Bruja de Luz and Darkness, Too

“Bruja is the Spanish word for Witch”. It’s not déjà vu, m’luvs; I’ve told you this before on one of my entries about Outside the Bones. But this is not about a book. It’s a post about identity and roots.   

My witchery is more mine that it has ever been. I’ve defined it by adding to my knowledge, making changes to my magic, and at times excluding bits that don’t work for me. I also remind myself that my first spells were chanted in Spanish, and that it was in my mother tongue that an amazing Witch told me, “Bola ’d Fuego, la luz no existe sin tinieblas. Una Bruja con poder entiende la importancia de una vida balanceada.”

I still remember her beautiful serious face, and the way she wagged her finger at me from behind her library counter while sharing her wisdom. She has been gone from this world for a while, but before she traveled to the Summerlands I made sure she knew her words became a mantra. “Light does not exist without darkness. A Witch with power understands the importance of a balanced life,” the power of knowledge and the magic of language.

My Caribbean roots are always with me. In my hips while I dance Bachata, in the aroma of my sancocho, in the heat of my blood, in the stories I write, and in some of the tales I read. This is my 2012 books in Spanish reading list:

1. Anna Karenina by Leon Tolstoy
2. Cuentos eróticos by Chaucer-Bocacci Zweig-Petronio
3. Cumbres borrascosas by Emily Brontë
4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
5. La fortaleza digital by Dan Brown
6. Grandes esperanzas by Charles Dickens
7. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
8. Historia de dos ciudades by Charles Dickens
9. La máquina del tiempo by H. G. Wells
10. Las aventuras de Huckleberry Finn por Mark Twain
12. María by Jorge Isaacs
11. Oliverio Twist by Mark Twain
13. El principe y el mendigo by Mark Twain

I know that only one of these stories was originally written in Spanish, but the magic of language goes beyond words. It extends to the examination of how others understand ideas. I will read the books I listed above, first in Spanish and then in English. I will read literary criticism in each of the works, too. Then I will see what my witchy brain makes of the whole thing.

What does all this have to do with identity and roots? Simple, my Wicked Darlings, I am no longer the girl who listened in front of a library counter more than twenty years ago. I am a Witch who loves diversity, balance, growth…

My twelfth grade AP Spanish Literature teacher might explode with linguistic indignation if she reads what I’ll write next, but life happens and I love who I am. I’m a Bruja de luz and darkness, too. Mrs. Ramírez is one of the most intelligent people I ever met, I’m sure she’ll understand what I mean. If not, well… life happens and we live.
 Click on the image to see my 2012 To-Be-Read List
1 for Witchy Books, 2 for Horror and Urban Fantasy, 3 for Daring You to Read…, 
4 for LGBT Reading Challenge, 5 for Fantasy, 6 for Zombies, 7 for Dystopia, 
8 for Audio Book, 9 for Outdo Yourself, 10 for 2012 Pagan Reading Challenge,  
11 2012 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge, 
12 2012 Paranormal Reading Challenge, 13 Projecto Lecture 8 Inanna
PBP Week 3

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  1. Slommler1/20/2012

    That is some list...I am impressed!

  2. Sweet Zombie Goddess1/20/2012

    I grew up on the border of Mexico and was always so jealous of my friends and their culture, music, style and food.  My family was German and French. and we had no traditions whatsoever.  I suppose I adopted the Hispanic culture and made it my own because I love it so much.  I always tell my friends I am a Latina trapped in a Gringas body lol.  I do have the booty for it after all!

    Love your list!

    Penny \IiiI

  3. Linda Wildenstein1/20/2012

    And the wonderful thing about your point of view and attitude towards your life and love of it, is that it is pure and true. Blessings, Oma Linda

  4. It's always fun comparing the book in various languages.  I only ever did it once myself mind; I read "Harri Potter A Maen Yr Atbronydd" which is "Harry Potter And The Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone" in Welsh a few years back.  And, by the way, I put both "philosopher" and "sorcerer" there because - I don't know if you know this, but... =- it's "Philosopher's Stone" in the UK... J K Rowling allowed it to be changed for the US (and whatever other countries it's different in) because she was so pleased they were wanting to publish the book.
    I don't know many Spanish words; just a few I picked up from watching Dora The Explorer, LOL!

  5. That is an ambitious reading list...I tried reading Anna Karina once...never finished it...

  6. OMG Magaly... I got a shiver reading this post. I have just completed my pages for next weeks blog post. My words on the page are "without darkness light can not shine". I guess we have mutual friends in the Summerlands as well as blogland lol :D XXX

  7. I love what was said to you  ;o) Very meaningful and powerful!

  8. I'm going for one book a month (two in April, double for my birthday ;-)

  9. When I first read you, I was convinced you were Hispanic.

  10. Life is already too intricate, why complicate things with unnecessary deception, right?

  11. Dora has been teaching the masses lol

  12. I began reading it last night, and if the narrator says "regia" one more time, I might raise him from the dead just to have the pleasure to kill him myself. 

  13. You know what they say about great minds lol

  14. And a beautiful mantra it is! :)

  15. My grandma used to tell me something similar. Although she was a serious Roman Catholic, the little Italian woman taught me the basics of what I live by today. She was a firm believer in Karma and that if people paid their debts in life, they would always have a chance at rebirth. And she practiced a little folk magic too, so when I expressed to her that I couldn't be a Catholic because my heart and soul were pointing me in a different direction, she didn't even bat an eye and just wished my great-grandmother (her mom) was there to teach me "what I should know".

    I'm always trying to keep myself balanced... It's definitely the most powerful tool in life

  16. I am always awed by your brilliant mind and how it so smoothly meshes with your creative spirit and passionate soul. You are indeed a witch OF diversity, balance and growth. In my humble opinion I will add truth, wisdom and beauty to your list. Hugs my sweet love.      

  17. ljrich1/22/2012

    So, is it wrong that I feel bad that I don't yet speak more than just English? I really need to do something about that.

  18. I'm quite fond of it ;-)

  19. Your grandma sounds like a wonderful lady. How lucky to have had such lovely soul in your life.

  20. Yep, extremely beautiful and modest, too ;-D

  21. I don't think it's wrong, we all need certain things to feel complete. I feel bad because I can't knit; I really need to do something about that, too.

  22. absynthe_and_arsenic1/24/2012

    I often feel like I have different blood in my veins than the rest of my family. There are certain aspects of several cultures that resonate so strongly with me, I feel like a tuning fork being struck. I've recently started learning about my Dutch heritage, which I've despised since a child, simply because the only Dutch people I knew were my family & those in the awful town of Lynden. I'm much more in love with my stubborn ancestors now, having learned more about them. ^-^
    I've heard it said that it's an insult to other cultures if one outside of that culture adopts some of their practices, beliefs, etc. I think this is complete crap, but I still sometimes feel strange looking one way on my outside, but feeling like a whole mishmash of peoples & cultures & time periods inside. It's something I'm working on, just taking things as they come. ^-^


  23. There are many people who dislike Eclecticism. They call it stealing, indecision, lack of discipline and a bunch of other crap. I call it diversity at its best. 

  24. Please please please share with us your thoughts about the Spanish vs. English versions of one or two of the books? Please? :)

  25. I definitely will. I can already tell you that I wasn't impressed by the translation of Anna Karenina. Okay, maybe I have never really love the original... Android Karenina, on the other hand, what a hoot! 

  26. laurak1/30/2012

    wow...what a list. i love to read...and always have a back log...books just waiting to be opened and held...and read.
    my roots. -- being roots seem to spread out towards native american.  i used to feel 'lost'...not knowing...
    now i just go with the flow...  >>>>>

  27. Through your work, I can see that your roots run beautifully deep.