D´Inferno ink, brush and kleenex on carboard.

Santa Muerte is a sacred figure venerated primarily in Mexico and the United States, probably asyncretism between Mesoamerican and Catholic beliefs. The name literally translates to "Holy Death" or "Saint Death." Mexican culture since the pre-Columbian era has 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 Santa Muerte 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.

Santa Muerte is referred to by a number of other names such as Señora de las Sombras ("Lady of the Shadows"), Señora Blanca ("White Lady"), Señora Negra ("Black Lady"), Niña Santa ("Holy Girl"), and La Flaca ("The Skinny One"). Sometimes the name is listed as Santa Sebastienne or St. Sebastienne, ("Our Beautiful Lady Sebastienne"), as St. Sebastian was an early Christian martyr and is, among other things, patron saint of a holy death.

Devotion to Santa Muerte is what anthropologists call a “cult of crisis.” Devotion to the image peaks during economic and social hardships, which tend to affect the lower classes more. Santa Muerte tends to attract those in extremely difficult or hopeless situations. Some of her most devoted followers are prostitutes, pickpockets, petty thieves and drug traffickers, associated with economic crimes often done out of desperation. The overwhelming majority of believers are poor people who are not necessarily criminals, but the public belief in her by several drug traffickers and small numbers of other petty criminals has indirectly associated her with crime, especially low-level organized crime.

  • Copy Link:
  • SN Code:
  • Short URL: