This rise in reclaiming ancestral and indigenous practices within the Latinx wellness and spiritual space has been gaining prominence over the last few years. These practices are more than their simplified stereotypical understanding of being measured down to lunar cycles and manifestation rituals. Beyond that, the integration of these sacred intricacies are also forms of creating productive awareness and healing acceleration in support of mental health within BIPOC and QTBIPOC communities.
Mental health ushers a path tremendously crucial in the overall spiritual well being of those questing in the continuum of their lifelong healing journey. The traditional patriarchal systems in place within Western-centric healthcare and mental health care systems displace accountability and inclusion for our BIPOC and QTBIPOC communities and our cultural experiences. Working with BIPOC and QTBIPOC credible and trusted healers, psychologists, spiritualists, and therapists can assist us with furthering our mental health trajectory towards constant evolution of understanding oneself better.
The journey isn’t about becoming healed, rather knowing, I am forever healing.
In exact, such prognosis is the understanding that pillars the benefit and implementation of our ancestral and indigenous Latinx and BIPOC spiritual practices. Before colonized religion, our ancestors had their own belief systems in place. Faith stemming from our ancestors’ experiences and natural evolution of life.
Healing circles and joining in community were held and seen as strengthening experiences that allowed one to bond in spiritual communal rituals. These sacred circles provided support much like gathering inside a church except without enforced colonized religious influence. Instead, these sacred circles allow use of channeled messages from the Gods and Spirits to assist with divine support.
In today’s perception, if a Priest can receive such holy insight, why can’t you or I? We are all divine. Modern sacred healing circles remind us of our connection to the Universe and allow us to interpret our own spiritual messages.
Therefore, strengthening our mental health as we’re seeing selves as part of the collective tribe rather than isolated misunderstood outcasts. Modern day online and in-person spiritual healing circles range from breathwork to deity invocation.
Prayers or chanting to the higher powers that be were deeply devoted respected forms of personal ceremony that our ancestors performed as a means of connecting with Spirit and displaying vulnerability long before Christianity’s imprint.
Allow yourself the freedom to pray and the strength to work past the colonized conditioned thought that stigmatizes chanting aloud as an oddity or as “evil brujeria.” These are the ways of the ancestors. A simple ritual where one can begin courting and reclaiming their personal, ancestral and cultural veneration, and mental health journey of spiritual integration.
Before the popularization of Reiki, energy healing and cleansing rituals known as limpias have been historically rooted in Latinx spirituality. Healers of small towns and within tribal communities were revered for the gift of their healing hands. Ranging from energy work — known as pasos de manos — to sobasos, the power of touch has been revered as impactful through curanderismo and shamanism before these practices were tainted by colonized religion to be viewed as demonic. This was done as an oppressive tactic because these indigenous practices defied institutionalized conformity that reminded our communities of the inherent power to heal ourselves.
Energy healing and spiritual cleanses, also known as limpiezas, are powerful ways to identify how we’re mentally and emotionally congesting our body and spirit. Seek out certified energy workers and spiritual healers to assist you with cleanses that can be transformational. These respected non-traditional ancestral practices may not be viewed as credible or respected in the patriarchal spaces of mental health, but that goes to show the disconnect and lack of understanding as it relates to our cultural subcontext approach in holistic healing.
From plant medicine to therapy work, our Latinx spiritual practices are rooted in identifying and weaving layers of various healing modalities. Unlike the Westernized band-aid quick-fix approach that our communities systematically face. Reclaiming and learning how to respectively seek out these taboo-yet-not- -so-taboo indigenous practices can assist us with honoring our identities and beautiful oral histories.
Remembering the intelligence of our ancestors and innovation of their cultural ideologies is a personal way of honoring the sacrifices our communities have endured. Your personal mental healing journey through spiritual modalities is a profound offering you can give to your blood lineages while equally honoring your Spirit.
If you’re interested in further mental health support from BIPOC healers and therapists you can connect with the added resources below.
Dr. Lydiana Garcia