EL GATO NEGRO

El GATO NEGRO

(The Black Cat) by Brujo Negro 6/29/2006

        

                 El Gato Negro (black cat) is a classical animal spirit of the Brujeria tradition specifically Magia Negra, it is also known simply as black cat in another folk magic tradition because of this here we will refer to this creature as gato negro to emphasize its role in Brujeria.  This short essay is an introduction to this unique and powerful creature that has been misinterpreted by some contemporary folk magic scholars through mistaken conjecture, mostly this happens because one lacks information. I will not delve into the superstitions connected with black cats because the focus of this essay is to define its role as a creature in Magia Negra.  It is also meant disprove the idea that this creature is used as a form of reversed bad luck in magical practices.  

 

Origins

         El Gato Negro reached the Brujeria traditions through the Grimorios that were smuggled from Spain into Mexico in post conquest times as early as 15401*.  There were several such texts but the one that stands out in Brujeria and Curanderismo culture is El Libro de San Cipriano which was originally published in 1510 2* contains Magia Negra and Magia Blanca rituals there are several versions of this book and some are in Portuguese, it is from this text and its other versions which I will quote specific information relating to the Gato Negro. This Grimorio has several rituals and spells listed with the Gato Negro.  It is from these findings that I will relate the spells and information that will be given in this essay, in addition other sources will be cited in their due place.  

 

Rituals and spells dispelling scholarly misinterpretation

                 El Gato Negro is not viewed as a symbol of bad luck in the Libro of San Cipriano; it is viewed simply as a creature of magical powers that can be tapped into for good or evil. It has the power to bestow good fortune, attract love, dominate, help one contact the darker forces of the universe, and even punish ones enemies or turn invisible. I will list several spells and only gloss over their particular nature because the aim of essay is not to give spells but elaborate on the nature of this magical creature. Misinterpretation by some scholars is based on the conjecture of the Gato Negro being used as a reverse form of bad luck in spells and amulets.    

 

As stated earlier the creature is valued for its magical properties, none of the ill omen superstitions hold relevance in Brujeria or other folk magic traditions. In the following example spells I will make light of this and uncover the possibility that the very Grimorios that helped cultivate Brujeria in Mexico could have very well influenced another folk magic tradition.

 

Example Spells with El Gato Negro

 

First I will give examples of three spells that are humane in the sense that they do not involve harming or killing this creature. Remember that the other spells that follow are from an old Grimorio and by no means reflect my personal approach to the works of El Gato Negro.

 

A ritual for good luck in all areas of life; this spell requires one to keep a live Gato Negro I am assuming that it will become a magical pet in this instance.  For good fortune in your life you are to carry out a ritual every Tuesday that involves taking some ground salt and rubbing this on the back of your gato while reciting a prayer to the sovereign planet and God the petition involves requesting the blessing of good fortune in life and in health.

 

A magical potion from the Gato Negro for dominance in love and control for other purposes i.e. business etc: This rite requires that the person find a pair of Gatos Negros a male and female in the courtship of mating, one is supposed to cut some hair from both creatures combined with a specific herb and burned to ashes, these ashes are then transferred to a dark bottle and several drops spirit of ammonia. After this specific prayers are recited and the utmost concentration of the will over this potion is required to make it effective. In order to bewitch with the potion one must concentrate on the individual and the desire of the spell, and then induce the person to smell the bottle with the allusion that it is a fine perfume.  

Note: It does not state it in the Grimorio but I would advise that such a potion can indeed be masked by a fine fragrance a fine perfume or otherwise.

 

A spell to bring harm to an enemy with a live Gato Negro: Notes; although this spell does not call for the magician to physically harm the creature the spell ends in releasing the cat into the wild so although it does not harm the cat it has some irresponsible aspects unless one lives in the country and the cat knows its way back home then it isn’t so bad. However there are many other ways to work these spells and variations are possible this is an example from the Book of San Cipriano.

 

In this spell one needs a cord of esparto grass, and a live Gato Negro having these items retire to a crossroads at night and you carefully tie the cat not to harm it as this is symbolic; what follows is a prayer to God and a conjuration to the Devil which you proclaim is symbolically bound as the Gato Negro is bound and you ask him to enter the body of your enemy and torment him here you specific the punishment. Then you tell the Devil that in return for the having punished your enemy you give him the Gato Negro, having received the desired result you are supposed to take the Gato Negro to the same crossroads at night and tell the Devil twice calling him by name; Lucifer, Lucifer Here is your payment for having served my request then you release the Gato Negro.

 

The Black Cat Bone Invisibility Ritual

 

(Disclaimer; This spell is only listed for its historical value in Brujeria, I am very much against this ritual it is cruel unnecessary and no one should ever attempt this nor do I advocate this practice, remember there are better ways of working the Gato Negro.)

 

This is the one most controversial and inhumane rituals one that has long been mistakenly attributed to another folk magic tradition the Hoodoo tradition. This is mainly because of Zora Neal Hurston’s folkloric studies of Hoodoo in the Deep South in the 1930s.      In her book Mules and Men she claimed to have witnessed this rite first hand with one of her Hoodoo mentors.  However this is an old spell written within the pages of the Libro de San Cipriano it involves among other things a large cauldron filled with water heated on a fire of willow logs and, a seeing mirror, the poor creature is then supposed to be thrown alive into the boiling water until its bones fall apart in the water. The next part involves the mirror in which the magician is supposed to take one bone at a time in his mouth and look in the mirror, when he does not cast a reflection he has found his bone.  Supposedly to use this bone all the magician has to do is say I want to be in such and such place unseen by the power of Magia Negra. Truly heinous ritual I would never entertain the idea of trying this, there are far better spells than this atrocious rite.

 

 

There is another spell one that utilized the Gato Negro’s eyes to create little devils or imps to serve the magician but again this is an inhumane spell one that calls for killing this poor creature, as per the last spell read my disclaimer.  I am against harming this creature and there are far better methods of harnessing the powers of this creature.  

 

Cultural Borrowings?

Digressing from the actual spells I wanted to express the historical and convincingly factual possibility the Brujeria tradition influenced the Hoodoo folk magic tradition.  This evidence comes through the Grimorio El Libro de San Cipriano, further evidenced by the black cat bone ritual and value of the black cat in Hoodoo. In addition to the black cat bone ritual there is also the piedra iman or Lodestone and its magical uses that are well recorded in El Libro de San Cipriano another cultural borrowing.  The use of the lodestones is very common in Brujeria not something that came to it from Hoodoo as erroneously assumed by a scholar of Hoodoo.

 

The Mexican Inquisition kept good records of the activities of the people they punished and this has been relied upon to date the history of sorcery practices in Colonial Mexico. Sorcerers were tried by the Holy Office in Mexico as early as 1536, Spanish colonists succeeded in smuggling magical texts “Grimorios” into colonial Mexico and even have records of a man tried in 1540 for this practice.3*  Brujeria was already alive and cultivating in Mexico at least 120  years before African slaves were placed in North America or what was then states that became the USA, which means that it had well over 150-200 years of a head start in developing as a magical tradition over the Hoodoo folk magic tradition.  Mexican Brujeria along with its counterpart Curanderismo have almost 500 years in development as a practice, there is no proof of an un-broken chain or lineage of descendants that have practiced from colonial times to present. However, the tradition of Brujeria in Mexico definitely has developed of the course of at least 500 years.

 

 

How is this significant to cultural borrowings?

Through the historical evidence of Spanish colonization parts of the Southern U.S. Spanish Florida comes to mind here.  The Spanish first landed on the peninsula in 1513 then laid claim of the land from 1565 – 1763 and again from 1784 – 1821. These later dates correlate with the times in which the Grimorios were already well smuggled into Mexico and the New World. It is well known that colonists traveled to and from these parts of the New World.  Another historical truth is the oral history; people are known to pass on folklore through stories and conversations with those that would listen. And just as legends are formed so too this lore of the black cat bone and lodestones was most likely preserved; long after the Spanish colonists left Florida and other parts of the South this folklore would remain and become adopted by African Americans and their developing folk magic tradition Hoodoo.  Keep in mind this is only in reference to the European element of sorcery that influenced Brujeria. Consider the fact as I pointed out in my Magia Negra essay that pre Colombian Mexico already had a rich sorcery heritage.  For more information regarding the magical shamanic practices of the New World refer to my essay Shamanic Magic.

 

The early influence of the Libro de San Cipriano on the lore of El Gato Negro has created some unique magical potions related to El Gato Negro some of which are popularly sold in Mexico. Here on my website you can order some specially made oils which are my own formulas I have two recipes available. In addition I currently have some spiritual soaps from Mexico that include an image of the Gato Negro and this soap is for love domination Jabon del Gato Negro. My Gato Negro oils come in three formulas one is for domination that is domination for business, control and love compelling this formula I call

Gato Negro Dominante, the second formula is a good luck in all areas of life this formula it is called Gato Negro Suertudo, finally the third oil is used for Magia Negra this is good for conjuring infernal spirits, directing the infernal spirits and for cursing an enemy it is called Gato Negro de Magia Negra. For any of these spiritual products click  here Gato Negro Potions.

 

 

         The Gato Negro is just one of the many fascinating creatures in Brujeria, as I said in my Magia Negra essay I would slowly start to introduce you to some of the animal spirits worked in Magia Negra and the Brujeria tradition as a whole. Further essays are coming so stay tuned.

 

 

Footnotes:

1* Santisima Muerte: On the Origin and Development of a Mexican Occult Image.

by John Thompson

Journal of the Southwest, Vol. 40, 1998

           From the section related to origins for books of magic spells in Mexico

 

  2* Santisima Muerte: On the Origin and Development of a Mexican Occult Image.

by John Thompson

Journal of the Southwest, Vol. 40, 1998 The section mentioning the dated publication of El Libro de San Cipriano in Europe

 

  3* Santisima Muerte: On the Origin and Development of a Mexican Occult Image.

by John Thompson

Journal of the Southwest, Vol. 40, 1998. Section pertaining to the Mexican inquisition against sorcery in colonial Mexico

 

 

Bibliography:

El Libro de San Cipriano Tesoro del Hechicero: Jonas Sufurino Spanish version Mexico

Antigo Livro de Sao Cipriano Capa Preta, 1993, Editora Espiritualista, Ltda, Rio De Janeiro  Spells translated by Ray Vogensen

 

Santisima Muerte: On the Origin and Development of a Mexican Occult Image. by John Thompson Journal of the Southwest, Vol. 40

 

Folk Practices in North Mexico Birth Customs, Folk Medicine, and Spiritualism in the Laguna Zone: by Isabel Kelly field study started 1953 work published 1965 All rights reserved, Published for the Institute of Latin American Studies by the University of Texas Press: Austin

 

Mules and Men by Zora Neal Hurston; Copyright 1935, Copyright renewed 1963 by John C. Hurston  and Joel Hurston Published by arrangement with J. B. Lippincott Company. 

 

Voodoo & Hoodoo; Jim Haskins Copyright 1978-1990 FIRST SCARBOROUGH HOUSE EDITION 1990, Voodoo & Hoodoo originally published by Stein & Day Publishers 1978

 

 Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia: Spanish Florida