Posts in Our Story
A Healer’s Call to Skincare

Creating Dora's Apothecary has been a wild ride. Quite honestly, I never set out to create a skincare company. I was called to create Dora's.

A few years back when I was in grad school, I attended a higher education conference, and the keynote speaker was Cheo Torres, who is the VP of Student Affairs at the University of New Mexico. To my surprise, his presentation focused on Curanderismo, and how the ways of the ancestors can help us to heal ourselves.

This was around 2006 and at that time there was very little information on our lineage of shamanism, and I had a million questions for him. Along with being the VP of Student Affairs, Cheo has published several books as well as created the first Curanderismo program on a college campus: Traditional Medicine Without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico. I took his card, bought all of his books, went home and put the program on my someday bucket list.

After grad school, I worked in higher education, specializing in career counseling. I also did a stint in recruiting and HR before I deciding to branch out and start my own coaching practice. This is when I started looking at the UNM program again. I now had the time and flexibility to go to New Mexico for a few weeks and take the class.

The week before I flew to New Mexico, my dad called and told me he had a premonition that I was going to meet someone in the class that was going to help me on my path.

It was during the second week of class that I met the person my dad forecast I was going to meet. During a community healing day, curandera/os from the community donated their time to give students a first-hand experience of the various healing modalities. At this point in my spiritual journey, I had an inkling of what I was here to do, but it was still pretty foggy. My client conversations had started to morph into bigger spiritual questions, vs. focusing specifically on work and career. I could tell there was a collective shift happening in regard to where my clients were at. And my inner guidance during my meditations started to become more pronounced.

 
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I was matched up with Greg Whitfield, a curandero from the Albuquerque community.

 

He performed a traditional limpia on me, and when he finished, he said, "You can bring a horse to water, but you can't force them to drink." This immediately gave me chills because this was a message that I was consistently receiving in meditation. I so badly wanted my clients to take action toward their true desires, and occasionally I would get frustrated. This was always a gentle reminder from my guides that everyone is on their own path and ultimately, we are all responsible for our own journey. I knew at that instant that he was the connection my dad had spoken about. We exchanged contact information and he suggested that I come to a class his mentor was teaching later in the week.

I met his mentor, Michael Guzzio later that week, and set up a limpia and a temezcal for the following day. That night at 11:11pm, I was awakened to a voice saying "listo". I thought I was just imagining things. But then the voice spoke again and said "trabaho". I immediately shot up in bed. Ready for the work. I knew right away it was the grandmothers. And looking back, this is when my gifts really started to open up. They also told me that my cousin Dora was a full curandera and that I needed to help her find a teacher, but that is a whole other story…

The second week of the class is when I was downloaded the idea for Dora's. It was another direct message from the grandmothers.

The product line was to work in three ways:

  1. To provide an all-natural skincare product that is beneficial for the physical body, as well as the energetic body.

  2. A vehicle to educate people on the contributions of our ancient ancestors and the beautiful healing practice of Curanderismo. And

  3. To monetarily make it possible for more people to attend the UNM program and learn how to heal themselves.

As soon as I got home, we registered our domain and my mom and I started working on recipes.

One day I was in a local Mexican market, looking for nopal and they had just received a shipment of beauty products from Mexico. Among them was this strange oil with a picture of a tree on it. I asked the owner what it was, and she said it was some kind of tree bark called Tepezcohuite but she didn't know what it was used for. When I got home, I googled Tepezcohuite and was shocked to see that the Aztecs and Mayans used it to treat all sorts of skin conditions, including acne, anti-aging, and first-degree burns. (Link to the ingredient page & picture of Tepez)

I immediately got a download that this was our main ingredient.

 
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One person who was instrumental in getting Dora's off the ground was our model and web designer, Darlene Valencia. Looking back, I know the grandmothers sent her to us. Thank you, Darlene!! We couldn’t have done it without you.

 

Another person who was instrumental in this journey is Samantha Blossom, who attuned me to Reiki. During a body talk session we were discussing Dora's and she asked me what ingredients we were using, and I started to tell her about all of our amazing ingredients and how each product was infused with rose quartz. And she stopped me and said, "But what are you energetically infusing into the products?"

I always knew we would reiki each product, but she helped me to think outside of the box, and to see how we could infuse our products with more love and intention. Which is how Dora's mantras were born. Each product is reikied and infused with these sentiments:

Live well. Be happy. Give back. Know your truth. Heal yourself.

After several recipe changes, and some flops, everything just sort of fell into place. And now here we are. Like I said it has been a wild ride.

We hope you enjoy these products as much as we enjoy making them.

With love and gratitude, from our family to yours.

Martha & Helen

Lessons Learned from My Curanderismo Lineage
 
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I come from a line of healers.

We created Dora's as a way to honor my grandmothers and to help teach the beautiful traditions of Curanderismo. One of the main tenets of this healing practice is that Mother Earth provides us with everything that we need to heal ourselves. And it is up to us to become our own healers.

Growing up, my tias would tell stories of my great grandmother Josefina and how people would wait in line for hours to get a healing from her. She was what they call a "full" curandera. Some curandera/os specialize in midwifery, some in herbs, and others in mediumship. Josefina was gifted in all areas.

Her guest house was repurposed into a healing center. She had a large old school apothecary cabinet where she stored various herbs and remedies. In the main room was a makeshift nursing station, as well as a divination table where she read tarot cards, and used a crystal ball for scrying. And of course, she had an altar for prayer and ceremonies.

I always loved hearing stories about Josefina and her healing practice.

She died before I was born, and I would always bug my grandmother Dora to tell me the stories over and over again. She would always reply, “Oh Mija, I already told you everything. " But every time she would sit me on her lap and tell me again.

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My grandmother Dora was trained in the curandera ways but did not fully practice. She only used her gifts on family and friends. Whenever someone needed help, she would go into her bedroom (where she kept her altar) and tell us to not to disturb her under any circumstances. Of course, I would always peek into her room to find her beautiful altar with candles, herbs and St. Jude candles.

Dora traveled to Mexico regularly to practice with a curandero and on one occasion she brought my father. He took one look at my dad and told him, "You have the don." He invited my dad to apprentice with him, but he declined. I remember him telling me he just wanted a normal life and that to say yes to the gift is a lifelong duty that is not to be taken lightly. Of course, my dad still has the gift, he just chose not to use it in service. My dad is very psychic, and I believe he could have been a full curandero like his great grandmother was.

When my parents married, it threw the whole family into a tailspin. My mom was from Idaho, and she was white. Needless to say, my grandparents were not happy. My dad was the only person in the family to marry outside of our culture. It just wasn't done.

Slowly but surely, my mom and Dora became extremely close. She still called her guera, but as a silly term of endearment. My mother was also born with the gift. She comes from a line of intuitives and eventually Dora became her spiritual mentor. When my grandmother became ill, my mom was her caregiver, which prompted her to become a nurse and a healer in her own right.

Dora was the backbone of our family. She was kind, but stoic. She had a good life, but there was also a sense of sadness in her. She always reminded us to take care of our skin, and she loved to drink cheap beer on Fridays at 6pm sharp.

Like all of us, she was perfectly imperfect. One of her favorite lines was, “Mija, you don’t have to be the best. Just be the best you can be.”

In our modern world, we push full throttle towards the future. But we also need to pull in the teachings from our ancestors in order to step into the future from a place of inner truth and knowing.

Thus, this is the goal we’ve set for ourselves: to create beauty products that are made with ingredients that are all natural and healthy for you, inside and out. We infuse all of our products with reiki, self-love and our mantras:

Live well. Be happy. Give Back. Know your truth. Heal yourself.

We hope you enjoy the products as much as we enjoy making them. Click here to receive 10% off your first order.

With love and gratitude, from our family to yours.

Martha &


 
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Live well. Be happy. Give back. Know your truth. Heal yourself.
— Dora's Apothecary