The Dreamcatcher: The Backstory

Is magic real?

For the purposes of this story, “The Dreamcatcher, let us say that magic is real.

Let’s not talk about the magic performed by illusionists. Let’s talk about magic practiced by brujos.

A brujo, for those who don’t know, is a yerbero; many are of Mayan, Aztec or Native American descent. A yerbero is a sorcerer who learns the secrets of herbs and plants to create magic.

Generations of knowledge have been acquired and catalogued by these magicians. Knowledge gleaned before the days of technology deadened the spirit of the people. Knowledge carefully hidden from everyone but yerberos.

Brujo magic can protect you, cure disease, or cause disease.

There are brujos who immerse themselves in the dark arts. They are dangerous beings who harm and kill. They can take the shapes of predators and monsters.

For that reason, Brujos scare villagers. There is always that little house on the outskirts of towns that stretch from Mexico to the tip of Argentina where Brujos live. For the most part, residents avoid the magicians for fear of incurring their wrath and ending up under their spell or dead.

Villagers will approach a brujo if he is known to be a curandero, a healer. The curandero is a benevolent being.

An especially powerful brujo can brew a potion and spin an incantation whose effects overlap worlds. They force humans, who have no connection to the supernatural, to suddenly notice there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophies.

In the story “The Dreamcatcher“, two brothers have a grandfather named Balam, an ancient name of a Mayan supernatural being who guards cornfields and villages.

Grandfather Balam is a great brujo. Perhaps the best. He is a good man and uses his powers for the greater good. He travels the world and devotes his life to learning the secrets of the plants known to shamans and healers.

Most brujos live their lives never exhausting the knowledge held within the plants and cacti of the deserts of the Southwestern United States and Mexico and the flora of the jungles of Mexico and Central and South America.

Grandfather is different. He was a rambling man who devotes his life to learning. He has a place somewhere in Mexico, but nobody knows where. Mostly, he is on the road or crossing the oceans.

Balam loves his grandsons, who don’t know their grandfather is a brujo. But grandfather is mysterious and has told them fantastical stories from around the world that, when put into perspective, are stories only a brujo would tell.

Balam traverses dimensions and can move from our world to the dream world and back. Like I said, he is a powerful brujo, but he is also a benevolent warrior, a curandero.

Out of necessity, Balam visits the Ojibwe people, Native Americans who created the dreamcatcher. Grandfather learns the secrets of the spiderwebs, and then he uses his skills, learned from worldwide study combined with careful Ojibwe guidence, to build the ultimate dreamcatcher for his grandsons.

Find out why grandfather had to build “The Dreamcatcher“.

David Madrid

Contact: David Madrid