Hello. My name is Eliseo "Cheo" Torres, and I'm an administrator and professor at the University of New Mexico. Today's module is part of the course on traditional medicine or curanderismo of Mexico and the southwest. Curanderismo comes from the word "curar" which means to heal. It has many roots and influences, and one of those influences is the Afro-Caribbean influence. Today we have with us a gentleman who was born and raised in Puerto Rico and has been a santero for 34 years. He uses plants and rituals for his healings. Again, he's been in this practice for 34 years and he's an elder. He's a santero. So Dr. Ysamur Flores, thank you for being here. He's a professor at Otis college. So we're glad that you're here, and we're so anxious to find out about the roots of curanderismo. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me here. You bet. The cleansing I'm going to do here has many variations. It's called a sarayeye. Sarayeye in Lucumi means a cleansing. In this type of cleansings, we are going to be using leaves and flowers. Sometimes you use leaves. Sometimes you use flowers. Sometimes you use the smoke, fire, and many elements. This time we're going to use these two elements, the leaves and fabric. The reason we use fabric is because when you cleanse someone, you want to have something to dispose of whatever you use for cleansing. In our tradition, the two colors that stand in opposition to each other are red and black. They function the same way that white and black functions in Western tradition. So black stands for death, red stands for life. So what do we want to do? We want to get rid of all the negativity. So we're going to put life, a life affirming color. We want life to wrap all the negativity. So the color of death goes here. It will make sense in a little while. Then this is going to contain everything that is going to be taken away from our helper Abby, but sometimes you can stand the person at the center of the fabric and then move the person out. In this case, I'm going to stand Abby in front of the fabric, and I'm going to start cleansing and throwing into this fabric. This is a container. This is what is going to contain all the negativity that is going to be taken away. She's a child. There's not that much negativity. There's no negativity there, but just as a demonstration. So we have red which represents life, black that represents death. Then what is going to happen is we're going to wrap all the negativity in the black fabric and then red is going to envelop that as a life affirming action. So with that, I'm going to ask my friend Abby to come here. Thank you for agreeing to be here. So I want you to stand here like that a little bit more to this. Okay. Normally, you can do it like this. Sometimes you can stand the person at the center of the fabric and then move the person. In this case, I'm going to work with Abby, her standing here. I'm going to divide my leaves into bunches. I'm going to begin by presenting the herbs to the head. The seed of intelligence, of soul awareness, and the seed of all the divine. I'm going to pray and ask for permission. In this case, I'm going to be praying in Lucumi. Asking permission from heaven, earth, the ancestors and older priest that maybe present and that [inaudible] their power can help me out. So what I've said is, I'm asking the blessing of the creator, the ancestors, and the priest present. I'm identifying myself to her guardian angel. I'm saying that I am going to do a sarayeye to bring her life, prosperity, health, and all the blessings. Now, what am I doing? I'm going to be removing the opposite of those blessings which is death, sickness, loss, sudden death, accident, evil eye, and all the bad things, and that is going to go with an incantation. Okay, Abby, can loosen your arms, put in on the side of your body? Okay, close your eyes dear. Okay. So I'm going to be chanting this. Now, you break those leaves and then you tie. I'm going to be tying cross because we are closing the four corners of the universe to evil, so no evil can come to her. The reason you do this is because you don't want to leave anything behind that can also hurt or harm you. You can see that life is wrapping around all the negativity. It's a life affirming process. I'm going to ask Abby to turn around. Now, you're going to come. Come over, like that. Okay. Now, you go to that side. Okay. Turn around again. Move here. Now, perfect. So she did it in a form of the cross. This is not the Christian cross. This is the crossroad of the universe. So whenever we work, we want to open the crossroad of the universe. We want to close those crossroads for evil. Then we want her to create a new crossroads of life, prosperity, beauty, and blessing. That is one of the variants of the sarayeye ceremony. Thank you. Thank you, Abby. After that what you do is you dispose of this in a place that you have previously determined or you can determine it right there which way is it going to be taken. It could be taken to different places and then dispose off. We're done. Dr. Flores, thank you for an excellent demonstration. That was wonderful. Thank you. This shows that curanderismo has many influences. Absolutely. The Afro-Caribbean influence has been around for thousands of years, and we have borrowed from different cultures and vice versa. There's three generations of santeros in your family. Is that right? Yeah. My father, my mother and now me. Yeah, and now my son. My son is also a priest. Yeah. You're a PhD also. You teach at the university, but this is part of a tradition that you grew up with. It's a very healthy tradition. You're honoring mother nature. Absolutely. This is something that you grew up with. You learn it, and right now my son, for example, he's an environmental engineer, but he's a priest and he's a healer too. So you don't break. Just because you have a title doesn't mean that you break from this. This is you. This is the essence. You never break up with the essence. My late mother used to say, there are two things in life, the important and the essential. You can live without important, but you cannot live without the essential. This is the essential. Wonderful. I'm sure that this is very rich in Puerto Rico with all the influences that you've had for different cultures. Absolutely. We had our own tradition, but also after the Cuban Revolution something that came also to Puerto Rico, and that also was seeded into the Puerto Rican culture. So what we have is this mutual cross-pollination between curanderos, santeros. There's this rich cross-pollination that culturally enriches all of us. That's why we can talk together because we know what we're talking about. This world is much smaller now. With technology, people just communicate with one another all over the world, and they're finding out there's more similarities than differences in many of our cultures. Oh my god, if we realized that, this would be a wonderful world.