Reviews & Interviews

Book Review – The Modern Art of Brujeria: A Beginner’s Guide to Spellcraft, Medicine Making, and Other Traditions of the Global South by Lou Florez

Book Review
The Modern Art of Brujeria
A Beginner’s Guide to Spellcraft,
Medicine Making, and Other
Traditions of the Global South
by Lou Florez
Publisher: Ulysses Press
192 Pages
Publication Date: May 31, 2022

 

 

I like how he writes. Before I took the book review, I had read the ‘look inside’ portion available at Amazon and I liked what I saw. You will find inspiration here from Latin American and Afro-Caribbean regions written in a very readable style. There are tips for ancestral communication, instruction for spiritual cleansing, various types of candle magic, and oh so much more!

Lou Florez is not a beginner. He has studied with indigenous elders and communities across the globe. Now he shares his teachings with us via this book much as he has taught in- person workshops hands-on about brujeria, hoodoo, and herbalism at colleges, and universities.

To begin with, he describes his mother. His mother was a bruja. He defines bruja and brujeria explaining that brujeria is not a simple practice but ‘a multitude of practices, traditions, and spiritual working stemming from across the Caribbean and the Americas based not on religious ideologies or beliefs in gods/goddesses or other intermediaries but on a personal connection to one’s own power and the engagement of the physical environment and natural world.” He continues that as such it is not exterior to the self but an activation of the inner soul force vibrating in harmony with the vibrations of the world to produce lasting change. He stresses that there is ‘no’ one way of practicing and creating spells, rituals, and ceremonies. He lists the tenets that unite all the heritages and traditions.

This is a hands-on book. He tells us the ‘how-to’ – how to build a base on which the other Brujeria arts are built – beginning with our brujeria lab journal. He gives us spells and offerings, teaches us energetic breathing, and visualizations.

An ancestral altar is an important part of brujeria. It is a safe place to hold your treasures and to let your prayers and your consciousness ascend. As you move forward, remember that you are welcoming Spirit internally to assist you in creating the change you are seeking externally. There are many physical locations for your altar. Lou walks us through creating an altar, including sample prayers to open lines of communications.

The next section is a treasure trove contain flowers, plant medicines, spiritual waters and their purposes with recipes and experimentation, scent distinctions, ingredient highlights, and botanical spiritual essences. This is an excellent resource to have on hand.

The art of spiritual cleansing – it is a very import part of training not only to identify the root causes of illness and imbalance and effectively treat them to also as healers how we clean ourselves after work with clients so that we don’t absorb these conditions. He lists some of the most well-known ailments and how they they can affect our physical selves.

How do we empower ourselves and what tools do we have at our disposal? Some of these are: nature cleansing/oxygen cleansing; evergreen dry cleansing; spiritually cleaning the self and other with sacred smokes; and spiritually cleaning and protecting a space. Lou Florez gives us directions for all of these.

The arts of spiritual baths and washes – Physical and spiritual hygiene are less about ‘cleanliness’ and more about the processes we engage in for cultivating health. Spiritual hygiene is just as vital as physical hygiene. There are charts to help you know the best times for different purposes and some bath recipes and rites as well as a chapter on spiritual perfumes and aromatherapy.

The arts of ceremonial light setting – Many disciplines and religions throughout time around the world have used and do use candles as a representation of energy as well as for illumination. “Light as a life-giving and vitality-supporting force, as a symbol of clarity and our ability to envision and see, as well as a representation of energy, fuel, expansiveness, and inner illumination, are all qualities present in spiritual candle workings.” Not only does Lou Florez give us an extensive list of candle colors and their meanings, he also tells us how to divine the remains (the art of candle reading) and the meanings of the soot patterns on the glass of an enclosed candle, where the patterns occur on the candle, and so on. He tells us how to cleanse, honor, and inscribe our candle with sigils and symbols as well as herbs that can be used with our candles. He says candles can be used for upliftment, protection, and blessings for ourselves and for our loved ones.

He concludes the books with a list of resources. Quite frankly, I read through the book in a day the first time. I could not put it down! I will buy a hard copy and go through it with a pen and a highlighter. It will join my books that I refer to over and over!


Lou Florez (Awo Ifadunsin) is an internationally known Bruje/Witch, Medicine Maker, Herbalist, Spirit worker, Priest, activist, and artist who has studied with indigenous communities and elders throughout the globe. His teachings and practice are grounded in prompting connectedness to the body through physical, emotional, spiritual, and environmental landscapes, creating living, dynamic relationships so we can become conscious of the inherent power available to us in every lived second.

Lou is a creative and author whose writings have been featured on Remezcla (2020), The Wild Hunt (2017), and in Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community (2015). He also cofounded WitchCraft (2020), monthly online gatherings dedicated to the full moon and comprised of poetry and witchcraft experiments.

Lou comes from the spiritual legacies of Latine cultural wisdom keepers, Orisha Priests, Medicine Makers, and Brujas, and his work promotes spiritual activation and social empowerment. He is the executive director and cofounder of Water Has No Enemy (2017-present day), a nonprofit organization committed to healing justice, where he creates transformational dialogues and intersectional allyship between social changemakers and leaders, and indigenous culture keepers and medicine holders. These conversations focus on reclaiming indigenous wisdom through healing our relationships to self, others, and the natural world. As a presiding Priest of Ile Ori Ogbe Egun (2021), an international IFA temple honoring Orisha from a global perspective, Lou creates Orisha-centered fellowship, services, and programming rooted in liberative theology and practices, and is an Awo Orunmila, or High Priest, in the tradition. Lou facilitates workshops and hands-on teaching opportunities on Brujería, Herbalism, and Hoodoo throughout the year and lectures on the intersectional meeting grounds of art, activism, and witchcraft at universities and colleges throughout the world. Lou is a spiritual reader and advisor known for his care, compassion, and accuracy and has a thriving global practice. He also produces and curates a line of artisanal, Brujería-based perfumes, oils, and baths and runs a cooperative, Los Angeles-based medicine garden.

For more information on Lou and his work, visit www.louflorez.com.

 

The Modern Art of Brujeria on Amazon

 

**

About the Author:

Katy Ravensong is a practicing green witch in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. She was raised here where she ran barefoot & free. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, voracious reader, crocheter, and amateur herbalist. She glories in the freedom that comes with being a Crone ~ when she is gone, she will not be known as a woman who could keep her mouth shut! She is disabled, yet tries to make disability work for her. She is an advocate for human rights. She is Dean of Wortcunning and Assistant Dean of Natural Philosophy at The Grey School of Wizardry. She has studied with various herbal teachers, with Witch School International, with Avalonian Institute of Metaphysical Arts, and is a priestess with the Sisters of Earthsong, Order of the White Moon. Her poetry has been featured in several publications including ‘Pagan Poetry for the Festivals and Seasons’ by Wyrdwood Publications edited by Edain Duguay, 2008. Her favorite quote is from Emily Dickinson “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching or cool one pain or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.”

Katy Ravensong is a practicing green witch in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. She was raised here where she ran barefoot & free. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, voracious reader, crocheter, and amateur herbalist. She glories in the freedom that comes with being a Crone ~ when she is gone, she will not be known as a woman who could keep her mouth shut! She is disabled, yet tries to make disability work for her. She is an advocate for human rights. She is Dean of Wortcunning and Assistant Dean of Natural Philosophy at The Grey School of Wizardry. She has studied with various herbal teachers, with Witch School International, with Avalonian Institute of Metaphysical Arts, and is a priestess with the Sisters of Earthsong, Order of the White Moon. Her poetry has been featured in several publications including 'Pagan Poetry for the Festivals and Seasons' by Wyrdwood Publications edited by Edain Duguay, 2008. Her favorite quote is from Emily Dickinson “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching or cool one pain or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.”