To explain in brief, the cult of Santa Muerte began as a sect of the Roman Catholic Church within Mexico. Her altars and shrines join the millions through out Mexico already dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe and St. Jude. As her popularity spread beyond Mexico’s borders to US cities and as far south as Argentina, it was time to intervene. Pope John Paul II deemed her believers as devil worshipers and refused to recognise her as a saint, but this has had no effect in deterring her followers. The origins of Santa Muerte are not completely clear but the most widely accepted story seems to date back to pre-Hispanic times. It is believed she derived from the Aztec goddess of death Mictecacíhuatl, mistress to Mictlantecuhthl, Lord of the land of the dead. This goddess seems to have morphed since the Spanish inquisition into a grim reaper like figure worshiped by millions, living on the fringes of society. Followers include members of the notorious gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), members of the Mexican Drug Cartels to lowly vendors and street kids of Mexico City.
 (image by Jeffrey Bright)
To explain in brief, the cult of Santa Muerte began as a sect of the Roman Catholic Church within Mexico. Her altars and shrines join the millions through out Mexico already dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe and St. Jude. As her popularity spread beyond Mexico’s borders to US cities and as far south as Argentina, it was time to intervene. Pope John Paul II deemed her believers as devil worshipers and refused to recognise her as a saint, but this has had no effect in deterring her followers. The origins of Santa Muerte are not completely clear but the most widely accepted story seems to date back to pre-Hispanic times. It is believed she derived from the Aztec goddess of death Mictecacíhuatl, mistress to Mictlantecuhthl, Lord of the land of the dead. This goddess seems to have morphed since the Spanish inquisition into a grim reaper like figure worshiped by millions, living on the fringes of society. Followers include members of the notorious gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), members of the Mexican Drug Cartels to lowly vendors and street kids of Mexico City.
©Jeffrey Bright
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