The world's most magical festival features shamans, warlocks, and witches
Every year 5,000 brave souls attend the three-day event.
Every year, a three-day festival takes place on the Gulf of Mexico in Veracruz, which attracts shamans, occult-worshippers, warlocks, witches, and of course, loads of curiosity-seekers. The type of occultism that is practiced here is a combination of traditional European religious worship, such as veneration of the Virgin Mary and the crucifixion of Christ, blended with indigenous religious practices and paganism.
48-year old warlock, Alejandro Gallegos García explains to the New York Times:
"There exists good and bad in the world, there exists the devil and God," he went on, turning a serpent's fang in his rough fingers. "I work in white magic and in black magic. But there are people who dedicate themselves only to evil."..."This goes back to ancient times," he said. "There were witches here before the Spanish. Here there is a mix of everything, even of God." He has dead bats, used in certain love charms, and ground-up rattlesnake, for curing illnesses. He uses oils extracted from lizards and turtles, the dried tongues of certain fish, coyote skin, eggs, chickens, holy water from the church and less-than-holy water from the lake. He knows dozens of local plants and their attributes. And he wields the tooth of a venomous snake.
The town of Catemaco is considered Mexico's "center for witchcraft", it's host to the International Congress of Witches, which takes place on the first Friday, every March.
During the event, a black mass is held at the mouth of the cave where the devil supposedly loiters. An oversize six-pointed star — they call it a Star of David — is set alight, to the delight of photographers. Politicians show up to receive amulets for good luck at the polls. Believers flock to the town to have their auras cleansed. Sandra Lucía Aguilar, a 25-year-old cashier, traveled 22 hours by bus from Cancún for the black mass. A few days later she found herself in the waiting room of a popular witch doctor known as "The Crow," hoping for a little black magic to force her errant boyfriend to return. - New York Times
However, local priest, Father Martínez tells the New York Times that he's not convinced about the motives of the witches, which he argues are to milk tourists and visitors out of money. Some of the tricks that are employed includes telling gullible people they have a hex on them, then if they pay money they can have the hex removed.
This was originally written for Roadtrippers, a great resource for anyone interested in travel.
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