As long-time readers of this blog will know by now, I did not enter into Polytheistic Paganism with a seething hatred for the Christian denomination (Eastern Orthodoxy) in which I’d been raised.
On the night of Saturday, November 3, 2018 into the wee hours of the morning of Sunday, November 4, I had the pleasure of experiencing my first official paranormal investigation at the Old Joliet Prison, courtesy of the paranormal investigation groups Chicago Hauntings and the Joliet Paranormal Society as well as the Joliet Area Historical Museum. My friend Edward and I joined 48 hearty souls for the 5-hour-long investigation, including renowned psychic medium (featured on the long-running Travel Channel series, Ghost Adventures) Chris Fleming, who happens to be a Chicago native.
I had the pleasure of recently leading my second public Mass to La Santa Muerte; it occurred on November 2 (All Souls’ Day) at our FOI Chicago public temple space.
Most Holy Death,
Glorious and Powerful
Sister of Mercy,
Stand firm as my Protector:
My unwavering shield
Against all foes,
Those known and those not known to me.
Be my guiding light
When all avenues seem dark,
Ensuring the safety of my body and
The wellness of my mind and spirit.
Lady of Purity,
Lady of Righteousness,
Seated at the Right Hand of the Father,
May I always find refuge in
Your mantle of Protection,
Granting me spiritual and physical protection and peace.
So shall it be.
(Pray the “Hail Mary” three times.)
(c) A. Applegate 2018
Prayer to La Dorada for Financial Well-Being
(c) Anna Applegate 2018
We will see You face to face sooner or later,
As You, without regard to age or riches,
Claim the old, the young, even the newly born
To come to Your feet at the appointed time.
Until that last day, hour, and second,
When Your Divine Majesty
Commands us to appear at Your feet,
Grant unto us Your favor
That our lives will be well lived:
Alleviate all financial insecurity,
All poverty and despair,
Bringing instead the health and joy
That comes in the wake of steady work and self-worth.
Let our businesses, our bank accounts,
And everything we do to provide for ourselves flourish.
Blessed and praised be Your Generosity,
In God we believe but in You we trust.
I’m so excited I can’t stand it! Tonight at 7 at Alchemy Arts Bookstore in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, I’ll be presenting a workshop and leading a prayer ceremony in honor of La Santa Muerte. Based on the online registration plus what the store’s proprietor said to me on the phone last night, it’s going to be a packed house, which has me giddy as I’m very much looking forward to sharing my love for La Santísima with so many people eager to learn about how they can cultivate a devotional relationship with Her. Continue reading
Mark thy calendars, fellow Chicagoans! I’m going to be giving a La Santa Muerte workshop at Alchemy Arts Bookstore on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, from 7 to 9:30 pm! Behold, my wondrous marketing copy:
Ever since Her humble public debut on All Saints’ Day, 2001, in Mexico City’s barrio of Tepito, the skeletal grin and bony stature of the beloved folk saint known as La Santa Muerte (“the Holy Death”) has been gaining devotees by the millions across the Americas. Who is this feminine face of Death? What are Her different aspects? Which forces are culpable for launching Her cult into what has been called the fastest-growing religious movement in the world? How does one cultivate a relationship with La Dama Poderosa (“the Powerful Lady”)?
Join Fellowship of Isis Priestess and devout Muertista Rev. Anna Applegate for a lively two-and-a-half hour workshop that covers both theory and practice: a historical overview and discussion of La Santa Muerte and the rise of Her cult will be followed by a devotional religious service to Her for spiritual protection and empowerment. If you feel so inclined, you may bring an offering of a red apple for Her altar.
People of all spiritual backgrounds are welcome!
A donation of $10 per person is requested to help with printing costs for the booklet that participants will receive, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Viva La Santísima!
Editorial Note: This is the transcript of a talk I gave at the 24th Annual Fellowship of Isis Chicago Goddess Convention, October 28, 2017, at the North Shore Holiday Inn in Skokie, Illinois.
Good morning and thank you all for coming to our 24th Annual FOI Chicago Goddess Convention! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Anna and I’ve been proudly serving as legally ordained FOI clergy since 2012, though I have been active in Chicago’s Pagan community for 18 years and counting. I’m the executive editor of Isis-Seshat, a quarterly publication of the Fellowship of Isis, and I’m the founder of the chartered Iseum of the Rekhet Akhu, whose mission is to highlight the interrelatedness of the communities of the living and the dead and to cultivate transfigured spirits (akhu in ancient Egyptian) in human form.
So why did I choose this topic? We’re in the season of Samhain, the Celtic reckoning of the end of summer and the liminal time between one year and the next, and during this time our thoughts often turn to ones of our own mortality, as well as to remembrances of those who have gone before us. More than any other time of year, the honoring of the Deities and Spirits of Death is top of mind for most of us.
As a show of hands, who here honors a Death God or Goddess in their personal devotional practices? (Pause.)
I’m a Polytheist devoted to such Holy Powers, and I’d like to spend some time with you discussing three in particular: the Norse Goddess Hel, Mexico’s La Santa Muerte (the Holy Death), and the Nigerian Orisha, Yewa—Who They are, Why They matter, and how you can cultivate a devotional relationship with Them if you feel Their bony hands laying claim on you. What’s striking about these Death Deities of various cultures—northern European, North American, and West African—that I’m going to talk about is that They’re gendered female and They’re regarded as virgins, so we have a lot of intersectionality to examine when we focus on what we know about each Goddess historically and what we know about Them in contemporary worship.
But before we start discussing each of these three Cosmic Femmes Fatales, I’ve got a few thoughts I’d like to share on what significance gender bears as well as historical notions of the concept of “virginity” and how these impact the mythologies and the cultic practices surrounding the worship of Hel, La Santa Muerte, and Yewa.
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…
The eighth day of the Novena to La Santa Muerte should take place on a Tuesday. Check to see how the three-day candle you lit yesterday is faring. Is the flame burning steadily and cleanly? Is the glass clear? Or has a dark layer of soot, representing an obstacle to the fulfillment of your prayers, formed at the lip of the glass? Overall, what sort of vibration does your shrine to La Santísima exude? How content does She seem to be with your offerings?