Category Archives: Spirituality

How a skeleton folk saint of death took off with Mexican transgender women

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Betzy Ballesteros, a 26-year-old transgender sex worker, keeps a shrine to Santa Muerte, the skeleton folk saint, in her home. Surrounding the statue are candles, candy and the grainy photos of several friends who were murdered and … Continue reading

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A Beginner’s Guide to Mexican Folk Saints

Anyone who has visited a Mexican botánica, or spiritual store, can confirm that the country doesn’t lack for saints or spiritual iconography. A wide variety of religious statues are typically on offer, along with an eclectic array of potions, herbs … Continue reading

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The magician’s Mexico part two: Is there a place for witchcraft in a skeptic’s world?

Witchcraft is powerful in Mexico. A spiritual cleansing can safeguard against bewitchment. A wife can put a spell on a husband to stop him philandering. A storekeeper can hire a witch to put rivals out of business.  Witchcraft has been working … Continue reading

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The magician’s Mexico part one: a whistle-stop tour of witchcraft in Guadalajara

A denial from the doctor The village of San Martin de las Flores huddles behind a series of clambering hills. Although linked to Guadalajara by a twisting, rocky road, the geographical remoteness of the community gives it a distinct cultural … Continue reading

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The dark side of the Mexican ‘Hippie Trail’

Hari Simran Singh Khalsa, a 25-year-old New Yorker with a wispy red beard and a contagious smile, was visiting Mexico for a yoga retreat. He arrived with his wife, Ad Purkh Kaur, in Tepoztlan, central Mexico; a mysterious, elegant village overlooked … Continue reading

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How the talking dead helped forge modern Mexico

It is an inconvenient truth for Mexican historians that the “Father of the Revolution” Francisco I. Madero, kept in regular contact with spirits of the dead. Yet Madero, who served as president from 1911 until his assassination less than two years … Continue reading

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Feeling the heat in a traditional Mayan temazcal

Before dawn on a cold winter’s morning in a field outside of Guadalajara, a row of young people file past a bonfire and throw tobacco into the flames. The women wear long flowing dresses, while the men are shirtless and … Continue reading

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Mindfulness movement on the rise in Mexico

Students in Guadalajara have been taking part in an innovative university course that teaches them to meditate for course credit. For the past six years, lecturer Cristina Preciado has been training students at the Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education … Continue reading

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