With its roots in voodoo and Santería, the work of Miami’s mystics has been long misunderstood and condemned as black magic or evil for reasons that are ignorant at best and racist at worst. Though it’s been more than 400 years since the Salem Witch Trials, and reading your daily horoscope has become as routine as checking the weather forecast, Miami’s witches, brujas, and healers still exist in the shadows.
Earlier this year, artist and tarologist Angel Garcia and I cofounded Eleventh House. The name refers to one of the 12 astrological houses within an individual’s birth chart that rules community and friends, and we set out to connect locals with the city’s thriving community of witches, brujas, and healers. In addition to hosting a monthly queer astrological party with tarot and natal chart readers at Mama Tried in downtown Miami, Eleventh House is thrilled to announce the launch of its online directory of Miami mystics, whose services include tarot readings, birth chart consultations, reiki sessions, and manifestation candles. It’s believed to be the first platform of its kind.
“I haven’t heard of anything like this in Miami at all,” historian Paul George of HistoryMiami says. “I’ve noticed that the community is taking more of an interest in this — ghost tours too — so I guess a witch directory is the next step... As someone born on Halloween, I find this absolutely fascinating.”
The platform fittingly launched with 11 mystics who embrace their spiritual identities regardless of the consequences. They're from various pockets of South Florida, from Hialeah to Little Haiti to Cutler Bay; represent different ages, ethnicities, and upbringings; speak English, Spanish, and Kreyol; and all wield their alleged powers to help put the "magic" in the Magic City.
Their paths to mystical practice are in no way parallel. Carolyn Desert was crowned Miss Haiti in 2014 and says she communicates with ancestors and Haitian deities. The daughter of a witchy Nuyorican, Jessica Freites began studying astrology at the age of 8 and the tarot at 12. And from a Jewish and Afro-Caribbean family engaged with mysticism and plant medicine for generations, Monica Uszerowicz works mostly with tarot and oracle cards depicting flora and fauna.
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The 11 women who compose the Eleventh House directory offer a slew of services. Adrienne Tabet performs energy work and touch therapy, Tori Alleyne employs crystals and reiki, and Sabel Santa uses individuals' exact birth times to explore patterns and behaviors as they relate to astrology.
Even mystics who use the tarot and oracle decks as their main divination tools each have their own style of reading. Sisther Pravia says she taps into her connection to Archangel Gabriel to help her during tarot sessions; Natalia Molina says she uses the tarot to self-activate, motivate, and produce a deeper understanding of the present; Maria Manrique says she works with the major and minor arcanas to reconcile the divine masculine and feminine archetypes; and Salem Sabellos says she’s a clairvoyant who uses those insights during tarot sessions.
Local mystics who'd like to inquire about appearing in the directory can message Eleventh House. To celebrate the launch of this online directory of witches, brujas, and healers, Eleventh House will host this month's iteration of queer astrology during the full moon Thursday, August 15, at Mama Tried. Drag king Ded Cooter will host, DJ Judy will play witchy beats, and the trippy cartoon Cosmic Eye will beam from the flat-screens as four tarot and natal chart readers offer their services from salt-lamp-lit booths. Guests who message their birth time, date, and place to the Eleventh House Instagram will receive a free shot when they check in for their complimentary astro chart tagged with their sun, moon, and rising signs.
Eleventh House. 8 p.m. Thursday, August 15, at Mama Tried, 207 NE First St., Miami; 786-803-8087; mamatriedmia.com. Admission is free.