Back in the mid 1960’s, a naive young man walked into a strange home. Strange because it had a large multicolored star* hanging in the porch. He knocked on the door and soon the door opened. A tall rubenesque lady opened the door and instructed him to sit anywhere in the dark living room filled with religious kitsch. There were two dogs playing with a rubber bone but the house smelled fresh. Soon after, the lady appeared from behind a wall. “Enter,” she said. The young man stood up and walked after her into a small room with a fold-up, square table, a plain tablecloth and two wooden chairs. She instructed him to sit opposite of her. The lady sat quietly for a couple of minutes with her eyes closed. Then, she pulled out what is referred to as “los caracoles**.” She asked the young man what he wanted to know and rolled “los caracoles” after he mentioned what was troubling him. The lady began asking him vague questions and he would respond. He was delighted with what “los caracoles” had to say. Subsequently, the lady said that he needed “un trabajo***.” She explained to him what he needed to buy at the “botanica****” and to return within a week. That concluded the session and she asked him for a donation. The “trabajo,” though, would be a specific price.
The next time the young man visited the lady, he expressed interest in doing the same type of spiritual consultations. The lady had psychologically figured him out and decided to teach him the “trade.” Eventually, he learned everything he needed to know from the lady and even worked with her for a while. Years later, they had an altercation and the young man left to pursue his own career but it wouldn’t happen for years. He would get him big break when he had to fill in for a fifteen minute spot for a TV station so he tried doing horoscope. The rest is history.
(* multicolored star is the “estrella de las siete potencias Africana” or “la estrella de Jose” meaning the 7 African powers or Joseph’s Star)
(** small shells used for fortune telling)
(*** spiritual cleansing usually with tree branches, colognes, farm animals (sometimes dead), candles, and African incantations. At times, this cleansing is done in the nude.)
(**** store where religious items are bought for trabajos. Some of these botanicas will also sell you farm animals (obviously illegally)