Nightcat is a practicing witch who loves to write about Wicca and many of the Gods and Goddesses she’s had the pleasure to encounter.
Mictecacihuatl or Santa Muerte?
La Santisima Muerte!
Who is Santa Muerte? Every day more and more witches are encountering La Huesuda, the Bony Lady. Is she Mictecacihuatl, the Aztec goddess of the underworld come into the modern age? (I've also seen her given Incan and Mayan roots.) Is she La Parca, the Spanish grim reaperess brought over to shock and awe those the Spanish forced into conversion? One of the countless faces of the Goddess?
Or is she her own unique being? There are many ways to view her, some positive, some negative, though readers should note those with negative views of La Nina Blanca, The White Girl, also tend to hold rather dim views of the poor, gays, social outcasts, people of Mexican decent, pagans and witches as well.
So come meet the sweet lady who may be calling to you in dreams, in signs, in pop culture. Come see the gentle grim reaperess for who she truly is. A devoted lifetime companion who offers guidance, love, protection and prosperity, but will still give you a good cosmic swat when you need it.
NOTE: Just because I mentioned prosperity does not mean Santa Muerte will manifest in your home throwing oodles of money around with wild abandon. Remember to many witches and pagans she IS Goddess, and when is the last time Goddess did that in circle?
Please Note: I am not affiliated with any church of Santisima Muerte or any other group that works with her. I'll include my story and you can judge my experience for yourself. I am entirely self-taught, or rather Santa Muerte taught, so anything I share here is what works for me. If your ways work for you, do them instead.
Like the intro photo? I owed her a photoshoot of her statue posed with one of her beloved cats. If you want to snag something for personal use, be my guest. But for internet use please give credit where credit is due. As always if you own the copyright to any material herein and want credit and a link or something removed, please contact me.
Mictecacihuatl, Lady of the Dead
Santa Muerte Myths
These make my blood boil, she couldn't care less. Like my statue?
- Santa Muerte is not evil! The only thing anyone should be using her black robes for is protection and hex smashing. People who try to use her for negative uses sooner or later find her scales of justice are no longer in their favor.
- She is not the Christian devil. I think a lot of this rumor stems from xenophobia and ignorance to be honest.
- She is not jealous. So many people say she will chase all your other spirits out and be very greedy. She is the total opposite. Since she arrived everything is better in my life and the spirits adore her. If anything, she insists I see to the others and is very nurturing to them.
- She is not greedy. Heck, you don't even need an altar. She is the saint who defends the poor, the homeless, the outcast. Big altars are nice but not something she will demand. (Unless of course you promised it!)
- Santa Muerte doesn't need her grim reaperess aspect if you can't face her that way. If her grinning skull upsets you you can substitute angel or an image of a beautiful woman. She is very loving and sweet. You won't upset her feelings if her skeletal features are too much for you to handle.
- She NEVER refuses anyone, ever. She might be in a mood to paddle your naughty little butt if she doesn't like how you are living your life (she dislikes cruelty and evil) but she will never, ever turn you away. So yes, she will work with drug dealers, but not to the point of helping them hurt other people. She will protect anyone who turns to her in good faith and is the saint of infinite chances and will give anyone chances to make amends for their past.
- Santa Muerte will not force a blessing on you. Like all spirits, by and large she believes in free will. If you refuse her help she won't force it on you. She may plead with you or show annoyance like any mother with a broken heart if you refuse her help, but she will never force you to take it.
- She will give you justice, not revenge. Although it is part of being human to want revenge, often in excess of the hurt done to us, that is not her specialty. She will certainly get you justice or help you rebuild your life, but only the beautiful lady with the scales gets to dispense punishments, OK?
Santa Muerte is actually the most loving and sweetest spirit I've ever met, in any robe color she is still the same beautiful lady to me. She can be serious at times, but it is only because she has an important message to give you and is worried for you.
A Witchy View: Santa Muerte Moves North
I love his views and insights. His views on the Catholic saints alone are priceless, no offense meant of course. But she entered my life in the Spring and even in May as well, so I love this.
She can be complex. Mine is usually sweetly loving, quite the girly girl to the point where I sometimes stare at her. She loves her pretties and anything I get for her that I like better pass her inspection. You have never seen anything worse than a girly melt-down because she dislikes anything she considers ugly. In this mood, all her statues must be pretty-pretty, lacy, delicate, cuddly.
That said, she has a protectoress side too. And the protectoress LIKES scary images and laughs like crazy at the exploitation horror flick using her, so like anyone else, she is complex. Some people assign different personalities to each robe color, but to me she is still Santa Muerte, regardless of the color she is wearing or the mood she is in.
For me, she uses the colors to signal how she is feeling, but it is still her. She favors black, grey or white robes for showing her protective side, green and pink for loving nurture and so on. But she also wears her other colors for various reasons.
I mentioned a good cosmic swat and she will hand them out if I go too far, but because she knows I need it. I have a very loving family member who will throw me a pity party, and of course I start being a total diva. Santa Muerte is not about to tolerate that from me, and she will give me dreams or other signs to remind of exactly who she is and to call me on the carpet.
Yes, non-pagans our Goddess does call us to account for what we do and she won't tolerate anything that will end up hurting us in the long run. Plus I was a total witch and had my scolding coming, after which all was forgiven and she embraced me warmly.
She Is Addictive: La Santa Muerte
See what I meant about wanting more and more pretties for her? She is just such a sweetheart you will want everything you see. Plus you get to dress up statues and make pretty altars, she was made for witches.
La Santisima Muerte Negra
Shopping? Things to Know Before You Go
Santa Muerte swag is more addictive and numerous than Beanie Babies and Pokémon put together. If you have it in your home, chances are it can be replaced or blinged out with Santa Muerte swag, and there is something about her that will make you want it all now.
Prices vary wildly and only you and your Santa Muerte can choose what works best for you. For instance, I find tea candles work just fine, some people buy seven-day candles in her colors, some want them with the picture and art of her which cost more, and fixed candles are the most expensive.
The same thing goes for altar statues. You can buy everything from tiny one-inch statues to carry in your pocket to massive life-sized statues. Just please, for the love of Goddess, pace yourself. I know, I know. With news of her roadside altars being razed and the Roman Catholic Church condemning her as the Christian devil you can feel a strong urge to get everything now. But trust me, she is seen as pretty much equal to God in power by perfectly good Catholics who work with her, so she isn't about to be hurt by mere mortals, and the only thing destroying her shrines does is make people love her that much more.
In my experience, I have to work hard to make sure I'm giving her what she wants, not what I insist on giving her. She's so very sweet and gentle she won't protest my choices, but she's only truly happy when she gets the things that please her, which tend to be simpler and less expensive than I would pick, go figure.
I don't want you to think she is picky. She will take anything given with love. But she will give hints as to what she likes, maybe a picture from a magazine, or online, maybe an old Halloween or Samhain decoration you have lying around.
Santisima Muerte Q&A
He has worked with her for a very long time. Please note he is pagan, so you might find his advice very different from the Catholic guides to the saint you got a hold of. But I agree with him Read EVERYTHING! You will suss out what makes sense to you and what doesn't.
Why Does She Have So Many Colors?
Just like Goddess has a rainbow of colors, so does Santa Muerte, and yes, you can go ahead and treat her as a face of Goddess and get fantastic results. I'm pagan, for example, so to me she is indeed Mictecacihuatl. Each color usually has several associations based on experience, borrowed from hoodoo, Wicca, Santeria and other sources.
For example, red can mean romantic passion and performance, but it can also mean romance and be used to bring emotional stability. Black is a hex smasher, used for personal protection, and to send back magical attacks. You will find your own Santa Muerte will like various colors more than others, but she is usually happy to agree to any you need such as pink for love, amber for curing drug addiction, purple for healing and so on.
My Santa Muerte picked out the colors for her kitchen altar, a place she insisted on being. I picked out a lovely statue of her in rainbow robes for instance, since rainbow or seven colors is her robe for everything.
Well the listing said red, and the Santa Muerte that arrived was dressed in jet black. My Santa Muerte sort of grinned at me and said she liked white and black for her main altar statues and no Rainbow Brite wanna-be was going to protect anyone from anything. Then she smoothed out her jet black robes and just looked at me. Point taken. (She adores rainbow-colored robes, she's just a bit snarky at times.)
Black is her hex smashing and major protection color along with white, and no, a black statue will not ruin or pervert your white statue no matter what some people tell you. She is a good girl no matter what colors she wears, OK? Just be respectful of other folks beliefs but keep in mind it borders on the old belief that white people were good and-
But colors can pick up new associations, and she gets new colors seemingly daily. For example, let's say I only have a plaid scarf and I wrap a statue of her in it to dress her nicely, and she does something I ask her for such as healing without her regular healing color such as white or purple being present. She has just picked up a new color, or color combo. People literally dress her in anything and she responds happily.
But as with everything it depends on who you ask. For those pagans who work with her in a more Aztec aspect, she has three colors, white (the oldest) and red and black. That is it. To me I respect all views, it is just a matter of what works for you in my opinion.
Statues for the Home Altar
In Mexico and some US states, it is becoming easier to find sellers of life-sized statues but most who work with her can only afford or desire smaller statues. These can range from a wee once inch statue, to several feet tall, but only buy what you can afford and your heart leads you to. You can even make statues!
How Many Colors Does She Have?
Honestly, they are endless. For every color, she seems to manifest a new skill. Here is a list that is by no means complete.
- Pink: Love, romance, sweetness.
- White: Purity of intent, healing, protection.
- Black: Hex smashing, repel evil people, repel dark magic, personal protection
- Red: Keep a family or couple together, sexual passion and performance, bring back a lost lover
- Blue: Wisdom, healing
- Amber: Healing from drug or other addictions
- Gold: grow business, wealth
- Silver: Wealth
- Copper: Money and prosperity
- Seven Color: Any need
- Green: Good luck, money
- Yellow: Success in all endeavors, intelligence, wisdom
- Brown: Contact the dead, wisdom
- Orange: Success in work, business
- Purple: Healing
PLEASE NOTE: Some folks feel her oldest three colors, red, white and black are the only ones you need. I feel it is up to you and your Santa Muerte.
PS Yes, that is hers. I was watching a show with a fanged male Grim Reaper and she just glared at me and somehow got the mask made into a bride to prove she is just as fierce. For the love of Goddess, never discount her because she is female.
La Santisima Muerte/Holy Death
Various witches from differing backgrounds work with her, truly lovely! I know it is a lot to absorb at once you can always come back.
Things to Be Wary of
Right now Santa Muerte is the "in" folk saint. Dishonest people will take advantage of this, as they always do. It is up to you for example to decide whether you want to buy off a seller just cashing in on Santa Muerte, or a person who truly loves and interacts with her.
You must also make up your own mind as how to view her. Staunch Catholics, for example would frown on using her for boosting sexual performance, some followers get a tad hysterical about mixing colors and some folks favor seeing black as her dark, spookity color and so on.
I say you get what you expect. If you want a pure virginal lady to work with, fine, if you want a drinking partner, go for it. Remember the same saint accepts rosaries and lines of cocaine with equal delight and that doesn't make her bad or evil.
It means she is nonjudgemental and works with everyone. I do hope you know to avoid anyone who sneers at the poor who need her help or at people of Mexican decent in general. I said she was nonjudgemental, I didn't say her mama lioness side would not come out if people start acting the fool.
Special Thanks to My Beloved Angel
These videos weren't made by me, but I need to thank my beautiful lady so much! She's been with me for years now, and I just love her more each day. I may be far from perfect but she's never wavered in her loyalty.
I know, a lot of videos, but I don't expect you to surf all over the web.
Isn't She a Dark and Dangerous Narco Saint?
Honey, the same narcos, or drug dealers have also used the Virgin Mary and other official saints for protection. Yes they do plea with Santa Muerte, and yes they do ask for protection from the law, but just as many lawmen also plea to her for safety.
She also pleads to keep the law away or avoid jail, because a jail sentence in Mexico is often for a lifetime, and no, it doesn't matter what you did or if you are even guilty. So many lawmen are corrupt that having them stay away can be a good thing as well. (I'm not picking on the police here, but we've all met bad and good cops.)
The sneering, holier than thou view some dimbulbs take of her as 'only the narco saint' makes my blood boil. She is a good girl and that she protects and loves everyone shouldn't surprise people. She is, after all, death, and we all enter her embrace, rich or poor, lawmen or narco.
Santa Muerte is also invoked to protect those crossing the border as dishonest drivers will just abandon many people in the dessert to die. Yes, she is the salvation of the poor, because the Church has rejected them.
Yes, she protects gays, prostitutes, drug dealers, and everyone and anyone else, because nobody else cares about them. To me that makes her a very beautiful lady. She isn't going to judge you for the color of your skin, how much money you have, you sexuality or anything else. She isn't going to reject pagans, or Christians, or anybody.
She is the patron and protectoress of all who turn to her with loving hearts and sincere beliefs. That some people use her only for negative purposes doesn't mean all people do. Just like the Salvation Army saying things like 'all gay people should be killed' is not a fair or accurate portrait of all Christians, many of whom are accepting of gays or openly gay themselves.
That is the black statue she got shipped instead of the rainbow one. She is NOT evil in this form. She is very heavy duty in healing and protection in her black robes, and yes, she will make you fix what is wrong with your life, but trust me, she does it from a place of love.
My Own Altar
This is the public altar in the kitchen. And by public I mean if you see it on passing by and want to come in and hang out with her and I know you, be my guest. She insisted I be out with working with her, so I am. She is not a woman to be ashamed of, after all. Keep in mind she may want a private altar with you, or even no altar at all.
The cabinet is what used to display my mom's things, but as my mom passed over three years ago the things were starting to depress me and I honestly never liked them in the first place, sorry mom.
So, I cleaned and cleaned with some windex with orange in it for cleansing, then after things were set up she got a white candle and water. I used cheap bottled water you get 24 bottles of for a buck or so only because I have hard water and hate getting stuff off of offering chalices. I've since switched to tap water with ice in it and she likes it just fine.
The white statue was a love offering and you know the black one was her surprise on me. She had her eye on the poster, and a lot of the other stuff such as altar cloths were here. She has flowers from the dollar store with dried whatever from her first bought flower offering. I buy flowers every so often at Aldi's but she is quite content with artificial or paper or whatever.
The books I got for my own pleasure and use them as altar decoration. The wax skull I've owned since the 80's and the statue in the wedding dress represents our bond, not a desire to find a mate.
There are other things as well, but I bought from the cheapest sellers and in lots which helps. Keep in mind I was raised Catholic so altars crowded with multiple statues make sense to me. The corn represents wealth, and cost I think about twenty cents at the local pet store, an apple also for prosperity and red for emotional balance, candy from the dollar store, and dried fruit I have a feeling she doesn't care for.
Things will be taken away over time, the water will be freshened and so forth. There are teeny-tiny one inch statues, and it is all honestly the art of staging so a little looks like a lot.
Santa Muerte is not a picky saint. She will take anything, and I mean anything. Toys, candy, coins. Flowers, books, jewelry, anything. The following are some of the more traditional offerings, but don't hesitate to offer anything that feels right, mine quite happily accepts Krave cereal.
Offerings don't have to be expensive. I painted the skulls to honor her three main colors that I work with and she adores them.
- Peacock feathers
- A chalice (glass) of tap water
- Agave nectar
- Any hard liquor from Mexico such as tequila
- Coins or dollar bills, any country or denomination.
- Cigar or cigarette smoke
- Incense sticks, often two at a time
- Flowers, real or artificial
- Dresses, robes etc. for her statues
- Mariachi music from live bands (taped is fine)
- Any other kind of positive music
- Candle in the color of the need or favor rendered
- Tattoos of Santa Muerte
- Wedding Rings (so far she is wed to men only but I see the LGBT community changing that)
- Cake or other sweet food
- Statues, posters etc. with her image on them
- Soda, Mexican if you can afford it
- Skeleton images
- Strings of lights
- Paper with her image on it
- Grim Reaper anything
- Halloween skeletons or Grim Reaper images
- Actual bones
- Food, any kind but hopefully you can manage something Mexican, right?
- Whatever she asks for. She will give hints, trust me.
Your own Santa Muerte will have her own personal taste. Mine is crazy for pumpkin, she adores it in everything. And she loves cookies, Coke from Mexico, Bustelo coffee, cake, anything sweet. But she will eat anything it doesn't have to be Mexican per se, I just like making the effort. Mine goes crazy for instant black bean and lime soup with pumpkin creamer mixed in. And chocolates.
Note: Don't worry if you can't have something in your home for whatever reason. I don't offer alcohol or cigar smoke for health reasons. You may not want candy or other items to offer such as actual bones. I also don't want you thinking that you HAVE to give her anything. Give from the heart, and if you can't give anything she still loves you.
Santa Muerte Is Santa Muerte
Now what do I mean by that? A lot of people will tell you that when you first start out you should work only with the white aspect. She is the sweetest, the gentlest, and so on and so forth. And she can be, but Santisima Muerte is always herself regardless of robe color. I will share a story with you and keep in mind the white-robed aspect was involved. I'm not doing this to frighten you, but to make a point.
I had some major and I mean dangerous problems with my stove and my fridge was on its last legs. Well since she had just rescued me from carbon monoxide poisoning in her black-robed aspect I wondered if I should even have the white-robed statues up.
The guys come in and I have this sort of creepy feeling from them. They might not have even been bad men, but it was there. I go back into the living room and suddenly there is this yell and one guy is flat on his back. I go in and I swore he was dead. Well it turns out he got an interesting experience with a 220 line.
Somehow the screw for the box for the outlet was arcing and he got knocked on his six. And of course my first thought was "Oh, great. I keep telling people how sweet and kind she is, and he's got to die in my kitchen." But before I could dial 911 he came around.
Now I looked over at the altar and it was the white-robed Santa Muerte that was involved. I asked if she spared him and she agreed, but there was this gleam in her eye socket and she tells me I don't have to worry about either man now, I'm safe.
Now they guy wasn't hurt, but she did knock him on his six to show her protection. And you never know how or when she will act, and no it isn't something you can force her to do. You may have to work with her constantly for weeks or months to get people to leave you be (especially if you were stupid enough to let them into your life), she may even refuse to act, telling you to let them be, or she may act instantly, but she has her own reasons and her own time behind everything she does.
Not everyone likes her. I find those people highly amusing. But as you can see she takes care of her own.
Bedroom Altar, rowr
OK, then. This is my bedroom altar, and although it was supposed to remain private (in my mind at least) Santa Muerte was nudging me to share as payment for swift legal action on my behalf, keep in mind there are a lot of things here I had for years, so for the love of Goddess do not run out and try to buy everything at once.
The shells and blue lights in theory belong to Ogu, but her bride image arrived and well, she will melt anyone's heart, so in the middle she went and she now shares these things with him. The altar itself has a base cloth in black with queen skulls on it, then her beloved white and gold altar cloth, and some frilly female things, because she is quite the girly girl and rules over all things romantical.
A ton of statues, yes, the eyes light up on the one of her on horseback, a teddy bear of a bride with a skull necklace, a novena candle set from Mexico, and an offering candle, jewelery etc.
Santa Muerte is here to remind all women we are lionesses and should roar! Speaking of lionesses she is the best protectoress. Think of when you were a kid. Did anybody bother you when you were with your mom? No, because they knew she'd instantly go crazy and kill them. Now imagine if she had been Death and owned a scythe...
Let Her Provide for You
A few months ago I got the idea fixed in my mind to thank Santa Muerte by ordering an expensive (to me) skeleton for her to dress up. It was going to be wonderful because once it came it would get dressed up and everything. Santa Muerte shook her head and politely demurred. She did not want this expensive thing. But being bull-beheaded I insist she take it. She tried to warn me I'd need the money for something else but I wouldn't listen.
So I ordered the skeleton and waited, and waited, and waited. I finally contacted the seller and found out China had blocked the skeleton prop from shipping. Santa Muerte just grinned at me. It took a while to sink in, but the refund from this skeleton and the refund from a second in a row defective microwave allowed me to buy a much nicer version for my kitchen.
She was very happy and excited so we baked some buttermilk biscuits last night in celebration. But as you can see since I welcomed her into my heart and kitchen she is providing for me there. That photo by the way is the broken down old skeleton and cheap robe she refuses to let go of. I'm ashamed of having offered it, but it was the very best I had (a rich witch I am not) and she accepted it with adoring coos.
She wanted to show me that her heart belonged to me without all the fancy geegaws I thought I needed to offer to prove my love. To her, the cheap plastic skeleton (she is cooing the word inexpensive at me) is the most beautiful thing she has seen. And the idea of a microwave where we can cook together (she adores my kitchen) makes her sing happily. Red of course, is her color for love, keeping the family together and promoting emotional stability.
How I Met Her
To be fair, I knew her my whole life, but when I would see the reaper I'd be told it was my imagination. And no she wasn't doing anything scary, just visiting me just as the Baron did. I did love her and wondered if she was real, without of course knowing she is female since I grew up in Western culture like many of my readers.
Then years ago I came across her on the Internet and instantly felt a connection. She wanted in my life. In fact, though I did not know it at the time she was using signs to show me she was already there. But my father had passed away and my mother felt that the Baron was skeleton enough in my life. So to honor my mother I refused to see her and work with her.
Now my mother got very ill and towards the end of her life she heard a woman weeping. And I was scrambling. Was one of my lady lwa or orisha feeling neglected? No. Santa Muerte showed me a vision (after my mother passed) of her being symbolically by my bedroom door and weeping because I would not let her in to see me. She was a heartbroken mentor who wanted her student. A guide and best friend who mourned me being out of reach.
The strange thing is, at the time I did sense her but didn't know it was her. She was manifesting near the altar Oya has, which makes sense since Oya does not fear death. Oya of course got rather annoyed that I kept asking if it was her weeping, but my spirits stayed silent on Santa Muerte's presence because they will never force you to accept another spirit.
After my mother passed Santa Muerte came forward again, constantly almost, as a bride. She wanted spiritual union with me so I let her in. And to celebrate I got more statues than anyone needs, but I felt like my life finally made sense. She was the missing aspect, the sweet friend who can make me laugh just by being near me. My other spirits welcomed her with open arms, everyone insisting she have a gift.
Because Santa Muerte, Death, brought me back to life. She will dance and sing when I am sad. She makes me laugh and makes life worth living. I now realize that the Baron himself was trying to sneak her in anyhow. She couldn't do anything for my mother, but she wanted to be here to hold me, which is why she was crying.
My mother, being so close to death could hear her. But she has only done lovely things where my mother is concerned, helping me set up my ancestor altar and the like. She is the one who gently reminds me to keep both my mom and dad a part of my life and still treat them with respect and love.
She is the gentlest, sweetest, friendliest spirit you could ever imagine. She would never hurt anyone, though she will protect her children with a ferocious devotion. Remember everyone, including you, has her. If you are born you will one day die, so you have your own death. Letting her walk with you can fill your life with happiness and blessings.
Like the photo? You can find statues just like it on eBay, but for the love of Goddess only buy one if you want to and can afford to. She can't be bought with pretties, nor does she demand them.
PS Since someone asked, if she is presenting herself in a wedding dress, she wants to be with you. It is sort of her way of saying "I'll give you everything and be devoted to you, please love me.' Now some use the statues to seek a mate and some use a statue in a wedding dress to make a pledge to be married to her for a short time. I think some people might call the wedding dress New Age or Catholic, but she melted my heart in it.
Trust me, when I had dreams of her in a wedding dress and honestly knew nothing about her I didn't know what to think. But mi Santa Muerte adores them, she feels very beautiful in them, very special. And it is a lot of fun to billow out her skirts just so.
I'll put an eBay thing below, but again, please don't feel you have to do this. The seller is very good to me, so I like repay his kindness.
Something She Wanted Me to Share
And my own Rescue story by my black robed Santa Muerte!
OK here is the set up. On Halloween I did a ritual to be rid of negativity. Pleaded with Santa Muerte of the black robes to please, please, please clear out all sickness, illness and negativity in my life. I also burned copal for her and gave her food and drink.
Yesterday (Nov 1, 2013) I noticed the black candle I'd lit along with a white and red candle was still burning brightly. Way after it should have worked. Well that was odd. I called back the furnace people. It felt like her energy was frantic but I brushed it off. I suddenly had the strangest desire to go get my hair done. Bear with me, it is a vital part of the story.
I go up and my stylist is sick or something and won't be in until later. So I come home, knowing my spirits were blocking me, called furnace people told them I'd be here all day. Strangely after my shower my blah hair looked like I had styled it. Curiouser and curiouser. So the guy comes and he just goes ash white and bows his head during the inspection.
A very vital part of said furnace, the heat exchanger, had two huge cracks in it, and it had been leaking carbon monoxide into the house for month