El Eposo de Doña Queta, Pionera de la Santa Muerte, Asesinado en Su Famoso Altar de Tepito

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Dona Queta y Andrew Chesnut a su famoso santuario de la Santa Muerte en tepito, verano de 2009. Condolencias a ella por la perdida de su marido gentil Rey Romero, que fue el primero en hablarle de la combinacion de colores devocional, que termino utiliza como marco de organizacion para ‘Devoted to Death.’ Descanse en paz Don Rey!

Se trata de una noticia en desarrollo y se actualizará a medida que nueva información llegue a SkeletonSaint.com

 

Traducido del ingles por Dra. Fabiola Lopez-Chesnut

Cuando estaban ofreciendo una vela votiva en la mañana temprano a la santa esqueletica de 7 de junio de, 2016 en la famosa capilla de la Santa Muerte fundada por Enriqueta Romero Romero (cariñosamente conocida como Doña Queta), Raymundo (Rey) Romero (se dice que tenia 70 años de edad) y Rafael Romero (según se informa de 65 años de edad) fueron baleados varias veces por dos asaltantes en una motocicleta. Raymundo es el espodo de mucho tiempo de Doña Queta el cual esta a cargo de la tienda de parafernalia de productos de la Santa Muerte al lado de la capilla, y Rafael es su hermano más joven que ayuda  en el sitio más importante de la prolifera devoción. Los dos hombres fueron trasladados a un hospital cercano, donde según los medios de comunicacion mexicanos, al menos uno de los hombres murio a causa de sus heridas.

 

(Ultimas noticias) Una Fuente en la Ciudad de México nos dice que uno de los hombres balaceados es el marido de doña Queta Rey que que ha muerto, mientras que el segundo hombre,  su hermano permanece en condición estable en el hospital. Ellos fueron los dos hombres que fueron llevados al  hospital después de los disparos. Como consecuencia de esta violencia un número de líderes de la Santa Muerte, incluyendo a Enriqueta Vargas lider de  la Santa Muerte Internacional y Martin George del Circulo Espiritual Nacional E Internacional de la Santa Muerte, se han presentado para expresar su apoyo y preocupación por doña Queta y su familia.

 

Mientras que la policía está investigando los informes,y  los posibles motivos, varios factores apuntan a un intento de asesinato. En primer lugar, Tepito es uno de los barrios más violentos de la Ciudad de México, un notorio centro de productos de contrabando, el tráfico de drogas y la guerra de bandas. Algunos taxistas a lo largo de los años, incluso se han negado a conducirme allí temiendo por su propia seguridad. En segundo lugar, todo lo relacionado con los puntos de disparo apunta a un golpe estilo ejecución.

El asesinato clásico de los cartels de Latinoamerica, iniciado por primera vez en Colombia en la década de 1980, involucra a dos jóvenes, un conductor y un tirador, en una motocicleta rápida cazan a su víctima (s) a corta distancia y luego huyen a toda velocidad, por lo general nunca son detenidos. Tanto la rapidez y la avanzada edad de las víctimas también señalan un intento de asesinato. Los robos callejeros normalmente no se llevan a cabo a las 7:00 de la mañana, y en Tepito y otros barrios de la Ciudad de México el índice de criminalidad de las víctimas son por lo general a personas más jóvenes que serían más propensos a traer  dinero en efectivo y objetos de valor en su persona.

 

En este punto prefiero no especular sobre porqué miembros de la familia de doña Queta podrían haber sido atacados o que podría estar detrás de él. Sin embargo, esta no es la primera vez que la violencia ha visitado una importante figura de la Santa Muerte. Enriqueta Vargas, ahora el líder maximo de la Santa Muerte en México y propietaria del Templo Santa Muerte Internacional en Tultitlán, en las afueras de la Ciudad de México, perdió a su hijo, Jonathan Legaria Vargas (alias Comandante Pantera) en una lluvia de unas 200 balas disparadas hacia su Cadillac Escalade en junio de 2008. Muchos mexicanos Santa Muertistas viven y trabajan en los barrios que se ven afectadas por la violencia. Entre otras cosas, rezan por una muerte santa, evitando el tipo de fallecimiento que al menos uno de los parientes de doña Queta ha sufrido.

 

Los devotos de todas las Américas están expresando su tristeza y el uso de la interconexión de los medios digitales para resaltar el apoyo unificado para el crecimiento de la tradición de la Santa Muerte como una que representa la caridad, la paz y la comunidad de amor.

Santa Muerte Pioneer Enriqueta Romero Mourns Her Slain Husband at Tepito Shrine

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(Featured photo courtesy of Mexico City-based journalist David Agren)

This is a developing news story and will be updated as new information comes in to SkeletonSaint.com.

As they were offering votive candles to the skeleton saint early morning June 7, 2016 at the famous Santa Muerte shrine founded by Enriqueta Romero Romero (affectionately known as Doña Queta),  Raymundo (Rey) Romero (70 years-old) and Rafael Romero (65) were shot several times by two assailants on a motorcycle. Raymundo was Doña Queta’s long-time husband who ran the Saint Death paraphernalia shop next to the shrine, and Rafael is her younger brother who helps out at the mushrooming devotion’s most important site. Both men were rushed to a nearby hospital where Don Rey died from his wounds, and Rafael Romero is in stable condition.

(Update) In a small prayer service for family members and close friends on June 8,  Doña Queta mourned her slain husband at her famed Tepito shrine.  In the wake of this violence a number of Santa Muerte leaders, including Enriqueta Vargas of Santa Muerte Internacional and Martin George of Circulo Espiritual Nacional E Internacional de La Santa Muerte, have come forward to express their support and concern for Doña Queta and her family.

While police are reportedly investigating possible motives, several factors point to an assassination. First, Tepito is one of Mexico City’s most violent barrios, a notorious center of contraband goods, drug trafficking and gang warfare. Some taxi drivers over the years have even refused to drive me there fearing for their own safety. Second, everything about the shooting points to an execution-style hit. The classic Latin American cartel assassination, pioneered in Colombia in the 1980s, involves two young men, a driver and a shooter, on a fast motorcycle hunting down their victim(s) at close range and then speeding away, usually never to be caught. Both the timing and advanced ages of the victims also point to an assassination attempt. Street robberies don’t normally take place at 7:00 in the morning, and in Tepito and other crime-ridden Mexico City neighborhoods the victims are usually younger people who would be more likely to carry cash and valuables on their person.

At this point I’d rather not speculate on why Dona Queta’s family members might have been targeted or who might be behind it. However, this isn’t the first time that violence has visited a major Santa Muerte figure. Enriqueta Vargas, now the top Santa Muerte leader in Mexico and proprietress of Santa Muerte Internacional Temple in Tultitlan, on the outskirts of Mexico City, lost her son, Jonathan Legaria Vargas (aka Comandante Pantera) in a hail of some 200 bullets pumped into his Cadillac Escalade in June, 2008. Many Mexican Santa Muertistas live and work in neighborhoods that are plagued by violence. Among other things, they pray for a Holy Death (one of the English translations of Santa Muerte), avoiding the type of demise that Raymundo Romero suffered.

Devotees across the Americas are expressing their sadness and using the interconnectivity of digital media to highlight the unified support for the growth of Santa Muerte’s tradition as one that represents charity, peace and loving community.

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Doña Queta and Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut at her famed Santa Muerte shrine in Tepito, summer 2009. Condolences to her for losing her gentle husband Rey Romero, who was the first to tell Dr. Chesnut about the devotional color scheme, which ended up being used as the organizational framework for “Devoted to Death.” R.I.P. Don Rey!

Photography of Faith – Santa Muerte in Sulphur Springs, Texas

Digital imagery has become a central element of the growth and development of Santa Muerte’s devotional tradition. Altar photographs are especially popular and provide devotees with a way to publicly express their appreciation for la Santisima’s place in their life. Some of the most intimate altar photography that I’ve come across during my research is being shared by Hank Vine, a U.S. devotee in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Enjoy this selection of photography which illustrates the life and devotion of a ‘hillybilly monk’ who has fallen deeply in love with la Nina:

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You can also Click Here to enjoy a bit of Hank’s homespun wisdom from his collaboration with north east Georgia Santa Muerte devotee, C. Gordon Perry:

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The Grim Reapress Returns to London: Dr. Andrew Chesnut to Lecture on Santa Muerte at Treadwell’s and London Society of Death in Early July

Join Professor Andrew Chesnut, author of ‘Devoted to Death,’ the only academic book in English on the Mexican skeleton saint, at Treadwell’s Bookshop on July 1, 2016  for ‘Santa Muerte, Love Sorceress: ‘Come to me .. or else!’ Click here for tickets and information. Then on July 6, head over to the London Society of Death for ‘Santa Muerte: The Patron Saint of Mexican Drug Cartels?’ Click here for tickets and information.

 

Come to me, or else! Santa Muerte, the Love Sorceress, An Illustrated Lecture with Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut

The Love Sorceress.jpgOn Monday, May 30th, at 7pm join Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York where he will be exploring the Bony Lady’s fascinating role as Love Sorceress!

While Santa Muerte, the Mexican saint of death, usually appears as a fierce narco-saint in mass media, TV and film, her oldest and most popular role is that of love sorceress – mending, binding and even breaking hearts in Mexico and the United States.

The oldest known Santa Muerte prayer is one for women who believe their man is cheating on them:

Bring him to me humbly surrendered at my feet, and come now because I’m calling you and dominating you! You will not know peace until you return to my side. In the same way that I stick this needle the candle, I want thoughts of me to pierce your heart so that you forget about the woman you’re seeing and come back to me

Even today, when popular devotion has raised her up as a multifaceted and mutli-tasking miracle worker, the skeleton saint’s number one selling votive candle is the color crimson for petitions of love and passion. In this illustrated lecture, Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut will illuminate the history, development and importance of la Patrona del Amor and offer insights into Saint Death’s emergence as the fastest growing new religious movement in the Americas.

For more information  CLICK HERE.

If you are in the London area, Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut will be presenting at Treadwell’s Books on July 1st! For more information CLICK HERE.

(Image credit: C. Gordon Perry)

La Santisima es Justicia – Reckless Reporters Face the Truth

Fear and ResilienceAn anonymous comment on a SkeletonSaint.com post says simply –

La Santisima es justicia (The Most Holy is justice) 

This can be taken in a number of ways – seen through the lens of recent news stories about a Border Patrol raid on a trailer in Edinburg, Texas it speaks to how Santa Muerte’s iconography has become a sign post for testing the veracity and social effects of the media.

Here justice is the inevitable revelation of the truth behind the misinformation, fear mongering, and lassitude of most contemporary news outlets.

Andrew Chesnut and I predicted that the Border Patrol official report’s misidentification of Santa Muerte as a ‘Goddess of Death‘ and the subsequent repetition of this misinformation and continued misuse of the ‘narco-saint‘ and ‘narco-deity‘ tropes through various media outlets would lead to distrust and fear being spread throughout the community. True to our assessment, a news report from Amy Martinez at KVEO, an NBC affiliate in Brownsville, Texas, (which itself is just part of the cycle of fear) shows that this is beginning to take place as indicated by a resident quoted in the piece, who says:

“We haven’t lived here very long, but who would’ve thought something like this would happen. Especially dealing with that goddess of death. It’s scary and dangerous,”

It’s fitting that this report comes out today, on Friday the 13th, a day that is remembered for the 14th century execution of Jacques de Molay, commander of the Knights Templar, by French authorities on false charges of heresy and witchcraft.

Another news story appearing today shows how ‘justicia’ represents the inevitable judgement which falls on those who think that corruption in one area of their life can be isolated from the rest of it. U.S. Marshall Robert Almonte, who has been responsible for spreading misinformation about Santa Muerte in his presentations on ‘narco-spirituality’ to police forces through the Americas, resigned in shame on Thursday due to charges of misuse of agency resources and violation of official policies.

Almonte was faced with a previous public shaming related to his self-declared expertise when his court room testimony on Santa Muerte was labeled ‘psychobabble’ by a panel of federal appeals court judges:

“…a panel of federal appeals court judges in New Mexico ruled that Almonte did not qualify as an expert on Santa Muerte – despite his claims that he’d spent “hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours” studying the topic.

His suggestion that a Santa Muerte prayer alone could be evidence of a crime “approaches psychobabble,” the panel said in a July 2014 ruling throwing out two drug convictions.

In denouncing Almonte’s testimony as baseless, the appellate panel borrowed language from the Salem witch trials.

“Almonte’s testimony essentially painted the defendants in this case as heretics, holding beliefs ‘not recognized by the Catholic Church,’ ” the judges’ wrote in their ruling overturning the convictions of two defendants and ordering a new trial.

Almonte declined an interview request and did not respond to written questions.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service said she would not comment on news reports saying Almonte was being investigated by the agency’s inspector general for failing to report payments he’d received for unauthorized training presentations.”

This is a very good lesson for anyone who would present themselves as a subject matter expert in an area that affects the lives of others. His bias in reporting on Santa Muerte, which has helped to demonize and raise paranoia about Saint Death throughout the justice department and mainstream media, was just one element of his willingness to violate his duty in other areas. Now the truth is out, and he is forced to face a dishonorable resignation and the repercussions of his loose relationship with the facts.

La Santa Muerte es justicia – and the balance that she holds in her hand is equal for every child, woman and man – when the time comes for judgement may we all be humble, honest and sincere lest we be weighed in the balance and found wanting and face her scythe as an instrument of punishment rather than a tool of harvest.

“The new king of Babylon, was livin’ it up.. Laughin’ and drinkin’…..from God’s Holy cup…… When out of nowhere, there appeared this hand, writin’ words on the wall that he could not understand….. His knees started knocking….. he turned pale and cold, and this is what the words foretold…

You’ve been weighed in the balance and found wanting – The handwriting’s on the wall. If you don’t understand, that you don’t mess with God, than you don’t know the truth at all.”

 

Stash House Goddess: Media Portrayals of Santa Muerte

10968377_705857439512416_7077266381285409263_n.jpgCertain media outlets, such as Breitbart continue the trend of inaccurate and fear mongering reporting on Santa Muerte (see: 37 Illegal Aliens Found in ‘Goddess of Death’ Shrine House).  As Dr. Andrew Chesnut points out in his Twitter post of this link, neither devotees nor scholars refer to Santa Muerte as a “goddess of death.”

This report also includes mention of the surreal San Benito Santa Muerte scare that was fostered by University of Texas at Brownsville  anthropologist, Dr. Antonio Zavaleta, referred to at the time as an “occult expert” who put his personal beliefs over any sense of scholarly objectivity and encouraged the local news media to provoke a  witchcraft panic over Santa Muerte statues that appeared in the town.

For a deeper look at the San Benito incident and an analysis of why it is so important for the media to get the story right when it comes to Santa Muerte see: Magic Works in Its Own Way – San Benito’s Santa Muerte statues in perspective

One of the things that Dr. Andrew Chesnut and I have observed again and again with media reports regarding Santa Muerte is that all too often journalists simply do not research or reflect on what they are writing. Or they simply recycle and reformat information in ways that do not reflect an accurate portrait of the situation without contacting the source. Devotion to Santa Muerte is now the fastest growing new religious movement in the Americas. In 2001 devotees numbered only in the thousands. Now, just 15 years later, we estimate some 10 to 12 million, mostly concentrated in Mexico, Central America and the U.S. The sheer magnitude of devotion to Saint Death demands that new outlets, especially on the U.S.- Mexican border, report on it with a sense of professional integrity.

Co-authored by David B. Metcalfe and Dr. Andrew Chesnut