Beyond Belief: Spiritual heritage of Venezuela and it’s folklore

My husband and I were looking for a unique place to go on our 25th anniversary. We have been to Mexico and climbed up the Machu Pichu, saw The Taj Mahal in India, and visited the Parthenon, Acropolis in Athens Greece. There were all wonderful trips, but we wanted to dig deeper into culture and spiritualism. Our long time housekeeper Fabiana, is from Venezuela and she introduced us to Venezuelan Culture, its Ancient secrets as well as its Spiritual Heritage.
Venezuela is predominately catholic as are most of the South American nations.Religion plays a large role in uniting the people and bringing them together in peace and brotherhood. Venezuela’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion as long as a faith does not go against good custom or public order.

The political climate is unstable. The struggle continues under their current president Maduro. The current Assembly of seats is controlled by his opponent. Former President Hugo Chavez famous for the “Bolivarian Revolution,” that was corrupt and extended presidential term limits that allowed for indefinite re-elections.

Fabiana told us of how the people of Venezuela are very religious and that the spiritual world and practices was their source of healing and brought back some hope into their uncertain future of the land.

The native Venezuelan also has so many secrets going back to Ancient Times.
Fabiana would also told me stories of ancient rituals and the folklore that makes Venezuela and South America rich with history. The evolution of folklore in Venezuela is molded from a unique blend of Spanish, African and American Indian customs. Caranavalis en Venezuela is one of the best times of the year for this Carnival which usually takes place 40 days before Good Friday.

Another Holiday that is celebrated with costumes is the Corpus Christi which takes place in May or June. This festival is popular for its “Dance of the Devils” in San Francisco de Yare.

A beat of drums resonate through the streets and over hundred of the residents dress in a devil costume as they parade into the main square.This dance goes on for hours under the hot sun. They pledge their penance by getting down on their knees and proceeding on their knees until they get to the church in the town. During this pilgrimage, they pray for their own personal miracle to be granted.

This is a centuries-old tradition simply named the “Dancing Devils”. The drums become louder and louder as the procession gets more chaotic with the “devil dancers” whirling and stomping their feet to confront the other participants. Acceptance of the Devil or to destroy it are symbolic in their act of faith over good VS evil. The participants bow their head to show they have redeemed themselves and offer their submission to religion.

I was a bit shocked about this ritual, but Fabiana assured me that it is a way they express themselves for their faith. She then continued to tell me about the different divination and spiritual occultism that was also an integral part of their culture and society.

In fact there are so many secrets that go back to ancient civilization that created the folklore and legendary places, myths and supernatural occurrences and stories that will be talked about through every generation. The ancient tribes practiced and in psychic readings and the supernatural. They knew different ways to heal the people with severe illnesses with such powers. They could also divine the future with certain occult practices such as:

Santeria:

I knew what Santeria was as I lived in New York and there were many Spanish people populated in the Washington Heights area. I went to a shop with a Cuban friend of mine and all I remember there were so many candles and potions for everything from having the right man fall in love with you to protecting your family and children.

I never knew how deep this belief is for people who practice it. It is a religion combining beliefs of people from South Nigeria and the Guinea coast. The word Santeria means “worship of the saints”.

This ritual became very popular as many people were seeking relief from their physical pain to losing their loved ones. Fabiana also told me that there are ordained Santeria Priests and are commissioned to make predictions in the political arena and how it will turn out for the Venezuelans.

There is also another popular fortune telling or divination that is used and perhaps is the oldest methods of fortune telling dating back to the 14th Century known as.

Cartomancy:

This form of divination is one of the oldest of the more common forms of fortune-telling. It is basically using a deck of regular playing cards. Every suit represents a male or female.For example a Queen of Hearts A female either fair skinned or fair haired; either in body or soul; King of hearts An elderly male either fair skinned or fair haired; either in body or soul.

Witch Craft:

There is good witchcraft known as “White Witchcraft” and there is “black witchcraft” or simply put Black Magic. These practices are done in order to use the magic to heal or it can be used for evil intentions as well. The witchcraft in Venezuela is knows as “good witchcraft”. These supernatural practices brings a community together and has many followers. The followers who have given up on other religious avenues look to this as their last hope that their problem whether in love, finances or illness will be cured.

Mediums:

Another popular cult favorite is called Maria Lionza. This is where the medium is possessed and falls into an almost trance like way. The spirit that possesses the body is asked questions and offers advice to the person who is seeking some help for their problem. This cult is very complex and it covers many of the magical and religious beliefs of the Venezuelan people. These magical practices are integrated with their religious faith.

Fabiana told me that their beliefs and magic-religious practices is the way the people of this nation can express realities and the conflicts that emote feelings that take place beyond a rational reasoning.

I was really interested in the culture and the much practiced occult in Venezuela. Fabiana was making a traditional dish called Pabellon Criollo. It is the meaty national dish. This Venezuelan dish has spicy shredded beef served over hot rice and sometimes accompanied with plantains and egg.  The entire Kitchen was filling up with the wonderful aromas of Fabiana’s homeland. As she was cooking this meal for the family, she said she loved living in America, but she misses the moments she had back in Venezuela.

Since Christmas was soon approaching I had a surprise for Fabiana. They were plane tickets for her and my family to visit and tour the country through her eyes and experience.
I am looking forward to more tales of this mysterious land and I look forward to even trying out some of these occult practices.

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