When I was younger, Mami would only cut my hair during a full moon. She would count the days on the calendar, and prepare my hair to be cut. Brushing my long brown hair in her hand and looking toward the moon. I would feel the weight of my hair shift as she cut. As Mami would silently curse my impatience, and readjust the cuts over and over. I hated it, I never understood why this ritual mattered to Mami. Because to me hair is just hair. Even as Mami assured me that this was to ensure the hair would grow strong and beautiful. And through the years, I would grab the sheers and cut my hair until chunks fell into my hands. Never caring for the moon or purpose. Mami would beg me to stop cutting my hair and still I would cut—Never listening. I think of that memory now as I finally let my hair grow through the moon cycles. And I watch my hair grow longer and longer then before. Where the memory of Mami brushing my hair in the moonlight comes to me. And it’s then I understand what it means to cut hair during a full moon. It was never about beauty or hair strength, but about carrying over our traditions. And the image of Mami brushing through my long brown hair returns to me. Brushing through the knots and tangles, cutting the dead parts, letting the hair shine against the full moon. She was doing what her Mami did with her.
I learned at an early age about mal ojo. How mal ojo allows people to house energies without knowing. Where their silent looks become loud with the wrong emotion. How jealousy becomes the weapon to hurt and cause pain. And we refuse to call it superstition, because superstition is inviting the dark in before the light. To give face to the entities. And if our voices ever sound envious we touch the surface of things in a gratitude of thanks. Spreading light before the darkness makes a home. We perform rituals for protection. A sign of the cross at the door before leaving the house. Lining our windows with ajo. Planting rosemary in the jardín. And wearing the red string ojo bracelet around our wrists. Every night, we pray to the higher powers to grant us protection. But mal ojo likes to seep through the cracks. Finding us on our worst days. Projecting the darkness in our vulnerabilities. We don’t let it. We put our prayers toward better days. Wearing the red string bracelet lined with santos and ojo beads. Carrying the prayers of the light to keep the darkness at bay.
Uncovered logs from the distant past and the future beyond.