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The Mexican Issue

Bless This Mess

There's a city in Veracruz, Mexico, called Catemaco, wherein there dwell a multitude of warlocks.
02 June 2008, 12:00am

Illustration by Guillerma Ignazio

There’s a city in Veracruz, Mexico, called Catemaco, wherein there dwell a multitude of warlocks. That is correct, nonbelievers: warlocks. Men who are wizardly practitioners of magick, mojo, and (if you get on their bad side) mayhem, and they all live in this one place. Some of them are in it for the money, and some of them are, we think, the real deal. Like, as in, yes, we believe they have weird powers. Hermano Blanco is a self-proclaimed cyber-warlock. He gets emails from all over the Spanish-speaking world, seeking out his help with issues of money, health, love, sex, and liberation from harmful spells cast by other, not-so-nice warlocks. We talked to him recently, and then we asked him to help us out by blessing this issue of Vice, which he did. So we’re basically all set.

Vice: Oh famed warlock Hermano Blanco, what is the source of thy sorcery?

Hermano Blanco: The origins of my practice are primarily of Olmec roots. I come from the Olmec Indians, who were characterized as a magic tribe. They worked with witchcraft and magic. Later, with the conversion to Christianity, Olmec warlocks started working with saints. Now the two cultures are mixed together. We use the elements of nature (earth, wind, fire, and water), Catholic saints, pre-Columbian beings, and—when more private work is being done—spiritual beings, such as people who have passed away.

And how did you personally get involved with the craft?

I’m a third-generation warlock. My grandfather, then my father, then me. It’s inherited. Ever since I was a child I would see how they performed their rituals. I had my official initiation when I was 13. That’s when you go from being a boy to an adolescent, and it is when you can start working.

What does warlock training involve?

You learn little by little how to cast spells, perform invocations and rituals, and use herbs. At the initiation, you completely open your spirit and mind. Soon, you develop certain senses—the ability to make predictions and have visions. But we also must have a cultural education—some psychology and pedagogy—so we can work with everyone who comes to us. We have to be ready for a professional life.

What do Mexicans think about witches and warlocks?

Witchcraft goes hand in hand with Mexican culture and the Catholic Church in Mexico. Most of the people who visit me come from Catholic backgrounds. It’s very common among Mexicans and Latin Americans to take it as a second belief system. Here in Mexico, even politicians and presidents acknowledge it. There have been candidates who have visited warlock friends in order to win the presidency.

Which services do people usually want?

Of every ten people who come to me, eight of them want something involving love—even though I don’t recommend it. People used to work for love, but now if it gets difficult, they come straight to the warlock. The real problem with love is that men need to learn to be gentlemen again. A lot of people also come to me to get rid of mysterious illnesses that the doctor can’t cure. Sometimes they believe spells have been cast on them.

Who curses them? Black warlocks? Is there even such a thing as white and black magic?

Witchcraft really has no color. People who work with magic, to use a general term, all work with spirits whether they’re positive or negative beings. If you want to ruin someone, you use a spiritual being at a low astral level, which is a negative being. If it needs to be a stronger job, we ask for permission to use a demonic being.

You can, however, use color to categorize. If you want to make someone sick, you use black magic. You use white if you want to help someone. If a person was cursed with black magic, you have to counterattack with black magic. Red magic is used to end someone. I don’t use that very often. I’m not one to eliminate people. When I do work with it, I analyze the case and I don’t eliminate them directly. I once helped a woman whose two-year-old daughter had been abused. It had been a very powerful person, and the law couldn’t do anything about it. So I consulted my spiritual beings and they authorized me to do the job. Soon after, that abuser crashed his car but did not die, because death is liberation. This person stayed in a vegetable state instead.

Why are so many witches and warlocks based in Catemaco?

Catemaco is surrounded by medicinal plants. The lagoon of Catemaco is a mystic point charged with energy. We have a cave where we do our stronger work. There’s a very strong energy here because of the ceremonial centers. There are pyramids, which are points of energy in every culture. The magical culture developed here because of both the natural and the man-made energy points. There are about 90 real warlocks here—people who really know what they’re doing and are ethical. But there are many outsiders who have come here who either don’t know what they’re doing or want to take advantage of our fame.

What do you make of modern-day Mexican culture?

People have lowered the level of their morals. Now a 12-year-old kid doesn’t think about playing or going to camp, he thinks about making love and doing drugs. We need more education, culture, and discipline.

Without revealing too many secrets, what will Vice’s blessing entail?

I’m going to use the candle of the Seven Powers. I’m going to invoke the four elements of nature to help you, to open the four paths—which are also north, south, east, and west—so that all of your energy reaches the four cardinal points. I am going to pray to various powerful beings—three positive and one negative. The positive ones are to open your paths so that you have many readers, no legal troubles, and so that money is never a problem. The negative one is to protect you from any other negative beings and energies. I am going to ensure that Vice becomes a household name, like Coca-Cola!

Excellent.

Schedule a blessing of your own at Hermano Blanco’s website: hermanoblanco.es.tl.