When we went looking for the dermatologist’s office so Kat would know where to go the next morning for her appointment, we decided to check out what types of stores were in the same commercial complex. The most interesting was surely the natural remedy/crystal/new-age store. It smelled like cheap, head-ache inducing incense, but I was willing to suffer the smell once I found some dusty drawers in the back corner full of a wide selection of sacred soaps.
Admittedly confounded, I did a little research by asking some local friends (thanks Carolina and Jesus) what they knew about these. Apparently they have esoteric value for some groups. Mainly, one would see them used by practitioners of Santería, María Lionza, or Babalao. All three of these religions are practiced by people from all classes of Venezuelan society.
My favorite must be either the Chango Macho (Santería god of war) or the Don Juan de Dinero (with the mug of Regis Philbin, original host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire).
I love the cultural lesson provided by this experience, but for my bathing rituals I’m going to stick with my Dr. Bronner’s Soap (who, if you’ve ever seen a bottle, has his own interesting religious beliefs).