La Santa Muerte: Mi Señora de las Sombras

Recently, I’ve had a lot of questions regarding my religion; what I believe, whom I worship, how my magic works- seemingly simple questions that have much more complicated answers than I could have foreseen. I mean, there isn’t a neat little summary of my practices (like many other religions have). It can’t be summed up in a sentence, a paragraph, or even a page.

Honestly, when my religion is boiled down to its very very very basic point- I can give a short answer. I worship the gods who control life. More precisely, I worship the gods who take it away.

You see, I am what is considered a hard polytheist. I believe all gods are separate- Isis is not Asherah, who is not Venus, who is not Hera. They are all separate, divine goddesses who each have their own personalities, limits, and powers. This does not mean I worship all of them, however. I only worship a handful of deities- those I feel a deep connection to, and feel the desire to keep altars to. They are not all of the same pantheon- and that’s totally okay.

The one I will highlight today is La Santa Muerte- the skinny lady, the white lady, our lady of the shadows. She is a folk saint, but in some practices has been upgraded to a near-deity status. She is a saint of safe passage into the afterlife, of protection and dominance, and of the outcasts of the world. She protects those who pray to her and pay her homage- and can grant favors regarding love, revenge, safe passage between borders (earthly and spiritual), and making ends meet (whether that is food, money, or transportation).

Now, I honestly believe Santa Muerte has a pretty bad rap here in the U.S. (please see this article regarding the negativity that follows her) due to the fact that many Mexican drug cartels actively pray to her. It’s a sad fact that such a deep, beautiful deity is demonized due to the negative connotations associated with a fraction of her devotees. I mean, if you refer back to my post regarding last year’s police incident, they felt the need to question me regarding her even slight presence in my home.

La Santa Muerte enjoys tequila, rum and mezcal, along with cigars, cigarettes, flowers of all colors, fresh fruit, and incense at her altar. With her I keep the images of both my father and mother, as her altar doubles as an ancestor altar, as well. Often I leave jack daniels in a shot glass, and I burn many candles on my altar using Jack Daniels bottles as candleholders (I use mexican-import coca-cola bottles for candleholders, as well. Jack and coke is a frequent offering at my altar).

Atlas Obscura

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