MEXICO CITY – The economic crisis and marital infidelity are keeping such witchcraft practices as Santeria, shamanism and spiritualism alive in Mexico, as shown by the sale of articles said to possess the power to drive away poverty and keep a lover from wandering.
The Sonora Market in the Mexican capital has been a pioneer in the sale of mystical magical products for almost 60 years in two of the establishment’s nine aisles.
The more than 60 stands are full of amulets, incense and saintly candle holders; their perfumes and colors are sought daily by the lost and lonely who no longer have faith in religion and are now willing to invest in magic articles to fix a bank account gone broke or a heart that is broken.
Unemployment, poor sales, businesses circling the drain and workers taking a beating are among the consumers that turn to Manuel Baladez with problems that keep them from attaining their goals due to the egotism and envy of others.
Wearing a choker decorated with a crocodile’s head, the shamanic animal that protects him, Baladez has been a spiritual guide and store owner since 1977, when he immersed himself in the world of the occult out of economic necessity and for personal reasons.
Baladez offers his customers objects that protect them, as well as cleansings with the use of herbs, which, he said, “provide baths with the energy for the shedding of evil and purification by cleansing.”
The classic mixture for sheddings includes the pirul herb, basil, rosemary, mugwort, red flowers for love and white flowers for health.
Bitter herbs like wormwood are employed to frustrate negative forces, while sweet herbs like basil, mint and spearmint are used to achieve stability.
“The Mayas once had a system of numbers as do today’s astrologers, but using computers; where the ancients once played conch shells, we now have symphonic orchestras; they built aqueducts and pyramids, today we build second floors,” Baladez said.
The consultations and cleansings in any occult practice range between 50 and 250 Mexican pesos ($2.60 and $13.10), depending on the number of sessions and the material required.
The market also offers literature on sorcery: 80 percent of the books lean toward positive white magic, while the rest are negative, dealing with such practices as exorcisms and curses.