The ninth and final day of the Novena to La Santa Muerte should occur on a Wednesday. The third of the three-day white glass candles burned in Her honor should be close to burning itself out. Take time for quiet contemplation of the entire Novena experience: How did your devotional relationship with La Santísima deepen? In what ways have you changed–perhaps your attitude towards your own mortality? Or your understanding of the nature of prayer in general, or its contextualization in Mexican folk magic and religion in particular? Have any portents presented themselves at any time during the Novena, assuring you that La Flaquíta has in fact been listening to you? Did you feel Her bony fingers steering your ship of destiny in the past nine days in any way? Synchronicities often abound, in my experience. And it has always been my experience that my prayers manifested pretty quickly, especially if I was seeking payback against an enemy. And somewhere in the darkness, La Santa Muerte Negra grins Her skeletal grin broadly…
She is a Lady of Miracles, and thanks and praise are due to Her always. Hence, for the final day of the Novena, be sure to go all out with your devotional offerings: not just flowers, but a bouquet of roses; Godiva chocolates; primo tequila; and choice cigars. You get the idea.
As before, when you’re ready to begin, make the Sign of the Cross and say the Prayer of the Holy Death:
Lord, before Your Divine Presence,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
I ask for Your permission to invoke the Holy Death.
Oh, Pretty Girl! Hermosa Niña Blanca!
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 relieve me of all oppression, poverty, and despair.
I ask that You please grant me_________.
Enlighten, with Your Holy Presence, my home, my workplace, and the environments of my loved ones.
Award us health, love, prosperity, 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.
La Santísima, I give You thanks because in the midst of these challenges
I always have Your Holy Blessing.
Let us pray:
Oh, Holy Death!
My ever-vigilant Protector!
By all the virtues granted unto You by God,
I ask that You liberate me from all forms of sickness, from pain, from despair, from poverty, and from the snares of my foes.
Do not let anyone who bears me ill will, do not let any wagging tongue speaking out against me,
Form negativity that coalesces and rises up against me.
Instead, let such evil intentions redound on the head of the sender a thousand times over,
Aché! As I go about my life unscathed.
You Who are the Right Hand of God,
Award me opportunities that promote my expansion and development,
Ones that align me with my destiny.
Grant me luck, health, meaningful work, and abundance in all its forms.
Open my roads favorably and allow only true friends to serve as companions on the journey;
Shut the ways for all who mean me harm. Cut out with Your scythe from my path all smiling enemies, all false friends.
May I live a long and joyous life, rich with purpose, one that will have me glorifying You always.
For You reign in my heart,
O Empress of This World,
And I pray that each day I will be a more fitting vessel of Your Grace and Mercy,
That I may share it with all.
[Again, follow with “The Lord’s Prayer” three times.]
As you did the previous day, conclude with:
In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Immaculate Being of Light,
I implore that You grant me these favors that I ask of You.
Until the last day, hour, and second when Your Divine Majesty orders me to be at Your feet,
Dear Death of my heart,
Do not ever leave me unprotected.
Obviously, the cultus of the Bony Lady is not for everyone. For conservative North American Christians (Catholics and Protestants both) and New Agers alike, La Santa Muerte’s images and cultic practices conjure revulsion at best, and accusations of diabolism at worst. She suffers from the same bad PR as “naughty” Divinities like Set, Loki, and the Exu of Brazilian Quimbanda.
But for the hardy souls She chooses to claim as Her own, there exists when praying to Her, if I may be so bold as to borrow words from the Bible, “the peace which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:6). Mysteries are experience-based; they can’t be presented and assessed through the bifurcated, limited medium of human language. Speaking for myself and for the other Muertistas I know (including a few lovely souls who regularly read this blog: I love you guys!), the number-one motivational force in praying to La Santa Muerte is a deep and abiding love for Her. For Who She Is. Not for what She does or is capable of doing on your behalf.
That being said, this is a Being of Darkness. If you’re not already comfortable with darkness and the myriad forms it takes in the human experience, chances are slim indeed that you’d find yourself called to serve La Santa Muerte. And darkness…seeps. Its nature is to expand. A conscious commitment to it alters your perceptions, makes you feel at home in its inky domain. Prepare to have your psychic doors blown open, prepare to have experiences with the spirits of the dead, as you maintain your steadfast devotion to La Santísima. (Or perhaps, your current state of openness/psychic development and/or communion with the dead already marks you as Hers.) Some folks won’t like this, but it’s a natural by-product of loving Her and electing to be in Her service. Nietzsche’s famous quip about having the darkness stare back into you the longer you stare into it is 100% applicable here.
In the course of doing this Novena while presenting it daily on my blog for the past nine days, I’ve had two intense dreams of La Santa Muerte, I’ve had evidence of my prayers being answered as early as the morning of day two (a longstanding rival/enemy of mine at work announced his resignation, a complete and total surprise to all, myself included), my fiancé and I have felt Her presence throughout the house (but especially in the master bedroom, where I keep my shrines to Her), and we’ve had a ratcheting-up of ghost visitor experiences (random flickering of lights, hearing voices and scratching sounds on the walls just outside the pale of lamplight as we sit and read in the living room). And, as of three o’ clock this morning, I received a death omen in a dream (nearly all of my teeth fell out of my mouth as I was brushing my teeth in front of a large mirror), leaving me to sadly ponder which of my relatives is marked to die soon. (The last time I had such a dream, my mother’s last remaining sister died shortly thereafter.) For each of these occurrences and more that I haven’t named, I give thanks. I give thanks for the Presence, Power, and Majesty of the Most Holy Death. I give constant thanks for Her ongoing protection of my personhood and those of my loved ones, spiritually and physically. I give thanks for the joy that serving Her brings. I give thanks for the ease of acceptance of my own mortality that praying to Her brings.
Whatever your spiritual tradition, give your Powers thanks on a regular basis. The more you express your gratitude vocally, the more you will be given opportunities to express thanks for even greater blessings. To readers of this post who are my fellow Americans getting ready to celebrate a long Thanksgiving holiday weekend starting tomorrow, may you think and act on an attitude of gratitude mindfully each and every day, whichever Goddesses and Gods you serve.
So mote it be!