mostly tagalog

anonymous asked:

How you or any of your followers found anything on Filipino witchcraft?

Here’s the thing about Filipino/Pilipinx “witchcraft”– it’s complicated.

1) Pilipinx people are not a monolithic culture– we are hundreds of different nations joined together because of Spanish colonialism and Catholicism, either because we were conquered by the Spaniards or areas were considered part of the Philippines even if they put up resistance (such as areas in Mindanao that have resisted Catholicism and have stayed Muslim). Each region’s spiritual and magical practices are unique based on that regions’ deities, ancestors, land spirits, and interaction/colonization by Islam or Catholicism. Some of the terms I will use are known to be specific to regions (like Cebu, Siquijor, etc) but have become common terms among Luzon peoples because of their notoriety.

2) What I do know of local witchcraft is either done through sympathetic magic and/or spiritwork. Harmful forms of witchcraft are usually called kulam or barang, the latter creating spells that can affect the target if you know their name, have a piece of their hair, can stare at them, etc, while the former is based on allyship with a certain spirits that are or take the shape of insects. Healing witchcraft usually isn’t called that because of negative connotations, and instead is seen as “herbalism”, i.e. the local arbulario, or faith healing. Arbularios will use herbs, but they may also have powerful spirit allies that cast out any unsavory spirits and demonic entities, as well as undo any curses/hexes. Faith healers will have Christian and/or ancestral spirits to guide them in healing the sick and undoing curses/hexes. There is the prevalent belief that people are “born” witches, that either you are born to curse or born to heal and undo curses, and that this is a hereditary gift/affliction that is passed down. Those who are born to curse can learn to channel their gifts away from harming to battle magic for the good of the people, but to not use your powers usually means you will sicken from all the excess energy inside you that burns you up inside. Others have gained the power through making bargains and contracts with spirits, whether ancestral or Christian. You can find some websites on this, but mostly they are in Tagalog.

3) There is also Filipino Wicca and modern Filipino witchcraft. Filipino Wicca is very similar to European-based Wiccan practices except that the deities that are used as Filipino and the Sabbats are slightly different because the seasons in the Philippines are different from Europe. Tony Perez, a professor, artist, and magician who has studied Western forms of magic, also popularized a mix of local Pilipinx witchcraft with his Western influenced magic, and started a group of Spirit Questors, which then logged their adventures of psychic training and spiritwork in a popular book series that you can get in the (Philippines’) National Bookstore. He has also released “grimoires” in Tagalog on Kulam, Tawas, etc.

To learn about local Filipino witchcraft would require being taught in the Philippines, really. Most of it is spiritwork, with emphasis on local herbs that don’t even grow in my region because I’m part of the Pilipinx diaspora. I’ve collected several Tony Perez books and I do like the structure of how his group practically handles hauntings and mediates human-spirit relationships. I’ve collected some important items from Quiapo Market in Manila that can be used in my craft, such as kamangyan (incense from Filipino storax) and coconut husk shavings for cleansing bodies, spaces, energies; stingray tail (to ward off harmful demonic entities as a last resort); tektite (to concentrate energy for healing and spells); anting-anting (amulets of protection and repelling harmful entities), and various colourful candles for spells.

I’m hoping I get more free time in the future to write a monthly article on what I’ve gathered over the years from Pilipinx witchcraft, and to talk about it’s 3 main components: 1) using, building, and maintaining your own energy and powers for “the work”, 2) harmonious human-spirit relations, and 3) herbalism.

- anitoanum