Santa Muerte
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Basic Information

Santa Muerte (literal translation: "Saint Death") is a religious figure venerated by some in Mexico. Also known regionally as la Santisima Muerte ("Most Holy Death") and other variations. She is not part of the Roman Catholic canon, but many believers treat her the same as any other recognized saint. Believers turn to her for sanctuary, for rescue, and for protection in illegal activities. She can be considered (roughly) in the same class as Juan Soldado and Jesus Malverde. In typical American experience, she is associated with Mexican drug dealers and immigrant smugglers. Her worship, at least in this form, appears to have originated in the Mexico City neighborhood of Tepito, and has spread from there. In North American experience, she is commonly seen on car rear windshields and in candles on the Texas - Mexico border. She can also be found in other areas with a large Mexican population that maintains continuous transmission with Mexico. Worship includes bargaining with her for a certain thing or continued course of protection, such as providing offerings or marking the worshiper with a tattoo of her. While her origins remain open to debate among academics, some worshipers claim she is merely the Virgin Mary in another incarnation, that of Death. Others claim she is the continued worship of the pre-Colombian death worship. While rejected by the Roman Catholic Church, one individual (David Romo-Guillen) claims to lead his own branch of the Church that recognizes and venerates her (completely unofficial and unrecognized.)

Typically, she is shown as a grim reaper figure: a skeleton wearing a robe, wielding a scythe. In many instances, she is accompanied by the phrase, "Dios me guida, ella me cuida," which translates as "God guides me, She protects me." Also occasionally seen is the accompanying phrase, "En Dios creo, en ti confido," "In God I believe, in you I confide."

image006.jpg Santisima Muerte statues at a market il_430xN.24018355.jpg Santisima Muerte candle 2265963264_e24093809c.jpg?v=0 On a car

See Also


Game and Story Use

  • The worship of Santa Muerte is likely to be prominent on any occultism-centered adventures taking place in Mexico.
    • A good twist for players who fall into the trap of "everybody hates Hades": they see a bunch of death-related imagery and people venerating "Saint Death", and assume that there's a murder cult. But no, it's just a variation on otherwise perfectly ordinary Catholic practice.
      • Twisting the twist further, while she's usually just a non-canonical protector saint, there might be a few practitioners using her as a cover for the more ambiguous Mictecacihuatl.
  • There would seem to be obvious overlap between the "Mary as Santa Muerte" and the Mary in Miami street-kid mythology who became Bloody Mary.
  • For some fantastic religious weirdness twenty minutes into the future, Santa Muerte or Jesus Malverde might be officially recognized and a subject of hagiography.
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