Felicia Ruiz is not an average curandera. She’s not simply a traditional healer but she’s also a holistic chef, indigenous food activist, and author. Felicia lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she shares her indigenous knowledge about foods, herbs, and other remedies by offering medicine workshops and one-on-one healing sessions for her community. During the Beauty and Travel Summit, I was fortunate to interview this iconic woman who shared with us her journey to become a holistic healer and author of a book.
Passion for indigenous wisdom and food
The indigenous culture is a collective term of deeply rooted ancestral traditions and manifestations of any ethnic group. The knowledge about traditions is passed down from generation to generation in hopes of preserving the cultural heritage over the years. Felicia’s love and respect for indigenous culture began at a very young age when she started learning plant medicine wisdom from her great-grandmother.
She has Xicana and Tewa lineage. Xicana/o is a word many of us use of Mexican descent. MeXicano. She formed a strong connection and great admiration for her indigenous roots. This connection was further strengthened when she began to study massage therapy, energy work, aromatherapy, Indigenous herbalism, whole food cooking, and other holistic modalities.
The term Curandera is used for traditional healers, who work with foods and herbs to heal the body, mind, and spirit. With permission from her elders, Felicia shared her work with people in her community through private consultations and workshops. But after many years of training and working as a curandera, she understood the key role of traditional foods in contributing to overall health. Thus, she transitioned from curandera to holistic chef as a way to empower indigenous people to decide what to eat and promote traditional foods.
The story behind the book
In her book, Earth Medicines, Felicia teaches how to be your own healer by discovering ancestral practices and cultivating a personal connection to the elements. The knowledge she shares in her book is a result of thirty years of work as a traditional healer plus the experiences of different wellness rituals in which she has participated around the world.
Felicia got her book deal right before the Covid-19 pandemic, this situation made her realize the importance of empowering people to heal body and mind with elements they can find in their homes. Thus, she included the best healing recipes for traditional foods and rituals using the power of natural elements (Water, Air, Earth, and Fire). In her book, you can find a variety of recipes such as the Mayan Tea to Calm the Mind and the Tepezcohuite Honey Mask to nurture your inner beauty.
Felicia said during the interview that “Wisdom is the key to expansion”. With her book, she wants to support the reader on his path to wellness. Moreover, Felicia wants people around the world to learn and expand their vision of traditional foods, earth medicines, and indigenous practices as a way to advocate for their communities and honor their heritage.
In the last part of the interview, I asked Felicia what beauty meant to her. She defines beauty as having youthful energy that radiates from within and being comfortable in your natural skin. Her beauty rituals include a good night’s sleep session, drinking water to stay hydrated, and using jojoba or avocado oil to moisture and protect her skin. As part of Felicia’s self-care and beauty rituals, nopal, lavender oil, organic blue corn, and honey are just a few of the traditional staple foods that she uses for healthy and glowing skin.
I highly recommend getting Felicia’s book if you’re trying to find your way to wellness as it is a gift from her passed down from her indigenous lineage. Without a doubt, Earth Medicines is a gorgeous book that makes traditional healing of body, mind, and soul accessible and inspiring for everyone.
Follow Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz on Instagram @feliciacocotzin
See the interview here: