—By Marisa Demarco
Jane Rael is a curandera I met a couple of months back before a temazcal, or sweat lodge, in the North Valley. “It was time,” she told me before the ceremony. “I needed a tune-up. So I’ll be a new woman when I leave here.”
Rael remembers a curandera from her childhood in Jarales, N.M., who delivered babies and aided people when they were ill. Rael talked about her healing method as other women prepared tea and atole at the kitchen sink.
Curanderismo is a traditional healing method practiced in New Mexico, Mexico and South America. Courses initiated by Professor Cheo Torres of the Language Literacy and Sociocultural Studies Department at the University of New Mexico have helped bring awareness of this regional, medicinal heritage.