Roots of South Los Angeles
Wellness Center
March 2021

Centering Black, Indigenous and People of Color
Wellness & Mental Health
Photo by Adriana L. Medrano
Susto, Soul Loss & Spring as Medicine
It has now been 12 months since the pandemic began. It has been 12 months since we've shut down, since we've had to socially and physically distance ourselves from family and community. 12 months since we've felt the warmth of the hugs of those we love and 12 months since we have been able to share a friendly smile with our neighbors and strangers. It has been 12 months since we could leave our homes without a face covering, hand sanitizer and without the heaviness of anxiety and grief of those losses on our chest. It has been 12 months since our spirit was fragmented by the new reality we did not know we were being handed and how little control we had over it. 

Think back to last March. Where were you when you realized you could not go back to work, school or see your family/friends?  When did you realize you were going to have to cover half of your face for 8 hours (or more), constantly wash your hands/use sanitizer and help keep others calm because you were an essential worker? Where were you when you first receive the dreaded news that your loved one contracted the virus?

In addition, the pandemic has also highlighted and magnified the racial and social inequalities that BIPOC communities have had to endure for centuries. Police brutality targeting Black and Brown bodies and the rise of hate crimes targeting the Asian and Pacific Islander community, as white supremacy has been emboldened by neocolonial and xenophobic systems of oppression. 

Loss of control, helplessness, a threat to our lives/safety and of those we love. These are the characteristics that describe an emotional/psychological trauma. Some of the effects of trauma are disorientation, memory loss, sadness, numbness, desire to escape, nightmares, and avoidance. In some indigenous traditions, Susto (fright) is used to describe a frightening event where part of our spirit leaves due to the fear caused by the traumatic event. The effect of this is what is known as "Soul Loss." Dr. Patrisia Gonazales (2012) states, "Sometimes a part of us is left in that place, the place where a disturbance occurred. Across time and place, we return to retrieve it, some disconnected part of ourselves."

When we experience Susto (fright), our spirit becomes fragmented and we must call it back. We must retrieve that part of us that is hiding, still frightened. How do we do that? How do we begin to heal from our multiple collective traumas?

Calling Our Spirit Back

If you go outside, you can feel it; the Spring Air. If you pay attention, you can also see it; flower buds, ladybugs, and new leaves. Spring is Mother Nature's promise that after a long period of hibernation/winter, a time of rebirth and new beginnings will emerge.

Allow the Spring energy to assist you in calling your spirit back (Soul Retrieval). Sit on the grass, allow the sun's warmth to nurture you and ground you. Burn sacred smoke and ask your Spirit Guides for support. Acknowledge & honor the fears/anxieties of this past year. Call on those parts of your spirit that may feel lost and hidden. Sweep over your Tonalli (crown of the head) the sacred smoke or a sacred stone (amethyst or rose quartz). Listen to the birdsong and the winds for direction. Then wrap or cover yourself in a rebozo or blanket. Drink or eat something warm & nurturing. If called to, journal or meditate and then rest. Your spirit has taken a long journey back home and it is tired.

As we move into the next season, let us call back and retrieve our spirits. Let us be reminded of our resilience and the strength that lies in community. Let us remember that through it all, we still have each other. Mutual Aids, Food/Meal Drives, Palabra (Word) Medicine, Healing Collectives, etc. and how they have fed us in more ways than one and will continue to do so.  

In community and solidarity, 
Roots of South LA Wellness Center


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Check out our small-batch, handmade products HERE. 100% of the proceeds go back to BIPOC healing and wellness services.
Upcoming Events


VIRTUAL Womxn of Color Healing Circle*

Saturday, 3/27/2021
10am PST

Join us for a VIRTUAL Womxn of Color Healing Circle, Saturday, March 27th; 10am to 11:30am PST.⠀⠀

Register HERE

This monthly VIRTUAL gathering is intended to support Womxn Of Color during these trying times. Join us as we hold a heart space to share our thoughts, emotions & medicines as we move through this heaviness. This is our offering to all WOC who are in need of community & healing. ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀
Facilitated by: ⠀
Co-founders of Roots of South Los Angeles Wellness Center, Liliana V. Muñoz, LCSW and Adriana L. Medrano, PhD.⠀

Check our website, IG and FB pages (links below) for additional updates & resources!


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Roots of South Los Angeles Wellness Center is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit.

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PO BOX 1129
Alhambra, CA 91802

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Roots of South LA Wellness Center · PO BOX 1129 · Alhambra, CA 91802 · USA

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