Spice of the Earth-Priscilla Candelaria

Sitting in Priscilla’s warm kitchen, taking in the sunlight sparkling through the plant filled windows, artful clutter; mismatched salt and pepper shakers, niece and nephew’s tattered school projects, biscochitos sized to fit a child’s hand, cooking and healing herbs nestled behind the transparent walls of old tequila bottles. The aromatic bemusement of coffee and carne adobada on the stove, warm tortillas begging to be buttered and eaten, the internal feelings of home, friendship and a gentle warmth takes over. Image Image

Spice of the Earth

Priscilla is spice of the earth. Her flavor is purposeful and perceptive. Often, she’ll glance at you as if your thoughts were drawn from a past lifetime and she’s recalling the resolve. She understands the pathways of the soul. She toils her land for sustenance and for therapy. It is a place of cultivation and community. She has a hard-earned wisdom, mixed with an inherent playfulness, that can only be found in someone whose life has resulted in the knowledge that magic can be carried throughout a lifetime. Priscilla’s property is the home to two giant and gentle beasts that play gatekeepers to the soulful alchemy within. The eggs in the kitchen were gifted that morning from the clack of the chicken pen. Goats greet any visitor, hoping for a garden treat. A fairy garden sits underneath a magnificent mora tree that gives its fruit and its limbs to children’s imaginary worlds. Image Image

Image“I don’t think I didn’t ever believe in magic, it was part of the healing arts, when you couldn’t explain something, ”era de dios” the unexplainable magic was always with me.”

Many of her stories are of Old World New Mexico, with tentacles reaching for the future. She grew up in a part of Albuquerque where the city expanded around her. Her options were to either leave and receive an education, or remain on the land and preserve its sacred traditions; Priscilla managed to do both.

She says, “(my) family has always been tied to the earth, along with farming growing herbs and medicines, some of  the plants have been here since my abuelita. Since 1900, since she lived here. Traditional medicine, taking care of your own with what the earth gives you, sobadas , different curadas , I learned from her.   The kids can always come to nanas house, always have a roof over their head, bowl of frijoles, querencia. “

Image “I’m the keeper of tradition. The keeper of the flame lit in the kitchen, the biscochitos in the oven, tortillas hechos a mano, supposed to share the traditions.”

Pulse of the Earth

You can feel the pulse of the earth as profoundly from within the mud and straw walls of her kitchen as you can in the tilled rows of the garden ready for the sowing of the seeds and the goat pens with mama goat preparing for spring birth.

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“My earliest memory…in diapers, sitting on a blanket my mom was contando el chile…I grabbed a chile, and bit it and cried. Then I bit it again, mom called me cabezuda, I’d keep grabbing another one, from an early age I loved chile.”

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 “I come from a different perspective, from an artistic perspective, I did a reading at Art Bar one night, when you play in a cantina, you have to have a hook. I have a piece that starts with a malaguena, three lines, got up belted it out like Lola Beltran, then they listened to the poem.”

Her verse, whether metrical or in prose, comes from the land that surrounds her. She is a poet. She is a teacher. She is a healer. She farms the land. She is a mother. She is a friend. – Ana Romero Sanchez

Translations: biscochitos: New Mexico traditional cookie made with anise and cinnamon. carne adobada: New Mexico red chile marinated pork. mora (tree): mulberry era de dios: it was from God abuelita: grandma sobadas: ointments curadas: medicines or cures quenencia: New Mexico idiom meaning the institution of love hechos a mano: made by hand 

Special Thanks to ArtBar (https://www.facebook.com/ArtBarByCatalystClub)


Ana Romero Sanchez and Keith Sanchez are  combining their creative talents for the forthcoming multimedia eBook, “A Collection of Human Noise – Anthology” to be published by Community Publishing. Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia eBooks while promoting literacy in our communities. #JoinOurCommunity at http://communitypublishing.org
We are proud to be a community partner at the Rail Yards Market.

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