Author Topic: Origin of "Santa Muerte"  (Read 739 times)

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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« on: June 21, 2018, 07:17:01 AM »
Here's an interesting question: does anybody know how and why the cult phenomenon in Mexico of "Santa Muerte" developed?

For those who don't know, "Santa Muerte" or "Saint Death" is a blasphemous depiction of the Virgin Mary in Mexico in which a skeleton or the Grim Reaper is dressed up as the Virgin Mary. It has grown a cult following, with people treating it with actual veneration as like a Saint - although of course it seems that most of the time its intended purpose is to mock the Mother of God.

Of course, we can see what is wrong with it - it mocks the Mother of God - but it has become increasingly entrenched in the more secular culture of Mexico, especially for those interested in the occult / drug dealing.

How exactly did this phenomenon develop, particularly if we want other cultures to avoid this from happening?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 07:23:23 AM by LivenotoneviL »
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Re: Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2018, 07:26:37 AM »
How deep are you willing to go?

https://www.jstor.org/stable/40170073 (32-page paper)
https://wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/bitstream/handle/10339/33439/Whittington_wfu_0248M_10128.pdf (126-page dissertation, not all of it is relevant to the question)
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2018, 09:39:08 AM »
Here's an interesting question: does anybody know how and why the cult phenomenon in Mexico of "Santa Muerte" developed?

For those who don't know, "Santa Muerte" or "Saint Death" is a blasphemous depiction of the Virgin Mary in Mexico in which a skeleton or the Grim Reaper is dressed up as the Virgin Mary. It has grown a cult following, with people treating it with actual veneration as like a Saint - although of course it seems that most of the time its intended purpose is to mock the Mother of God.

Of course, we can see what is wrong with it - it mocks the Mother of God - but it has become increasingly entrenched in the more secular culture of Mexico, especially for those interested in the occult / drug dealing.

How exactly did this phenomenon develop, particularly if we want other cultures to avoid this from happening?

I would say that the displays of Santa Muerte are idols which receive latria, actual worship, and not mere objects of veneration.  There is some comtinuity with some surviving trace elements of the very unpleasant religion of pre-Spanish Mexico, a religion of ritualized human sacrifice that we can reason with some certainty, due to the genocidal Flower Wars, was far bloodier than the Spanish Inquisition.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2018, 09:43:52 AM »
This particular cult was a recent development, but it's rooted on syncretism with Native American and African practices. I have written a thread on Afro-Brazilian syncretism upon request by Alpha60 some time ago, there are some weird pics and some other Brazilians contributed, it might interest you: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,72424.msg1485377.html
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Offline Orthodox_Slav

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Re: Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2018, 11:14:57 AM »
I have known about the cult of Santa Muerte but I never realised the reaper was dressed in the Theotokos's clothing! :o  :o  :o
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Offline Mexican

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Re: Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2019, 11:47:43 PM »
This idea about Santa Muerte being explained as a form of Syncretism quoting the Pre-Christian view of death by the Aztec civilizations, by so called experts and historians is pure hogwash. While it is certainly true that skulls were depicted and are depicted in traditional craft before and after the arrival of Europeans, Santa Muerte is a recent creation and our national culture and history are being abused in order to justify such disgusting and Pagan cult... Santa Muerte's debut in literture came around the 1950's... when a Mexican Nationalist (a former German SA officer known for his pseudonym B. Traven) wrote the book "Macarius" which is a work of beautiful work of literture that deals with Mexican religious feelings about death according to indigenous and Christian cosmology. Unfortunately, this book was taken by some US "Chicanos" who later got involved in gang activity and used the depiction of Saint Death for purposes of Mafia-like idolatry and witchcraft whose tennets are not at all indigenous as it was also influenced by voudou and Afrocaribbean magic, and so on. No true indigenous healer or witch doctor would ever use such hideous modern pseudo-Mexican "uncle Sam" idol as legitimate... And no true Christian would ever accept it as part of the Christian worship. Unfortunately, Communism consolidated in Mexico after the Cristero crack down in the 1930's and the Catholic Church was effectively supressed for several years until the WWII liberal cruzade when President Manuel Avila Camacho realized that religion could be used as a way to control people. At that time, he allowed priests to say mass again, and restored the role of the Roman Catholic Church as the main religion in Mexico... However, the Vatican had already agreed to replace militant bishops with men acceptable to the government with US mediation. Religious orders had been banned, religious education in schools outlawed and intense Anti-Christian propaganda was launched. Around the 1960's when the reforms of Vatican II were promulgated, "belonging without believing" was the norm everywhere... Many forms were readopted but the meanings faded away... Some Mexicans simply turned to the veneration of saints but knew nothing about those saints as their granparents did... their religion was taken away from them by both local Marxism and the worldwide destruction of Christianity in the 1960's... In the 70's, American-born children of Mexican labourers who lived in the US since WWII came back regularly to visit their relatives. Many of them were active in gang activities and brought Saint Death to their young relatives in Mexico...
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Offline Mexican

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Re: Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2019, 12:04:08 AM »
People involved with Santa Muerte cult are mostly ignorant people without religious instruction (90% of them). And they learnt this from other people involved in petty crime such as pirate CD-burning or importation of Asian cloned cellphones. And I say "petty crime" because an "enlightened" man like "Chapo" Guzman is clever enough to reject the cult of Saint Death. That's how santa Muerte became the "devil-saint" of those who feel rejected by society and lived surrounded by violence, drugs and poverty since their early years. Saint Death only became a true and brutal satanic cult after the 2006 absurd "drug war" that led hundreds of these young men to do the dirty job for business-men-like druglords who were uninteresed in killing, torturing and flaying people until the Mexican government agreed to crack down the cartels in Mexico to please the Obama-Clinton sect that sent firearms to every cartel in order to divide and conquer. The Roman Church never endorsed Saint Death. However, it failed to condemn it for several decades as it was very little known until the late 2000's when the drug business was as its peak...
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2019, 01:08:30 AM »
Probably better to not condemn a fringe religious movement and thus inadvertantly promote it.  Indeed more than once St. Epiphanius in the Panarion ponders whether he is doing the right thing in documenting the existence of certain rather unpleasant cults.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Origin of "Santa Muerte"
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 07:46:23 AM »
Thanks for the clarification, Mexican!
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