From Cidra With Love

From the concrete jungle of New York, the trip to Puerto Rico always felt like stepping into a time machine, one that transported me to a world of deep-rooted history and timeless traditions. The family-owned land and the generational homes standing proudly on it were living monuments to our heritage. It was as if the air itself whispered stories of our ancestors, reminding us of our roots and the values they held dear. Visiting the island brought childhood tales to life, those that were once used to instill fear in our young minds to keep us on the straight and narrow. The nights were darker than I had ever imagined, casting eerie shadows that danced with the spirits of the past. Our family’s connection to the supernatural was evident, and it was impossible not to feel a shiver run down my spine as I pondered the stories I had heard growing up. The tragic murder of my Wela in the early 90s left an indelible mark on our family. I can still recall the shock and despair that gripped us as we watched our relatives on TV during a commercial break on “In Living Color,” recounting the horrific details to local news stations. A cloud of grief hung heavy over us, one that could never be completely lifted. Yet, we continued to share stories, like the one about my grandfather, my mom’s dad, who would call out into the woods behind the rolling hills that marked our family’s property line. He dared the devil to show himself, as if taunting the very embodiment of darkness. The mystic world of spirits and seances that formed the bedrock of our family’s beliefs might seem like mere folklore to most of the Western world. However, to us, they were as real as the ground beneath our feet. These beliefs led my mom to seek solace in the church after her troubled childhood. My siblings and I were born into a world of worship, where faith was an essential part of our identity. But as life unfolded, the rollercoaster of spirituality would take us on a wild ride, with organized religion driving a wedge between us and the higher power we sought. The journey to rediscover my connection with God was a winding path, one that I could never have predicted. It was through the unlikely medium of psychedelics that I would come to find a renewed sense of spirituality, a connection to something greater than myself.

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