Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue
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Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

Sean Guerra's art
"RELEASE + SET FREE" © Sean Guerra.

RELEASE + SET FREE

I felt a heavy weight, but also the levity of letting go the cargas that were not meant for me to hold any longer. At the same time, I heard about relatives and close friends losing loved ones dear to them. Having lost two cousins in the past three years, I could empathize with the grief from the loss of a family member and wanted to give the intention of a soulful prayer for our collective journey of healing.

Sean Guerra's art
"SEEING + GUIDING TEMPLES" © Sean Guerra.

SEEING + GUIDING TEMPLES

I felt lost but still connected, searching for guidance. On a jog, I looked up and saw sprawling branches illuminated by a street lamp. It felt as if even though the world around me was falling apart, staying in tune with the senses and looking within for guidance and ancestral wisdom could lead me out of the darkness.

Sean Guerra's art
"REVELATIONS: 20/20" © Sean Guerra.

REVELATIONS: 20/20

This piece came about after looking in the mirror, accepting the mistakes I had made, and throwing my past selves through the portal in the hopes that I could shift and leave the baggage behind by cultivating self-acceptance.

I had also learned about the mythical land of “Fusang,” which some believe is an ancient Asian depiction of Mesoamerica, with references to the maguey plant. It helped me embrace nuanced perspectives of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, shedding the tired tropes of Aztlán and European “discovery,” for in truth it is possible that tri-continental migration and cross-cultural solidarity were already happening before European colonizers came. My introduction to Mesoamerica was by way of the Mixtec Codex Zouche-Nuttall, which documents the history and royal genealogies of the pueblo de la lluvia, so I was also accepting the path of reading symbols and following the rain god, Dzahui.

Sean Guerra's art
"THIS IS MESOAMERICA: JAGUARS IN THE SKY" © Sean Guerra.

THIS IS MESOAMERICA: JAGUARS IN THE SKY

This piece was inspired by a 2017 article called “The Roar of the Rain: A Late Preclassic Jaguar Pedestal Sculpture from Southern Mesoamerica,” by Andrew D. Turner, which draws the connection between Mesoamerican rain gods and jaguars.

Turner states, “The Olmecs, who produced the earliest monumental artwork in Mesoamerica, associated the jaguar with rain and, by extension, agricultural fertility. The famed artist and scholar Miguel Covarrubias first noted that the Olmec rain god, which was the precursor to the major rain deities of ancient Mesoamerica—Chahk of the Maya, Cocijo of the Zapotecs, [Dzahui of the Mixtecs], and Tlaloc of Central Mexico—was based on a jaguar prototype.”

Since I had been aligning myself with the Mixtec codices following Dzahui, I found this to be a revelation that in turn helped me to flip the Eurocentric history of settler colonialism on its head and offer a liberated pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, symbolized by the maguey plant, in its place.

Sean Guerra's art
"BRIDGES ARE TEMPLES: WE ARE THE SKY" © Sean Guerra.

BRIDGES ARE TEMPLES: WE ARE THE SKY

This piece was inspired by a print by Leopoldo Méndez of the Taller de Gráfica Popular titled “León de La Barra, the White President” (1947), in which Zapata soldiers are in the clouds pointing their rifles and bayonets downwards like lightning bolts upon the bourgeoisie.

The symbolism and title was also inspired by the revelatory writings of “third world women of color” in This Bridge Called My Back (1981), along with the moment and movement of artistic solidarity shown between the Black Panther Party and the Zapatistas of Chiapas as described in Zapantera Negra (2017), and the mural entitled “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” in Chicano Park, San Diego. Rain has been associated with jaguars and feminine energy since the first Mesoamerican civilization of the Olmecs, and African and Indigenous resistance has been at the forefront of social justice movements.

Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

Origin Story and Intro to the Intention Issue

Origin Story

I founded Ofrenda Magazine as an expression of a twenty-year personal healing journey, one that has involved healing my body, decolonizing my faith and life-ways, cultivating my relationship to Earth, and reshaping an understanding of wholeness. 

My story is perhaps a familiar one: I grew up in southern California, in a working-class family with ancestral roots on both sides of the border. My childhood experience was colored by my grandmother’s devotion to Guadalupe, my mom’s austere Protestantism, and my dad’s and uncles’ substance abuse. Fear and shame were dominant energies. My conservative, white Sunday school teachers told me with great certainty that I couldn’t be a leader as a woman, that my dad was destined for hell because he drank, and that my beloved grandma would join him in the fiery flames because she had an altar and prayed to statues—not thoughts a seven year old should have to contemplate. I both believed them and didn’t. Rewriting and rewiring the narrative would take years.

A studious kid with mystical inclinations, I chose learning as the path forward, and then as the way out. Enamored with diverse cultures and in pursuit of the truth, I studied global religions, politics, and linguistics in college. Then, in graduate school, I dove deeper into questions of identity and actively worked at decolonizing my beliefs, studying Latinx spirituality, Mesoamerican cosmology, and mujerista theology. It helped that I had met and married an encouraging partner on a similar path: he was a former-Christian-turned-animist, a Zen practitioner, and a Ph.D. student in an emerging field called “religion and nature.” Conversations were (and still are) interesting.

After leaving school, I taught language courses in Mexico and the U.S. for a time and then, eventually, cultivated a career in software design and innovation leadership—which has more in common with religion, politics, and language teaching than you might imagine. Ever the student, I also began learning astrology and traditional herbal medicine. I continued to read in areas I enjoyed, from armchair physics to curanderismo. I integrated holistic practices, especially after becoming a mama.

Intellectually, I had left religious conditioning and childhood beliefs behind, but psychosomatically, those early emotional scars were still with me, in my cells. Bible-banging from extended family triggered autoimmune responses. I had experienced a form susto, a sort of loss of self. I was, perhaps desperately, working on interrupting familial patterns so as not to inadvertently pass along my traumas to my son. I tried several therapies to unstick the parts of me that were stuck on autopilot, but it wasn’t until I had a few sessions with a curandera that I genuinely began to feel better, stronger.

During one session, the curandera guided me through a meditation, offering a simple description of ancestral presence—in human, plant, and animal form. I felt a mild, buzzy whoosh. Energy in. It was the first warm and enveloping, unchipped and uncritical, protective parental love I had felt in a long time. The difference, I believe, between this session and the other Eastern and Western therapies I had tried is that I felt a connection to culture. I felt at home in a way I hadn't before.

Rather quickly, I understood my calling differently. I had always been driven to use my “gifts” for good causes. Now, I understood that I had an opportunity to weave the disparate threads of my experience into a whole: Latinx spirituality, Earth-based spirituality, social and ecological justice, holistic wellness, traditional plant medicine, astrology, digital design, and innovation leadership. The word that kept coming to my mind was ofrenda: I need to make an ofrenda out of this experience and these knowings. I need to make an ofrenda, not only to my ancestors, but also to my son, to those who will follow, and to the Earth they will inherit.

So here, friends, is that ofrenda. I welcome you to this place; I welcome your healing, your wisdoms, your knowings, your artistic expressions—your whole, authentic selves.

The Vision

The intention of Ofrenda Magazine is to be a space where we can explore and celebrate holistic wellness, ancestral connection (whether human, plant, or animal), and spiritual creativity. I have been truly overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy, gratitude, and support that I have received so far. People are excited about the topic and space to share. You're ready, and I am, too.

With your help, we will grow this space and our offerings over time. We're currently planning to publish digital issues six times per year, on dates that correspond with the full moon. Themes will directly and metaphorically reflect the seasons to help us tune in with cosmos and natural presences in and around us. (You can read about the themes on the Submissions page.)

It's my intention to make this a financially healthy exchange so that we can make the content available in several forms and also increase the rates we pay—ensuring Latinx writers, artists, and other creators are compensated not only for the time they've invested in the creative work but also the energy they've invested in building their expertise. We ask, in the spirit of reciprocity, that you consider contributing what you can for this purpose.

You can support this creative, healing space by advertising your services or making one-time or monthly tax-deductible donations. In time, we will have printed materials, downloads, and informational items available for purchase. And as we listen to feedback from you, our readers, we may also offer events, workshops, and similar gatherings to keep the flow of energy moving among us.

We invite you to participate in non-monetary ways, as well: sign up for the newsletter, spread the word, recommend contributors, share your thoughts, contribute your own creative pieces and wisdoms.

Thank you for participating in this journey. As we do the work and share together, let us honor the seven directions, the Earth, Moon, and Sun, our ancestors, our children, all our relations, and ourselves. Let us support each other through the decolonization process. Let us feel joy and have fun. Let us use our gifts for good.

Ometeotl.


Issue 01: Intention

In this first issue, we focus on the theme of intention. Most people probably think of “intention” as a goal, aim, or purpose: the motivating idea that turns into action, the commitment to a fresh start. Some also use the word “intention” to name the power of the universe: the cosmic sacred energy that manifests itself in and through humans and all our relations. And the medical definition of “intention” is the process of a woundʼs healing, the union of two parts of skin knitting themselves together again. ‍

This issue invites readers to explore and meditate on the many meanings of intention:

  • Berenice Dimas invites us to pursue and deepen our relationship with intention; 
  • Curandera Ixtoii Paloma Cervantes shows us, step-by-step, how to cultivate the practice of intention;
  • Jorge Garcia, with art by Chicome Itzcuintli Amatlapantli, teaches us about Huitzilopochtli as an archetype of intent; 
  • John Jairo Valencia gifts us with art, verse, and audio that helps us contemplate the seed state;
  • Sean Guerra shares his art and a personal journey of healing through the artistic style of  Rasquachismo;
  • Sarah Monroy Solis, in an intimate narrative about her father, shows us the healing power of discovering and knowing our linguistic roots;
  • Cinthya Saavedra shares her spiritual journey, along with a meditation for us to carry into 2021; and
  • Lara Medina shares her wisdom as editor of Voices from the Ancestors, one of my sources of inspiration for this magazine.

Thank you, gracias, for your presence here. I'm so excited to share the wisdom of these contributors. Thank you for for reading, listening to, viewing, and passing these pages along.

The Practice of Intention

1

If possible, play music that inspires you to be calm. This is the time to look inward. Turn off any external distractions; silence your phone.

2

Close your eyes, taking a moment to “feel” how different and peaceful it is to have the eyes closed.

3

Take three very slow and deep breaths, trying to fill out the bottom of your lungs. Inhale and exhale slowly.

4

With either hand, take a little bit of tobacco or some dry herbs—like lavender, sage, rosemary, basil, rose petals, a combination of all of them, or imagine them, if you don’t have any. In the Curanderismo tradition, it is believed that these plants have energy that can help us communicate more deeply with the spirit realm, and focus with concentration and a sense of calm.

5

Place your hand with the herbs at the center of your chest. That is the area known as the heart chakra. Take another deep and slow breath.

6

Very slowly, start directing your attention to one or more of the emotions mentioned before: love, gratitude, happiness, and peace.

7

Then, also very slowly, start your prayer, being careful that you genuinely mean what you are saying. If you are reciting a prayer in another language, make sure you say it first in your native language and then in the other language.

8

At the end of each sentence from your prayer, add a vibration of any of the emotions. Once you feel the emotions, move them throughout your body until it is vibrating. This is a very important step because this vibration is creating electromagnetic energy that will help you manifest what you are asking for.

9

Carry on with your prayer until you are done. Remember not to rush. By the end, your body should be vibrating, and from there you are going to send gratitude to the Universe, to the spirits, to your ancestors, to everyone for hearing your prayer and making it happen.

10

If you are conducting a ceremony or ritual, empowering a place or a spiritual tool, asking for healing, or something similar, you can cup your hands and transfer all of these beautiful energies into your hands and into the mixture of herbs. Then you can offer these herbs by placing them on your altar (if you have one), placing your hands on the part of the body that you want to heal, or offering the herbs to Mother Earth.

11

Finish by staying still for a moment, just feeling this beautiful energy that you have created.

Image of a handout with Paloma's practice instructions

Take Paloma’s teachings with you.

Sign up for our email newsletter below, and receive a link to download a printable copy of Paloma's intention practice. It's designed so you can fold it in three and take it with you.

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Call for Submissions

Issue 02: Nepantla

Themes of "between," mutability, shapeshifting, boundaries and borders, springtime, changing seasons, spring equinox + your ideas. Surprise us. Share your essays, practices, art/multimedia, plantcestor profiles, and more. Submission deadline: March 7, 2021.

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