Two books in one download: “A Gringo Guide to Witchcraft,” and “Pulque, Mescal, and Tequila” Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.
An Excerpt from my, “Gringo Guide to Witchcraft.”
Witchcraft in Modern México
In a large part of the world magical-religious beliefs continue to be accepted, and México is no exception. There are a great many people, here, who make their living from these beliefs: curanderas, brujos, brujas, hechiceros, and the herbalistas selling home remedies and witchcraft supplies. (You can also find red and black tallow candles, used in many «spells», for sale in grocery stores.)
To a tourist in México who happens to hear about it, the burning question about witchcraft is: Does it work? The answer is yes! But it’s a well know fact, I hope, that foreigners are immune to magic. (The Aztec brujos had no luck hexing the Spaniards.)
Witchcraft, practiced by Mexicans against Mexicans, can work wonders for a mistreated wife. She can force her husband to come home, drive him insane, or knock him off. She can even polish off her rivals with the right spell.
It works for men, too. He can make a love potion to make a woman fall in love with him, to attract women sexually, and a man scorned by his sweetheart can make her ugly so nobody will marry her. And he can pay back insults by inflicting his enemies with financial failure, sickness, and/or death!
The practice of sorcery is so widespread it is said: «A rich man goes to a curandera after he’s seen a doctor, and is desperate; and the poor man goes to a doctor after he’s seen a curandera, and is desperate.»
But you probably won’t be able to find a curandera during your brief stay in México. The people, as a rule, don’t like to talk about it, and will even deny their existence.
Witchcraft has been practiced in México since ancient times. Aztec witches were men who revered the god Tezcatlipoca the god of night and patron of witches. The Aztecs, however, had no belief in a Satan like the Christians. They believed that every man or woman has good and evil within them. That the struggle between good and evil is waged inside us.
Aztec witches had the ability to turn themselves into animals. They were known as naguales. The Aztec word was translated to brujo in Spanish or witch in English. In their animal form, they could check the progress of their spells unobserved.
Naguales were very powerful forces in their society. Their power was used to keep the people in line by reinforcing the morals of the times.
Witchcraft, as practice by indigenous practitioners, was far more benign than that practiced today. Everyone knew the boundaries of good conduct then, and those who behaved themselves were assured of a safe existence.
Guide to Pulque, Mezcal, and Tequila
The Magical Maguey!
The name maguey is one the Spaniards brought with them from the Antilles. It described a similar plant found there, but remains in popular use today. Here the plant was known by other names: Metl, in Náhuatl; Tocamba, in Purépecha; and Guada, in Otomí, and in modern times the agave. There are 17 species of agave in México.
The maguey gives a unique character to the Mexican landscape, and it’s more than just a magnificent cactus, it’s a national symbol.
Pulque is produced by a natural fermentation process with an alcoholic content no higher than a mild beer.
Mezcal is hard liquor made by baking the maguey’s leaves and inducing fermentation followed by distillation.
Tequila is a a name used to describe a variation of mezcal made in or near Tequila, Jalisco (much like the Bordeaux produced in the region of the same name in France). Or more correctly, mezcal de tequila.
All three are native Mexican beverages made from plants belonging to the genus, Agave which accounts for the confusion of us gringos over the differences between them. Only one species of maguey will produce true tequila, several species can be used to produce mezcal, but three or more are used to make pulque in different areas of the country.