Before you all get your britches in a twist… I was kidding… sort of… but I’ll get to that…
Santa Muerte (also known as Santisima Muerte) is the beloved goddess of death. Her origins date back to the pre-hispanic period of Mexico, and was believed to be a protector of souls who resided in the dark underworld. There are a great many theories and beliefs about her origin, from being the revival of the pre-Hispanic Mexican goddess of death, Mitchecacihuatl, a re-invention of the female Grim Reaper from Spain, La Parca, or that she was once a Mexican Catholic nun, coming from Italian roots going way back to the Fates of ancient Greece.
Either way, in short, she scares the hell out of the Vatican.
According to professor R. Andrew Chesnut of Virginia Commonwealth University, who has studied the rise of Santa Muerte, “Santa Muerte is particularly appealing to people on the margins of Mexican and U.S. society because she’s seen as the saint who embraces everyone regardless of race, sex, age or gender orientation”.
Something the Catholic church certainly doesn’t do.
Oh, and she’s got familia, too! Her cousin, San La Muerte, is the second of three skeletal folk saints who command widespread devotion in the Americas. Interestingly enough, San La Muerte’s main myth of origin portrays him (he’s a male figure) as a Jesuit priest….. let the knees in the pulpit start a’ knockin’!
But who is she?
Santa Muerte is the Lady of Holy Death, with an estimated 10 to 12 million devotees, and she’s only been public for 12 years…. that’s enough to make any long-standing, long-ruling organized religion crap themselves.
Before 2001, Santa Muerte was clandestine, with devotees building personal shrines hidden in their closets. But after a woman named Enriqueta Romero unveiled the first public shrine to the saint in the Mexico City barrio of Tepito, it has spread fiercely throughout Mexico, Central America, and Latino-heavy US cities like Los Angeles and Houston. The “cult’s” growth has even been tracked to Japan, Australia, and the Philippines.
Better break out that Frankincense and Myrrh….
I’ll tell you what… this is my kind of chick! I had family members in Puerto Rico that would dedicate an entire room of their home to her… life-size statue and all, and she used to scare the holy grail out of me! But recently, when I visited with Rev. High Priestess Lori Bruno in Salem, Mass., she had a statue of Santisma Muerte standing gloriously atop an alter piled with offerings, and I found nothing but beauty and solace in it.
Just this past weekend, I visited an indoor flea market in Dutchess County, New York and was utterly delighted when I found a vendor who sold primarily Santeria items (stocked up on my sulfur while I was there 😉 ) and the vendor nearly shit when I asked him for a specific Santa Muerte statue. The guy was so excited that I actually knew who she was that he even let me behind the counter and peruse all the statuary encased in the glass display by myself.
The only thing that disappointed me was that every single statue of her that he had was faced AWAY from the public. In other words, if you were standing in front of his glass counter, the only thing you’d see is the vail, giving you the impression it was the Virgin Mary (You see how easily confused the two can be?) No need to scare off the gringos, I guess.
But back to scaring the daylights out of the Vatican (Because that’s always just soooo much fun–tee hee!!) The Catholic Church has certainly taken notice. In May 2013, Cardinal Ravasi, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, made Santa Muerte an official point of condemnation, calling her, “a blasphemy against religion.”.. sounds more like bull shit propaganda and a herding of the sheep if you ask me.
Think about this for a second.
The Roman Catholic Church claims to have started in Matthew 16:18 when Christ supposedly appointed Peter as the first Pope. However, the honest and objective student of the Scriptures
and those who don’t just believe any bullshit they’re fed and history soon discovers that the foundation of the Roman church is none other than the pagan mystery religion of ancient Babylon.
Another hornet nest poking for another time….
So you have the Catholic church who has been around for oodles, who sends Saint Patrick to
finally beat the pagans into submission get the Pagans to convert… conversions are happening, everyone is praying to one God and following the rules of the church….happy, happy….
All of a sudden, here comes this bad-ass Diety, who not only says, “Hey, you can worship me and whoever the hell else you want, I don’t mind!” And a Deity whose stance is sort of like, “You did what?!? Pffftt… you’re still OK in my book. Hey, you’re human, you’re gonna make human mistakes, let me help you out with some of them”….and suddenly…people, Catholics among them, start flocking. Never mind that she is a scary as all get-out looking Diety. Why? Because you don’t have to attend mass to get her to listen, you don’t have to say 5 “Our Father’s” and 10 “Hail Mary’s” to be forgiven, and she never suckers you into volunteering at a function.
…..Oh, and she gets shit done.
Now you’ve got the Catholic church all like:
Well…. I could give you my opinion (which I personally think would be far more entertaining and a thousand percent less politically correct) but….
Eh, what the hell?
They’re feeling threatened. More and more people are leaving the church with each passing day and turning to alternative religions and belief systems…. with Pagan-based religions being the fastest growing. Why? Well….. I think that’s a whole other blog post. But when it comes to religion, the church just doesn’t have the kind of control over folks it once used to. Back in the day, you could be sentenced to death just for thinking anything other than Christ. Back then, the church had the authority to take your home, sell off your family and just about anything else they wanted to do. Back then, death scared people.
As far as Santa Muerte is concerned, the church feels that the depiction of her (skeletal) is evil, and in some cases, a darker counter part of their blessed Virgin Mary (told you I’d get around to it). Santa Muerte is everything the church teaches you not to follow… specifically, death, because in the eyes of Christians, Jesus defeated death and so to worship the very thing that stands between life and Satan is sacrilege. To them, death does not exist because Jesus defeated it when he was resurrected….. end of story…. (even though between my own research and practicing Catholic days, I can find a few holes in that theory).
The fact of the matter is, that death is present the world over.
If you are to call upon La Santisima Muerte, it is suggested to be done through Catholic prayers, always first asking God’s permission to invoke Her. It is in this way She works best and responds quickly to prayers. I wouldn’t chance removing her from this paradigm even if you are uncomfortable with the Catholic aspects of this Diety. You certainly wouldn’t petition an Egyptian God in the French language, would you? You don’t have to be Catholic to pray to or work with Her… she’s cool like that, but a level of respect and reverence is required, and that is by petitioning her in her language: Catholic.
a 9-Day rayer to Santa Muerte can be forund here >>>> http://www.subrujeria.com/english/ENGLISHBOOK.html