Growing up, Jasmin Alejandrez-Prasad, otherwise known as Esoteric Esa, witnessed the stigmatization of magia within the Latine community firsthand. With the help of her ancestors and her fierce spirit, she was able to see past the illusion and tap into the power of magia to strengthen her spirituality. She shares how you can, too.
Before Jasmin Alejandrez-Prasad became the Peruvian-Mexican-American Bruja Astrologer and spirituality expert known as Esoterica Esa (who’s penned pieces featured in Cosmopolitan, POPSUGAR, and Hip Latina), she embarked on a shedding process to decolonize her mindset cultivated during her Catholic upbringing.
“I was taught that anything connected to even the slightest ounce of what could be categorized as Brujería was dark demonic, and I should stay away from it,” Alejandrez-Prasad said.
Jasmin’s story is an inspiring one, especially for those of us called to incorporate ancestral practices of magia into our lives for the first time. Her path serves as a blueprint to reconnect once again with our ancestral roots.
Our Ancestors Are Our Guides & We Carry Their Power With Us
From a young age, Jasmin challenged her parent’s cultural norms, especially when it came to Catholicism. Thankfully, Jasmin was not alone on this journey of discovering a life that felt more authentic to her spirit. Her grandmother Victoria was a practicing palm reader and tarot reader and began teaching her granddaughter the ways of magic from the young age of nine.
“One of the biggest tips my grandmother taught me was to stand in solidarity with myself because I don’t need the approval of others. She had a strong spirit and personality, and I reflect that to her.”
In her early 20s, after seven years of working in the entertainment and music industry, Jasmin embarked on a more focused path of decolonizing her mindset and unpacking the negative stigma associated with magic. It was a two-year path filled with questions, exploration, curiosity, and healing, and it led her to give birth to Esoterica Esa.
It’s an experience that I’m sure many of us relate to. The 360 pressure to assimilate and sacrifice our beliefs and practices is challenging to combat. Whether it’s pressure from American society and systems or coming from our own people due to their internalized assimilation experiences, it often leaves Latine people with a disconnect from their culture, language, and family history. Jasmin believes that Brujería and spirituality provide tools to help heal assimilation and reconnect with one’s ancestral roots.
Unlearn What Limits You & Write Your Own Narrative
Jasmin suggests starting by questioning everything you think and know about magic – the good and the bad. Then, commit to a daily practice that helps you plug in. Whether dancing, exercising, journaling, taking your kids to the park, or meditation, these rituals or habits help you stay tuned into your mind and body.
“What’s most important is to reconnect with your roots – the people of the land, their rights, and the rituals,” said Alejandrez-Prasad. Start reconnecting to your immediate ancestry.
You Define How You Step Back Into Your Spiritual Journey
Some people are drawn to new-age spirituality, given its accessibility. In fact, Jasmin found herself gravitating towards it when she first embarked on this journey. And while new-age spirituality gets a bad rap for misappropriating ancestral practices, she recognizes it as a safe gateway for many people to develop spiritual practices.
“I can understand why we lean toward it. It feels cleaner, it feels safer, it feels like ‘white magic’. It can ease someone into spirituality with a lot less guilt and shame and a lot less fear,” said Alejandrez-Prasad.
The important thing is to explore different modalities and tune into what resonates with you. Maybe you’re interested in a money ritual to manifest abundance, or cleanse your aura to embark on a new chapter. Open your heart to the possibilities and use discernment in the process.
Recognize That Spirituality Has Been Gentrified
However, we can’t ignore that the predominately white-led new-age spirituality has created harm and continues to perpetuate oppression. It’s not to say that everyone white in the spiritual space is causing harm, but it is a reality that we must be aware of, and we need to use discernment when we explore new practices.
“I really believe, respectfully speaking, that white people need to go ahead and reclaim their own cultures and spiritual practices. Get deeper with themselves and heal that shadow work instead of looking to Latinx and Indigenous spiritualities”, said the Peruvian-Mexican Astrologer. “I’m not saying they are not welcome. They are absolutely welcome. I just think new age spirituality walks a fine line of misappropriating more harm and oppression.”
Have The Courage To Be Authentic & Reclaim Your Spirituality
This is not to say the Latine community can do no harm. Explore other outside spiritual cultures and religions, but be mindful of misappropriation. Jasmin makes a point to remind people on this path to give credit where credit is due by speaking the names of the maestros and maestras that have guided you.
If you start feeling unsure or judged by your community, remember this: magia & spirituality can create a lot of good in our life. It can create hope, optimism, and healing, and work miracles for us. And above all, helps us reclaim our ancestral roots.
“Brujería is threatening because it allows you to empower yourself. As POC & BIPOC we’ve been shut down continuously not to empower our voice and identities, but all of that is changing through media and music“, said Jasmin. “Brujería is just embracing your full authentic self.”
Connect with Esoterica Esa and learn more about her offerings here.
About the Author
Chantelle Bacigalupo is #WeAllGrow Latina’s Editorial Staff Writer. She is a Bolivian-American photographer, multimedia journalist, and activist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work focuses on issues ranging across immigration, social & environmental justice, preserving Indigenous cultures, and reproductive justice. You can read more of her pieces here.