The Buddha in the Botanica

Many years ago I came upon an interesting presence while visiting El Cobre, a village in southeastern Cuba. Translated simply as “Copper,” El Cobre is well known for its 19th century mining concerns, but even more famously, it is the site of the national basilica for the luminous patron saint of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity.Continue reading “The Buddha in the Botanica”

A Story of Conjuring, Magic, and a White guy named Chung

This is one of those strange-but-true stories that I find really interesting. As I was browsing for historical information on Hoodoo, I found multiple sources dating back to the 1800s on the practice of magic as a kind of theatrical entertainment: staged illusions, seances, mesmerism/hypnosis acts, mind-reading shows, and so forth. I believe that these commercializedContinue reading “A Story of Conjuring, Magic, and a White guy named Chung”

The Strange Career of Mami Wata

Even though Hoodoo and Conjure supplies are disseminated broadly on the internet these days, it is just as likely that one can find an actual physical botanica or spiritual store where one can purchase the essential merchandise of magical practices. These shops proliferate in urban areas throughout the United States, and more recently, we seeContinue reading “The Strange Career of Mami Wata”

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