Pátzcuaro is one of several Mexican towns supercharged in occult practices that have departed radically from traditional Roman Catholicism. The saints in Pátzcuaro wear black, indeed Pátzcuaro’s original name comes from an indigenous languages– Tzacapu-ansucutinpatzcuaro—which means “door to heaven” or “place where the darkness begins.”
During Mexico’s creepy national celebration called “Day of the Dead” Pátzcuaro is certainly one of the darkest places in the whole country. The otherwise sleepy town comes alive after dark with the colors of the grave, and the bright orange cempazuchitl, or marigolds, that are used to decorate grave sites. A must-see for mystic-minded tourist during the Day of the Dead celebrations is the island of Janitzio, accessible by boat from several piers near Pázcuaro. Many spend the night in the church graveyard on the island, drinking throughout the night and communing with the spirits of the dead. Or so the story goes.
Pázcuaro, however, is not the door to heaven, but rather the door to hell. The open worship of demons, the calling out of departed dead, and the use of all sorts of rituals and images draws the individual into a world of curses and fear. Friends from church related to me during their touristic visit to the island of Janitzio, men were running ahead and behind them, murmuring words that they did not understand, and hitting buildings and rocks with (real) donkey’s tail whips. They noted a “dense” dark spiritual ambient there.
Another nearby town known for its occult activity is Mixqui, on the edge of Mexico City, maybe 45 minutes from where we live. Mayra and I had the opportunity to give testimony at a wedding once…that’s a whole story in and of itself!
Creepy, these things are, and evidence of a desire for darkness rather than light.