The traditional healing method known as curanderismo has been passed down through generations in this region, and practitioners from Mexico and around the state gathered Wednesday on the University of New Mexico campus.
People reclined in the grass as they waited for their named to be called so they could consult with a curandero dressed in white and red. Occasionally, conch shells rang out, and white smoke drifted through the crowd.
Sandra Torres had just received a treatment that incorporated rosemary, tobacco and egg.
“I got a limpia,” she said. “It’s a really deep cleansing. It puts you in kind of a state of … a bit of a trance—kind of an emotional experience. And it’s a bit overwhelming in the best sense of ‘overwhelming.'”
Torres said inviting the practice to the university setting helps dispel the myth that curanderismo is akin to witchcraft and brings positive recognition.
“This—at a university—can just squash all those myths and opens people’s eyes to what it really is,” she said.
There’s a course on the practice at UNM.