The vibrant neighborhood of Pilsen is known to celebrate the love for brujería and its empowering impact despite old programming rooted in fear of non-conventional practices. With the rise of free expression of individual spirituality, talented and well-respected brujas in Pilsen have dove into their unique individual practices to assist others in levitra cheap canadian pharmacy transformation through healing and energetic services. Inspired by tianguis mercados, Erica Mascio and her son Dom Mascio co-host Witch-O-Rama in Pilsen to create a safe space and access to products and services by creative spiritual community members.
MamaSweetz Witchery & Oracle
Erica, an eclectic bruja born and raised in Pilsen, attended Whittier Elementary School, graduated from Orozco Academy, and is a proud Benito Juarez alumni. “I’ve been blessed with a loving witchy family, my two children, and husband of 20 years,” said Erica.
Erica began practicing brujería privately over 16 years ago. “After much research of many different beliefs and traditions I fell in love with the idea of an empowering spiritual practice that centers around intention of will and personal empowerment,” stated Erica. She incorporated spiritual tools for self-care and developed her ability to direct energy consciously to hone in her spiritual gifts. As she grew her abilities, she began offering assistance to family and close friends who had requested her advice and support.
However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erica lost her viagra online deals day job. “I felt as though a rug had been pulled out from under me. I needed to decide my next move in life. It was at this point that I decided to offer my MamaSweetz Witchery & Oracle to the public as a means to survive the pandemic and help provide for our family,” shared Erica.
Erica was inspired to produce Witch-O-Rama in Pilsen to offer accessibility to the community after serving as a vendor at similar markets across Chicago.
“Our clients were so grateful to be able to get a hold of the brujas and find the supplies and guidance they need all in one spot. They began sending messages thanking us and asking when and where our next market would be. They were hoping they would be more frequent, which thankfully they NOW are. We quickly got to work making phone calls to our bruja familia. To our surprise, the response was amazing. Everyone was super excited for the opportunity to be able to get back out there vending together more frequently like we used to. COVID-19 hit a ton of small businesses hard. Our markets give vendors the opportunity to get back to work on rebuilding their businesses again after the long forced hiatus,” said Erica.
This market features a diverse group of practitioners as well as non-practicing local small businesses. Each market includes a unique lineup of vendors signed on based upon availability so it is important to note the market roster changes regularly. Witch-O-Rama offers access to holistic and esoteric practitioners, spirituality and wellness providers, and extremely talented local artisans, jewelers, and rare creators. Like the swap-meet, you’ll find friendly and knowledgeable members of the community offering a wide variety of items such as candles, oils, crystals, herbs, incense, and so much more. Other services offered include spiritual readings, divination guidance, limpias or spiritual cleanses, and tarot.
Drag Me To Divinity
Dom Mascio (they/them) partnered with their mother to host Witch-O-Rama and offer tarot readings at every market in Drag. This unique experience elevates Latinx/e Drag culture to intersect with brujería as a way to embrace authenticity through spirituality and divination. Erica and Dom inspire creators and community members to live authentically and share their talented gifts by creating a safe space in Pilsen for empowerment.
“My mothers practice is all about empowerment, and there is nothing more empowering than 5 inch heels and a big ass wig. When I host our Witch-O-Rama events in Drag, I know I am a beacon for people to be themselves. I want to bring together the spiritual and queer community for they are intersectional and more people need to understand that,” said Dom.
Dom and Erica both believe living authentically is crucial to maintaining spiritual and physical wellness. As Dom states, “no more should we be in the closet, the broom closet, or any hiding of any sort. I was recently asked if I had to choose between being queer or being a witch, which would I be. I responded that I would always be both. These experiences coexist in the same realm. I hope to help show people that with our events.”
“Where there’s a Witch, there’s a Way!”
Historically, brujería, Curanderismo, and Santeria have been misconstrued within the Latinx/e community as practices that are dangerous. However, recent generations who have channeled for inner peace and out of devotion to self love and unity consciousness have assisted the acceptance in Pilsen and enabled spiritual businesses to thrive. Erica has practiced discreetly and privately to never experience discrimination or judgment. However, her public debut was no surprise for friends and community.
“I come from a very spiritual family so when I decided to go public with it, all of my family and close friends pretty much already knew and weren’t surprised. Nowadays, I really try not to pay too much attention to other people’s opinions or judgements about my life choices,” stated Erica.
Community members who express spirituality freely and engage in energetic transformation often embrace inherited religious beliefs but also challenge those through conscious thought by honoring different belief systems and embracing truths that resonate with each individual for personal growth. Although some people fear the unknown or mispercerceive brujería is used to harm others, Erica and Dom felt it was important to create a safe space where individuals would have the freedom to feel empowered to explore different ideals and beliefs without judgment alongside other creators and practitioners who channel love as the energy to do their work.
“You can get in contact with some really talented local spiritual practitioners at our markets. Our vendors are able to provide the tools or guidance one may be searching for to find their own path. Whether you’re a long-time practitioner, a newbie, or a friend who just decided to come along for the trip, there’s really something for everyone here,” stated Erica.
Witch-O-Rama Upcoming Dates
The witchy tianguis are held once a month in an outdoor space located at 2156 W Coulter St, Chicago, IL 60608. The upcoming dates are scheduled for August 14, September 18, and October 23. Dates for November and December are to be determined due to the ongoing pandemic.
Erica and Dom will continue to hold more events for the growing witchy community. They are currently working on a mystic night, spiritual workshop ideas, and a drag show. They are also open to hosting more themed markets for our community in the future such as separate markets focused on jewelry, baked goods, and art for local artists incorporating arts and crafts for children. Follow Erica at @themamasweetz and Dom at @the_dommm Instagram for details on upcoming events.
Veronica Montes is a writer and content strategist. She is a proud first-generation Mexican American woman, mujer poderosa, and spiritual warrior. Read more of her work on Medium. Learn more about Veronica at https://veronicamontesportfolio.com/ for additional work.
Photos provided by writer.