Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa Muertas

I have quite a few of these 'muertas' as I call them. By my front door, in a cabinet I have 3. A black, a red and a white robed. They take turns moving by themselves. I start them off facing forward, and they turn over a short time to face either the front door or the garage door, as their cabinet sits between the two doors. I like to think the one that moves is the one giving us the protection. Either material, spiritual or personal.

Santa Muerte is a deity or saint-like figure worshiped or venerated in Mexico, probably a syncretismbetween Mesoamerican and Catholic beliefs. The name literally translates to “Saint Death.” Mexican culture since pre-Hispanic times has always maintained a certain reverence towards death, which can be seen in the widespread Mexican celebration of the syncretic Day of the Dead. Catholic elements of that celebration include the use of skeletons to remind people of their mortality.

Santa Muerte generally appears as a skeletal figure, clad in a long robe and carrying one or more objects, usually a scythe and a globe. The robe is most often white, but images of the figure vary widely from person to person and according to the rite being performed or the petition of the devotee. As the worship of this deity was clandestine until recently, most prayers and other rites are done privately in the home. However, for the past ten years or so, worship has become more public, especially in Mexico City. The cult is condemned by the Catholic Church in Mexico. The number of believers in the deity has grown over the past ten to twenty years, to approximately two million followers in Mexico and has crossed the border into Mexican communities in the United States.

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