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Cult La Santa Muerte Poland


La Santa Muerte is the Angel of Death, She is Death, Our Lady, Saint Patroness, Protectress and Guidess.

Today, as the cult of La Nina Blanca is spreading all over the world, most people understand who the Most Holy Death is. However, it was not always like that - for a long time mankind didn't fully recognize the essence of the Angel of Death La Santa Muerte.

The light of spiritual understanding of the Bony Lady came upon us when the Catholic faith in the Angel of Death brought by the Spaniards to today's Mexico combined with the Aztec worship of Mictēcacihuātl, revealing to us the glory of La Santa Muerte.

It's very difficult to determine the exact origins of the cult of the Most Holy Death. We know that from the dawn of mankind, man has worshiped Death, personified in the form of many Goddesses of Death.

However, it should be clearly emphasized that La Santa Muerte is NOT the goddess of death - La Santa Muerte is the Angel of Death.

Practically every ancient culture had a female deity of death in its pantheon of gods and goddesses. One of the most famous is the Aztec goddess Mictēcacihuātl. The goddesses of death were always held in the highest veneration by our ancestors and were also the most popular. As they represented the power of death, they were able to ensure survival and even long life. Usually the Goddess of death was also the ruler of the physical world on which people live, so she had power over our world and all human affairs. They protected against sudden and unexpected death as well as against diseases. They ruled the afterlife, the land of the dead, so they was believed to ensure a happy existence after death.

The ancient Sumerians worshiped the death goddess Ereshkigal. She was one of the oldest deities worshiped by mankind. She accepted souls after death in her kingdom Irkalla, where she ruled together with her husband Nergal. In Irkall, only she could legislate and enforce all laws. She was depicted as a beautiful, naked woman with owl wings and the claws of a bird of prey instead of legs, usually surrounded by wild animals. The most common animals are owls and lions. She holds a staff and a ring as symbols of power, as well as an ankh cross. The most famous image of Ereshkigal is the Sumerian relief "Queen of the Night".

In the Nordic pantheon, there was the Viking goddess of death, Hel, the daughter of the god Loki and the giantess Angrbody. Her brothers were the wolf Fenrir and the serpent Jormungand. Portrayed as half woman - half corpse. One half of her body was female, while the other half were bones covered with a half-rotting, blackened flesh. Hel was the ruler of Niflheim, the world of the dead to which Vikings who didn't die in battle, as well as women and children, went after death.

Among the Slavs we find Marzanna, the goddess of death and winter. It was the tradition of the Slavs to say goodbye to Marzanna on March 21, which was treated as a symbolic leaving of winter and the beginning of spring, which strongly associated her with the vegetation cycle of nature. The Slavs presented her in a dualistic way - sometimes as a dangerous and cold Lady of Winter, sometimes as a kindly fertile Lady. Marzanna also ruled over the existence of our ancestors - she gave and took life.

The Celts worshiped the goddess Morrigan, associated with death, ravens, battle and the after battle landscape in the form of corpses lying on the ground. A triple goddess of Irish-Celtic tradition, she predicted human death. It was also said that she could turn into a raven or a crow to carry the souls of the dead on her black wings to the afterlife.

In the Haitian voodoo cult, Maman Brigitte is highly venerated, she is linked to death and cemeteries. She is one of the most important loa. Queen of the cemetery and all the dead, wife of the male loa of the death Baron Samedi. Traditionally, the Maman Brigitte cross was placed on the grave of the first woman buried in a given cemetery. Ceremonies dedicated to Maman Brigitte were also practiced on the tombstone of the first buried woman. She is the protector of cemeteries and graves, she looks after every grave on which a cross stands. The guide of the souls of the dead, leads them to the afterlife on their last journey. Together with her husband, Baron Samedi, they are the parents of all Ghede (spirits of death). It is said that she transform the souls into loa Ghede. Two aspects of existence, death and fertility, find their expression in Maman Brigitte. She is the goddess of fertility and motherhood. Maman Brigitte loves people, both the living and the dead. She has the power to give prosperity, she gives people a better and happier life. Known as a powerful healer, she can heal many serious, often fatal diseases. Also known for intervening in women's things such as domestic violence, punishing unfaithful lovers, or having a happy birth. Portrayed as a beautiful woman with white skin and red hair. She is sexy and sensual. Dressed in a black dress with a long black shawl over the shoulders, she covers her head with a decorative scarf and wears dark sunglasses with missing right glass. She is offered rum with chili or pepper and candles.

The Aztecs worshiped Mictēcacihuātl, the goddess of death, the Lady of the Dead, Queen of the Underworld, Mictlan. It was believed that she has power over life and death. Aztecs asked her for healing, blessing before the journey, and for better material situation. Precious jewels, gold, spices and jewelry buried with the dead were gifts to Mictēcacihuātl to win her favor to the new soul in the Kingdom of the Shadows. At Aztec funerals, she was begged to take care of the soul of the deceased, because she is the guardian of the bones of the dead. Mictēcacihuātl, together with her husband Mictlantecuhtli, have power over all souls residing in the dark realm of Mictlán - those who died of old age, those who died a heroic death, and others. Sacrifices made to them also included human sacrifices. They both allegedly ate the dead. Their temple was located in the ancient ceremonial center of the city of Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City) in the Tlalxico district. A special veneration to the divine couple was given in the Aztec month of Tititl. Festivals of the dead were organized in honor of Mictēcacihuātl, joyful, colorful processions of people dressed as ghosts and skeletons. The festivals were believed to be led by the goddess of death herself. Today, the remnants of this festival are the processions during the Dia de los Muertos, and the festival itself is a fusion of the Catholic All Saints' Day and the Aztec festival in honor of the goddess Mictēcacihuātl. Traditionally, the Queen of the Dead was depicted as a female, skinless skeleton. Sometimes there were remains of rotting flesh on the skeleton or a dress made of living snakes. Her face was a skull with wide open jaws, thanks to which she swallowed stars and made them invisible during the day.

As we can see, each of the goddesses represented some aspect of the power, quality or character of Our Lady, the Angel of Death, the Most Holy Death. It could have been just one or more aspects. These were sparks of the spiritual wisdom of the primal people in recognizing La Santa Muerte, as they identified and concentrated in the goddesses of death some of the certain powers of La Santa Muerte. Often these were selective features such as motherly love for people, helping people in their daily affairs, healing powers, working miracles, power over the dead, closeness and unconditional acceptance.

However, at that time, the true nature of La Santa Muerte as the Angel of Light, the Angel of Death, was not yet recognized.

The first mention of the Archangel of Death in the history of mankind is in the Old Testament. The Angel of Death takes people's lives and leads souls to the afterlife. Also called "the One whom God helps", "Help from God" or "Angel of God", doesn't work independently. He is a servant of God, a messenger who constantly carries out His will. Created by God on the first day of Creation. According to tradition, he has a scroll with the fate of mortals, writing and erasing people's names at birth and death. Depicted as the Angel Destroyer, he was responsible for the mass executions of Israelites, Assyrians and Egyptians. The book of Exodus describes how he was sent by God to kill the firstborn son of Pharaoh and kill all the firstborn among men and cattle in order to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. The angel saved the lifes of sons in houses whose doors were marked with the blood of a slain lamb, which symbolizing the coming of Christ the Savior.

In the New Testament, the Angel of Death embraces the Savior at His death "... and when [Christ] gave up his spirit, the Most Holy Death embraced Him ...".

Saint Paul in the Letter to the Hebrews wrote that Christ, when He comes again in glory through the Angel of Death, will ultimately defeat the devil.

Also the description of the Lord's Resurrection mentions La Santa Muerte "... and when the Angel of Death released Him [Christ] from Her embrace, and when [the Apostles] saw Him [Christ], joy filled their hearts again."

Each of the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament describes how the Angel La Santa Muerte in white, La Blanca, heralded the Resurrection of Christ to Mary Magdalene and the women who came to anoint Jesus' body with oils. La Santa Muerte, shining with light like a thunderbolt, whose robes were whiter than snow, descended from the sky and pulled back the heavy stone blocking the entrance to the tomb. The guards have become petrified out of fear. La Santa Muerte gave women the Good News that the Lord has risen from the dead (Mt 28: 1-8).

In the Acts of the Apostles, in the description of the Ascension of the Lord, we find the Angel La Santa Muerte's meeting with the Apostles. As Christ ascended to Heaven in the sight of the disciples, two shining Angels approached them. La Santa Muerte - Angel in white spoke to the Apostles: "Men from Galilee, this Jesus, taken from you into heaven, will come just as you saw him ascending to heaven" (Acts 1: 9-11)

In search of the origins of the La Santa Muerte cult, we must go back to the Black Death epidemic in medieval Europe. The concept of death as a personified being is timeless, but the hooded skeleton holding a scythe as we know it today wasn't very popular until the Middle Ages. The plague erupted in Europe in 1346, possibly brought from Asia via the silk trade route. The epidemic killed nearly 60% of Europe's population, reducing the population from 450 million to 350 million. In the years 1346 - 1353 more than half of Europe fell victim to the plague, which means that practically every second inhabitant of Europe died. Dead bodies in the streets, rotting bodies in pits, dead bodies covered with black wounds, the stench of decaying corpses, suffering and hopelessness. Death was everywhere and was taking its toll. It was then that in the minds of people Death was personified in the form of a hooded skeleton, usually male in a black robe, with a scythe in hand, called the Grim Reaper. Artists, painters, sculptors and poets began to present, and thus perpetuate in human consciousness such imagined Death. Ars Moriendi significantly influenced the mystical perception of the world and the belief in the futility of human life. The medieval theme "memento mori" was born - skulls, bones, crossbones, wilting flowers, rotting fruits as a reminder of death. The idea of danse macabre - the dance of Death was also born. It was noticed that when She was dancing Her dance, Death took all people with Her, regardless of their wealth, birth, origin or education. She isn't interested in their rights or money and Her scythe is the final argument. This was of great importance in the Middle Ages, where state differences were enormous. People understood that death is fair and that She doesn't care about the masks or the social roles played by mortals among themselves.

They realized that Death is pure and close to every human being. That, She is holy. Justice, equality, constant presence and fear which she aroused among the rich, influential and powerful soon won her sympathy with the people. After all, sooner or later we will all be part of the death procession. The Grim Reaper was seen as a soul collector and guide that comes to all of us. This is an important distinction - the Grim Reaper didn't take life, he didn't kill people - he just brought the souls of the dead to eternal life. Judging souls or interfering with the lives of mortals wasn't belong to his responsibilities. Interestingly, usually Death, known in those days as the Grim Reaper, was personified in the male form. One of the first places where the figure of a skeleton with a scythe was depicted as a woman Death was medieval Spain. There she was called "La Parca", which means "The Reaper". The distinguishing feature of Spaniards from other Europeans was that they referred to death by the feminine pronoun as La Parca, in contrast to other Europeans who recognized her in a male form.

The Spanish conquistadors who came to the territory of today's Mexico brought with them the European image of Death, which they called La Parca.

Death, in the form of La Parca, was recognized by the indigenous peoples of pre-Hispanic Mexico as depiction of their own deities of death. Most often Death, personified as a hooded female skeleton holding a scythe in her hands, was identified among the local population as the goddess Mictēcacihuātl, Aztec goddess of death, guide of souls, ruler of the underworld. Mictēcacihuātl was a beloved and very popular goddess, perceived to be close to human affairs. She was considered loving people and giving them all the help - healing, wealth, consolation or love. Until now, the indigenous people had been addressing Mictēcacihuātl in their prayers, so when they encountered the Spanish La Parca, most likely, they considered her related to the goddess of death and began to worship her. The powers, attributes, symbols, and features of Mictēcacihuātl and the Grim Reaper were, after all, identical. The domain of both is death, they are the Guides of souls, they take care of them and lead them to the afterlife. They both have the power to heal, send love, wealth and abundance. Even character - both listen to requests and fulfill human pleas regardless of their moral judgment. Also, the appearance is as if taken out of the same image - the faces of both are skulls, both wear similar robes. The image of the Spanish La Parca merged with the cult of the Aztec goddess of death Mictēcacihuātl.

Death began to be deeply revered. The cult of Death was born. But then mankind didn't yet understand who La Santa Muerte is, because the White Lady is NOT the goddess of death.

The revelation of the essence of La Santa Muerte came as Catholicism began to spread in the New World and people realized that the Most Holy Death La Santa Muerte is the good Archangel of Death, the Lord's Angel of Light, and that She had always been so since the creation of the world.

La Santa Muerte is a merciful Angel, an invincible, powerful spiritual being. Created by God at the beginning of Creation, She received from Him power over human souls. La Santa Muerte is an Archangel sitting before God in the same heavenly hierarchy as the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. An Angel faithful to God and fulfilling His orders. The Angel of Death La Santa Muerte forever sits at the right hand of God. The power of La Santa Muerte is given to Her by God.

The three robes of the Angel of Death, White, Red and Black, represent the three states of existence after death, Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. Traditionally, God's giving the White, Black and Red robes to La Santa Muerte pertain to the story of the Creation at the beginning of the world. While God created the first humans Adam and Eve, He also sent an Angel to them. La Santa Muerte then got a white robe, signifying blessing and purity, becoming La Blanca. When Adam and Eve sinned and God banished them from Paradise, thus making them mortal, La Santa Muerte was given a black robe, symbolizing Her power to take people's lives, becoming La Negra. The banished Eve was to give birth to her children in suffering, pain and blood in accordance with God's judgment. Then La Santa Muerte got a red robe from God, symbolizing Her power over love and women's affairs, becoming La Roja.

La Santa Muerte is a good and merciful Angel of Death who has the power to save human souls from the torments of Purgatory. She descends from Heaven to lead cleansed souls before the Majesty of our Lord, and to those who are still burning the flames of Purgatory, She brings comfort and refreshment.

La Santa Muerte is an Angel who takes the special care of the souls in Purgatory, and to those who worshiped Her during their lifetime She shows a special intercession, shortening their torments.

The Angel of Death blesses us with our own holy death (santa muerte).

The first holy death was Christ's death on the cross, which made possible salvation and eternal life for everyone. Christ's death sanctified Death itself, and through His Sacrifice, She became the Holy Death. La Santa Muerte, being the Angel of Death, watched over Christ and was with Him in the afterlife to lead Him to the Resurrection on the third day. In the New Testament, it is written in the letter to the Hebrews that Christ, when He comes again in glory will ultimately destroy the devil, through the Holy Death. Also in the description of the Savior's death "... and when [Christ] gave up His spirit, the Most Holy Death embraced Him ..." and the resurrection of the Lord "... and when the Angel of Death released Him [Christ] from Her embrace and when [the disciples] they saw Him [Christ] once again joy filled their hearts". All four Gospels describe how La Santa Muerte, in a robes whiter than snow, announced the Resurrection of the Lord to Mary Magdalene and to the women who came to the Lord's Tomb to anoint Jesus' body with aromatic oils (Mt 28: 1-8). Then La Santa Muerte, shining white, spoke to the Apostles staring at heaven after the Ascension of the Lord that Jesus will return again (Acts 1: 9-11).

Our Lady is the Guidess of souls, personally and directly taking souls and leading them to Paradise. Therefore, each person will meet Her at the end of their life path.

No human could ever escape Her, although many tried. La Santa Muerte has accompanied mankind since its beggining, She is an eternal witness to human history.

La Santa Muerte has the power to bring relief, hope and blessing to those who suffer. She can appear in the form of white light, and intense white light is a sign of Her presence. The White Lady comes for those whose time on earth has run out, whose life energy has run out and never kills people. She doesn't act as an executor executing the death sentences. La Santa Muerte comes for those whose time on our earth has run out, She isn't responsible for stopping their lifetime. Our Lady loves all people, we are all Her children - it does not matter to Her whether our life was moral, righteous and noble.

Merciful Angel of Death - La Santa Muerte always comes to us loving, accepting and full of light to lead us to Paradise or Purgatory no matter how we lived or how we acted. The Most Holy Death accepts us and loves us no matter what we do.

In a short time, the vast majority of Mexicans as deeply religious Catholics especially venerated La Santa Muerte as the Angel of Death of the Lord, the Archangel of Heavenly Light. It was then that the glory of the revelation of the Angel La Santa Muerte took place among mankind.

Although Death was, is and will always be with us, regardless of what She was called in the history of the world, the true understanding of Her essence and power came only when people got to know the luminous being of the Angel of Death - the Most Holy Death, known to us as La Santa Muerte.

As the cult of Mary, the Mother of Christ, has spread widely in Mexico, and the vast majority of La Santa Muerte believers are Catholics, Marian spirituality has a powerful influence on the worship of the Most Holy Death. Both La Santa Muerte and Mary are loving and forgiving mothers, caring and understanding Protectresses. They are filled with grace, full of love and blessings. Guidesses of the people that lead every person to salvation.

They are mankind's propitiation, the ultimate salvation for sinners who, in despair, call upon them at the moment of death. Brides of God, through whom we all find Heaven. Immaculate Patronesses and Helps of Christians. "Joys of all creation" and "Joys of all those who are tormented." Their qualities are wisdom, love and hope.

La Santa Muerte and the Virgin Mary are Protectresses of the weak, despised, Patronesses of the rejected and excluded, very favorable to people. Powerful, insurmountable, Patronesses of hopeless and difficult matters. Hopes of the suffering and the broken. Each one is a Rock that will not be overwhelmed by any earthly powers, a support and a refuge for weary travelers. They are intermediaries between God in every matter that people turn to them.

They are famous for miracles, they bestow favors on people. Images of the Holy Death with some features characteristic of Marian figures have become common. These are Marian dresses, veils, tunics and sashes. A perfect example is the popular representation of La Santa Muerte in a dark blue cloak decorated with stars, standing on a crescent moon, in a characteristic prayerful pose, surrounded by light, such as Virgin Mary of Guadalupe - La Guada Muerte. A stylized sash and woven of four-petal jasmine flowers - a quincunx flower - robe reflects the iconography of the Aztecs and is the legacy of Our Lady's Aztec roots.

Each depiction of the Holy Lady in art creates a spiritual connection with the Angel of Death. With time, the entire canon of depicting the Most Holy Death was created, combining classical Marian iconography with traditional images of La Santa Muerte. The canon found its expression in the form of numerous paintings, icons, sculptures, pendants and scapulars.

Also, numerous Marian religious practices found their reflection in the cult of the Angel of Death.

The most characteristic is the rosary to the Holy Death. In the rosary prayer we turn to La Santa Muerte. Most of the rosaries on which we pray to La Santa Muerte are traditional Catholic rosaries, ended with a cross, although there are also rosaries with a small figure of Our Lady instead of the cross. There are also rosaries depicting La Santa Muerte and the cross, in a way that the Angel of Death spreads Her hands or angel wings over Christ hanging on the cross. Each La Santa Muerte rosary has 59 beads. La Santa Muerte rosaries are available in millions of different versions, shapes and colors all over the world. Informations on the La Santa Muerte rosary and the rosary prayers can be found in the section ++ Rosary ++

The most important prayers to the Most Holy Death are identical with many adorations of the Mother of God in Catholicism. It has become common practice to adapt prayers such as litanies, novena, the Angelic Salutation, Ardent Acts, antiphons, laudes and laces, replacing the turn to Mary with a turn to the Bony Lady. In this way, the entire canon of prayer adoration of La Santa Muerte was created. Prayers to the Most Holy Death can be found in section ++ Prayers ++

At the same time, it should be emphasized that the cult of Our Lady must be, above all, an internal cult, and not a superficial religious practice.

People devoted to the Holy Death are also close to pilgrimages to the shrines of La Santa Muerte, such as the Sanctuary in Tepito, Templo Santa Muerte Internacional in Tultitlán or Santuario Nacional del Angel de la Santa Muerte. Devotees of Death honor the Holy Lady, offer petitions, thanksgivings and prayers, getting special favors during their pilgrimages.

Also celebrating holy days (November 1 and Good Friday) dedicated to La Santa Muerte, fulfilling vows and promises, contemplations about the Bony Lady, sacrificing heart to La Rosa Blanca, wearing the Angel of Death medals and scapulars, devotees of the Holy Death share together with devotees of Mary.

Marian spiritual, religious and artistic trends mixed with the cult of the Most Holy Death. The way of worshiping, practice cult and even to some extent the iconography of La Santa Muerte and Mary have become the same. Fundamental for the cult of La Santa Muerte is the revelation of God, written in the Gospel, as Our Lady is the Angel of Death, the Archangel of the Lord.

Catholic rituals, which have been incorporated into the cult of the Bony Lady, are also of great importance.

Practically all traditional forms of adoration of the Most Holy Death have their source in the Roman Catholic liturgy.

Many prayers to Our Lady are based on Catholic prayers, have the same structure and similar prayers, blessings, praises and petitions. The vast majority of devotees, especially in Mexico, begin and end praying to La Santa Muerte with the sign of the Holy Cross, addressing the One God, the Most Holy Trinity, and the word "Amen". The texts of prayers, psalms and songs used during the adoration of the Most Holy Death come directly from Catholicism. "Our Father", "Hail Mary", "Angel of God", examination of conscience ended with an Act of Regret, the "Angelus prayer", and the "Act of Faith, Hope and Love" are part of the La Santa Muerte cult. One of the most popular forms of prayer to the Bony Lady is the rosary, during which the adapted version of "Ave Maria" is recited, greeting the Most Holy Death, and the prayer "Our Father". The Rosary to the Holy Death is recited both alone and during gatherings of thousands of devotees. The Litanies to La Santa Muerte with which we praise Our Lady are taken directly from Catholicism.

Countless burning candles, commonly associated with the cult of La Santa Muerte, votive gifts offered in gratitude for answered requests under the statues of the White Lady, kneeling before Her altar, faith in the intercession of Our Saint Patroness before God are practices taken directly from Catholic rites.

On most of Our Lady's altars are crucifix, a figure of Christ or the Archangel Michael, or La Pieta. La Pieta is a representation of the Infinite Compassion of La Santa Muerte embracing the dead body of the Savior, while Our Lady's tears fail on it. The Most Holy Death accompanied Christ for 3 days in the afterlife to finally lead Him to the Resurrection. Pietà expresses Holy Death's part in the work of Salvation and her boundless sorrow after the Crucifixion. In the New Testament, it is written in the Letter to Hebrews that Christ, through the Angel of Death, will ultimately destroy the devil when He comes again in glory. La Santa Muerte appears in many verses of the New Testament. Traditionally, a consecrated cross should be placed above the altar of La Santa Muerte.

Many communities of devotees, for example the Templo Santa Muerte Internacional, celebrate Masses for the glory of the Most Holy Death and the way of celebrating the mass is the same as the Catholic liturgy. Prayers, adorations, worship God, chants, responses from the faithful, receiving the sacraments, structure and even the entire liturgy of the Catholic Mass and La Santa Muerte Mass are similar.

According to Mexican tradition, La Santa Muerte wears a nun's habit or a white wedding dress (nuns wear wedding dresses when they take their first novitiate vows when entering the convent). This also clearly shows that the Most Holy Lady serves the Christian God. Moreover, most of the devotees are Catholics who see La Santa Muerte as an integral part of the Catholic religion.

In Mexico, to this day, there is a deeply rooted practice of worshiping folk saints.

Folk saints are the worshiped dead or other powerful spiritual beings like Angels, spirits worshiped as saints, having the power to intercede in prayers offered to God by the living. Over time, a large part of the Mexicans began to perceive the Angel of Death La Santa Muerte as the folk Saint, who Our Lady undoubtedly is. La Santa Muerte, like all the folk saints, is an intercessor for God, She can intercede God for the devotees, but She is also considered directly acting in the lives of Her devotees.

La Santa Muerte is basically distinguished from "traditional" saints by the fact that She hasn't been officially canonized by the Catholic Church, which means that Our Lady acts in a slightly less dogmatic way than Her official counterparts. Unfortunately, in general, people fear and slander Death. Hence their rejection and the real reason why La Santa Muerte was never accepted as an "official" saint in Catholicism. Saints in Europe are usually seen as intercessors between people and God, but aren't considered powerful in themselves, while Central and South American folk saints often act directly in the lives of their devotees, have great power, spiritual strength, and are worshiped.

It's characteristic that the devotees treat the folk saints as living people, talking to them like friends, telling them about their problems and joys, smoking cigarettes and joints with them, offering a glass of water or alcohol, just like we, the devoteed of La Santa Muerte treat Our Holy Lady. The Most Holy Death is like humans in both behavior, character and deeds. She loves people and listens to their requests, helps in all possible ways. News of healings and blessings are spread. It's worth mention that while official saints remain canonized by the Church forever, no matter how popular they are, folk saints who lose their devotees, for example due to unanswered requests can completely disappear from human memory. The devotees pray to folk saints, make offerings to them, make requests to them, and folk saints send their favors by performing miracles of healings, blessings, betterment of the material situation, protection against enemies. For La Santa Muerte as a folk saint there is also a huge number of altars, both home altars and public altars, there are chapels dedicated to Her by the roads, votive candles are lit for Her, and ex-votos are left in the sanctuaries of thanksgiving for numerous favors sent to the devotees.

In the cult of Our Holy Lady, we pray using the rosary, as do the prayers to most folk saints, which are also connected with various forms of rosary prayers or contain aspects of the rosary.

As with many popular and canonized saints, requests, prayers, novenas and litanies are created for La Santa Muerte.

Many folk saints live in poor and marginalized communities, including La Santa Muerte. As a folk Saint, She takes special care of the rejected and the despised. It is said that after death, the folk saints remain active members of their societies, treating them with a care that extends beyond the grave. As descended from the people, La Santa Muerte is considered particularly close to people.

The cult of folk saints often has a distinctly local character, but the devotion to La Santa Muerte extends far beyond Mexico and is present all over the world. After all, the Most Holy Death is the Patroness of all people.

In the cult of folk saints, there are patrons, i.e. saints who have a special intercession effectiveness in given problems. In fact, most of the folk saints patronize areas in which devotees have traditionally address them, and the help provided is extremely effective. Requests for the intercession to folk saints are identical to those addressed to officially canonized saints, except that folk saints look after people who would rather find it difficult to find an official patron saint for their activities. For example, St. Jesús Malverde looks after drug dealers, Juan Soldado helps cross the border crossing between Mexico and the United States, Difunta Correa specializes in gaining new homes and businesses, and Juan Bautista Morillo helps gamblers in Venezuela. Folk saints respond to requests that official saints are unlikely to respond to, and patronize activities that traditional saints are unlikely to help. When the devotees give them due veneration, perform services and give offerings in front of their statues, the folk saints bless and willingly give their supernatural help.

In the cult of La Santa Muerte, we can also find traces of traditions related to the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) in Mexico, in particular the processions organized on that day, during which Mexicans honor the dead and ancestors.

Dia de los Muertos is joyful, cemeteries are visited by relatives of the dead, feasts on graves are held during which the dead ones are gifted with their favorite food and drinks, home altars are built in honor of the dead made of sugar skulls. It is accompanied by colorful processions and parades with characteristic make-up resembling people to skeletons and a huge amount of "flowers of death" or marigolds. The processions have their source in medieval penitential processions, celebrated by Catholic fraternities as an annual tribute to the Passion of Christ during the celebration of Holy Week. In Spanish Seville, a procession called Semana Santa carries on a platform or carries a life-size skeleton representing Death on a wooden "death cart" and is called Dona Sebastiana or Comadre Sebastiana. Importantly, members of penitential brotherhoods treated the skeleton as a symbol of the holy death of Christ, but also worshiped her and calling the Holy Death (Spanish: Santa Muerte). When conquistadors arrived in the New World in the 16th century, they discovered that the Aztecs, Mayans, Nahua, Totonacs, and many other peoples were worshiping their ancestors during a festival in the 9th month known as Tlaxochimaco (birth of flowers) on the beginning of August, the Aztec Xiuhpohualli solar calendar. The patron of the festival was the goddess of death Mictecacíhuatl, Queen of the Underworld. One of the festival traditions was the exposition of the enemy skulls that were the trophies of war (today preserved in the form of sugar calaveras skulls), which terrified the Spaniards. The conquistadors decided to turn the macabre Aztec festival of the dead into a Catholic All Saints Day. The character of the holiday was changed to Christian, it was given Catholic symbolism and the date of the summer festival was moved to the beginning of November, coinciding with the holiday of All Saints. Aztec beliefs were merged with Catholicism and Roman Catholic rites were combined with pre-Columbian rites, thus starting the tradition of celebrating today's Dia de los Muertos in Mexico.

The cult of La Santa Muerte was also greatly influenced by Mexican folklore, culture, traditions and legends of the indigenous people. The cult of death and the traditions associated with it have always been present there and have existed for over three millennia. They were passed down by the ancestors of the Maya, Zapoteco, Totonaca, and other indigenous people until they spread to the Aztecs and then to today's Mexicans.

The deep respect and veneration of death were reflected in the culture expressed through religious traditions, art, clothing, dialect and even warfare. Practically all people inhabiting the area of Mexico today gave the highest glory to the goddesses of death, recognized as the most favorable to people. These peoples shared much of their core beliefs and religious practices with other communities in the region, which means that the death cult was widespread in Mexican culture. Processions, dances, feasts and festivals were organized in honor of the goddesses of death, flowers, jewelry and chocolate were offered to them. The rites were properly prepared in the form of multi-colored costumes, feathers, precious stones, skulls and ritual masks. The domains ruled by the goddesses of death included the culture of the Aztec and Mesoamerican society, the natural world, fertility, material wealth, death and the afterlife and wealth. Art was also strongly influenced by the religious and cultural practices of the Aztec people. Given that both Aztec religion and culture were based on earlier Mesoamerican civilizations, Aztec art had many parallels with the rest of Mesoamerica, which shows the widespread worship of Death in the region. For this reason, we can find La Santa Muerte figures in traditional Aztec or Mayan dresses. Aztec art was present in many of the items, clothes, and tools that the Aztecs used on a daily basis - clothing, ceramics, jewelry, temples, and weapons contained characteristic, rich artistic styles. The worship of Death was central to the Aztec culture that they passed on in these facilities. A whole range of colors, bright tints and vibrant, dynamic images were used. Common materials used to create these items were: feathers (especially blue-green quetzal bird feathers), shells, gold, precious stones, bones, skulls and flowers. All this was reflected in the colorful, flowery, full of skulls, bright patterns and make-ups of the dead, La Santa Muerte cult. Today's Mexican music is based on its native sounds and Mesoamerican heritage. The original inhabitants of Mesoamerica used drums (teponaztli), flutes, rattles, conchs and wind instruments, including trumpets, to create music and dances. This ancient music is still played in some parts of Mexico. Mariachi is a street band of musicians that includes singers who play the violin, guitarrón, guitarra de golpe, vihuela, classical guitars and trumpets, wearing silver studded charro suits and sophisticated hats. Mariachi appear in the streets, festivals and even restaurants. Musicians often play the Most Beautiful Girl in the streets of Mexico, especially the devotees hire them to play for Our Lady in front of Her statues. In the 16th century, over three hundred years of Spanish colonization began, during which the conquistadors brought the Roman Catholic faith and European traditions with them.

Both currents of civilization - the Old World and Mesoamerican - fused together to form today's Mexican culture, in which the cult of La Santa Muerte, the Holy Death, was born and evolved.

The traditions and habits of the people of Mexico are diverse - each region has its own heritage and celebrations unique to the area. The combination of two cultural trends - European and Mesoamerican, influenced Mexican culture in terms of culture, customs, art, music, dance, rituals and language. Each of these areas had an impact on what the religion of the Holy Death looks like today. Full of joy celebrations of the Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos, colorful crosses, sumptuous parades in honor of the dead drowning in flowery garlands, skull masks and bone necklaces, street altars in honor of the dead, sweet Pan de muerto bread for those who have passed, mariachi music at the corner of every street, life-size skeleton figures, sweet sugar calaveras are Mexico's rich, colorful and vibrant traditions that have long influenced the cult of La Santa Muerte, having a unique influence on it.

All these factors shaped and perpetuated the image of the cult of La Santa Muerte in Mexico today.

The history of the cult of La Santa Muerte is interweaved with both its Aztec-European past and the Mexican-Spanish present.

La Santa Muerte's infinite love for people, effective help and constant care have always won Her more and more devotees.

The colonial and then state authorities regarded the cult of the Holy Death as a threat to their power. The first ones unleashed brutal terror, while the second ones persecuted the devotees, destroyed altars and shrines of the White Lady. Devotees to the Most Holy Death had to go underground and worship Her in hiding, usually in the privacy of their own homes. Home altars were built to honor La Rosa Blanca. Medallions (called milagros in Mexico), scapulars and tattoos with Her image were hidden under clothes. Traditions, prayers, novenas, rituals and spells were passed on orally, from generation to generation, so no institutions were created and no written religious books were preserved. As a result, the cult has become highly individualized, which is also due to the fact that the relationship of each devotee with the White Lady is very personal.

The cult of La Santa Muerte was held secretly until the middle of the 20th century. It appears again in the pages of history around 1940, when the first mentions of Mexican women addressing La Niña Roja, La Santa Muerte in a red robe, called for love, sex and passion, for the return of their husband, for the end of their husband's romance with a lover or to restore passion in their relationships.

The rapid growth of faith in Our Lady took place in Mexico only in the second half of the 20th century. Seeing the fragility of their existence and the helplessness of man in the face of the threats and dangers of life, people realize that they need the intercession of the mighty Patroness, the Angel of Death herself - La Santa Muerte. The Holy Death always listens to Her devotees, cares for the poor, protects the weak, helps the miserable and comforts the excluded.

People recognized Our Holy Lady's infinite love for humanity and countless crowds of newly devoted faithful began to come to Her.

La Santa Muerte's first public place of worship was established in Mexico City's poor neighborhood of Tepito in 2001, when the Mexican woman Enriqueta "Dona Queta" Romero displayed a life-size statue of the Holy Death to the public in the window of her house at 12 Alfareria Street. When Marcus, son of Dona Queta was imprisoned, both his mother and he prayed to La Santa Muerte for release. Marcus built the altar of La Santa Muerte in the prison, and Dona Queta even brought him a giant statue of the White Lady. After her son's miraculous release, the great statue of La Santa Muerte found its way to Enriqueta's house, however, the limited space forced her to open the door of the house, making the statue visible to people. Soon people began to pray and worship La Santa Muerte at a statue belonging to Dona Queta. They burned candles, joints and incenses for Her. Devotees left sweets, tobacco, rum and tequila. They decorated the statue of Our Lady with jewelry and they laid flowers. Soon after, Mrs. Romero and her husband decided to raise the beautiful statue of La Santa Muerte on the altar built in front of their house, thus transforming it into a public chapel, as the statue is located behind the glass directly near the street. The date they chose was November 1, 2001 which is All Saints' Day. Since then, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have visited the sanctuary in the Tepito district. The devotees pray to the Holy Death in front of Her life-size statue, eat and drink, celebrate and rejoice, offer her gifts and presents, ask for help, ask for blessings, dance, listen to music, give thanks and light candles for Her. Perhaps the most devotees gather in Tepito during the monthly rosary prayer to La Santa Muerte led by Dona Queta.

Dona Queta was the first person to establish the public chapel of La Santa Muerte, while the first attempts to institutionalize the cult in Mexico were made by David Romo Guillen. At first Padre David was a traditionalist Catholic who left the Roman Catholic Church after Second Vatican Council, refusing to agree to liberal changes in Catholic doctrine, and founded his own Traditionalist Mexican-American Catholic Church. With time, he noticed that many members of the Church also worshiped La Santa Muerte, which aroused his interest in Our Holy Lady. Over the next months he got to know the Bony Lady, rituals and traditions related to the cult. Padre David Romo decided to devote himself to the Angel of Death and transformed his church into the revered in particular La Santa Muerte. In 2003, the church was registered, thus becoming one of the largest religious institutions for the devotees of the Holy Death. The Church follows the Nicene and the Athanasian Creed, maintains the seven sacraments, an all-male priesthood, but don't practice clerical celibacy, allow contraceptives, don't require chastity before marriage and rejects papal infallibility. Church services are held every Sunday, and the devotees, more often than to the other saints, turn to La Santa Muerte in their prayers to intercede for them before God. Novenas, litanies, prayers and rosaries are celebrated and the devotees leave offerings in front of the statue of Our Holy Lady. The Church practices baptisms, communions, confirmations and weddings. In August next year, in the Church there were unveiled the characteristic for the temple statue of La Santa Muerte Encarnada - La Santa Muerte Incarnate - the statue of Our Lady with a beautiful, feminine, pale and porcelain face, long, wavy brown hair and a long dress and veil. The growing popularity of the newly created church of La Santa Muerte, bring on that the Mexican administration in 2005 removed the church from the list of denominations recognized by the state. In response, Padre Romo organized a procession of a few thousands devotees of La Santa Muerte carrying the great statues of Our Saint through the capital of Mexico. When in 2009 he called on the devotees to vote in elections against the ruling party, he was arrested. He was charged with kidnapping charges and sentenced to 66 years in prison to be eliminated from public life for spreading faith in the Saint. The activity of padre David Romo resulted in a significant increase in the number of devotees of the Angel of Death, and his struggle to make the Church of La Santa Muerte legal in Mexico ensured him the appreciation of Our Lady's devotees from all over the world.

It's also worth mentioning the Templo Santa Muerte Internacional shrine in the municipality of Tultitlán, Mexico City, established by Jonathan Legaría Vargas, also known as El Comandante Pantera, in 2007. Rising above it, the huge 22-meterhigh statue of La Santa Muerte makes the temple a very characteristic place on the city map. From then on, Padrino Endoque, as Jonathan is called by the faithful, conducts weekly Sunday masses in honor of the Angel of Death. At first, a few devotees attend them, but soon the services held under the statue gather hundreds of them. In the early morning of July 31, 2008, Commander Pantera was shot dead in his car while driving on the López Portillo road between the Ecatepec and Coacalco borders. Interestingly, Jonathan Vargas was murdered in the exact same place where he raised the statue of Our Lady a few months earlier. His mother Enriqueta Vargas, who so far didn't support the faith of her son, in a moment of despair turns to the Holy Death with an oath that if La Santa Muerte avenges her son's death, she will try to raise Her "to the highest heights". Very quickly, the Bony Lady brings the murderers of El Comandante Pantera to death. Mrs. Vargas, feeling that La Rosa Blanca has fulfilled Her part of the contract, begins to hold services at the temple of La Santa Muerte, founded by her son. The shedded blood of Comandante Panthera and the almost immediate fulfillment of his mother's pleas for revenge convinces the Mexicans of the extraordinary effectiveness of Our Lady, and the martyr's death in the eyes of many makes Jonathan Legaria a saint. Enriqueta Vargas' activities are bearing fruit quickly. The number of Angel of Death devotees coming to services at Templo Santa Muerte International is constantly growing, and the skilful use of the Internet, social platforms and communication via social media makes more and more people around the world meet La Santa Muerte. Unfortunately, Ms. Vargas dies in 2018 after a long battle with cancer, but her zeal, strength and faith continue to inspire many devotees of the Holy Death.

During this period, the public's acceptance of the cult of La Santa Muerte grew significantly in Mexico, allowing the devotees to freely worship the Angel of Death in public.

Since 2001, there has been a rapid increase of the devotees of La Santa Muerte.

People turn to Her because the help She gives is quick and immediate. La Rosa Blanca is known for Her reputation as working miracles. Those suffering from poverty, misery and hopelessness find help in Her. The sick ask for and receive healing. La Santa Muerte provides safety to those at risk, protects them from enemies and protects them from dangers of life. The prayers that people address to Her are various: defence against state administration, awakening love in a loved one, successful crossing the US border, betterment the financial situation, returning husband to home, getting health for a sick child or getting a good job. The news is spreading among people that the Holy Death fulfills human requests and is extremely effective at the same time.

The devotees feel that Holy Lady loves us endlessly, that we can always count on Her. La Santa Muerte will always listen to us, advise us and comfort us. She is our Friend, Mother and Protectress. She is the merciful Angel of Death, our Saint Patroness.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the cult had about two million devotees, mainly in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Morelos, Campeche, and also in the capital city of Mexico. At that time, the founder of the Church of La Santa Muerte in Mexico City, David Romo, estimated the total number of Mexican devotees of La Santa Muerte at around 5 million, which meant that the nearly 5% of Mexico's population were devotees.

The cult of La Santa Muerte has no hierarchy or organization. It's not centralized like, for example, the Catholic Church, nor is it excluder like Islam. Faith in the Holy Lady spreads the fastest among people who have lost hope, live outside society, among the excluded, deprived of prospects and chances for a normal life. The first devotees are, therefore, the poor, living on the edge, struggling daily with the hardships of life, excluded from the formal market economy, as well as the judicial and educational system, those who struggle with the economic and social crisis. La Santa Muerte is the Mother of the Rejected, She doesn't judge our deeds and helps each of Her children regardless of the moral aspect of human behavior, so smugglers, gang members, drug barons, drug dealers and thieves turn to Her. The Most Holy Death protects against danger, shields against bullets and ensures survival, which is why soldiers of both cartels and the Mexican army, policemen, enforcers, mercenaries and bodyguards are begging Her for protection. La Santa Muerte is the Lady of Shadows, Senora de las Sombras, because She protects those who act in the dark and work at night, prostitutes, drug dealers, bartenders and taxi drivers. She accepts everyone, regardless of their origin, skin color, sexual orientation or religion. The White Lady is especially venerated in prisons among inmates who build altars for Her in their cells. The Bony Lady is famous among prisoners for Her power to miraculous releases, She brings hope, and also provides safety and protection. In Mexico's prisons, even non-devotees tattoo a depiction of the Holy Death, most often on their backs, because no inmate will ever strike the image of La Santa Muerte with a knife or other sharp weapon.

Unfortunately, soon the growing cult of La Santa Muerte is attacked by the Mexican state administration. National Action Party (PAN) was particularly involved in the fight against faith in La Santa Muerte. The devotees of La Rosa Blanca are discriminated and persecuted, the state deprives them of their places of worship, occupies buildings designated for temples, and prohibits services and gatherings. Representing the PAN party, President Felipe Calderon even goes so far as to destroy the border chapels of the Holy Death, most often established with the intention of successfully crossing the border between Mexico and the USA. In March 2009, the disgraced president sends the military to destroy hundreds of La Santa Muerte shrines to Tijuana's US border towns, mainly Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros.

The news of La Santa Muerte makes headlines, television and radio all over Mexico. However, journalists usually have no knowledge of the Holy Lady. So they publish false, shocking and brutal articles to increase the sold circulation of newspapers in which they try to link Our Lady with murderers or kidnappers. As a result, a large part of Mexican society, mainly the richer and better educated, begins to perceive the cult of La Santa Muerte as "dark" and "evil". Despite strong opposition from the upper classes of Mexican society, despite aggressive state attacks, the number of devotees of the Angel of Death continues to increase. The power of Holy Death is insurmountable. The bad opinion and fear that the Holy Death awakens in this "good", "organized" and wealthy part of society doesn't affect the devotees in any way. Over the next few years, the number of followers of La Santa Muerte triples and is estimated to be between 10 and 12 million throughout Mexico, Central America, and also in the US and Europe.

With the development of the Internet, the form of communication and information transmission is greatly facilitated. Thanks to this, more and more people get to know the Holy Death and the cult of Her, and the number of La Santa Muerte devotees is constantly growing. The world is becoming a global village with no borders, so immigrants from Mexico and Latin America have a large share in the transmission of faith, traditions, prayers and services.

Faith in Our Lady is spreading like fire all over the world, making the cult of La Santa Muerte the fastest growing religious movement in human history!

Nowadays, devotees are everywhere, on every continent, in big cities and small villages. Worshipers represent practically the entire cross-section of society, ranging from people who live on the fringes of society, rejected and despised, by officials, doctors, nurses, judges who make up the middle class, and finally politicians, directors of large enterprises, generals, landowners and owners of large companies. In Our Lady's love, a drug dealer and an elderly lady, a prostitute and a nun, a soldier and a cartel member, a beggar and a rich man, a widow and a mother meet. Most of the devotees are young people, in their 20s or 30s. Nowadays, all over the world, adorations of La Santa Muerte take place at home altars, in Her chapels (capillas) and in the streets. Children run in front of Her statues, offering Her drawings, sweets and fruits, while older women holding icons of the Holy Death in their hands thank for the blessings that She gave their families. The newlyweds order a mariachi concert for her to thank Her for their love and to ask for future prosperity.

It should be strongly emphasized that the cult of La Santa Muerte is disorganised and informal. There is no hierarchical, institutionalized religious organization that brings together all devotees from all over the world, as is, for example, in the Catholic Church or various Protestant denominations. The relation with La Santa Muerte is very personal, it comes from the heart, it doesn't require any organized institutions or rules written by priests. Typically, free and informal gatherings of devotees from a specific area, region, city or district are formed locally. Therefore, both the Templo Santa Muerte Internacional organized by El Comandante Pantera and the Traditionalist Mexican-American Catholic Church established by Padre David Romo gather only a small percentage of Our Lady's devotees from all over the world. The cult of the Holy Lady has evolved from a hidden Mexican adoration to an open public cult of millions of people.

For the devotees of La Santa Muerte, cult is a mystical, spiritual worship of the Angel of Death and a collection of practices, prayers, services and rituals. Faith in La Santa Muerte is growing rapidly around the world. Cult is created by the devotees inspired by the Spirit of Our Lady and is created in real time. Each devotee brings something unique, individual and distinctive from himself, from the strength of his faith, tradition and cultural background.

The Holy Death is gaining more and more devotees on every continent. Some become devotees, recognizing the power of the Angel of Death, responding to the Holy Lady's love, others turn to Her in times of suffering or despair, and still others seek spiritual care or help in their daily struggles with the hardships of life. Some ask Her for help in solving problems, to others She comes by Herself when they are in need. There are those whom the Holy Death calls - through signs or appropriate persons in their lives, visits them in dreams, appears in visions. Most people gladly respond to Her invitation, few try to run away or forget, but they always end up in the loving arms of the Angel of Death.

Everyone who has found consolation in the Holy Death speaks of the great joy, peace and extrasensory protection that he experienced from Her.

Happy are those whom La Santa Muerte has covered with Her holy robe.

Mateusz La Santa Muerte Poland