of our skill as Espiritistas, and a task that we take with the love and devotion it requires – as I hope this post will show you :).

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Herbal liquor (named Parra here in the islands), made with herbs from the garden. Once steeped for a few weeks, it will be sweetened with local organic honey and poured on a special bottle for the altar. On the sides of the jar, Sage and Lavender incense sticks, also made with herbs from the garden.

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The altar begins completely bare, and is purified with herbal waters and incense. A fresh tablecloth is placed, and just a candle that will be lit most of the day until the 31st. With fencing wood and handspun wool, I made a trellis to work as the background of the altar. That was really fun work :).

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A few days after, it was decorated with a garland of dry Bouganville flowers and Eucalyptus leaves, strings of beads, bones, a small horseshoe (probably from a donkey), owl feathers, and the incense sticks you have seen in the first picture of this post.

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A very special moment in the preparations for the Service – setting our Mother Africa statue and embellishing her. She will represent all Ancestral lines, ours and our customers’ lines. The energy in the altar, and in the whole room, changed as soon as she was finished.

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I got some vegetables from a dear sister’s family crop, and among them there was a couple of corn ears. Of course, I had to save the husk for a Corn Lady doll for our altar. A little wool for filling, red string for good luck, my amulet bracelets for her necklaces, and two keys in her arms, for opening and closing energies as she should :). The Corn Lady is abundance, prosperity, growth, medicine, susteinance. You can see how lovely she looks on the altar on the pic below.

dscn3100Our Noche De Animas service celebrates, empowers and strengthens your relationship with your Ancestral lines – and, this year, it has a totally irresistible price of 10$. Read all details here:

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Visual Inspirations: To Saint Michael, On His Day

Today is the feast of Saint Michael, and since he is tremendously important in the Canarian tradition of Curanderismo, and on our own personal practise as well, this post has the only intention of honouring him. He has performed true miracles for us and for our customers, and he deserves no less!

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Saint Michael By Cesare Dandini (1596-1657).

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Saint Michael By Guido Reni (1575-1642)

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Saint Michael By Rafael Sanzio (1483-1520)

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The Last Judgment, by Hans Memling (1430-1494), with Saint Michael weighing souls in the centre. Above, full piece and detail.

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Saint Michael Freeing Souls From Purgatory by Jacopo Vignali (1592 -1664).

May the protection and love of Saint Michael bless you always!

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Visual Inspirations: A Day In The La Vega Valley

The La Vega valley is one of the oldest inhabited areas of Tenerife – before the spanish invasion, it was inhabited by Guanches already, for its mild climate, fertile soil and abundance of water sources. Right now it is part of the county of San Cristóbal De La Laguna, and since it is quite near to where we live, it is often the focus of our wildharvesting excursions. Today we didn’t went in search of herbs, but just to explore new roads, but we came back with a wonderful harvest of pictures :).

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Today, we explored the mountain of Saint Roch, a tiny mountain by the side of the city. We chose the wrong road, got lost, and had to go back down, but it was fun anyway, and the sights of the city and the nearby mountains were beautiful. In this area you see in the picture above, one of the biggest battles between the Guanches and the Spanish happened. The battle led to the death of the Mencey (King), right in the fields you are looking at, and to the final submission of the last rebel Guanches of the area.

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Asters were blooming everywhere, making gold and green carpets in the abandoned fields.

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The gorgeous flowers of the Cerraja (Sow Thistle, Sonchus Oleraceus), a giant cousin of the dandelion.

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After breakfast on a favourite roadside cafeteria (which has the lovely name of The Sweet-Toothed Buddha) and a visit to the nearby plant nursery (with of course a purchase of new plants that I will be documenting shortly), we stopped by this very old house to take pictures for my future paintings. It is crumbling down beside a very busy road, and shut down completely to avoid people getting in, but Fernando managed to get some lovely and interesting shots. This house could be between 200 and 400 years old (it was built in several stages), and it’s a beautiful example of traditional Canarian houses. I wanted to capture it before it disappears.

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And, the Spirits were saving the best for last – our final visit was to gather soil for our garden at a regular wildharvesting spot (not in the La Vega Valley, but quite near), and we happened to coincide with the area’s goat shepherd family, and their 90 goats! We didn’t want to disturb them, so I took some pics and a short video, and we moved a little further in the road to do our work – but you can believe me when I say I was squealing like a teenager :D. The perfect end to our little adventure.

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