Another seminal babaylan-inspired work! Join us in learning more about the babaylan and the reasons why it is important for us to understand babaylan-inspired teachings. Here’s a short excerpt from the interview:
“RD: Why crocodile’s belly?
LM: The book is dedicated to the memory of the Babaylan (indigenous healers) women and men who were fed to crocodiles during the Spanish colonial times. This is what we wrote in our book Introduction:
A story is told that when the Spaniards (who colonized the Philippine islands beginning in the 16th century) began to understand the power and potency of the [indigenous healers in the islands, the babaylan], they so feared the latter’s spiritual prowess that they not only killed many of them but in some instances, fed them to crocodiles to ensure their total annihilation. While appearing in the archive primarily in connection with the 1663 babaylan uprising in Tapar, Iloilo, (where the corpses of babaylan charismatic rebel leader Tapar and his followers, along with the group’s blessed holy mother, Maria Santisima, were impaled on bamboo stakes and deliberately placed on the mouth of river Laglag to be eaten by crocodiles) the story captures a broad truth: colonial violence did consume indigenous culture [as] the 2001 account of religious historian Carolyn Brewer details the systematic demonization of babaylans and their ostracism and social “dismemberment” as brujas or witches).”