Cancun, Mexico's premier tourist destination, might be one of the last places one would imagine to have Santa Muerte temples and myriad devotees.
Mother’s Day is upon us, I have always had respect for la Virgen de Guadalupe, she like Santa Muerte carries sorrow, peace and love. But I connect with Santa Muerte because I have sat among death. I have watched Santa Muerte come and whisk someone away.
In this interview with a Mexican devotee of Santa Muerte who lives in Mexico City, he tells us about the Goddess of Death that protects him and his tattoos in honour of her.
According to the Roman Catholic Church, Santa Muerte and the Catholic faith are two distinct beliefs and practices, or one follows the Mexican folk saint of death, or one follows the church. The pope, bishops and priests have stated this already frequently for years now.
In late December 2020 I had the opportunity to visit the most elaborate Santa Muerte temple in the central Mexican state of Queretaro. There is an impressive array of images, many handcrafted. In contrast to the temple in Santa Ana Chapitiro, Michoacan, this one has a more masculine vibe. In fact during my visit I … Continue reading Photo-shoot of Santuario de la Santa Muerte in Queretaro, Mexico
The Tangibility of Devotion to Saint Death Photo Essay by Professor R. Andrew Chesnut and Doctor Kate Kingsbury, All photos and text copyrighted. Do not use without permission of authors. Despite the Church's insistence that Santa Muerte is satanic and that her devotees are heretics most Mexican Santa Muerte devotees consider themselves Catholic. They see … Continue reading The Materiality of Mother Muerte in Michoacan
By Anthropologist, Dr. Kate Kingsbury, D.Phil Oxford University. Yuri Mendez is a self-identified witch (bruja) and shaman (curandera) who ten years ago following a dream of Santa Muerte established the largest shrine dedicated to death in Cancun. She describes herself as `bruja de las tres virtudes` or `witch of the three virtues` and works with … Continue reading At Death`s Door in Cancun: Meeting Santa Muerte Witch Yuri Mendez
As an adjunct professor of anthropology Dr. Kate Kingsbury is not eligible for most research funding that is available to permanent and tenured professors so she has launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds from individual contributors. Many readers of Skeleton Saint are already familiar with her incisive work that focuses on the … Continue reading Emerging Scholar Seeks Funding Support for Cutting-Edge Research on Santa Muerte as Agent of Female Empowerment
As the sole female folk saint of death in the Americas, Santa Muerte has a special appeal to women, especially disprivileged Mexican mothers . In the piece below anthropologist Dr. Kate Kingsbury* considers the contours of devotion among rural women in coastal Oaxaca. -Rural Oaxaca, the outskirts of Pochutla, Mexico When we got home one … Continue reading Mighty Mexican Mothers: Santa Muerte as Female Empowerment in Oaxaca
La Casa de la Santa Muerte in the tiny Michoacan town of Santa Ana Chapitiro, just a 15-minute drive from Day of the Dead Mecca, Patzcuaro, is one of the most elaborate shrines to the Skeleton Saint in Mexico. Since I have family in Michoacan, the colorful temple was one of my first research sites … Continue reading Mexican Indigenous Death Goddesses Xaratanga and Mictecacihuatl Reimagined as Santa Muerte in Michoacan – Photoset