La Patrona de la Prosperidad – Santa Muerte, the Self-Help Guru

"Portrait of Norman Vincent Peale," ink on sketch paper..jpg

“Relax and Concentrate. Visualize Santa Muerte in your mind and visualize the problem each of you has. We call on Santa Muerte to resolve it.”

– instructions given during the Santa Muerte Mass held at Dona Queta’s shrine in Tepito

When I read the caption on North Carolina-based artist and educator Tim Botta’s illustration of popular inspirationalist Norman Vincent Peale(1) it hit me as a perfect compliment to the intense digital images produced by la Santa Muerte’s ardent devotees:

Prayerize! Picturize! Actualize!‘ 

Peale’s maxim for manifesting prosperous living hits at one of the most prevalent sentiments surrounding the sanctified grim repress. Irresponsibly pigeonholed in the  media as a premier narco-saint, the popular movement orbiting around Santa Muerte’s iconography actually paints her as a polar axis for positive thinking. Within the continuous stream of digital devotional images dedicated to her, La Santisima Muerte emerges for her devout as a powerful patroness of prosperity (prosperidad), abundance (abundancia), health (salud), peace (paz), good luck (buena suerte) and blessings (bendiciones). One could easily say that she’s becoming a self-help guru as she moves fully into the public sphere.

Take a quick look at a few of these devotional images and you’ll see that la Nina Blanca may end up being a better representative for ‘positive thinking’ than a number of the controversial figures who populate the contemporary self-help milieu:

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Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut has identified this, in part, as a development of the dynamic spiritual marketplace where Santa Muerte emerges as a counter point and alternative to the growing strength of Charismatic and Pentecostal movements around the globe. As la Patrona Milagrosa – the Miraculous Patroness – Saint Death provides devotees with a powerful advocate for their spiritual experiences and her cultural narrative has become one of a miracle worker that goes above and beyond to help those who are sincere in their prayers.

To enjoy more of Tim Botta’s illustrations visit him at:

(1) – Peale authored The Power of Positive Thinking, a major touchstone in the popularization of the positive thinking movement. As a pastor his philosophy also influenced the integration of positive thinking into evangelical circles.

Game Over: ‘Madrina’ Enriqueta Vargas Officiates the First Funeral at Santa Muerte Internacional

(VAYA AQUI  para el artículo en español)

Weddings and baptisms performed by Santa Muerte leaders are increasingly common in Mexico and the U.S.. For example, Enriqueta Vargas, head of the Templo Santa Muerte Internacional on the outskirts of Mexico City, now performs both rites on a weekly basis. It had always struck me as odd that there were Santa Muerte nuptials and christenings but no funerals. Given that this is a devotion to death, wouldn’t it be logical to offer funerary rites to devotees as well?

When I asked Santa Muerte ‘Godmother’ Enriqueta Vargas a year ago why she didn’t offer funeral services, she said she didn’t think devotees were ready for that. However, the preeminent leader of the fastest growing religious movement in the Americas changed her mind six months ago when a terminally ill devotee, Erick, asked her to conduct his funeral service. What follows is the account, narrated by Enriqueta Vargas, of the first-ever Santa Muerte funeral, held six months ago at the home of Erick’s mother in the small town of Tizayuca, Hidalgo:

The young man of around 31 years-old was named Erick, and it seems he died of cirrhosis of the liver. I met him when he was about 27. He’s the guy in my book who called me in the middle of a gunfight and I told him “May my saint and the Godfather (Comandante Pantera, Enriqueta’s slain son and auxiliary saint) make you invisible to the eyes of your enemies!”


As his last wish, Erick asked that I pray for him at his funeral. I felt lots of pain and sadness because he was so young and had a three-year old daughter and pregnant wife. I arrived at his mom’s house and looked at him in the coffin, his body was so still and he was so swollen that I barely recognized him. He had been dead for just a few hours so I was able to open his hands and place a small image of Santa Muerte in them. Afterward I recited the prayer and fulfilled his last wish, that of writing “Game Over” on his eyelids. Oh yeah, and after I had placed the Santa Muerte in his hands, they wouldn’t open up anymore. When I finished saying the prayer, his mouth seemed to crack a smile.


12801376_1705229916415844_2955240284064301541_n.jpgIn the name of God the Father of my Most Holy Death, amen. We beseech you mother to receive our petitions today and we ask that with all your good gifts you console the forgotten ones, brothers and sisters that are not here, those who are at war, those who work, the poor, the rich, the believers, the nonbelievers, the pious, the impious and above all, us your sons and daughters present here and in the hour of our encounter…Amen.

Our Father…Mother of mine, my Santa Muerte, I as the humblest of your children, ask you, beg you to allow me to come to you at the appointed hour without pain, without fear and with faith. We beseech you my lady, we beseech you.

Our Father…O Santa Muerte, mother in my adversity, mother in my despair, queen and lady in good and evil. O Santa Muerte, body and blood of your children, patience in inclemency and redemptress of the lord. Implacable, triumphant victor in love, the love that I profess for you, the love that today I give you.

12791095_1705224956416340_8531409964120236996_n.jpgOur Father…O my bountiful mother, owner of my soul, in your hand my victory rests and in your cloak my protection, and in your scythe my destiny and in your being all my love. Santa Muerte, White Girl, purity is your gift. Santa Muerte, Black Girl, your warmth is protection. Santa Muerte, Red Girl, your love is a blessing. Santa Muerte, Golden Girl, prosperity is what I receive today in abundance and I give back to you in abundance.

Our Father…O Santa Muerte, in silence I remain here awaiting the moment that brings me to you, surrendering myself to your arms, to the support of your love, in your divine lap and embraced by your gift in him, I will rest.

Santa Muerte, mother of all, pray to God for all of us, now and at the hour when we encounter you…AMEN. (Kneel) In the name of God, Father of my Mother, my Most Holy Death …Amén. You who reign for ever and ever, reign my lady in all your children and give us peace. To stay clean, to stay pure, mother, give us the light that enlightens throughout your house. And always keep us well …. here with you…. here for you …. (We stand and raise our hands to the sky)

Praise the Lord in Heaven, Praise my Mother with glory! Now beloved lady give glory…. to these your children. And calm the storms and adversities of our existence …. With your eternal clemency and your holy gift. I pray to you ….give me full grace in a better plane, to come before God and before you clean ….to come pure and create the incredible !!! to destroy the indestructible !!! to narrate the unspeakable !!! So my eternal Mother, my Santa 12802929_1705224233083079_3358442522368261484_n.jpgMuerte, I stand before you today. for you to clarify my mind, my body and my soul and call before my eyes your holy being.

“Santa Muerte” your children cry. (3 times) Most Holy Death you reign in my being and you pray for us to have one more day of life, for one more day of light, for tomorrow without darkness, for a night illuminated by a better world. (Kneel down brothers) Full grace to our most holy mother, full grace to our most holy being. (Shut all eyes, both hands to chest) Oh great lady !!! Today I bow my face in reverence to you and shine on earth as the sun shines. Add my voice to your voice, add my self to your self …. I put my life in your hands, and my death at the same time. My soul is with you in body, mind and heart. My mother, Santa Muerte, today I bow down and hold fast towards you to bring sanity, and settle myself today to bring my greatest to you, my mother. My being, my love, my life, my death, my everything. For a world in your favor, against the tireless struggle, the relentless war we must win, doubts, myths, fears, deepest fears, the most sensitive gaps. My eternal mother it is here that I grant you that voice, that voice and feeling that I share here today by a vote of silence, which is a vote for you. (Keep few minutes of silence) My eyes are closed because I’m watching you ….

Santa Muerte!!! Lady, pray for us, your devotees, now and at the hour when we encounter you …. AMEN. A healthy mind in a healthy body is  the natural and real deliverance for us from evil …. AMEN. Body and mind, mind and body, health of body, clarity of mind, prosperity for my home, abundance for my life! ’Eternity with my death !!! I pray, I and my whole body, to my divine mother and today I realize this prayer, the prayer of my being …. ‘OH MY MOTHER!!! My Saint Death, today we come, the humblest of your children …. to beg …. to implore …. to venerate your most holy being.

Most Holy Death descend upon us. Brothers!!! Open your eyes !!! Raise your face !!! Raise your hands to a living God …. who now lives and lies in this home …. through our mother, Most Holy Death,  mother in our adversity, mother in our distress…. queen and mistress in good and evil. It covers our body …. elevates our being …. glorifies… magnifies my mother ….



Game Over: “Madrina” Enriqueta Vargas Oficia el Primer Velorio Estilo Santa Muerte

Los bautismos y las bodas realizados por lideres del culto a la Santa Muerte son cada vez mas comun en Mexico y en los Estados Unidos. Por ejemplo, Enriqueta Vargas, lideresa del Templo Santa Muerte Internacional ya los oficia semanalmente en Tultitlan, en las afueras de la Ciudad de Mexico. Siempre me parecia curioso que se realizaban bodas y bautismos pero no velorios y funerales. Dado que se trata de un culto a la muerte, no seria natural de ofrecer ritos funerarios tambien a los devotos?

smerickCuando hace un año le pregunte’ a la “Madrina” Enriqueta Vargas porque no hacia velorios me dijo que no creia que los devotos y sus familiares estuvieran listos para eso. Sin embargo, la lideresa preeminente del culto religioso de mayor crecimiento en las Americas cambio’ de opinion hace seis meses cuando el devoto Erick le pidio que oficiara su velorio. Lo que sigue es el relato, narrado por Enriqueta Vargas, del primer velorio Santa Muertista, realizado hace seis meses en la casa de la madre del difunto en Tizayuca, Hidalgo.

El chico se llamaba Erick, tendría como 31 años, murió al parecer de cirrosis. A él lo conocí en el templo, siempre llevaba las flores más bellas para la Santa. Cuando lo conocí tal vez tenía unos 27 años, es el chico que en mi libro narro que me llamó  en medio de una balacera y sin le dije “Que mi santa y el Padrino te hagan invisible a los ojos de tus enemigos”!

El pidió como última voluntad que yo fuera a darle oración .Sabes con Erick sucedió lo siguiente: Sentí mucho dolor y tristeza porque estaba muy joven, su esposa quedó embarazada y su nena como de 3 años. Llegué lo miré en ese ataúd, su cuerpo inerte, estaba tan hinchado que apenas si podía reconocerlo, ya tenía varias horas de muerto sin embargo pude abrir sus manos y colocar una pequeña imagen de la Santa Muerte, después di la oración ya que él lo pidió y por último escribí GAME OVER en sus párpados. Por cierto que tan pronto coloqué la imagen de la Santa en sus manos, ya no pudieron abrirlas por nada. Y cuando terminé de dar esta oración sus labios parecieron sonreír.


En el nombre de DIOS PADRE de mi SANTISIMA MUERTE, amén. Te rogamos madre recibas nuestras súplicas en éste día y te pedimos con toda la eucaristía consueles a los desamparados, a los hermanos ausentes, a los que viven en guerra, a los que trabajan, a los pobres, a los ricos, a los creyentes, a los incrédulos, a los piadosos, a los incongruentes, y sobre todo a nosotros tus hijos presentes ahora y en la hora de nuestro encuentro…. AMEN

PADRE NUESTRO……. Madre mía mi SANTA MUERTE, yo, como el más humilde de tus hijos te pido, te ruego me permitas llegar ante ti en la hora y el momento indicado SIN DOLOR, SIN TEMOR Y CON FE te rogamos señora, te rogamos señora, te rogamos señora.

PADRE NUESTRO……….. ¡Oh SANTA MUERTE! madre en mi adversidad madre en mi desconsuelo reina y señora en el bien y el mal. ¡Oh SANTA MUERTE! cuerpo y sangre de tus hijos paciencia en las inclemencias y redentora del señor. Implacable vencedora triunfadora en el amor el amor que te profeso el amor que hoy te doy.

PADRE NUESTRO……… ¡Oh mi madre bondadosa! poseedora de mi alma en tu mano está mi triunfo y en tu manto protección en tu guadaña el destino y en tu ser todo el amor. SANTA MUERTE niña blanca la pureza es tu don. SANTA MUERTE niña negra tu calor es protección. SANTA MUERTE niña roja tu amor es bendición. SANTA MUERTE niña de oro prosperidad emotiva prosperidad es lo de hoy a caudales lo recibo y a caudales te lo doy.

PADRE NUESTRO……….. ¡Oh SANTISIMA MUERTE! en silencio sigo aquí en espera del momento que me ha de llevar a ti entregándome en tus brazos al amparo de tu amor en tu regazo divino y abrazado de tu don en él, descansaré yo.

¡Oh SANTISIMA MUERTE! reina, madre y universo claro, obscuro y realidad pongo en ti mi vida entera con entera dignidad ya que mi alma está contigo en cuerpo, mente y corazón. Y ha de llegar el hastío que culmine en nuestra entrega donde pase a ser etéreo y a formar parte de ti. Consagrando a ti mi muerte y lo que hasta hoy tengo aquí mi ser, mi amor, mi vida, mi muerte, mi todo. Madre nuestra que estás en la tierra bendita eres tu ven a nosotros señora hágase tu voluntad en nuestra vida como en la muerte danos hoy la protección de cada día y recibe nuestras plegarias aquí en la tierra como en el cielo en lo claro como en lo obscuro en lo bueno y en lo adverso no nos dejes decaer y danos tu protección.

SANTA MUERTE, madre de todos ruega a DIOS por todos nosotros ahora y en la hora de nuestro encuentro….AMEN. (se hincan) En el nombre sea de Dios Padre de mi Madre mi Santísima Muerte….Amén. Tu que reinas por los siglos de los siglos reina señora en todos tus hijos y danos la paz. Para mantenernos limpios para mantenernos puros danos madre la luz que alumbra en toda tu casa. Y consérvanos siempre así…. aquí contigo…. aquí por ti…. (nos ponemos de pie y levantamos nuestras manos hacia el cielo)

ALABADO SEA EL SEÑOR QUE ESTA EN EL CIELO ALABADA SEA MI MADRE QUE LO GLORIFICA…. Glorifica entonces señora querida…. a éstos tus hijos. Y calma las inclemencias y adversidades de éste mi ser…. Con tu clemencia eterna y tu santísimo don. Ruego yo…. Se digne en mi, una gracia plena en un mejor plano, para llegar ante DIOS y ante TI limpio…. puro y crear lo increíble!!! para destruir lo indestructible!!! para narrar lo inenarrable!!! Es así mi madre eterna mi Santísima Muerte que hoy me presento ante ti. para que clarifiques mi mente mi cuerpo y mi alma y llamar ante mis ojos a tu Santísimo ser.

“SANTA MUERTE” tus hijos te claman…. (3 veces) Santísima Muerte tu reinas en mi ser y te pedimos por un día mas de vida por un día mas de luz por un mañana sin obscuridad por una noche iluminada por un mundo mejor. (hínquense hermanos) Gracia plena a nuestra santísima madre en gracia plena a nuestro santísimo ser. (Cierren todos sus ojos, ambas manos al pecho) Oh gran señora!!! Hoy inclino mi rostro en reverencia hacia ti y resplandezco en la tierra como resplandece el sol. Uno mi voz a tu voz Uno mi ser a tu ser…. pongo mi vida en tus manos uno mi muerte a la vez. Ya que mi alma está contigo en cuerpo, mente y corazón. Madre mía mi Santa Muerte hoy declino mi postura y me afianzo hacia ti para lograr la cordura que hoy depositas en mí trayendo hacia ti mi madre lo mas grandioso de mi…. mi ser, mi amor, mi vida, mi muerte, mi todo. Por un mundo a favor tuyo por una lucha incansable por una guerra implacable por lo que debemos vencer, las dudas, los mitos, los miedos, los temores mas profundos, las carencias mas sensibles. Es aquí mi madre eterna que te otorgo esa voz esa voz y sentimiento que comparto hoy aquí por un voto de silencio que es un voto hacia ti. (guardamos unos minutos de silencio) Mis ojos están cerrados porque te estoy viendo a tí….

SANTA MUERTE!!! Ruega señora por nosotros tus devotos ahora y en la hora de nuestro encuentro…. AMEN. Mente sana en cuerpo sano sea así en lo natural y lo real libéranos de todo mal…. AMEN. Cuerpo a mente mente a cuerpo salud al cuerpo claridad a la mente prosperidad al hogar abundancia a mi vida ¡¡¡Eternidad a mi muerte!!! Ruego yo y mi cuerpo entero ante mi madre divina y realizo hoy la plegaria la plegaria de mi ser…. ¡¡¡MADRE MIA!!! Mi Santa Muerte hoy vengo como el mas humilde de tus hijos…. A rogarte…. a implorarte…. a venerar tu santísimo ser.

QUE NUESTRA SANTISIMA MUERTE DESCIENDA SOBRE NOSOTROS. Hermanos!!! abran sus ojos!!! alcen su rostro!!! levanten sus manos hacia un DIOS vivo…. que hoy habita y yace en ésta su casa…. a través de nuestra Santísima Muerte madre en nuestra adversidad madre en el desasosiego…. reina y señora en el bien y el mal. cubre nuestro cuerpo…. eleva nuestro ser…. glorifícanos…. maxificanos mi madre….

GLORIA A DIOS PADRE GLORIA A MI MADRE ¡¡¡MI SANTISIMA MUERTE!!! AMEN. Levántense todos hermanos vamos a darnos la mano en señal de amistad y hermandad. QUE DIOS PADRE Y MI MADRE MI SANTISIMA MUERTE LOS BENDIGA HOY, MAÑANA Y SIEMPRE.

The Occult Philosophy of the Pentagram & the Cult of St. Death



The pentagram or pentangle is a widely used symbol in popular  spirituality. Commonly associated with Wicca and Neo-Paganism in the United States, in Latin America the availability and distribution of low cost reprints of grimoires, chapbooks on ritual magic and various anthologies focused on practical instruction in ‘occult science’ provide  interpretations based on the work of figures like 16th century Catholic philosopher Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486?-1535) and the 19th century French Catholic Magician, Eliphas Levi (1810-1875) – based on these sources the following selections provide context for the use of the pentagram in the Santa Muerte tradition:

op2_66.gifCHAP. XXIII. Of Geometrical Figures and Bodies, by what vertue they are powerful in Magick, and which are agreeable to each Ele∣ment, and the Heaven. (Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa) 

Geometricall Figures also arising from numbers, are con∣ceived to be of no less power. Of these first of all, a Circle doth answer to Unity, and the number ten; for Unity is the Center, and circumference of all things; and the number ten being heaped together returns into a Unity from whence it had its beginning, being the end and complement of all numbers.

A circle is called an infinite line in which there is no Terminus a quo, nor Terminus ad quem, whose beginning and end is in every point, whence also a circular motion is called infinite, not according to time, but according to place; hence a circular being the largest and perfectest of all is judged to be most fit for bindings and conjurations; Whence they who adjure evil spirits, are wont to environ themselves about with a circle.

A Pentangle also, as with the vertue of the number five hath a very great command over evil spirits, so by its lineature, by which it hath within five obtuse angles, and without five acutes, five double triangles by which it is surrounded. The interior pentangle containes in it great myste∣ries, which also is so to be enquired after, and understood; of the other figures, viz. triangle, quadrangle, sexangle, septangle, octangle, and the rest, of which many, as they are made of many and divers insections, obtain divers significations and ver∣tues according to the divers manner of drawing, and propor∣tions of lines, and numbers.


Front and back of a popular Santa Muerte amulet.

The Egyptians, and Arabians confirmed that the figure of the Cross hath very great power, and that is the most firm receptacle of all Celestial powers, and intelligencies, because it is the rightest figure of all, containing foure right angles, and it is the first description of the super∣ficies, having longitude and latitude: And they said it is inspired with the fortitude of the Celestials, because their fortitude results by the straitness of angles and rayes: And stars are then most potent when they possess four corners in the figure of the heaven, and make a cross, by the projection of their rayes mutually. It hath moreover (as we shewed before) a very great correspondency with the numbers 5. 7. 9. most po∣tent numbers. It was also reckoned by the Egyptian Priests, from the beginning of Religion amongst sacred letters, signi∣fying amonst them allegorically the life of future salvation. It was also impressed on the Picture of Serapis, and was had in great veneration amongst the Greeks. But what here belongs to Religion we shall discuss elsewhere.


Tetragramaton en plato para el altar (Image: Instituto Arcano) 

This is to be observed, whatsoever wonderfull thing figures work when we write them in Papers, Plates, or Images, they do not do it but by the vertue acquired from sublimer figures, by a certain affecti∣on which a natural apitude or resemblance procures, in as much as they are exactly configured to them, as from an opposite wall the Eccho is caused, and in a hollow glass the collection of the solarie rayes, which afterward reflecting upon an oppo∣site body, either wood, or any combustible thing, doth forth∣with burne it: or as an Harpe causeth a resounding in an o∣ther Harpe, which is no otherwise but because a sutable and a like figure is set before it, or as two strings on a Harpe being touched with an equall distance of time, and modulated to the same intention, when one is touched the other shakes also: Also the figures, of which we have spoken, & what characters so∣ever concern the vertues of the Celestial figures as they shall be opportunely impressed upon things, those ruling, or be rightly framed, as one figure is of affinity with, and doth express an other. And as these are spoken of figures, so also they are to be understood of Geometrical bodies, which are a Sphear, a Tetracedron, Hexacedron, Octocedron, Icocedron, Dodeca∣cedron, and such like.

SANTA_MUERTE_1.jpgNeither must we pass over what figures Phythagoras and his followers, Timeus, Locrus, and Plato assigned to the Elements and Heavens: for first of all they assigned to the earth a four square, and a square of eight solid angles, and of twenty four plains, and six bases in form of a Dice: to the fire, a Pryamis of a four triangular basis, and of so many solid angles, and of twelve plaines; to the aire Octoce∣dron, of eight triangular bases, and six solid angles, and twenty four plains: and lastly, to Water they have assigned Icoce∣dron twenty bases, twelve solid angles: To the Heaven they have assigned Dodecacedron of twelve five cornered bases, and twenty solid angles, and sixty plaines. Now he which knows the powers, relations, and proprieties of these figures, and bodies, shall be able to work many wonderful things in Natural and Mathematical Magick, especially in Glasses. And I knew how to make by them wonderful things, in which any one might see whatsoever he pleased at a long distance.

libro_el_poder_de_tetragrammaton.JPGAn excerpt from The Ritual of Transcendental Magic (Eliphas Levi) 

Christ signifies priest and king by excellence. The Christ-initiator of modern times came to form new priests and new kings by science and, above all, by charity. The ancient Magi were priests and kings, and the Saviour’s advent was pro- claimed to them by a star. This star was the magical Pentagram, having a sacred letter at each point. It is the symbol of intelligence which rules by unity of force over the four elementary potencies; it is the Pentagram of the Magi, the Blazing Star of the Children of Hiram, the prototype of equilibrated light. Towards each of its points a beam of light ascends, and from each a beam goes forth; it repre- sents the Grand and Supreme Athanor of Nature, which is the body of man. The magnetic influence issues in two rays from the head, from either hand and either foot. The positive ray is balanced by the negative. The head corresponds with the two feet, each hand with a hand and foot, each of the two feet with the head and one hand. This ruling sign of equilibrated light represents the spirit of order and harmony; it is the sign of the omnipotence of the Magus, and hence, when broken or incorrectly drawn, it represents astral intoxication, abnormal and ill-regulated projections of Astral Light and therefore bewitchments, perversity, madness-all that, in a word, which the Magi term the Signature of Lucifer. There is another signature which also symbolizes the Mysteries of Light, namely, the Sign of Solomon, whose talismans bear on one side the impression of his seal which we have given in our “Doctrine,” and on the other the following signature which is the hieroglyphic theory of the composition of magnets and represents the circulatory law of the lightning.


El Altar del Mago Blanco (Image: Instituto Arcano)

Rebellious spirits are enchained by the exhibition of the five-pointed Blazing Star or the Seal of Solomon, because each gives them proof of their folly and threatens them with a sovereign power capable of tormenting them by their recall to order. Nothing tortures the wicked so much as goodness. Nothing is more odi- ous to madness than reason. But if an ignorant operator should make use of these signs without knowing them, he is like a blind man who discourses of light to the blind, an ass who would teach children to read. 

“If the blind lead the blind,” said the Great and Divine Hierophant, “both fall into the pot.”

And now a final word to recapitulate this entire introduction. If you be blind like Samson when you cast down the pillars of the temple, its ruins will crush you. To command Nature we must be above Nature, by resistance of her attractions. If your mind be perfectly free from all prejudice, superstition and incredulity, you will rule spirits. If you do not obey blind forces, they will obey you. If you be wise like Solomon, you will perform the works of Solomon; if you be holy like Christ, you will accomplish the works of Christ. To direct the currents of the inconstant light, we must be established in the constant light. To command the elements, we must have overcome their hurricanes, their lightnings, their abysses, their tem- pests. In order to DARE we must KNOW; in order to WILL, we must DARE; we must WILL to possess empire and to reign we must BE SILENT.


IX.-MYSTERIES OF THE PENTAGRAM AND OTHER PANTACLES. (excerpt from Eliphas Levi’s The Mysteries of Magic)

Pentagram_(Levi).jpgThe pentagram expresses the mind’s domination over the elements and it is by this sign that we bind the demons of the air, the spirits of fire, the specters of water, and the ghosts of earth. It is the star of the Magi, the burning star of the Gnostic schools, the sign of intellectual omnipotence and autocracy.

Its complete comprehension is the key of two worlds – it is absolute natural philosophy and natural science. Its use, however, is most dangerous to operators who do not completely and perfectly understand it…

All mysteries of magic, all symbols of the gnosis, all figures of occultism, all kabbalistic keys of prophecy, are resumed in the sign of the pentagram; which Paracelsus proclaims to be the greatest and most potent of all. It is indeed the sign of the absolute and universal synthesis.


Templo Santa Muerte – Los Angeles, California (L. Morales, 2012)

  • Agrippa, Henry Cornelius Agrippa, trans. John French (1616-1657), Three books of occult philosophy written by Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim  ; translated out of the Latin into the English tongue by J.F. (1651)
  • Levi, Eliphas (Alphonse Louis Constance), trans. A.E. Waite, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (Rider & Company, England, 1896.)
  • Levi, Eliphas (Alphonse Louis Constance), trans. A.E. Waite, The Mysteries of Magic – A Digest of the Writings of Eliphas Levi (George Redway, London, 1896)


PDF versions for some of these sources are available at The Esoteric Archives and  The International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals

St. Death & the Elves – Curious clues to the origins, associations & correspondences of la Nina Blanca


Cowardly defamers, here I stand. I walk with the elf. Let their courage fall, their hairs stand on end, and let terror and fear reign them.” 

 – from the Invocation of Don Diego Duende

The Magical Powers of the Holy Death, published in English by Jaguar Books’ Cali Casa imprint, and available in Spanish from Ediciones S.M., has what at first glance seems to be a very odd addition – an invocation to Don Diego Elf.  Mentioning an ‘elf’ in regard to Santa Muerte’s magical powers may appear out of place when so much of the news surrounding her presence relates to urban issues of criminality and drug trafficking. Yet this invocation speaks to her lingering lineage as a powerful figure associated with curanderismo, brujeria and other traditions of practical faith. 

Don Diego Duende” opens a vision for us to understand traditional practices where “elves” and other elemental spirits often intermix with the residual shades of the dead to heal, help, harm, protect and teach those who seek empowerment from and communion with the invisible realms of nature. As we investigate these ties we also discover a series of incredible correspondences related to la Nina Blanca, illuminating some of the hidden corners of her contemporary emergence…

To read more about St. Death’s role as a power spirit of magical initiation CLICK HERE to head over to ERIS Magazine for St. Death & the Elves – Curious clues to the origins, associations & correspondences of la Nina Blanca!

Photoset of the 14th Anniversary of Santa Muerte in Tepito

Santa Muerte devotees flocked to Tepito, Mexico City’s most notorious barrio, on Halloween night, 2015, to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the founding of the first public shrine by former quesadilla vendor, Enriqueta Romero. On October 31, 2001, Romero made history by setting her life-size effigy of the skeleton saint outside on the sidewalk in front of her home. The first public display of Saint Death marks the transition from what used to be an occult veneration unknown to the great majority of Mexicans to the public devotion that it is today, claiming some 10 to 12 million devotees among Mexico, the U.S., Central America and beyond. Mexico City photographer Toni Francois and I have teamed up on several occasions.Her stunning photos of the 14th anniversary celebration are found here.

Las Dos Mayores Líderes de La Santa Muerte en México Finalmente Se Conocen

Las dos Enriquetas finalmente se reunieron hace dos semanas en Tepito, el famoso barrio de la Ciudad de México. Para aquellos que no han estado siguiendo el desarrollo del mayor del nuevo movimiento religioso de mayor crescimiento en las Américas, las Enriquetas son las dos principales líderes de la Santa Muerte en México. Enriqueta Romero, cariñosamente conocida como Doña Queta, es la pionera devocional que involuntariamente transformó una práctica oculta, conocida por muy pocos mexicanos, en la devoción creciente que reclama de unos 10 a 12 millones miembros, la mayoría no solo en México, Centroamérica y Estados Unidos, sino también en los cuatro rincones del mundo. Fue el hecho de colocar la estatua de tamaño natural de la santa esqueletica en la acera frente a su modesta casa en Halloween del 2001, que marcó la salida pública de la santa popular clandestina.

La otra Enriqueta, con el apellido Vargas, quien inició la visita a Doña Queta, es la evangelista de la Muerte. En su templo de la Santa Muerte Internacional en las polvorientas orillas de la Ciudad de México, Vargas predica carismáticamente las buenas nuevas de la Santa Muerte a ex-prisioneros, góticos, amas de casa y otros que ven a la Flaquita como su protectora y proveedora en las arduas inmediaciones de la clase popular en la Ciudad de México. A diferencia de la pionera en Tepito que ha sido veneradora de  la santa muerte desde que era una niña, Vargas sólo se convirtió en una creyente de la Huesuda después de que su hijo Jonathan Vargas, alias Comandante Pantera, fue asesinado con una lluvia de 150 balas que penetraron en su Escalade en julio del 2008.

El Comandante Pantera había fundado el templo de la Santa Muerte en Tultitlán y erigió la estatua más grande del mundo de la santa esqueletica, con unos 23 metros de altura, gigantesca estatua de fibra de vidrio que se cierne más grande que la vida sobre el barrio. Fue su batalla incansable por encontrar a los asesinos de su hijo que llevaron a  Enriqueta Vargas a los brazos de consuelo de la Huesuda. En los siete años transcurridos desde la muerte de su hijo ha atraído a cientos de nuevos devotos a su templo y ha viajado extensamente por todo México e incluso a Nueva York tratando de unir a diversos templos y santuarios.

Y aunque yo nunca había oído hablar ni bien ni mal de lo que las Enriquetas hablan respectivamente una de la otra, siempre había asumido que la rivalidad les había mantenido separadas. Doña Queta, de unos 70 años y habiendo vencido recientemente cáncer de pulmón, no está interesada en ampliar sus operaciones y convertirse en un líder nacional. En contraste, la magnética Enriqueta Vargas es dueña de un autobús que la ha llevado en una gira a Playa del Carmen, a los estados de Hidalgo, Morelos y más allá. Vargas es elocuente, enérgica y dispuesta a hacer batalla con la Iglesia y el Estado para defender la libertad de adorar a la santa esqueletica, que ha sido condenada tanto por la Iglesia católica en México como por el propio Vaticano. Una inconformista, Vargas ha introducido algunas inovaciones rituales en su templo, que no se practican en Tepito. Bodas y bautizos en el nombre de la Santa Muerte son las dos más importantes que no sólo se realizan en su templo, sino también en las prisiones que ella visita una vez por semana.

La razón aparente de la visita de Vargas al famoso santuario de Tepito era de dar a Doña Queta un regalo que la pionera de la Santa Muerte en la ciudad de Nueva York, Arely Vázquez, había dado a Vargas para su entrega a Doña Queta cuando estuvieron juntas en la fiesta anual de Vázquez en Queens. Vázquez, una mexicana transexual que ha desarrollado un seguimiento considerable en Queens, llamó por teléfono para hablar con las Enriquetas durante su encuentro histórico en Tepito. Después de superar la emoción, las tres se comprometieron a mantenerse en contacto, y Doña Queta sermoneo a  Vargas sobre la importancia de cuidar su salud, para que no terminara prematuramente en los brazos de la Dama de las Sombras.

Más allá de la importancia histórica de la primera reunión de las principales figuras del nuevo movimiento religioso de mayor crecimiento en el hemisferio occidental, el encuentro también pone de relieve la importancia primordial de género en la devoción a la muerte. Junto con Arely Vázquez, las tres principales líderes devocionales son mujeres, y la santa misma es considerada de manera uniforme femenina, hasta tiene apodos tales como ‘niña’ niña blanca, niña bonita y flaquita. Después de haber estudiado la devoción por los últimos seis años, también he observado que las mujeres y las niñas superan a los varones significativamente en los santuarios y altares públicos.

La naturaleza femicentrica de la devoción a la Santa Muerte, por supuesto, ofrece continuidad con el mayor paisaje católico de México dominado por la expresión más popular del mundo de María, la Virgen de Guadalupe. Una frase escuchada frecuentemente en México es que los mexicanos son 90% católicos, pero 100% guadalupanos. Que mujeres devotas están venerando una santa femenina y asumiendo posiciones de liderazgo en los más altos niveles del movimiento es un gran contraste con la Iglesia y el Estado en México donde no pueden convertirse en clérigos y nunca han llegado a ser presidente de la república. En un país plagado por el sexismo y hasta el femicidio, la devoción a la muerte es uno de los pocos espacios más allá de la casa dónde las mujeres mexicanas ejecutan su propio espectáculo.

Traducido del ingles por Fabiola Chesnut