A case could be made that the grind of a slowing economy and rising unemployment has brought a degree of prosperity to the witchcraft trade in Tijuana.
Although it is unfair to lump the herbalists’ medicaments with the accoutrements of sorcery, they are commonly sold side-by-side in the small shops that dot the commercial landscape in the city.
The sale of amulets, charms, spirit candles, volumes of magical encantations, aromatic soaps, herbal purgatives, and rattlesnake jerky (carne seca de serpiente de cascabel) — all in the name of attracting money or getting work -- is up in TJ.
Requests for economic good fortune have superseded the usual market for potions, elixirs, and charms to win love.
Concoctions of exotic oils are whipped up daily with labels such as “Trabajo” (work), “Abre Caminos¨ (open up pathways), “Exito” (success), and “Ven Dinero” (come on, money!).
They are sold for around 30 cents per dose, whereupon the purchaser then slathers his or her body with the ointments in the hope of bringing about the desired circumstances of prosperity.
Customer traffic for this type of mojo is up 40 percent since the U.S. economic downturn began affecting Tijuana, according to the woman who operates a shop dealing in what the Mexicans call esoterica.