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 … Continue reading The Occult Philosophy of the Pentagram & the Cult of St. Death

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

Magic Works in Its Own Way – San Benito’s Santa Muerte Statues in perspective

“There are no accidents or haphazard events in this world of U.S.-Mexico witchcraft (brujeria).” - Dr. Antonio N. Zavaleta During my undergraduate studies I was fortunate to spend a few semesters with Dr. Joann Scurlock, a professional member of University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and an expert on folk magic practices around the world. She … Continue reading Magic Works in Its Own Way – San Benito’s Santa Muerte Statues in perspective

Marriage and la Madrina – Images from a wedding at El Templo de la Santa Muerte de Tultitlán

El Templo de la Santa Muerte de Tultitlan is quickly becoming one of the most stable and well developed devotional centers associated with Saint Death. The temple's proprietress, Enriqueta Vargas, recently traveled to New York City to meet with Queens shrine holder Arley Vazquez, marking one of the first cross country meetings of high profile … Continue reading Marriage and la Madrina – Images from a wedding at El Templo de la Santa Muerte de Tultitlán

Reflections on the First Academic Conference on Santa Muerte

Despite the fact that over 90% of Santa Muerte devotees live in Mexico and the U.S., the first ever academic conference http://www.centroestudiosmexicanos.nl/2014.html  dedicated exclusively to the skeleton saint was held in Europe, at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, on 11/21/14. Europeans have taken a particular interest in the growth of devotion to Saint … Continue reading Reflections on the First Academic Conference on Santa Muerte

Santa Muerte Shrine in Michoacan

The Santa Muerte shrine in the tiny Michoacan town of Santa Ana Chapitiro is one of the most impressive in Mexico. Built by a devotee from Mexico City, it contains exclusively handcrafted images of the skeleton saint. Devotees come from all over Mexico and the United States to leave offerings of thanksgiving and also to … Continue reading Santa Muerte Shrine in Michoacan

La Pieta – The Compassion of Most Holy Death

Mercy, pity, and compassion are not words that you will see outsiders associating with Santa Muerte, the skeletal saint whose tradition is currently one of the fastest growing religious movements in the Americas and around the globe. Yet, La Pieta, 'The Mercy,' Michelangelo's masterpiece depicting Mary cradling the peaceful body of Christ after the Crucifixion, … Continue reading La Pieta – The Compassion of Most Holy Death

Sister Death and Brother Francis at Holy Week in Chimayo, New Mexico

Santa Muerte’s origins in the U.S. date much further back than her recent influx with Mexican immigrants over the past decade.  During the 19th century in the mountain towns of New Mexico and southern Colorado, Mexican-American Catholics personified death as a female figure known as Doña Sebastiana, a moniker still heard today for Santa Muerte. … Continue reading Sister Death and Brother Francis at Holy Week in Chimayo, New Mexico

Death & Taxes – Santa Muerte, Saint of Good Fortune

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 … Continue reading Death & Taxes – Santa Muerte, Saint of Good Fortune

San Padrino Endoque – The first saint of Santa Muerte

At 3 a.m. on July 31st, 2008 unknown assailants sprayed Jonathan Legaria Vargas' car with over 150 bullets, killing him instantly but sparing his two passengers. Known as both "Padrino (Godfather) Endoque' and "Comandante Pantera," Vargas was a charismatically outspoken leader in the growing public devotional tradition surrounding Santa Muerte. With the creation of a … Continue reading San Padrino Endoque – The first saint of Santa Muerte