Behind Argentina’s World Cup Magic, an Army of Witches

Magalí Martínez knew something was wrong: The seemingly invincible soccer star Lionel Messi was brawling on the football field. To her, it seems that he has been afflicted with a supernatural curse rooted in different cultures throughout history, the “evil eye”.

So Martínez, a self-proclaimed witch and part-time babysitter, had to go to work. She focused intensely on Messi, began to repeat the prayer and put some oil in the bowl of water. If the oil is still scattered, he is safe. If it collected in the middle, he was cursed.

She spoke to each other like a magnet, she said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to cure him alone.”

She took to Twitter and called out to her fellow witches across Argentina. She said: “Sisters heal with the evil eye, Messi is affected a lot. “I need your help.”

A thousand people shared her tweet, many of which said they too were witches and would work to protect Argentina’s golden boy.

Argentina have not lost since then.

The bookies have set their odds, the gamblers have placed their bets and the experts have made their picks for Sunday’s World Cup final between Argentina and France, but their analysis of the match. – focusing on only 22 players on the field – may not be considered. a wild card: The Wizarding Army of Argentina.

In recent weeks, hundreds, if not thousands, of Argentine women who call themselves “brujas” or witches, have taken up arms – in the form of prayers, altars, candles, amulets, and amulets. burning sage – to defend their beloved nation’s team in their quest to win the World Cup title for the third and first time in 36 years.

“We see ourselves as agents who can care, protect and spread happiness out of love,” said Rocío Cabral Menna, 27, a witch and high school teacher in Messi’s hometown, Rosario. love. Predicted scores in a ceremony before each match. The players are playing on the field, she said, and at home, “the witches are taking care of them.”

This trend flared up after Argentina’s shock defeat to Saudi Arabia in the opening match, prompting the Argentines to find ways to help the team on which this nation of 47 million people hopes.

After that match, some witches started a WhatsApp group to teach other witches how to help the national team. They call it the Argentine Wizarding Association, or La Brujineta, a pun on “bruja” and “La Scaloneta,” Argentina’s nickname for their national team.

Antonella Spadafora, 23, a witch who runs a convenience store in a city in northwestern Argentina, said: ‘I think there will be at most 10 people. Within days, more than 300 people had joined the group. Last week, there was so much demand that they set up a Twitter account. It gained 25,000 followers in seven days.

“We are tired of being the witch in the closet,” says Andrea Maciel, 28, a witch and graphic designer in Buenos Aires who now helps manage the team.

The witches said their main focus was on using rituals to absorb negative energy from the Argentinian players and exchange it for good energy. However, that exhausted them.

“Headache, dizziness, vomiting, muscle pain,” says Spadafora. She added: “We are absorbing all the bad vibes. “It breaks you down a lot, because these are very popular characters who have so much negative energy from other people.”

So to split the burden, team leaders now split the witches into groups before each match, each focused on protecting a certain player.

While many witches said they were working to take care of Messi and his teammates, others were trying to cast spells on opposing players, especially goalkeepers. A ritual that involves freezing a piece of paper with a player’s name on it, saying a curse, and then burning the frozen paper just before the match.

But the Brujineta team warned that trying to curse France could backfire, especially because of the team’s star forward, Kylian Mbappé.

“We do not recommend freezing France, as their players are protected by dark entities and the energy can bounce back!!” the group announced on Twitter on Wednesday. “We have seen very dark things in the French team and especially in Mbappé. Please share!!!”

The World Cup-focused wizards represent various occult realms, belonging to the New Age rather than Ancient and Native. Practices include black magic, white magic, Wicca, Reiki, Tarot, astrology, and healers of the evil eye as well as other ailments.

Some women said they were born with special abilities, while others said they developed their skills through study. Some said they started practicing witchcraft as part of a burgeoning feminist movement in Argentina that began in 2018 with legal abortion war.

Cabral Menna said: “I think we all have magic inside.

But the witches aren’t the only Argentinians trying to help their team in the supernatural realm. On match days, more Argentinians practiced some sort of Cábala, or superstition designed to avoid causing any bad luck to their team. Cábalas often involves everyone following the exact same routine if the team wins, including where they watch the game, with whom, what clothes to wear, at what volume, and on what channel.

The practice is so widespread that millions of Argentinians can practice some kind of Cábala, a word derived from kabbalah, a Jewish mystical tradition. Cábalas got special attention this year after Argentina’s loss in the opening match.

Adrián Coria, Messi’s childhood coach at Rosario and later with the national team, says he watched his first defeat with his family in his living room. Then his wife and daughter sent him to a small hut in the backyard to prepare for the second match. “Alone,” he said. Since then, he has watched the rest of the World Cup there.

Cabral Menna, the witch from Rosario, said she and her mother watched Argentina’s first victory in her mother’s bedroom. “It’s the only part of the house that doesn’t have air conditioning,” she said. “It’s very hot. But we won’t move.”

And Sergio Duri, the owner of a restaurant in Rosario with Messi’s autograph on the wall, said he now watches matches in the kitchen with a pet dog named Omar, while his wife watches them in the bedroom with him. The other dog is Dulce. “If this came out, people would know that we were all completely crazy,” he said. “But this is Cábala, you know?”

The players are also practicing Cábala. Alejandro Gómez, Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo de Paul, the three midfielders, strolled around the pitch an hour before the match while chewing gum, a tradition they started last year when Argentina won the Copa América, the tournament. South America’s top soccer.

So now the question for the witches is: What will happen on Sunday?

“We don’t want to give information as if we have the absolute final word,” Spadafora said. “But obviously we have already started working, and obviously we have examined most of the means we have – the esoteric means, such as the pendulum, the Tarot, all the means. divination – and that shows that Argentina will win.”

Azucena Agüero Blanch, a 72-year-old professional fortune teller used to advise of former President Carlos Menem, also explained that she is working with the magic stones to ensure Argentina’s victory. “Many people who are pushing Argentina to win have called on me to do this,” she told an Argentine newspaper.

On Friday night, Martínez was in her candlelit home in Buenos Aires, wearing a tiger-print cape and lighting candles on an altar of burnt sandalwood; Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god; and a photo of Diego Maradona, the late Argentine soccer star, who was like a god to many in this country.

Martínez said she has a range of methods for defending the national team, including one that involves swinging a pendulum, or a wooden cylinder on a rope, above a player’s shirt number. and then burn mistletoe tincture. She says she watches the news for updates on players’ illnesses and then uses the pendulum to help alleviate them. “The pendulum is the most powerful tool I have,” she explains.

She said that she also had spiritual moments during matches. During Argentina’s match against Australia on December 3, she said she saw Argentina striker Julián Álvarez celebrating a goal.

At 5:13 pm, she tweeted: “Julian Alvarez I want your goal 🕯👁🕯👁🕯.”

Four minutes later, Álvarez scored.

Natalie Alcoba contributed reporting.


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