For far too long, Miami’s mystical community, with its roots in Santería and voodoo, has been overshadowed by The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina or the crystal shops of the Northeast offering discounts on psychic readings in October. Unlike Disney’s Halloweentown, it’s not foggy or cold here, the leaves don’t change colors, yet you can sense the city’s magic in the balmy air and swaying palm trees. The vibe is definitively not white, influenced by the Caribbean traditions of the black and brown communities here. Encountering an animal’s amputated limb is a local’s rite of passage, as is peeking inside a botanica and picking up a sachet powder to fend off first-date jitters or to ace an upcoming job interview.
It’s that dichotomy — between the real and the trite — that inspired me to write "Witches of Miami: Meet the Women who Identify as Brujas and Healers" last October. We are lucky to exist among a thriving community of brujas and healers, who are relegated to this oft-unspoken and liminal space where their work has long been condemned as “black magic” or evil for reasons that are ignorant at best and racist at worst. I sought to profile six local women who embrace their mystical identities regardless of the consequences. While their connection to the spiritual and mystical world are unique to their practice, these women all seek to help others find answers and better themselves when life seems harsh and unforgiving.
I don’t expect UNESCO to give Miami’s brujería a cultural heritage designation just yet, but I do think we should commemorate the diversity of our local witches and ultimately bring it out of the shadows — and have some fun! So, along with artist and tarologist Angel Lauren, we’ve created Eleventh House, a queer astrological party held the Thursday nearest the full moon every month at Mama Tried in downtown Miami.
This event is intended to be a haven for people tired of the prepackaged mysticism on sale at Urban Outfitters and want to delve into the unique community that belongs to the Magic City. Our namesake, the Eleventh House, refers to one of the 12 astrological houses within your birth chart that rules over community and friends. The night of the event, everyone who checks in is given a complimentary astro name tag with their sun, moon, and rising signs on it (which we also hear is a subtle way to figure out your crush’s sign).
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Local female tarot and natal chart readers will pull cards or use the exact point in time you were born to uncover your cosmic fates (including career, romantic, or any other pressing concern you may have). There’s always an experimental film directed by a woman that relates to the moon’s sign beaming on the flat-screens while postdisco tunes play on the speakers. We hand out free shots for those whose natal moon is in the same sign as the full moon that week.
We shy away from the contemporary new-age vibe (though I’m the first to dive into a cloud of Nag Champa) and lean into the curiosity of earnest mysticism. We are excited to give hardworking Miami mystics an opportunity to share their craft. Though we all take astrology with a grain of salt, the world can be a scary place, and we welcome anyone looking to the cosmos for answers with wide-open arms.
Eleventh House. 7 p.m. till late Thursday, May 16, at Mama Tried, 207 NE First St., Miami; instragram.com/11thhousemia.