Home altars are an ancient practice. In the past, among the peoples of Mesoamerica, religion was characterized by the sacrifice of gold, resin, copal, feathers, blood, and other similar things. Libations and prayers were usually held at a home altar on which there was a stone statue representing a deity, gifts for him and sacrificial vessels. The first Christians used to gather for prayers at home altars. On the altar there was a cross, an image of Christ, wine and bread.
La Nina Blanca is very special - She demands Her own altar, dedicated only to Her. This is very important - the Holy Death refuses to share Her altar with any kind of deities, goddesses, saints or ancestors. Since the worship of the Holy Death was and still is largely secret, most of the prayers, sacrifices and rituals are done on altars built in the homes of the devotees. At the altar we worship La Santa Muerte, at the altar we pray, offer gifts, ask for miracles and favors, pray and give thanks to Our Lady. It is believed that destructive actions / activities should be performed at the altar with the left hand, and thanksgiving, begging and protective actions with the right hand. The altar is created by a devotee throughout his lifetime, and its form evolves with the development of a person's devotion.
Usually, the devotee starts with a small altar, often with one small statue of La Santa Muerte, one candle or a flower, and then it grows to truly impressive sizes, with numerous breathtaking statues, stunning colors of various flowers, dozens of burning candles, surprising with their rich form. The altar can be made of the furniture available at home - you can use an old sideboard or a chest of drawers, transform a coffee table or make the altar entirely by yourself. Ready-made altars are also available for sale, but in case of a lack of space, even an empty shelf with books emptied of books will fulfill its function. At the beginning, it is worth using black or white material - exactly what kind of material it will be made of doesn't matter, as does the embroidery or possible decorations. The most important on the altar is the image of La Santa Muerte - a statue, icon, picture, but it can even be a portrait printed from the Internet on a regular A4 size.
The statues dressed in robes of certain colors represent specific powers or attributes of La Santa Muerte. Our Lady's face may also differ - most often we see the skull and face of a beautiful woman in makeup on Dia de los Muertos - but She is always hooded. With time, more and more figures of La Santa Muerte will appear on the altar - large, small, in various robes, poses, with different kinds of scythes. Some appear as gifts of a devotee, a fulfilled promise, the need for a specific job with La Santa Muerte, a thanksgiving, a reminder of an important event or a souvenir from a pilgrimage, a proof of gratitude, others are created practically from the skeleton itself through the robe, scythe and jewelry, and some of them devotee buys just because he liked them :).
Remember that statues are symbols. La Santa Muerte is the Angel of Light, always present, always with you. Statues can be a connecting bridges us with Our Lady, like vessels full of Her presence and power, but they are not the essence of La Santa Muerte. On the altars of La Santa Muerte, besides of the statues of Our Lady, only figures of Jesus Christ, Archangel Michael or a Mexican folk saint Jesus Malverde can appear. Most often it is a crucifix and La Pieta - the body of the Savior taken down from the cross in an embrace of the Holy Death. La Santa Muerte is the Angel of Death, an Angel sent by the Lord. She loves God deeply and serves Him faithfully. She accompanied Christ in the afterlife and led Him to the Resurrection. She is part of Christianity, like Archangel Michael - La Santa Muerte is an Angel of Light of the same heavenly hierarchy as He is. They both do God's will. Whereas Jesus Malverde is a Mexican folk saint, patron of the poor, thieves, bandits and drug dealers. We make Our Lady happy by giving Her gifts in the form of dresses (vestidos) or hats (capas de santos).
When we adorn the statues of the Bony Lady with dresses or capas de santos, we feel great joy because La Santisima Muerte really enjoys it. Dressing up the figures of La Rosa Blanca is a very common practice among the devotees. It is a way to show gratefulness and love, and it strengthens our relationship with La Santa Muerte. La Santa Muerte is a spiritual being, the Angel of Death, but She always rejoices when we give a certain element of humanity into our practice. It is worth mentioning that many devotees, mainly strongly rooted in the Catholic or Wiccan tradition, consecrate each new statue of Our Lady. In many publications we can find a lot, sometimes very detailed and elaborated rituals of consecration, including litanies and sometimes even spells and invocations. In my opinion, there is no need to consecrate the statues of the Holy Death because I believe that every figure which represents La Santa Muerte is holy just by the fact of presenting Our Lady. No magic rituals, cleansing or special oils are needed. La Santa Muerte goes beyond all rituals, all magic, She is the Holy Queen, the Holy Death. In order to turn to La Santa Muerte, the most important thing is the heart of the devotee and his desire to contact Our Lady.
There is no need for a few pages of invocations and spells, there is no need to conjure because La Santa Muerte is loving and kind to people.
The process of consecrating a statue should be as simple as possible. We can use Florida Water, favorite perfume, cologne or appropriate oil. Basically any scent that a devotee thinks Our Lady will like. Of course, it's best to prepare your own fragrance blend, according to personal preferences, but there are ready-made oils for consecration on the market, for example: Domination Oil; Lodestone Oil; Crown of Success Oil; Protection Oil; King Solomon Oil; Compelling Oil; Divine Lovers Oil; Attraction Oil; Money Drawing Oil; Abre Caminos aka Road Opener Oil; Uncrossing Oil albo Destruction Oil.
On the altar or some table in the absence of an altar, we place the figure of the Holy Death. We put burning white candles around the statue. Standing in front of the altar and slowly apply the oil on the figure, we turn to Our Lady:
"Most Holy Death, I am asking You to fill this statue with Your power. This figure that I want to consecrate is your image. Fill it with holiness and your blessing. Let this statue become a visible image of You, a symbol of our covenant. Most Holy Death, I consecrate this statue in Your Name. Send your Light upon it."
Of course, the given formula of consecration is examplary, preferably the devotee should turns to La Santa Muerte in his own words.
Then you need to smoke the statue - it can be incense smoke, tobacco or marijuana smoke inhaled by a devotee and blown onto the statue.
To complete the consecration of Our Lady's statue, the candles must be burnt to the end.
Often, under the statues, we can find several mustard seeds, beans, herbs, coins or flower seeds blended in the material. They symbolize the power of La Santa Muerte to send richness and material wealth to Her devotees. We offer sacrifices to the Holy Death on Her altar.
They should be treated as gifts given to a loved one, but due to the highly personalized relationship of each devotee with La Santa Muerte, everyone has to decide for themselves in what form these gifts should be presented. We give Her everything that we can share. The gifts we offer Her are traditionally called "mandas".
La Santa Muerte is a woman and has a very feminine taste. She likes all kinds of flowers, candles and various fragrances - it's a typically feminine quality :).
Candles of different colors are constantly burning on the altars of La Rosa Blanca. Votive candles (veladoras) are the basic form of worship and communication with La Santa Muerte. Due to its complexity, it will be described in a separate chapter. Informations on La Santa Muerte votive candles can be found in section ++ Candles + +
Two types of flowers are the most appropriate for the altar of La Santa Muerte. All sorts of blooming flowers and plants from desert areas such as cactus, aloe, agave (often placed in pots decorated with colorful skulls). La Rosa Blanca likes different kinds of flowers mainly roses, lilies, marigolds (called in Mexico Flor de Muertos) and other "cemetery" flowers, "flowers of death" (called "cempasuchil"): crocuses, hyacinths, chrysanthemums, lilies of the valley or daffodils, but any beautiful looking flower will be good :).
We can leave the withered ones on the altar under the statue's feet. When the flowers offered became dry, it means that Our Lady has accepted them. Dried by the touch of death, they become eternal and remain with her forever.
Traditionally, freshly picked rose petals or a mixture of petals of various fragrant flowers are thrown at the statue of La Santa Muerte. The best are the sacrificial flowers collected by hand at night, then our gift is strengthened by our personal effort to obtain them. The Holy Death will certainly more appreciate flowers collected in person than bought in a store. It is important to look after that there are always fresh cut flowers on the altar.
On the altar there is also a place for dried plants - marijuana (necessarily of good quality!), tobacco, cigars (mainly mexican), snuff tobacco, pomegranate flower, lemon balm, lapacho, nettle, pomegranate leaves, cherry leaves are ideal. Any dried plants for smoking, such as marijuana, hashish, tobacco or sage offered to La Santa Muerte, are burned on the altar. The smoke is inhaled by the devotee and blown into the face of the Holy Death or directly onto the statue. As we know, Our Lady cannot inhale Herself physically, so the devotee does it for Her :). Usually a devotee offers La Rosa Blanca a special pipe in which burns only plants sacrificed for Her. It is then a ritual instrument, the property of La Santa Muerte. Often the statue is incensed with marijuana or tobacco smoke, as well as with natural incense smoke.
You can also sprinkle the statue with subtle perfumes, preferably with a warm, sweet and feminine fragrance.
La Nina Blanca likes South American aromatic palo santo wood, camphor, nag champa incense, copal (pre-Columbian peoples considered its fragrance as blessed), dragon's blood (resin obtained from palm trees), olibanum and myrrh. The perfect gift for La Santa Muerte are spicy peppers such as jalapeno, habanero, naga jolokia, trinidad scorpion, jalapeno, carolina reaper. The White Lady loves spicy cuisine :).
Also strongly fragrant spices - cinnamon, vanilla, turmeric, coffee beans or cocoa beans. We often find various drinks on the altar.
Traditionally, we offer Her a cup of clean water - the Holy Death is constantly thirsty :). A glass of water is the most basic offering for Our Lady.
Also coffee (can be with various additives such as cardamom) and alcohol (tequila, absinthe, rum, pink wine). Many devotees drink coffee or alcohol with La Santa Muerte, filling the cups, both for Her and for themselves. Anyway, a cup of fresh coffee should appear in front of the statue of Our Lady every day :).
Offering from sweets is also a good idea - all kinds of cookies, chocolate, cocoa, honey, candy, candy bars, wafers, jellies and so on. Any sweetness that the devotee likes will be good :). Traditionally, we find the sugar skulls (calaveras) - very colorful, flower- decorated representations of human skulls made of sugar and bread of the dead (pan de muerto) - baking of sweet dough with egg, of various shapes, often in the form of skulls covered with icing. Fresh fruit should not be missing - lime, pomegranate, avocado, peach, banana, passion fruit, chico zapote, pitaya, kiwi fruit, cactus fruit or sugar apple will be perfect. Also legumes - classically we find here corn, beans and broad beans. The Holy Death in some way take the energy from the gifts that we offer Her, She feeds on them spiritually.
Our Lady will surely be very happy with Her devotees favorite food. Preferably made by devotee's hands, specially for Her.
Rosaries, pendants and medallions (called milagros) with Her image are often hung on the statues of the Holy Death. We also offer Her gold, silver, banknotes, rubies, diamonds, emeralds, lapis lazuli. On many altars there are amounts of cash or gold, and the devotees, even if they are in the biggest need, will never take them away. With the money placed on the altar, we can buy a new statue or fresh flowers for Her. Some altars are full of richness and splendor.
The Holy Death loves and cares the poor and the rejected, and the altar made of stones or boards by a devoted believer will bring Her more joy than the baroque splendor. We don't offer blood sacrifices to our Lady - La Santa Muerte doesn't accept human or animal sacrifices.
With the deepening of one's faith, the bond with the Holy Death deepens. An increasingly perfect relationship is created between the devotee and La Santa Muerte. With time, the devotee will hear Her silent whisper, begin to recognize Her wishes, and then he will know best for himself what La Rosa Blanca wants from him, how should look like the altar of Our Lady and what should be on it.
Mateusz, La Santa Muerte Poland