A look at Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, a Mexican folk saint who gives hope to people on the edges of society, whose popularity has skyrocketed over the last 20 years.

The Catholic Church has condemned Santa Muerte as “satanic,” the Mexican military has destroyed shrines to her, the Mexican government refuses to acknowledge the veneration of Santa Muerte as a religion, and the media in the US and Mexico have conflated the cult of Santa Muerte with drug cartels.

But that’s not the whole story. We take a look at the history behind Santa Muerte and see how many people who’ve felt rejected by the Catholic Church have been able to find hope, comfort, and community in Santa Muerte.

Highlights include:
• Marijuana smoke used as incense
• A trans woman who puts on the largest festival to Saint Death
• A reimagined version of the rosary
• Frida Kahlo holding a ying yang


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Sources consulted RE: The Cult of Santa Muerte, aka Saint Death

Websites  RE: The Cult of Santa Muerte, aka Saint Death

  • I Call Her La Flaca

  • You Can Ask Her For Anything

  • Journal of Latin American Studies, La Sante Muerte in Mexico City: The Cult and its Ambiguities by Regnar Albaek Kristensen (2/5/15):

  • https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-death-worshipping-cult-of-santa-muerte

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Muerte

  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/5/130512-vatican-santa-muerte-mexico-cult-catholic-church-cultures-world/

  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2010/05/mexican-saints/

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_Mexican-American_Catholic_Church

  • https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/response/santa-muerte-and-the-interplay-of-cultures-on-dia-de-los-muertos/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Revolution

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue%C3%B1o_de_una_Tarde_Dominical_en_la_Alameda_Central

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Calavera_Catrina

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Guadalupe_Posada

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico#Contemporary_Mexico

  • Police believe beheading was ‘hit’ from drug cartel By: Sakal, Mike. Tribune, The (Mesa, AZ). 10/28/2010.

  • http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41883795/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/cops-ariz-beheading-linked-mexican-cartel/

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