Saint Death - The Sacred Lady of Death
The Catholic Church condemns her; drug cartels pray to her; and others adore her. Who is she? Is she angelic or demonic? Together, let us examine the facts and draw our own conclusions on this religious icon.
Recently, Santa Muerte (the Spanish term for Saint Death) has been the focus of attention. Several news reports have appeared on television. The reports have not been favorable.
A Mexican family murdered three acquaintances and offered their blood to Santa Muerte for exchange of blessings in health and wealth.
A mother plucked the eyes of her child with a spoon during a Santa Muerte ceremony. When questioned, she responded that the child would not close his eyes.
On March 2012, eight people were arrested in Mexico for murdering a woman and two boys while performing a human sacrifice in the name of Santa Muerte.
Are human sacrifices a part of Santa Muerte rituals, or are the above-mentioned violent acts isolated cases committed by demented and fanatical devotees who devise their own set of rules to satisfy their inner diabolical hunger?
Cult leaders, who claim that Saint Death does not demand human sacrifice, condemn these acts as abominations and a violation of their sacred beliefs.
R. Anderson Chesnut, author of Santa Muerte: The Skeleton Saint’s Deadly American Debut, states, “… most devotees, echoing the statements made by unofficial cult leaders, reject human sacrifice as a satanic aberration of ritual veneration of the Mexican folk saint. Sacrificial offerings such as food, drink, flowers and votive candles are a routine part of the devotion. As a parched skeleton, Santa Muerte is particularly fond of liquid offerings, such as water and tequila, but definitely not human blood.”
According to Wikipedia, “In Mexico, the Catholic Church has linked Santa Muerte to Satanism, and deemed Santa Muerte’s followers devil-worshiping cultists."
The majority of the Saint Death devotees disagree with the above-mentioned statement. They do not consider her to be satanic or view themselves as devil-worshippers. Many believe that she is, “...a fallen angel in purgatory trying to win back God’s favor, and that is the reason she grants so many miracles. Other devotees consider Santa Muerte to be an eighth archangel” (Wikipedia).
During a conversation with a friend, an interesting story was revealed to me. Recently, while viewing a program on television relating to the various aspects of different religions and beliefs from around the world, she was captivated by one remarkable tale. It was the story of a young Mexican man who was rescued from the clutches of death.
While swimming in deep waters, the young man lost control. As he struggled to keep afloat, his efforts were futile. The current of the water kept pulling him down. The force of the water was greater than his fight to survive. He remembered losing mobility and sinking. Suddenly, a skeletal figure dressed in a white long robe appeared drifting in front of him. The figure grabbed him and administered a liquid from a small vial for him to drink. The next thing he remembered was waking up on an isolated beach sound and safe.
After reviewing the literature, I was not in accord with the Catholic Church statement- “...linked Santa Muerte to Satanism, and deemed Santa Muerte’s followers devil-worshiping cultists."
"There seems to be an emphasis towards identifying the Sacred Lady of Death as being mostly revered by drug dealers, smugglers, prostitutes and gangsters. This image is largely emphasized by the Catholic officials in Mexico that want to give her a bad image. Although it is true that such people do revere her, such people do not make the majority" (www.brujonegrobrujeria.com).
How could this Sacred Lady of Death be satanic when many believe that she is, “a fallen angel in purgatory trying to win back God’s favor, and that is the reason she grants so many miracles.” Additionally, would an evil entity save an individual from an unpleasant death such as drowning?
It is my opinion that the individuals who committed the horrendous crimes, mentioned above, are not Santa Muerte followers. They are deranged individuals with criminal minds.
For these individuals, any image or religious icon would suffice.
Monsignor William Lynn, a high-ranking priest hiding under the traditional religious garb and carrying a crucifix, was convicted for hiding child sex abuse. He was accused of keeping pedophile priests in parish assignments. Prosecutor stated, “Lynn protected pedophile priests when he transferred them from parish to parish, where they victimized other children.”
Pedophile priests and those who protected them were followers of Jesus and not Santa Muerte. These were men who professed full devotion to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Although they did not perform blood rituals, they practiced the act of human sacrifice. These, so called, religious men performed the most hideous crimes. They committed sexual abuse against children.
Jesus, Santa Muerte and any other religious icon are not responsible for the acts committed by sociopaths. These individuals are evil and destructive. Although they go around professing their faith, devotion and love to a specific religion or image, their only goal is self-gratification at the expense of others.
God has given us free will to make choices. We determine which pathway we want to follow. Therefore, we need to take responsibilities for our actions.
Although Saint Death's skeletal appearance is a bit frightful, people seem to have a strong affinity toward this religious icon. Presently, the number of devotees is believed to have reached two million and growing.
Although the literature states that the worshipping of Saint Death dates back to ancient times in Mexico, it was not until the 20th century that she became prominent.
Some statues of Saint Death are adorned with wedding or flamboyant gowns. However, the most common attire for Santa Muerte is a plain long robe. She is described as having her skeletal face and hands exposed while the rest of her body is covered. However, recently, I saw a picture of Santa Muerte in which her skeletal feet were visible.
The color of her robe can vary. It is determined by the individual’s petition. The following is a list of robe colors used and its meaning.
White is the most common. It is used for cleansing of negative influences. Red is for love and passion, gold for financial success and power, green for justice, amber or dark yellow for money and health, black for protection against black magic, blue for wisdom and intelligence, brown for spirit communication and purple for opening of pathways.
Additionally, there is an image of Santa Muerte in a rainbow-colored robe. “This is called the Santa Muerte of the Seven Powers. The colors of this robe are gold, silver, copper, blue, purple, red and green. Gold is for wealth, red for love and passion, purple for changing of negative to positive, silver for luck and success, green for justice, copper for lifting negative spirits, and blue for spirituality”(Wikipedia ).
Furthermore, she carries a scythe in one hand and a globe in the other.
“The scythe can symbolize the cutting of negative energies or influences. Also, as a harvesting tool, it can symbolize hope and prosperity. It can represent the moment of death… the long handle, indicating that it can reach anywhere” (Wikipedia).
The globe suggests her domain in which she has vast power.
PRAYER TO LA SANTA MUERTE
Oh Santa Muerte beloved lady of silence
you know the darkness of my heart and accept me.
Oh sweet accomplice and protector of lost souls
Shield me from my enemies; season my life with sweetness.
You, who have dominion over all living things, do not forsake me!
In the temple of your arms I will lay me down.
Oh desired death of my heart, I place my faith in thee.
(The following images were taken from google image. To view more images go to google.com/image).
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