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Dummy's Guide to Botanicas

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As we mentioned in our previous post, "Inside Miami's Botanicas: Santeros, the Devil's Intestines, and Steep Prices," the items being sold inside a botanica can seem confusing or even intimidating to the uninitiated. That's why we decided to grab our santero friend and have him explain some of the basic items essential to the practice of Lukumi. After all, he owed us for sacrificing a rooster in our bedroom one night while we were passed out. Let's just say we never went to another rave with him. Without further ado, we present our Dummy's Guide to Botanicas.


This little cup of ground-up and compacted egg shells is one of the more common items found in a botanica and is used for a variety of purposes. Cascarilla has the consistency of chalk and is used to mark doorways, entryways, and bedrooms for the purpose of blessing the area. A person can also be blessed by marking the soles of his or her feet. It is not edible nor should it be used for hopscotch.

Perfumes or Scented Waters
These potions in a bottle are also commonly used by believers for everything from attracting money to breaking up couples. You use them as you would a regular perfume--dab it behind the ears, sprinkle it on your sheets, spray it into the eyes of your enemies--Okay, don't. They might retaliate with some non-magical tactics.
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