/ The Mexico City Guide
Mexico — By Laura Nazimiec on May 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm
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Mexico City’s Witches Market

Undoubtedly one of Mexico City’s creepiest attractions, the Sonora Market in downtown Mexico City is a maze of narrow aisles crammed with stalls displaying herbs, potions, caged animals, voodoo dolls, tarot cards and images of Santa Muerte, Mexico’s Saint Death.  There are products for improving health and increasing wealth, products claiming to ward off evil spirits and a wide selection of love potions.

Mercado de Sonora

Images of Santa Muerte, Sonora Market, Mexico City

The Sonora Market (Mercado de Sonora) is Mexico City’s witchcraft market and the place to go for traditional and more obscure potions and remedies.  Alternative treatments continue to play an important role in Mexican medicine and cures for all types of ailments ranging from illnesses and health problems to fears and psychological disorders are available for sale in the market.  Some of the more interesting ingredients include rattlesnake skins, crickets, frogs and squirrels.  There is also an area of the market where modern day medicine men perform spiritual cleansings and rituals.

Mercado de Sonora

Herbs, Potions and Witchcraft

Adding to the creepiness factor of the market is the grinning skeletal image of Santa Muerte that is prominently displayed at many of the stalls.  Alters and shrines to Saint Death appear around every corner.  Draped in colored tunics, the scythe wielding Santa Muerte is worshiped by some of the impoverished people in and around Mexico City, particularly those engaged in criminal activity or who feel alienated and abandoned by their government.

Often called a saint for Mexico’s sinners, she is the saint for those who believe that the patron saint of Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe, would not sympathize with their lifestyle.  The image of Santa Muerte is frequently seen in Mexico City’s rough Tepito neighborhood and in many of the country’s crime-ravaged border towns.  In the north her image has been linked to violent acts committed by drug traffickers and her following condemned by the Catholic church.

While a visit to Tepito to view the life-size shrine to Santa Muerte doesn’t make it onto the itineraries of many visitors to Mexico City, a visit to the Sonora Market should.  The Sonora Market is located south of the Mercado de La Merced along Avenida Fray Servando Teresa (map).  One of the largest and most unusual markets in the city, the Sonora Market offers an interesting glimpse into the centuries-old healing traditions that continue to play an important role in contemporary Mexican culture.

Besides, who couldn’t use a purse size bottle of love spray?

Photo Credits: Laura Nazimiec

Related places:
  1. A
    Mercado de Sonora
    Centro, M?xico, Distrito Federal, M?xico
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    1 Comment

  • Katrina Verweel says:

    Interesting article, that would be a really cool place to explore when visiting Mexico City.

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