Sure, the heading may be alarmist, but that’s how Mexican media are handling it. A law has been approved against fraud through offering to do divinations, spirit evocation or healings by means technically or scientifically unvalidated.
The Supreme Court of Justice specifies that spiritual or ideological practices are not penalized, but the action of offering said activities in exchange for payment. Said very plainly, whoever charles a fee for using Tarot, palmistry or any other type of divination; for healing or cleansing through alternative or mystical means ranking from Reiki to a traditional “limpia” (cleansing), or for any activity which involves summoning spirits –be they the dead, angels, ascended masters, deities, they are spirits all the same-, is risking imprisonment.
I don’t know about you, but I find this worrisome. I don’t even make a living out of my Tarot, but some readings now and then have come in handy, and my mother uses it regularly. And I have friends whose sometimes scarce income depends on their services of Reiki and other techniques which now it seems will be proscribed...
It is specified that the “fraud’s” victim must be in a state of worry, superstition or ignorance. Yes, the Supreme Court states that no ground is given for ambiguities or misinterpretations. But Tarot for example is a scientifically unvalidated method, its technical validation in psychology would be debatable, and those who seek a reading are precisely people who have worries... superstitious?, it depends on whether the jury deems superstitious to believe in the efficacy of Tarot.
I’ll reproduce next the Supreme Court of Justice’s press release on the matter (the translation is a bit awkward because of the difficulty of some legal wordings):
Mexico D.F., June 12, 2010
SPECIFIC FRAUD IS COMMITTED BY WHOMEVER EXPLOITS WORRIES, SUPERSTITIONS OR IGNORANCE IN ORDER TO OBTAIN UNDUE PROFIT
UPDATE: I've been meaning to add this new tidbit. Two lawyers have confirmed that the law is actually applied in the State of San Luis Potosí, so it is only SLP witches and diviners that need to watch their step (I've only met a couple of Wiccans in SLP, I don't really know how many witches are there). Somebody commented in the Livejournal crosspost of the English version (I'm crossposting from my Dreamwidth account) that the press release plainly stated as much; however, I should point out that the press release is not si clear for those not fully aware of Mexican legal expressions because Mexican states are not as independent as those of the USA, and there are precedents of laws adopted nationwide after being concocted in one single state. Anyway, the media made much fuss about this law being applied nationwide; obviously, yet another instance of misinformed and misinforming journalism.
Anyway, should we stop`worrying now? I'd like to hear the witches of SLP speak up. What about them?