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Among thousands of saints that exist, the saint of death oddly seems to garner quite a huge following. Though many believe she is a catholic saint, the Vatican has categorically stated that she isn’t one of the canonized catholic saints. La Santa Muerte is predominantly worshiped in Mexico and it has been observed that most of her followers are drug lords and criminals. However, the worship of La Santa Muerte is also gaining its roots in a large number of families and working-class people
It is also amazing to see how this Saint of Death who used to be folklore, is now vastly worshipped across the globe. She is symbolized by a skeletal image holding a scythe but that’s not all there is to know about La Santa Muerte as she has quite a lot of hidden truths surrounding her emergence. Read on to know the nitty-gritty about this saint of death here.
Truths About La Santa Muerte, The Popular Saint of Death
1. It is Challenging to Uncover the Roots of La Santa Muerte
It is believed that the folk saint emerged from a mix of Spanish Catholicism and Aztec Worship. However, the exact origin or history of her worship is a complex one as there are no particular dates to its emergence. Some say it must have emerged over time from the blending of the Aztec Religion which has reverence for death and the Spanish culture which is predominantly catholic. This actually dates back to the 16th-century clash that occurred between the Spanish and Mexicans which is believed to have sprouted a combination of the two cultures.
2. La Santa Muerte has Millions of Devotees
Records about the worship of Santa Muerte were initially noticed in the 1940s among the elite in Mexico, in areas like Tepito. It was also noticed that a new wave of worshipers emerged from Hidalgo in the mid-1960s. Lately, the worship of Santa Muerte has spread to areas like the United States and Central America and in several other parts of Mexico. The religion which used to be secretly practiced became publicly recognized in Mexico in 1998 after a criminal was apprehended with her shrine seen in his home. The spread of the news by media made La Santa Muerte become a known religion among the Mexicans.
More so, it has also been gathered that the start of the 21st century witnessed a movement to create an awareness of La Santa Muerte’s miracle-working abilities. This had a lot of influence on Mexico alone which later recorded over 2 million followers. This figure is however small when compared to that given by one of the founders of the first Santa Muerte church in Mexico who claims that they have a membership base of about 5 million.
The religion later spread to the United States through migrants with a high population of its followers in Latino areas in the States. Records also have it that the Santa Muertes movement is one of the fastest-growing, their current estimated population ranges between 10 to 12 million people.
3. Santa Muerte is not a recognized Catholic saint
The Catholic Church has made it clear that Santa Muerte was not canonized and therefore not recognized as its saint. The Catholic church did not only disconnect itself from the worship of Santa Muerte, but it also fights against the religious practice with views that it is a celebration of death and hell. It was also made clear in a statement from the head of a section of the Vatican, Gianfranco Ravasi that the fact that La Santa Muerte is reverenced does not make it a religion. He went further to describe the saint of death’s worship as blasphemous and advised families as well as churches to stand against it.
4. La Santa Muerte is Associated With Controversial Symbols
La Santa Muerte is not a saint who lived before and then died like other known saints. She is a deity who is personified as a god that brings healing, protection, financial wellbeing, and a secured eternity. In the carved images of her personality, she carries a globe on one hand and a scythe in the other. The scythe represents the weapon for breaking negative energies or influences and is also the symbol that represents prosperity. The globe in her other hand is notable for its representation of death and its powers.
5. The Alledged Saint of Death has a Lot of Criminals as Her Followers
Many of the law offenders apprehended in Mexico have one thing in common which is the worship of La Santa Muerte. Her shrines are popularly seen in the criminal cells and in prisons. It is also known that her shrines are common artifacts seen in the possession of drug lords, kidnappers, murderers and more who seek a sacred source of protection that does not condemn their actions.