With tax time coming up for those living in the United States, many are searching for ways to help save them from the eager reach of the IRS. The ‘Revenue Man‘ has long been the enemy of those on the outside of the thin ranks of the social elite, so it’s no surprise that the powerful Patroness of the Dispossessed shows special care towards helping to increase the luck and fortune of those who seek her favor.
As devotion to Santa Muerte has grown, the traditional three colors of white, red and black associated with her ‘working’ aspect have expanded into more specified colors to deal with individual requests. For those who work exclusively with her original trinity, petitions are focused through what is offered at the altar and particular prayers. The popular market encourages diversity, however, and la Madre de la Buena Suerte has taken on a golden hue to represent her place as a potential provider of wealth.
In this aspect she can often be found cloaked in money, creating a striking demonstration of her powers over the fortunes of those who follow her. As in all of her manifestations, the open potential of ‘death itself’ is highlighted in the fact that she fills whatever need is at hand. Her icons, imagery and devotional representations become a powerful reminder of her prevailing position in every facet of her devotees’ life.
Dr. Andrew Chesnut has noted in his research that these innovations, alterations and adaptations have allowed her to supplant competing folk saints through a diverse line of spiritual products that take care of every need. This alone gives credence to the idea that where la Santisima appears, prosperity lies close at hand for those who know how to work with her. From conversations with a number of botanica owners, this even extends to those who simply support the needs of local devotees, despite their own disinterest in la Nina Bonita’s presence in their store.
As fast as her visual representations have developed, her devotees have been even quicker in developing oraciones (prayers) to their beloved Saint Death. The following is an example, in English, of a common prayer associated with Santa Muerte del Dinero:
In This Prayer It Says a Statue, but a Picture Will Work Just Fine,As Long As It Comes from Your Heart and Soul.
Prayer for Money.
I Come to Seek Your Help,
Bless Me and My Loved Ones Mi Madre
With Health, Work and Money.
Let the Flow of Gold, Silver and Green Rain Down on Me.
Bless Me With Steady Work.
Bless Me With Good Health.
Bless My Wallet With Extra Money.
and on Every Friday,
Nine Coins Will I Give to You,
a Yellow Flower I Will Give to You,
a Yellow Candle I Will Give to You
to Honor You and Thank You,
for Blessing Me With the Three Colors of Gold, Silver and Green.
and I Promise a Statue of You My Golden Queen.
a Gift That Comes from My Heart to You.
to Say Thank You Santa Muerte.
for Your Kindness.
to Thank You for Hearing My Prayer.
Here is another prayer associated with wealth in Spanish:
santa muerte madre mía
bendita señora “mi protectora”
hoy en este día, pongo mi fe entera en ti
para que multipliques el dinerito
que llevo en mi monedero o cartera
has que me dure y perdure
evítame de toda tentación innecesaria
y protégelo de toda rata y mala calaña
que sea tu santa señora mi guardiana y protectora
concédeme disfrutar del fruto de mi esfuerzo
conseguido limpiamente con mi trabajo arduo
que este dinerito que llevo, crezca como semilla
del amor de dios, y se multiplique cuantas veces yo
merezca; permíteme verla siempre llena
y nunca me dejes desamparado
llévame contigo y a tu lado
permíteme disfrutar de todas tus bendiciones…
santa muerte del dinero
llevo tu imagen en mi billetera
para que me bendigas con creces mi dinero
y siempre pueda agradecerte con mucho amor
evítame penas y tristezas, líbrame de angustias
quítame de enfermedades y siempre se tu mi
santa señora quien me de felicidad entera…
a cambio prometo tener tu altar lleno de regalos
y decoraciones, prometo dar testimonio de tus favores
prometo ganar mi dinero limpiamente, sin matar, asaltar
ni herir a nadie, sin afectar a mi prójimo, prometo
nunca invocar al mal o usarte para malas cosas
y prometo obedecer y guiarme por el camino de
nuestro señor DIOS PADRE “así sea”
en nombre del padre, del hijo y del espíritu santo…
deposita todo tu dinero y billetera, cada que llegues
de la calle con lo ganado o de que sobre de lo gastado…
pon una veladora dorada, un baso de agua,
monedas de chocolate en oro y las moneditas de cambio
así ella te lo multiplicara…
The note at the beginning of the prayer in English regarding substituting a picture as an object of devotional focus speaks to the utility which makes Santa Muerte so appealing to those seeking help in times of great need. It also shows the care that devotees feel Santa Muerte shows to those who seek her in true faith with a humble ‘heart and soul,’ no matter what means they use to approach her. AP Reporter, Russ Contreras, mentioned on Twitter that he’s using a digital development that takes advantage of this, the Santa Muerte Altar App, which creates instant altars for your iPhone:
While these innovations may seem to deviate from tradition, this is one of the aspects of her devotion that has allowed Santa Muerte to become the most popular folk saint in the Americas in less than a decade. She been able bring new vigor to the popular power of 20th century Afro-Latin spiritual work with the spread of her three color aspect, she has adapted elements of Afro-Carribean traditions, such as the ‘Siete Poderes‘ (Seven Powers,) and opened them up to more general use, and she has even been able to adapt her own traditions into new forms. The Santa Muerte Altar App follows on popular digital altar images (Click Here to read more about Santa Muerte’s digital altars) which serve the same purpose:
Whether she’s found in a vision, a home altar, a street side shrine or in a digital image, Santa Muerte makes her presence known with every tender tick of the clock. When she holds back her scythe from the chord of life she offers health, and when she holds back from cutting off avenues of wealth and well-being she can offer a healthy fortune. So when the tax collector comes around remember, whatever power they might think they have, Saint Death’s sitting around the corner waiting for them with a smile and an appointment sheet for a different kind of audit and when la Madre Poderosa is ready she doesn’t accept extensions.
* The prayers quoted in this piece can be found at SantaMuerte.org