February 9, 2011

Mexico City: Sonora Witchcraft Market

Mexico is 90% devout Roman Catholic, but, like in many nations, the old religion still lives and thrives in pockets around the country. Many cities around the world have their New Age shops. When Mexican Pagans wish to go shopping, then they have somewhere truly magical to go: Mercado de Sonora!

Sonora Market


Entering the Sonora Witchcraft Market is like stepping into Diagon Alley. Thousands of stalls display such wares as wands, live birds and herbs. The discerning shopper can buy remedies for every ailment under the sun; as well as potions for luck and love. Psychics and tarot readers can illuminate your lives, and the pathways into your future. Healers and therapists can look at your aches and pains. Curiosities abound. There are robes and ritual jewellry; talismans, charms and touchstones; precious gems, crystals and the pouches to keep them in. Plus everything else in between.

This is the home of the brujos (witches), traditional herblorists, Voodoo practitioners, New Age Shamans, mediums, spiritualists and the Brujos Paganos (Mexican Wiccans). The National Association of Sorcerers has its headquarters in the market's depths. Yet Christianity has a presense too. Hundreds of stalls cater to the Catholic crowds with rosaries, Madonnas, medallions and other iconology.

Sonora Market


Travel writer, Julia Dimon, visited the market last year. She wrote a blog about it, entitled 'Witches market in Mexico City… is love in the air?', and she had this to say:

Walking amongst the tribal rattlers, taxidermy rabbits and other accessories of the underworld, I met Bertha Gutierrez Montes de Oca, a shaman who has been working in the market for 51 years. The five-foot-nothing elderly woman explained the ritualistic purpose behind the potions.

“Witchcraft plays a central role in Mexican society and medicine,” she explained. “In the half-century I’ve worked here, the market has grown and the faces have changed but people’s hopes and desires have stayed the same — hopes for money, love, good luck, marriage and fewer problems at work are among the most popular.”

... Beyond the scary headlines, Mexico truly has a lot to offer, from high-end luxury resorts to markets with eye of newt. A visit to Sonora market is a culturally significant look into a side of Mexico most tourists don’t normally hear about.

Meanwhile, the Global Post reported on how vendors were using a little magic, to help their customers battle the recession: 'In Hard Times, A Mexican Market Sells Good Fortune'.

Mercado de Sonora can be found on Avenida Fray Servando Teresa de Mier 419. It is in Venustiano Carranza, a borough within Mexico City's Sonora district. Several shops, extensions of the market, can be found on Cjon del Canal. The market is open daily.


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