It’s Imbolc, it’s the Feast Day of the orisha Oya, it’s the birthday of the sky-mother goddess Nut, it’s the eve of a super-auspicious full moon (in Leo, conjunct transiting Jupiter in Leo), and its the 11th birthday of my big kahuna Hawaiian import of a cat (Happy Birthday, Thor!). Needless to say, things have been buzzing in my home temple space with virtually round-the-clock ritual activity and will continue to do so for the next few days. While Chicago (a.k.a., Chiberia) has been hit hard with a snowstorm whose system began Saturday evening, resulting in 19″ of snowfall recorded in my Northwest Side neighborhood as of this morning, and spring seems very remote, I’m certainly counting my blessings. And since today is a Monday and that’s the day most sacred to La Santa Muerte, counting my blessings in a ritual context of weekly devotionals to Mi Flaquíta (My Skinny Girl) is the way to go, and I’d like to share more prayers and photos of my shrine dedicated to Her with you.
Prayer of the Holy Death
[Light incense and candles and then begin:]
Lord, before Your Divine Presence, God Almighty,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
I ask for Your permission to invoke the Holy Death,
Oh, Pretty Girl!
I want to humbly ask that You break and destroy all spells
and darkness that may present themselves before my person,
in my home, and on my path.
Holy Death, please safeguard me against all treachery, envy, hate, unemployment, and poverty,
and I ask that you please grant me _________.
Enlighten, with Your Holy Presence, my home, my workplace, and those of my loved ones.
Award us love, prosperity, health, and well-being.
Blessed and praised be Your charity, Holy Death.
Lord, I give You infinite thanks because I see Your charity.
The challenges I face every day are perfecting my spirit.
Lord, I give you thanks because in the midst of these challenges I always have Your holy blessing.
Second Prayer with an Emphasis on Summoning a Wayward Lover
Dear Death of my heart, never leave me unprotected,
and from this moment on let [NAME] have no more experiences or expectations of love apart from me;
Spirit, body, and soul of [NAME],
let it be his/her love, his/her kindness, his/her companionship, his/her loyalty,
his/her affection, his/her caresses, his/her kisses, his/her devotion and fidelity,
let it all be only for me.
With all the virtues You have acquired, I will overcome every obstacle.
Not illusion, nor delusion, will stand in my path.
Anything I desire, anything I propose myself to do, it will all help build a promising success for me.
This is the divine virtue God granted you.
In God I believe, but in You I trust.
[Pray “The Lord’s Prayer” three times.]
Prayer for Protection
[NOTE: This nine-day devotional working calls for three white candles to be burned in addition to La Santa Muerte’s own candle. Each white candle, of the kind in glass you can find in grocery stores, should last three days. Anoint the candles with Holy Death oil and powdered jasmine flower incense. Say the Prayer of the Holy Death, above, first, then say this prayer:]
Blessed Guardian Death, with the virtues God awarded You,
I want you to liberate me from all evil, danger, and sickness,
and instead grant me luck, happiness, and prosperity.
I want you to only let friends cross my path.
Keep away all enemies,
and protect my loved ones from any adversity that may present itself in their way.
Do not let harm reach us;
protect us with Your sheltering arms.
[Now say “The Lord’s Prayer” three times and follow that with the “Hail Mary” three times. Repeat every three days until the ninth day is done.]
One of the blessings that I’m grateful for today was being given the opportunity to work from home–my boss almost never lets us do that, no matter how bad the weather is. Since my street has yet to be plowed and salted by the City of Chicago’s trucks (a FedEx truck was stuck in the snow right in front of my condo building earlier this afternoon, so you know it’s bad), my policy since Saturday has been one of not leaving the house unless it’s absolutely necessary. “Working from home” has its charms, all right, especially if you’re a whizz-bang marketing creative like me and you finish your workload for the day by lunchtime, so I’ve appreciated having the opportunity to follow the course of the sun and move from room to room in my condo, basking in the day’s bright sunshine (another huge thing I’m grateful for, as the string of monochrome sky days can certainly wear on one’s nerves after a while) and channeling that sense of energy and optimism into various ritual activities. Little wonder that Wiccan authors Amber K and Azrael Arynn K assign the Tarot card of The Star to the Pagan Holy Day of Imbolc–there’s a sense of waxing hope and the flowing wellsprings of creativity this time of year, energies perfectly encapsulated in that Major Arcana card.
Well, La Santa Muerte always makes me feel inspired, loved, protected, and peaceful. I’ll be honest, I’ve always had an affinity, visually speaking, for anything “Grim Reaper”-looking since childhood (discovering the works of Edgar Allan Poe at the age of 9 had a lot to do with it!), but what I can say is that being a devotee of La Santa Muerte is the very antithesis of an exercise in morbidity. As with working with the goddess Hel, or, I like to think, Kali-Ma, Ereshkigal, or any of these other delicious “destroyers” from the world’s pantheons of Deities, I find La Santa Muerte’s energies to be cheerful, actually. The cheerfulness comes from being liberated, being severed (scythe imagery goes a long way here) from self-deception, from ideals that no longer serve you, from fears that constrict–especially the fear of one’s own mortality. That shift feels great! I often sense that La Santa Muerte is grinning and when I pray to Her or meditate on Her image, I can’t help but feel a childlike sense of glee also.
Naturally, a childlike sense of innocence and playfulness connotes spiritual purity, so I find it fitting that my shrine to La Santa Muerte Roja is adorned with a beautiful thangka of White Tara, a Buddhist Deity of healing my bodacious beau Dan is devoted to; he procured the thangka for me from Tibet(!). As soon as I added it above La Santa Muerte’s shrine the weekend prior to this past one, I could feel Her positively pirouette with joy, swinging scythe and all!
Of course, my rounds of devotions don’t begin and end with La Santa Muerte’s shrine. That being said, I’ve got more rituals to do this evening, so I better log off for now and execute them. And my big boy Thor, below, needs his tuna-and-catnip cake I’ve promised him! Happy Birthday, Thor!