SANTA MUERTE (SAINT DEATH) is arguably one of the most interesting and enigmatic religious and magical icons to hit the Americas in recent memory.
Garbed as Mother Mary, but cast as a skeleton saint, this figure took the Americas by storm in the late 20th and early 21st century.
It is important to note that Santa Muerte is not a ‘Goddess of Death.’ Santa Muerte is a representation of Death itself—Death Herself.
Among Her devotees (whom are largely Mexican Catholics), She is often named ‘Santísima’—or, ‘Most Holy.’ Why can be explained in two-fold. (1) Devotees of Santa Muerte argue theologically that Jesus could not become the Christ if it was not for his inevitable passage into the realm of Death (Santa Muerte). (2) Among the Saint-magical working Catholics of Mexico, Santa Muerta is considered among many the MOST efficacious miracle-worker regarding real-world needs (over Mary, Michael, Anthony, all the other Saint and Angels.) Thus, it can be ironically argued that no Saint, nor Angel (in a majority candle-magic-focused religious tradition—No other Catholic icon holds a candle to the miracles available via Santa Muerte devotion.
Today, Santa Muerte is cast in a rainbow-coloring of devotionals; however, at Her impetus, She was cast in blood-red colors, and was primarily used in Love Magick. It wasn’t until later that she was cast into this multi-colored form (each color holding a different magical correspondence: Green for Money, Black for Justice, et cetera); that this very new icon of Catholic Christian Death became used for a myriad of different magical purposes and goals by Her devotees is exceptional.
Saints and Angels tend to have a specific purpose. Santa Muerte can be used for any purpose.
The notion that Most Holy Death Herself began has a token in effort for Love and Sex Magick is striking, and cannot but help but invoke the French text ‘TEARS OF EROS’ by Georges Bataille (translated by Peter Connor – City Lights); wherein Bataille nighpoetically examines the connection between death and torture (something Mexico has unfortunately become famous for in the 20th and 21st century) with ecstatic as well as transcendent sexual orgasm.
More on Santa Muerte from Eliott Edge & David Metcalfe:
More reading on Santa Muerte: Death and Roses: Santa Muerte, the Love Sorceress by Andrew Chesnut
Eliott Edge is an author, artist, international speaker, and internet personality operating under the moniker OddEdges. Edge has given academic presentations at The University of Melbourne, Australia (Freud and Hannibal Lecter), and the C.G. Jung Center in New York City (On Tricksters). Their films have been included in the cinema curriculum at Stevens Institute of Technology. Essays by Edge have been published by international think tanks The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, as well as The Lifeboat Foundation; where they are contributing members. Edge has been published in several collections including the The Fenris Wolf (C. Abrahamsson and Dr. V. Sinclair), The Quest for Gnosis (G. Roberts), and the underground chaos magick textbook Liber LS. Edge was also a panel moderator in London, England at the 2016 conference Psychoanalysis, Art, and the Occult. Edge was also one of the top-read writers on VR for Medium in 2018. Edge also authored the critically-acclaimed book 3 Essays on Virtual Reality: Overlords, Civilization, and Escape.
Photo by Eliott Edge and Monia Wynn
Image: Collage by Joan Pope