My great-grandmother Librada (Abuela Libby) was my Dad’s paternal grandmother. I’ve always found her intriguing and she left me wanting to know more about her than I could have answered on this side of humanity. Abuela Libby was (is) deeply connected to the spiritual world and I have a few stories of my own of feeling her presence guiding me that I’ll share one day. But this story isn’t about my personal connection with Abuela Libby.
My Abuela Libby read tarot cards and she had a big following for doing this. When my Dad would visit her, there would often be cars in front of the house with 5-10 people waiting in the living room to have their cards read by her. She must have been gifted to always have people wanting her readings. To some people, this practice makes her a witch. A bruja. But I know that descriptor makes some people uncomfortable–and some of my family members may not like me calling Abuela Libby a bruja. All I’m saying is that she read tarot cards… among other things that brujas might do.
My Dad had started to learn from Abuela Libby the art of being spiritually connected in order to read tarot cards. However, my grandparents didn’t really approve of this. Witchcraft or brujería can carry negative connotations for people. Often, this understanding is less because someone doesn’t believe in it, but rather, because they do. They know that brujeria has the ability to hold and wield power. That is what this story is actually about.
My great-grandfather Chico was married to Abuela Libby. They were divorced and he remarried. After Abuelo Chico and Abuela Libby divorced, Abuelo Chico was scared of Abuela Libby. Like reading tarot cards, hexing was also among other things that brujas might do that my Abuela Libby also did… allegedly. Abuela Chico said she had put a hex on him. You know–like a curse. He never really explain the specifics around the hex but there were a lot of things he wouldn’t do because of it apparently. It must have held at least some power to him.
Abuelo Chico’s new wife, Angie, was also afraid of this hex. Angie worried about her daughter, my Dad’s Tía Cecelia. They thought Cecelia would get taken by Libby in the middle of the night. No information was provided on how or what the hex would do that would make this possible, but the potential of my Abuela Libby’s brujería was believed deeply. Angie would sleep during the day and stay up at night just to ensure the hex couldn’t be fulfilled and Cecelia wouldn’t be taken by Libby.
This hold of the hex lasted until Abuela Libby’s death, twenty two years after the birth of Tía Cecelia. The day that Abuela Libby died, Abuelo Chico said he felt a sense of relief wash over him. Like something was gone. Something had been lifted. They could now sleep.
Is Abuela Libby a good witch or a bad witch? The most correct answer to this is that Abuela Libby is my great-grandmother.