Translated by Dr. Kate Kingsbury from an interview in Spanish with a devotee of death from Mexico City, via digital ethnographic field methods during this time of COVID. Special thanks to them for telling me their story and sharing these photos. You can follow them on twitter, for beautiful prayers and pics, at @SantaMuerteCDMX
I go to the Santa Muerte Rosary every first of the month at Doña Queta’s shrine. I am blessed that I have been healthy enough to go all year. I pack my two largest statues in my backpack and head off to Tepito so that they too may be blessed. All sorts of people go the Rosary. You see many who have just been released from jail or who have drug addiction problems. But nobody messes with anybody else. We are all united by our faith to la Niña Blanca.
At the Rosary I thank Santa Muerte for those favours I have received. I also pray for the ones I love and those who love me, especially those I worry about during these severe times. I ask la Madrina to let her light shine perpetually upon all those who have asked for it and to give them the strength that they and their family require. I ask la Niña Blanca not to let her faithful suffer from hunger, poverty, sickness; to care for all those who are going through a desperate situation of health, financially, workwise or in their lovelife. Last month’s rosary, April 2021, I petitioned her: “Dearest Santa Muerte, I ask you humbly to help all those who do not have work, nor their health and please I pray to you for the prisoners and anyone in a complicated situation, for all of them Niña Blanca, I raise a prayer.”
Photo taken of Dona Queta’s shrine on the Rosary of April 1st, 2021
Right now I am starting a business selling Santa Muerte bracelets, I decided to do this to honour her after I lost my job due to covid. I used to be the manager of a large gym. The pandemic has been very tough here. These bracelets are prepared for envy, protection or abundance, according to the client’s choice.
I became a devotee at 15 years old, I am 31 now. The truth is that Santa Muerte came into my life without me expecting it, at that age I felt very empty spiritually. My older brother had a poster of Santa Muerte in his bedroom, he was not devoted to death then, nor is he now. Maybe he just liked the “bad boy” image that she afforded him and furthermore the look the poster gave to his bedroom. Then I began to have terrible family problems and one day because I was so upset, I got down on my knees and kneeling before his poster of Santa Muerte, I began to pray to her. I asked her to help me solve my problem. Soon after this was resolved. Perhaps it was because my sincerity, pain and despair were so great that she chose to listen to me and help me. That’s when I started to worship her.
I set up my first proper altar at 18 years old. Some of the statues were gifts from a colleague who is also a devotee but many I bought myself. Although I work with Santisima Muerte in all her colours, on my altar I only have red and black statues. La Niña Negra (black Santa Muerte) is the most powerful of all, and black is my favorite color. I love my red statue too, she is so imposing. I offer Santa Muerte cigarettes, cigars, and red apples. I also like to give her salt, and clean water. Of course, candles are indispensable. I also put mezcal or tequila on my shrine and candy. On Day of the Dead I give her beer, as well as many flowers and foods.
She comes into your life when you least expect it and fills it with blessings and goodness. She is the Goddess who protects me. The roots of the belief date back to pre-Hispanic times, to Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecacihuatl, the god and goddess of death, darkness and Mictlán “the region of the dead”. Men and women who died of natural causes went to this place.
I wear a pendant of my Niña Blanca which I bring with me everywhere I go, just as I bring my faith for la Madrina with me everywhere I go. I also have several tattoos on my body of my Santa that I had done to thank her for favours received. One of the most significant miracles she performed for me was to free one of my family members from jail.
Another miracle she gave me was to aid my dear mother. She was suffering with a cancer that had gone on for too long. I prayed to la Santa Muerte to help me with that and my mother stopped suffering. She died. I felt at peace because I knew that My Saint had picked up her soul and taken her to rest with God our Lord. That is when I decided to have a prayer to Santa Muerte tattooed on my torso, because my connection with Santa Muerte is deeply spiritual. I open doors through prayer with her. Sometimes I dream of her and whenever I do she is always with my mother. When I wake up I feel an indescribable peace within me. The prayer reads as follows:
“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, I implore you Santa Muerte please give me all the favours I ask of you, until the last day and the last moment of time when your Divine Majesty orders me to your side and I am reunited with you forever. Beloved Death of my heart, never cease to protect me.”
Nobody destroys whom my Santa Muerte raises, nobody defeats whom my Santa Muerte protects, nobody curses whom my Santisima blesses, I am with my Niña Blanca and you?