Psychic women of the West tell the fortunes of hopeful people by reading tarot cards over a crystal ball. In Bolivia, things are done slightly differently.
They’ve got the yatiri, a witch doctor who relies on the powers of the cocoa leaf, believing that it is sacred and capable of providing insights into another dimension. The terms translates more or less to he or she who knows and they make up for an important part of Bolivian society.
The yatiri are known traditionally to be spiritual beings that were hit by lighting while watching cattle in the fields. After being struck, they go through a spiritual rebirth process, giving them special powers. They are then obliged to use it to help the community.
They work out of small wooden hunts and can be found in any major city in Bolivia. Some work around the Witches’ Market in La Paz, a tourist area. However, mostly they work in El Alto, next to Aymara where they have no shortage of business.
Clients count on cocoa leaves tossed into the air to determine their future. Their fortune is determined by how the leaves land and cover themes such as finance, health, well-being, and romance.
Each visit is only $1.50, with many Bolivians making regular visits to stay on top of their future. Those who are unsatisfied with their determined fortune are able to buy a mesa which is burnt and then offers spiritual cleansing for three months, which is priced at $29.