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News for Southeastern Arizona, provided by the University of Arizona School of Journalism

Witchcraft becoming more popular among young Latinos

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To say the word “brujo” in some communities is akin to yelling “fire!” in a crowded movie theater. It incites fear and panic. For centuries, brujería, or witchcraft, has been an obscure practice. It was woven into the superstitions that abuelas taught their grandchildren — such as using an egg to perform a limpia, a cleanse, on a baby suffering from mal de ojo, the evil eye. Everyone knew it existed but it was seldom acknowledged. Now, more and more younger Latinos are identifying as brujos and claiming to practice brujería, much to the bewilderment of others who grew up in fear of it. “I think it’s both a disconnect from history and a form of reclaiming power for them,” said Patrisia Gonzales, a traditional healer/midwife and professor of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. Gonzales, 57, who is...

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