City Alchemist [Audio 042]
Where the witches shop...
A short walk from my hotel is a shop I have passed a couple of times during this brief stay in Austin Texas. It’s at 1105 East 6th Street. A unassuming white shopfront tucked between a barber shop and a beauty salon. Underneath an unlit neon five pointed star are the words ‘Witch Shop’.
It has been closed both times I’ve passed, but I’ve still knocked the door. My curiosity would have it no other way. The second time I knocked, it opened.
Inside was Yamil Henriquez, Cartomancer, Shaman, practitioner of latin folk magic and sorcery. Even though he was ‘spiritually cleansing’ the store in preparation for opening, he welcomed me in. If you have clicked on the attached audio you will hear him telling me a little about the shop.
Walls and cabinets were filled with books, charms and amulets, curios, candles and human remains.
A bowl fashioned from a human skull will set you back $400 and the skull of a human child $1600. Witchy pins and patches are quite a lot cheaper.
In the corner, a table where patrons could have their tarot read, and at the other end are shrines.
Latin America is well known for its witchcraft and occult religious practises. A spiritual mashup of European spiritualism, Taino practices and African magic.
Devil worship and the summoning of ancient demons is common place. It’s usual to call upon the devil to do the work you are not keen on doing yourself.
It certainly was a fascinating corner of the city. Austin has a few places that might surprise including a vampire parlour called the Glass Coffin.
Thanks for listening and here are a few Latin American folktales and legends should you want to know more.
I recorded this audio for day 15 of Audio Blogger’s Month. Check out the hashtag #AudioMo on Twitter and have a listen.
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