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Woman Who Glows in the Dark: A Curandera Reveals Traditional Aztec Secrets of Physical and Spiritual Health, 1st Edition Hardcover – April 5, 1999

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher; 1st edition (December 21, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874779588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874779585
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the border towns of south Texas, the Mexican "folk" medicine called curanderismo is often regarded as witchcraftAa means for hex removals and love divinations. Avila was therefore surprised to learn in her masters program in psychiatric nursing at the University of Texas that curanderismo is a broad-based fusion of Aztec, Spanish and African traditional medicines with hundreds of useful applications. This discovery, coupled with her dissatisfaction with the limitations of conventional mental health practices, motivated Avila, who grew up in a first-generation Chicano family in El Paso, Tex., to apprentice with an Aztec master and eventually to become a full-time curandera. Her first book, co-written with Parker (coauthor of Maya Cosmos), is a clear-sighted introduction to the fundamentals of this alternative healing practice. It describes the healers, who range from spiritual counselors to general practitioners and massage therapists; their counseling techniques, ritual purifications and soul retrievals; characteristics of common diseases; and formulas for achieving a balanced lifestyle, a rich spiritual life and good nutrition. The down-to-earth explanations of such afflictions as envidia (envy), susto (fright or loss of soul) and mal puesto (bad luck) will help dispel misconceptions about these "folk" ailments that, in curandero terms, are common to all people. Particularly thought-provoking is Avila's perspective on mainstream mental health and her preference for the holistic curandero approach to treating mental diseases, including psychosis and imbalances induced by severe trauma. "A good curandera," she writes, "can help us find the middle ground in a culture where balance, reality, and enlightened compromise are not always part of our support system." Agent, Elaine Markson; author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Curanderismo is a kind of integrated medicine, an amalgam of African, Spanish, and Native American medical systems. Avila is a registered nurse who apprenticed herself to an Aztec teacher to learn this form of folk healing, and here she relates her journey toward becoming a curandera, a spiritual healer. Like other New Age medical practitioners, Avila believes that Western medicine is not responding adequately to the deeper needs of sick people, treating only the biological symptoms and neglecting the spiritual ones. Avila describes her training through a series of case studies recounting different healing experiences. The book is somewhat simplistic and uncritical, but as a study of a different medical belief system, it may be of interest to many public library readers.?Helaine Selin, Hampshire Coll. Lib., Amherst, MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

I found it very easy to read and enjoyable.
L. Scott
The stories she tells in this book are of clients who were healed in a profound way.
Joy Parker
I almost skipped this book because of the one critical review..
B. Lindsey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 171 people found the following review helpful By Joy Parker on August 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am the co-author of Woman Who Glows in the Dark. I had not visited this page for quite some time and was deeply troubled to read the review written by Edward B. Holman. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I feel that Mr. Holman has made some grave misjudgements about an author he has never met. He has also reported information, inaccurately and out of context, regarding a book I find it difficult to believe he has read. None of his references get beyond p. 28, and Chapter 1 starts on p. 41.

I spent eight months writing this book with Elena. That work involved traveling through Guatemala and Mexico with her, meeting her Aztec teacher Ehekateotl, staying at her home in New Mexico for weeks at a time, and meeting and interviewing her students and some clients. As someone who knows her personally and had to do extensive research to write this book, let me tell you, from the proverbial horse's mouth, what really happened and something of who this woman is.

Mr. Holman writes "Curanderismo is mainly the province of the people who are, essentially, exorcists, and their conterparts, brujos, brujas, and hechiceros, are people who are paid by their clients to place hexes on others."

This is incorrect. First of all, many modern curanderos are midwives, herbalists, chiropractors, bone-setters, and counselors. For a more in-depth discussion of this topic, please see, Chapter 1: Types of Curanderos and Their Specialties (beginning on p. 69).

Second, to infer that this class of healers, and Elena by extension, deals only with the darker arts is a gross mistatement.

Elena is a healer of the highest integrity--and, I might add, an inspiring humility. Every time we met to write, she spoke of the responsibility that healers have toward their clients.
Read more ›
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Not only does Elena (with Joy) explain clearly the essential concepts, tools, and techniques of curanderismo, but she also illustrates how these principles and practices can be applied in a variety of contexts and settings in very individualized and meaningful ways. Filled with wonderful stories about her own evolution as a curandera, and her experiences with teachers, friends, family and clients, Elena speaks to us with tremendous honesty, compassion, and a beautiful sense of humor. I smiled, and cried, many times, sometimes simultaneously, as I read this book --it was like poetry for my heart and soul. Elena teaches us just how important it is to respect and honor the needs of the soul, which she regards as sacred. She shows us how we can better listen to, communicate with, and heal the deepest, wisest, and most authentic parts of our being. She explores the value of emotions, intuition, instincts, relationships, humor, creativity, touch, prayer and ritual; and she suggests how we can acknowledge and integrate these resources into everyday personal life as well as professional practice. I don't want to say too much about the book or give away La Curandera's "recipes" for happiness and health, because each reader should have the pleasure of discovering them for herself or himself. Suffice it to say that this book is essential reading for anyone seeking to achieve greater physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance and clarity in their lives and in relationships. It is also essential reading for anyone involved in the healing professions who desires to assist and support others in the healing process, especially those working with culturally diverse populations.Read more ›
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By El Brujo on September 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the most, if not the most important book of Modern Curanderismo. Lovely book, that is hard to place down, and belongs in every Healer's shelf. Beautifully written, touching, and very informative. The book teaches the importance of not just healing the body and mind, but also the soul. As a Puerto Rican Espiritista and Santero, I have really appreciated the deep wisdom and body of knowledge that came from this book. I Highly recommend this book. The lessons learned can be applied by any healer or spiritual councilor, no matter what ones spiritual path or religion, or race may be. The wisdom and knowledge that Elena Avila shares with her readers and students is invaluable.
Well worth the money, and it is like having a wise sage or Curandera in your living room. I hope to see future works by Elena Avila, as I believe she has a voice and knowledge that needs to be heard. I am late commer to this book, and am happy to have had the chance to find it, and enjoy, brazo to you Seniora Elena Avila. Luz, Progresso, y Caridad!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a practicing Curandera I found WOMAN WHO GLOWS IN THE DARK inspiring, helpful and right on target. A long overdue blueprint for getting in touch with our inner and ancient knowing and healing powers. I applaud her life's work and what it took to write about it. I am ecstatic that this healing tradition is now out there for the advantage of all. The guiding light has been lit - let the healing begin! I have been very privileged to work with Elena, to be in her life, to be her sister. Irma Martinez Mossner - Oxlahun Ahau
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More About the Author

I wrote Woman Who glows in the Dark because I wanted to share the powerful medicine in Curanderismo because there were no books available about a curandera's personal stories written by a practicing curandera (me) and to emphazie that curanderismo is the Medicine of the people. I have walked in both worlds, Western Medicine (RN, BSN, MSN) AND CURANDERISMO. This is the medicine of the South and it took me to Mexico to study with powerful healers.
I have been practicing Integrative medicine for many years and I needed to share the resutls of my studies and practice amd how I incorporate Western Medicine and Curanderismo and how inportant it is to invite soul and spirit in the healing sessions.

I love to do platicas (heart to heart talks), Limpias (spiritual cleansing) and to treat Susto (soul fright) by doing soul retrivals. I have helped people re-member and reclaim all of who the are.
My book includes powerful stories of the human spirit healing old traumas.

I was born and raised in the barrios of El Paso and now live in the Enchanted land of Albuquerque, New Meico. I am also a poet, mother and grandmother. I am now ready to write specically on Soul Retrieval in my next book. May your soul be filled with light. Ometeotl

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