La Nina de Muchas Caras – The many faces of Santa Muerte

When one begins to search for Santa Muerte, it quickly becomes apparent that as she travels through the Americas, and now around the globe, she does so with an ever changing face. As death itself, she wears many masks, suited to the personal predilections of those she approaches. Although her devotees in Mexico and the … Continue reading La Nina de Muchas Caras – The many faces of Santa Muerte

Altares Digitales – Online offerings to Most Holy Death

Retablos, or devotional paintings, are a familiar aspect of Latin American Catholicism. These heart felt offerings, along with ex-votos which depict specific miracles, have become popular for their aesthetic qualities and as examples of folk art that transcends spiritual boundaries. The following ex-voto from 1935 gives an idea for those unfamiliar with the form, it … Continue reading Altares Digitales – Online offerings to Most Holy Death

Santa Muerte – Saint of Love

"In Sebastopol,California, at the Flea Market, where i first encountered her image on a novena booklet, which cost $9.00, i asked the old woman selling it, in my broken ugly Spanish: "La Santisima Meurte -- la razon por la que? [gesture of praying hands] Por que ... oracion? -- and she replied, "Matrimonio." - Catherine Yronwode, proprietor of Lucky … Continue reading Santa Muerte – Saint of Love

La Nina Negra – Angel de la Santa Muerte Protector Contra Enemigos

The latest update in the destruction of the Santa Muerte chapel in Matamoros, Tamulipas is an inflatable doll inscribed with curses against the current mayor Leticia Salazar Vazquez. This visceral symbol was found hanging from a footbridge in the Plaza Fiesta on January 15th, 2014. The effigy mentions Vazquez's roll in the demolition of sacred … Continue reading La Nina Negra – Angel de la Santa Muerte Protector Contra Enemigos

The Scythe That Divides – Thoughts on Santa Muerte and mainstream media bias

In researching Santa Muerte, and being in almost daily contact with leading Santa Muertistas such as Enriqueta Vargas and Martin George through the auspices of digital media, it never ceases to surprise me when I see the strange biases that crop up in mainstream media stories surrounding the tradition. While it would be understandable to … Continue reading The Scythe That Divides – Thoughts on Santa Muerte and mainstream media bias

The last enemy to be defeated is death – Clarification on the Catholic Church’s rejection of Santa Muerte

"Adorar a la santa muerte es un error grave y si algún creyente o católico sigue esto será por ignorancia o porque ya dejó la fe católica." "Worship of Saint Death is a grave error and if any man, woman or Catholic continues this, it will be through ignorance or because they already left the … Continue reading The last enemy to be defeated is death – Clarification on the Catholic Church’s rejection of Santa Muerte

Mexico’s Trinity of Death: Santa Muerte, Day of the Dead and Calavera Catrina, An Illustrated Overview

The season of death is at hand. Halloween and the Mexican death trinity of Day of the Dead, Catrina Calavera (Skeleton Dame), and Santa Muerte (Saint Death) engage millions of South and North Americans in rituals that reconnect us with our own mortality. Leaving aside the jack-o-lanterns and trick or treating of our own childhood … Continue reading Mexico’s Trinity of Death: Santa Muerte, Day of the Dead and Calavera Catrina, An Illustrated Overview

A Mother’s Love and a Soldier’s Devotion – Santisima Muerte in Perspective

(Originally published at ModernMythology.Net)  When you stare into the empty eyes of La Nina Blanca do you feel the resonant warmth of a mother's love? It's there, if you look deep enough, at least for those who pay her true devotion. Even those coming from a more objective distance can't help but notice the prevalence … Continue reading A Mother’s Love and a Soldier’s Devotion – Santisima Muerte in Perspective

Death to Santa Muerte: The Vatican vs. the Skeleton Saint

It was the declaration of Santa Muerte as an enemy of the Mexican state by former president Felipe Calderon that first sparked my interest in the skeletal folk saint. Identifying Santa Muerte as a "narco-saint" responsible for protecting certain drug cartels, the Calderon administration ordered the army to bulldoze some 40 shrines along the U.S.-Mexican … Continue reading Death to Santa Muerte: The Vatican vs. the Skeleton Saint

Santa Muerte: A Familiar Death

"For most devotees Santa Muerte is neither grim nor satanic. Instead, she is a saint who is as familiar to Mexicans as death itself. And her familiarity is reflected in her most common nicknames: Skinny Lady, White Sister, Godmother, Co-Godmother, White Girl and Pretty Girl. As godmother and sister, the saint becomes a supernatural family member, approached with the same type of intimacy Mexicans would typically accord their relatives. Much, of course, has been written about the uniqueness of the concept of death in Mexican culture. In his illuminating book on the subject, "Death and the Idea of Mexico," anthropologist Claudio Lomnitz even argues that death is totemic of the nation itself; that along with the Virgin of Guadalupe and 19th-century president, Benito Juarez, the figure of Catrina Calavera, the "playful skeleton." is one of the three great totems or powerful emblems of Mexicanness."