CURANDERO (cu·ran·de·ro) Spanish: a folk healer or medicine man who uses herbs or hallucinogenic plants, magic, and spiritualism to treat illness, induce visions, impart traditional wisdom, etc. Cruz Oliverio Martinez was born and raised on the outskirts of Valencia in Spain. His mother, Maricela, was from a very strong Catholic background and grew up in the Spanish countryside, descendent from Christian pilgrims who trekked Spain many years ago. She was a Spanish dancer, and was performing in Valencia when she was 19 years old, which is where she met Cruz' father, a rich media magnate from New York who was using his company to launder money and import drugs from Spain and South America into the States. Coming from a very lower class upbringing, she was swept off her feet and showered in lavish gifts. He wanted to marry her and take her back to America as a trophy wife, but dropped dead from an overdose in Barcelona just six weeks later. He left Maricela pregnant and alone, so she used the money he had showered her with to fly to distance relatives of her grandfather in Argentina. She gave birth to Cruz, but three days later, had him put up for adoption and a lovely American couple based in Argentina adopted him.
Cruz was clearly a special child from a young age. Even as young as grade school age, he had the ability to bring bugs back to life or cure a classmate's case of the sniffles just by holding their hand. It freaked his adoptive parents out, who sought guidance from an old Argentinian elder, who outlined the heritage of the Curanderos, Spanish spiritual folk healers and the elder introduced Cruz to one who was based in the countryside five hours drive from Argentina, and he began helping Cruz understand his gift and ability. It just was what he was, and he never knew what it was like to be normal.
Towards the end of his high school years, his parents were planning on moving back to Portland, Oregon, where they had originally lived before the move for Cruz's father's job. By that time, Cruz had shown extensive artistic talent, losing himself in his art and had a desire to study it at college, never really enjoying the structure school subjects. His parents suggested colleges overseas where he could get the best reward for his studies with culture America could only dream of. He was accepted into a college in Paris, France, where he studied a double degree of Art and Education.
Now, he finds himself back in America in the small town of Beacon Hills. He had been looking for jobs online, constantly searching for teaching posts in California for reasons he had no real idea of. He scored a job as Art Teacher at Beacon Hills High, and he has now been there for just over a year. Getting here to Beacon Hills, he began to understand why he was drawn here, hearing extensive stories of the Nematon and what went down a few years back with werewolf packs and other supernatural creatures and forces. In fact, not long after he started his job, he found himself being set up on a blind date by his colleagues with fellow teacher, Isaac Lahey. It really wasn't meant to be, though, when, unbeknownst to Isaac, Cruz's spiritual healing abilities as a Curandero caused the poor werewolf to spills his guts about his ex whom he was still in love with. Cruz listened unconditionally and without judgement, knowing it wasn't the time for him to reveal to Isaac what he was. He didn't know who he could trust in Beacon Hills at that point. They became really good friends, though, and Cruz was glad he had a friend in the town. He frequently hangs out with the members of Isaac's pack and is wondering if he should finally fess up to what he is and what he is capable of doing with his gift...
Because of Cruz's ability, he has a form of psychic ability where he can sense or predict when someone is going fall victim of a serious or deadly illness, in a similar sense Lydia can predict death as a Banshee. But until the victim asks for his assistance, he can't help them or attempt to heal them. He is an artist at heart, a little broody, but kind and compassionate. He's not all work and no play, and loves dancing and a good laugh.
The Brujería & CuranderosBrujería is the Spanish word for witchcraft and a Brujo means male witch. Both men and women can be witches, brujos and brujas respectively. Brujos is the plural term that can mean either a group of male witches or both male and female witches. The Brujería of Hispanophone America is a combination of Spanish and the indigenous people of those regions (predominantly Mesoamerican and other South American indigenous regions), so it is heavily influenced by ancient paganism.
However, the term bruja/o has just as many negative connotations as does its English counterpart ‘witch’. To refer to somebody as a bruja/o is often to label them an ‘evil doer’. So most South Americans of European descent refrain from using it in reference to themselves. Some of these people have adopted the term curandero (shaman), a family reference, or simply no term at all. They are sought for their powers of healing, divination and spellwork, and can often be found selling amulets and such curios openly on the street.
The brujos from Spain are either Christian or pagan-witches. The first group use folk magic and combine it with Catholic ritual and beliefs. This group includes priests and nuns. This group usually informs the person that they are performing a hex or, that they are responsible for the consequences of said spell. The latter group are not Christian and either practice secretly or veil their practices under Catholic ones. Non-Christian brujería from Spain is predominantly influenced by the ancients, either Greco-Roman, Celtic, Phoenician or a combination. This latter group does not tend to use folk magic, but instead practices what is commonly known to English people as traditional witchcraft.
Among certain Hispanic and Native American cultures of the Southwest, the practice of brujería is feared as a manifestation of evil. Those who use rituals, spells, incantations, potions, and powders to work ill against others are known as brujas (witches), who are primarily female in number (the male witch is known as a brujo).
Curanderismo is also a practice that is totally distinctive from witchcraft, in that they do not use spells or divination but rather, work as psycho-spiritual healers doing such things as soul retrievals. All the negative facets of witchcraft feared by people throughout the world are practiced by the brujas: manifesting the evil eye, casting spells to cause physical or mental illness, bringing about bad luck, even death. The brujas create dolls in which they insert bits of the victim's hair, fingernail clippings, or pieces of clothing and focus their evil intent upon the miniature representative of the person to be cursed. If an Anglo doctor with modern medical techniques cannot cure someone who has fallen suddenly ill, a bruja is suspected as being the cause of the problem.
Brujas are also thought to be accomplished shapeshifters, possessing the supernatural ability to transform themselves into owls, coyotes, or cats. In the form of an animal, they may spy upon potential victims and may even administer a potion into their unsuspecting quarry's food or water or hide a bad-luck charm on his or her premises. There are certain amulets or rituals that offer some protection from the brujas, but the only sure way to rid oneself of their evil deeds is to employ the services of a curandero.
Sometimes the curandero is able to contact the bruja through supernatural means and demand that the curse or spell be removed. In more severe cases, the curandero may have to direct a spell toward the bruja and defeat her on the spiritual level in order to force her to remove the evil directed toward the victim. [ source ]
Cruz is an Original Character, loosely based in the Teen Wolf (TV Series) canon, and exists for post-canon AU psl, untiltheendstarts.