Black Mass is the highlight of the Congreso Nacional de Brujos de Catemaco, a festival with shamans, sorcerers, healers, herbalists, Satan worshipers and spectators in attendance. Worshipers congregate every March in the Mexican state of Veracruz to attend and participate the Black Mass.
Gonzalo Aguirre Pech, known as Brujo Mayor (high witch) narrated that the Brujos de Catemaco was extremely grisly especially with animal sacrifices for years. But due to sacrificial animals ban imposed by the authorities in Veracruz, the festival was curtailed. However, the Black Mass featured in the celebration happen in White Monkey Mountain.
The ceremony commenced with the bringing of sacrificial offerings by teenage girls who must be virgins both mentally and physically. The girls dressed in black underwear carried the offerings to the main altar – a font filled with burning charcoal.
Gonzalo further explained that the ceremony served participants with particular problem – waning marriage, vengeance, or anything. The participants go down on knees before the eight shamans who had come from across Mexico to conduct the ceremony below a full moon. The shamans blessed them with incantations and incense. Live chicken were taken out, the necks quickly mangled and heads removed. The blood sprayed to the kneeling petitioner.
Melbourne-based photographer Vincent Long who witnessed the Black Mass last year recalled watching how blood was collected from a live goat as it was held and its throat sliced. The goat’s blood was saved in a large copper jar. The shamans and the supplicants took turn in drinking the goat’s blood. In total, eight animals were sacrificed during the ritual.
The participants then gathered around the burning pentagram and chanted to summon the devil. The group went into an underground cave decorated with upside down crucifixes and a giant statue of Lucifer with an erection. The devotees especially the new ones, pledge their oath to Lucifer. Then the assembled shamans cried “Hail Lucifer” and the spell was apparently sealed.
Chief shaman Enrique Vernon, one of the organizers said that their black magic originated from Native American Olmeca culture. Enrique wore a dead anteater on his head during the celebration.
‘People come to our devil-summoning ceremonies when they want to achieve change in their lives,’ he said in an interview. ‘Some come to ask Satan to give them success in the future, others come to get over their difficult pasts’.
Alejandro Montes, a new recruit in 2015 ceremony, traveled with his wife to Catemaco from Monterrey in northern Mexico to pledge their souls to save their relationship. He admitted being terrified during the entire process. He was afraid he cannot commit to his promise to the devil statue. ‘But now that it’s done I feel strong. I believe things will improve now,’ he said.
The Black Mass cult in Mexico began in 1970. It is held on the first Friday of March and grown popular for the succeeding 45 years.