This chapter focuses on the importance ofspirituality in Chicana narratives.
Spirituality consciously affects theexisting dynamics of the Chicana sensibilities. The innumerable ethnic andreligious stratifications of a community which cannot be easily discernedrequire a typical sensibility and a ‘collective consciousness’ molded bymultiple indigenous influences of epics, hybrid religious practices, folklore,rituals and iconography of their community. Spiritual hybridity has become anindispensable source of cultural, political and social resistance for the Chicana/oand community that is still seeking to escape its colonial past. Religion and religious practices of marginalizedgroups have been predominantly discussed in literary texts. Religious hybridityplays in important role in the lives of the characters. They connect with thepast through the hybridity of religious iconography and rituals.
Spiritualitypermeates every aspect of human life across various cultures. Taking intoaccount the complexity of life, different histories, cultures and differentstructures of values the indigenous solidarity need to be dealt with inrelation to the socio-cultural situation. Define religious hybridity. In thisnovel there are traditional Catholic rituals, ceremonies and iconography. Chicanashave produced highly hybridized forms which challenge the hegemonic discourses.For the ethnic community myths are considered sacred and also used as tool bythe patriarchal unit as an agency against women for community and socialostracism. Chicanas cherish their indigenous roots and strive to achieve acertain level of understanding but denied access to it.
Spiritual and religiouspractices are invariably conceptualized in historical, cultural and gendered contexts.Chicanas have strived to achieve a critical and greater assimilation of theirtraditions and cultures. The Chicanas are a product of spiritual and cultural ‘mestizaje’.The term ‘Spiritual mestizaje’ first appeared in Gloria Anzaldua’s seminal textBorderlands/La Frontera. Nuestraalma el trabajo, the opus, the great alchemical work; spiritualmestizaje, a “morphogenesis,” an inevitable unfolding. We have become thequickening serpent movement. (81)For Anzaldúa, spiritual mestizaje was essentialto It has become an accepted part of their spiritual practice and custom. It isa means to attain social justice.
It is from here that Chicana creativity, resistance,struggles and triumphs originate. It is a way to set life in motion, tocollaborate and metamorphose into a new state. Theresa Delgadillo in Spiritual Mestizaje : Religion, Gender,Race, and Nation in Contemporary Chicana Narrative defines Spiritual Mestizajeas,The transformativerenewal of one’s relationship to the sacred through a radical and sustainedmultimodal and self-reflexive critique of oppression in all its manifestationsand a creative and engaged participation in shaping life that honors the sacred(1).Forher it is a process that creates “new spiritual transformations”.Accordingto Chicana critics Norma Alarcón and Chon A.
Noriega the use of mestizajeconstructs a “pure” origin and relies on a static and unchanging past” (science.jrank)Mestizaje determines the understanding of themultiple religious identities and helps form the foundation of Chicanareligiosity. An understanding of Indigenous values, spiritual practices andcosmic balance is influenced by such religiosity. In the western world religionis considered to be a unitary agent with a well-defined and organized set ofcollective beliefs and practices. But because of heterogeneous religiousbeliefs, there is an extensive religious blending in the indigenous communities.