A few days ago, I went to a botanica (for the first time) in Chicago. Interesting place - had lots of books, washes, herbs, statues, amulets, etc. They had a number of books, and one that I picked up was Los Poderes Magicos de la Santa Muerte (The Magic Powers of La Santa Muerte). They even had statues of La Santa Muerte. She is depicted as a skeleton in black robes, holding an orb in one hand and a scythe in another. In some, she holds a measuring scale.
This La Santa Muerte is an interesting figure. “La Santa Muerte” means “Holy Death,” and she is revered like a Saint, surreptitiously, throughout Mexico. The booklet described the cult of la Santa Muerte, including instructions for a novena, setting up an altar, what color of candles to use, etc.
It seems, from this booklet and other info I got from the 'Net, that la Santa Muerte is seen as a very powerful and real saint, given her power and abilities by God Himself. She transports the souls of those who are to die, and in addition to that grants any request of any devotee. Is she very popular among the lower rungs of society, praticularly those whose occuptations are dangerous and/or illegal (criminals, drug traffickers, prostitutes, etc.). Nevertheless, she is adored by people from all walks of life - mothers petitioning her to protect their children, kids asking her to help them get good grades, others begging for her protection. From the booklet and websites about her, it seems she is used most for love, protection, and destruction of one’s enemies. The booklet was quite clear about being able to use negative works with her - it says that those who embark on a path of light, life, health, and goodness should not judge those who use the same medium (la Santa Muerte) for death, destruction, and darkness. Both are sides of the same coin: sometimes even negative events are necessary. (Seeing as she is the saint of death, such an attitude is not surprising.)
Another point I noticed is the need for constant faith and devotion. Some believe la Santa Muerte, as loving as she is towards her devotees, will become very upset if an act promised her is not done.
The Catholic Church, of course, has condemned this. In some places, the cult of la Santa Muerte has become a rival to the Church.
I had no idea something like this existed, in Mexico of all places. I know Mexico is religious, but this is very different. I’d have to think hard to find a similar religious cult elsewhere. I mean, as far as anti-establishment movements go, these people even have Satanists beat - not even they worship, petition, or adore Death itself.
Has anyone had any experience with this phenomenon? Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?
WRS - Muerte protectora y bendita. Por la virtud que Dios te dio, quiero que me libres de todos los maleficios, de peligros y enfermedades, u que a cambio me des suerte, felicidad y dinero. Querio que me des amigos y me libres de mis enemigos. Portegeme y protege a mis seres queridos de cualquier adversidad que sea puesta en su camino. No permites que llegue dano alguno y cubrenos con tus brazos protectores.