Chilean-American Juju

My husband likes to blame successions of disastrous or unfortunate events on people who do not wish us well, therefore, we are not supposed to tell anyone about our plans. Apparently, the haters will hate with such fervor that they physically send enough bad energy to eff everything up, or they literally do witchcraft to get the job done.

As a case in point, his ex, and most unfortunately the “mother” of his child, sends so much negative juju in our direction (we did take her to court for custody, to be fair) that she can be to blame for almost anything that doesn’t go as planned (such as aforementioned custody situation). This is true especially if things still don’t look up even after we have done a sahumerio in the house: a pagan cleansing with catholic undertones and obnoxiously expensive candles, stinky magic dust, doodads, etc. Even thinking about her brings bad vibes into our lives, so she is definitely never to be informed about anything involving us (AKA: Reason why my social media is as stalker proof as possible). In the past, she has also actively fucked with our plans, so this is also just common sense.

*Just to be clear, this girl is not your average baby momma. She’s a narcissistic psychopath who has completely separated her child from a loving father in the most painful way possible. But that’s another story… or a thousand… that I won’t get into because I want my day to not be cursed by her black magic.* “LOL”, but really.


Anyway, my husband is not the only Chilean who believes this, nor is he the only one who’s mother had him cleansed by a priest at some point in his young life. It is very common for people to believe in witchcraft and charged energies. In fact, the contrast is so extreme between Chilean beliefs and the average North American ones, that I often find myself struggling not to laugh at some of the things I hear. And, BOY, have I heard some things.

*Side note! I was raised without religion in the northeast, and my grandfather, my childhood hero, was a scientist. I dabbled in many a religion, and have finally accepted that I am an atheist hippy who respects everyone’s right to believe whatever they want.*

Almost everyone I know in Chile has personally seen or met witches, elves (more like demonic leprechauns), ghosts, angels, and/or the devil. Some have even told me about possessions, visions, UFO sightings, and astral projection. Every single time I am told about one of these encounters, I am faced with an awkward situation because they are told in absolute seriousness and I absolutely believe there is a logical explanation.

One time was particularly uncomfortable because I was the lone nonbeliever in a group that was partially comprised of my husband’s family. Everyone was telling tales of ghosts smoking cigars at the foot of the bed, exes who were full-blown possessed (again, literally), and dreams that actually came true, when someone claimed to be psychic.

I thought to myself, “thank goodness this guy isn’t part of the family,” and, “FML, keep it together, girl”.

He proceeded to elaborate, explaining that he can see people’s auras and deep dark secrets. In spite of myself, I got kind of nervous because, who doesn’t have deep dark secrets when in-laws are involved? Nevertheless, I “allowed him” to read my aura. He said it was lilac, meaning that I have a kind soul and love to help people.

Never mind that we had just been talking about my volunteer work with underprivileged children.

Everyone oohed and awed, and I held on to my poker face as best I could. No deep dark secrets were readable in my empty, Godless heart, so I could rest assured that my husband’s uncle would never find out how creepy I think he is.

Months later my husband and I ran into the psychic in town. He asked my husband for money because all of his economic endeavors had failed miserably, and he was becoming desperate.

Eye roll.

Despite things like the incongruity of being a psychic and not avoiding economic ruin,  or having “spot on intuition” and at the same time obsessively overthinking everything anyone says (that one is a family member), I have become much more open minded about spirituality and superstitions over the last five years in Chile. I feel a bit better after using a sahumerio on the house, and I do believe there is a certain power in the energy we give off. I still have trouble believing that elves and ghosts exist, but I have great respect for the cultural context from which they came.


Perhaps, I have spiritually matured, but I still want to test this whole superstition about telling people your plans. So, big, great internet, I am going to tell you that my husband and I are planning on going camping for my 28th birthday this weekend. If it doesn’t work out, I’m going to have the entire internet to blame.


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