One of the Mexican wizards known as "santeros" calls for love, prosperity, peace and plenty along with the simultaneous banishing of anguish, desperation, fear and misery as he sprinkles a fistful of seeds all around and lights a candle for one of his rituals to assure a Happy New Year.
Manuel Valades is one of the Santeria wizards who offer their "magic" in the Sonora Market in Mexico City, where 44 stores sell "like hotcakes" all kinds of esoteric and mystical articles and objects to believers looking for love, money, work and plenty throughout the year that's almost here.
"At the beginning of December, people begin to ask up for a good ritual," Manuel told EFE, adding that out of every 10 customers who visit him, eight seek to resolve their economic problems, while a good outcome in love or health concerns the others.
Where the magic happens is in aisle No. 8 of the market. At work there is Luz Aura Menchis, better known as Witch Aura, reading Egyptian tarot cards for all who wish to know what fortune awaits them in 2018.
"There are some who are almost dragging their problems from this year to the next and want to know it their legal problems will be resolved," said the witch born in the Catamaco region of Veracruz, a state known for its beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery.
In her little two-story shop, Witch Aura showed EFE one of the rituals she recommends for customers to purify their homes.
She raises a black ceramic goblet filled with burning myrrh, incense and resin, and with the smoke issuing from that mixture she invited the gods of her altar to visit her shop.
"I am cleansing my business of all darkness and witchery," said the witch who shares store 199 with Amelia Salazar Vazquez, known as Witch Emily, who for 30 years has relieved her clients of anxiety, sadness, depression and health worries.
In Sonora Market, believers purchase with Mexican pesos, American dollars made of plastic and paper, which adorn packages that contain a dried corncob painted gold and silver.
The packages are hung like amulets in people's kitchens at home to make sure their future will not lack "clothes, money, work or sustenance."