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Working With La Santa Muerte Negra
Welcome, Chosen One
If you landed here chances are the black aspect has been calling you, or you've been seeing her a lot. And after one or two videos about her from the media you likely want to run screaming from her. And it isn't surprising. This aspect is the one the media loves to use to terrify people and since those raised in a Western culture are taught to fear the black-robed Grim Reaper, most of the work is done for them.
And the media in Mexico seems to enjoy using the black-robed aspect in connection with drugs and violence. And while it is true people of violent intent may try to work with her, it does not mean that this lady is the one they are getting.
She may be the most serious aspect, the one quickest to act and quickest to ferocity, she may also be one heartbeat away from showing up in her form of Mictecacihuatl, but she is a good lady. Serious? Certainly, but not without a sense of humor or love for those she chooses.
I want to make it clear that La Santisima is always La Santisima. It doesn't really matter if yours wears black, red, white, pink, neon orange or blue with yellow polka dots. She is still the same lady.This black aspect is always in there, somewhere. Maybe deep, but she is there.
Please Note: While she is not evil this is not the form to work with if you just want to work with her once or are totally new to paganism. Her black aspect can be short-tempered at times, and although a baby or a pet would be safe with her she has no problems letting you know who is in charge and it is not you. You will respect her or she will teach you a lesson and then you will respect her. Consider her the toughest goddess you'll ever love.
As always, all photos and writing are my original creative work. All videos are used for entertainment and educational purposes only and if you wish to have something removed, please let me know.
So why can't a total newbie work with her?
Well, a lot of times our first gods and goddesses are the sweetest ones because they have the most patience. They don't mind if we don't always listen, they won't scare us witless if we go against their advice. They are warm, loving and downright cuddly. Everything is sunshine and rainbows and being a pagan is about fun and love. And while her black aspect can certainly be loving, she isn't cuddly or permissive.
She isn't mean-spirited, but you are not going to work with her without listening. So it's a good idea to have some discipline and focus under your belt. Also, you will need the maturity to know that she isn't your attack dog or personal hitman. Trying to use her to threaten or attack other people will teach you the meaning of the expression "Death is angry."
La Santa is also the most dominant and ferocious in this aspect, and although she is calm most of the time a newcomer to paganism might be overwhelmed by just how aggressive she can be in displaying her affection and she is ruthless when handing out punishment. So, although not evil, and although she's affectionate and loving in her own way, she is an aspect to be left until you get some experience under your belt.
I don't want to make her sound unfriendly or cruel, she is neither. Her love is vast and deep. But she's not to be played around with or disrespected and I can't put a fine enough point on that. You try to be the boss of her or disrespect her and you will know why she is as feared as she is loved.
Keeping Your Promises, Not To Scare You, But...
Simple Ritual for Speaking to La Santa's Black Aspect
Black cloth to set things on
Glass of water
Black candle (any size or type is fine)
Gift you wish to give her
Coffee for you and her (or your favorite libation)
A small treat such as chocolate or some candy, for both of you
Scent such as copal incense or spray made for her
Now remember, you an always speak to her anywhere you are inside your heart, with no ritual needed, but this simple ritual can be a tentative meet and greet for the two of you. If you like you can also try a simple meditation during this time, but for now just a meet and greet is fine. If she isn't for you she will most likely ignore you anyhow.
Make sure to find a quiet space where you won't be disturbed and take the items you want to offer, as well as a cloth (even a shirt will work in a pinch) into this area. Set down your cloth and place the offering on it, as well as the water and the sweets. You do this as a gesture of respect as well as to bring her color into the ritual, by the way. That black material helps make a space sacred to her. Now center and ground yourself and cast a protective circle if you wish.
You can even wear a holy symbol. Now keep in mind, this is La Santa Muerte. That symbol is to protect you from others things, not her. As fearsome a reputation as she has, she is still a good woman.
This symbol and your circle are just in case anything else shows up and being a good goddess she won't mind. Light your candle and your incense (again, whatever you feel she will like is fine, it does not have to be copal if you can't find or afford it), one stick for her and one for you if in a well-ventilated area, if not one is fine, she doesn't want you passing out, and start speaking to her. If you wish to have music playing at this time have it on low in the background.
Speak from your heart and tell her all the good things before her are for her and that you would like to get to know her better. Just spend time with her after listening to the music, talking about why you want to work with her and why you like and feel drawn to that aspect more than others.
Don't be upset if nothing seems to happen. She can be very quiet at times, but trust me, she will be there. And don't worry if you sense her and it isn't the aspect you wanted to work with. She knows what she is doing more than we do and much to my surprise her black aspect is the one who adopted me.
After you've finished your coffee and treats, thank her for coming and politely invite her to stay if she wishes but let her know she is also free to go. Then open your circle, and leave the candle and incense burning if you will be near to keep an eye on them. If not, you may snuff them out, she is a thrifty goddess herself and I've seen her do this when she's had enough copal or enough of a candle.
The black aspect can act any way that suits her. She can show up curious, serious, or affectionate. How she will act depends upon the mood she's in, but remember that she is the workhorse aspect, the toughest one to work with according to anyone who has ever met her, the street fighter. But if she has chosen you the hard lessons she can teach will be worth it.
About Her Personality
This aspect, in my experience is more serious than say the white, red or any other color she's shown up in. Black can mean she's anywhere from serious or ready to work, and she can and darn well will show up in your life when she pleases.
La Nina Negra does have a sense of humor in this aspect, mine tends to be dry or more often sarcastic. She's dignified, highly intelligent and a hard worker. She's a proud warrioress and the one who seems to be far more fluent than me in any language she chooses. She, after all, speaks English just fine. She is my Death, so why wouldn't she? She will also laugh when I try to speak to her in Spanish or Nahuatl but not in a mean way. La Dulce Muerte will simply tell you what she thinks in this form.
That doesn't mean she isn't loving or devoted or wouldn't fight to the death to protect you. She's simply proud of herself and her accomplishments in this form and she is certainly not shy about telling you.
She is also, and I can't stress this enough, the deep teaching aspect. This is no refusing those lessons or whining and crying that they hurt either. Much like a doctor must ignore the pain surgery will cause a patient to heal them, she will ignore the pain her teachings give you to make you a better, stronger person. You will earn your battle scars with her, but remember, she knows what she is doing and does not hurt you out of a place of cruelty or spite. It is actually a very loving thing and she's the only aspect with the, um, toughness to do it.
And no, women can not worm their way out of this one with tears or acting tiny and delicate. Azteca women were warriors as well so you will suck it up and like it. Trust me, if she chose you you passed her tests with flying colors and she knows you can take her roughest and toughest lessons.
She can be tender too and sweet. It depends on your relationship. She has a way about her, an attractive and shadowy quality her other forms can't match. A regal lady and she knows it. So no, she isn't the raging scythe-swinging maniac you see in the media and in horror movies, but she is definitely the aspect who will do what needs to be done, and she is Death....
Please Note: No, I did not say that so that you try and use her as your personal mafia. But she is Death, and you have to remember that. One of the thing her scythe represents is that she can cut the cord of your life at any time. Or as mine will say: "I helped bring you into this world and I can take you out."
As a witch I don't attack people with magic for two reasons. One, I believe if it were OK for me to do it we could all do it and we'd be living in magical chaos. And two, with her more than any other aspect that will bite you in the six and have nothing to do with the rule of three. If the white aspect would give you a tap with her fingertips and the red a slap with her hand, the black aspect will be looking for a two by four. At least. And no, not for every little thing, and you will know why you earned it, but that punishment aspect is there. I sometimes tell visitors who ask that if you can survive her love, and that discipline is part of that love, you can survive anything. Welcome to the special ops of serving La Santisima.
La Santa is most definitely the toughest goddess I've ever worked with and the reason is....
My Own Experience
Lady of the underworld and the goddess many believe is behind the Santa Muerte of today, she was the guardian of the bones of the dead. Was she a loving mother and protectress? Of course, and keep in mind it was a goddess, not a god doing the guarding, so that gives you and idea of her ferocity when her charges are in trouble.
It also helps to know that, long story short, the bones she guarded were used to make humans. So all that ferocity and devotion was transferred to us and she will keep a watchful eye on us and carry us home when we jump over.
We know she presided over festivals dedicated to the dead and that many feel she's also emerged as La Catrina or the fashionable lady skeleton you see everywhere now for Dias De Los Muertos. She is considered to have been a lord of the day, or to have ruled over a specific day, and she also has connections to all the animals said to be her husband's (Mictlantecuhtli) such as owls, bats, and some say snakes. A lot of her titles such as Lady of Shadows have been given to La Santa, lending credence to the pagan view that she never died off with the Spanish invasion, she merely went underground.
This would also explain La Santa's ability in some stories to appear as a shapely and seemingly beautiful but veiled young woman who will lift the veil to reveal a skeletal face. But keep in mind that skulls and skeletons were seen as symbols of abundance and fertility, so to the Azteca people she would have most likely been seen as highly generous with her blessings.
The moon. This is for all aspects and mine seems to like all phases with a special fondness for the dark of the moon.
Caves. Again all aspects, mine like caves of darker rocks to suite her somber nature.
Black dogs. This may be from the animal guide for the afterlife, but she is fond of canines.
Wolves. Mine enjoys wolves. Very much alive, thank you.
Bats, owls, spiders, centipedes. Some would say as the white aspect is the oldest these are most suited to her, but the black aspect enjoys them as well.
Copal incense. Purifies a space and a scent she find pleasing.
Alcohol. Since I can't drink I don't usually offer, but as I cleared out the extracts recently to avoid temptation I can tell you this aspect is my hardest drinker.
Cats. No blessed idea why but mine like black cats as well.
The night, darkness.
Skeletons and skulls. Can't be a goddess of the underworld without the symbols of fertility and abundance.
Her scythe. She harvests good things for her charges, defends and cuts the thread of life. Like the black aspect herself, a fearsome and all-around no-nonsense tool.
Owl headdress OK this is not traditional unless you have an Azteca form with a black dress, but mine will often show this headdress and a full warrior's outfit in her black aspect.
Witchy gifts: any black gems known to be hex smashers or lifters of depression, silver. Your cauldron.
Colors: Black traditional, but also black and silver and black and gold.
Attributes: Hex smasher, turner back of dark magic, justice. Defender, provider, mother, spouse (Depending on the cult some men marry her for a period of time). Reaper, but also one who can provide you with wealth, health and happiness. Healer. Lady of the underworld, lady of shadows, defender of the dead. Teacher. Judgment. Death with a capital D. Mictecacihuatl. Goddess.
Note: I would never, ever in a billion years advise you to do dark work such as curses with her, no matter how justified you feel. For she is also the judge and you do not want her judgment and swift punishment to be against you. Call on her for justice and all will be well.
Have you worked with the black aspect?
Do you serve her?
Please Note: You have to please your La Santisima, not me or anyone else. So if any of my advice feels wrong to you, don't, for the love of goddess, do it. This is what works for me, not an iron clad set of rules.
My Relationship With Her
There are days I wish I served any other aspect and you all know I have statues in many colors. But this is the one who selected me, and like it or not she is my Goddess with a capital G. She hasn't pushed anyone out of the way and in fact tends to everyone else as her family, but she is the Queen and they know it.
They will not cross her judgments or advice and if she is feeling territorial they will clear out of a room. Remember, this is her most ferocious form. Feral would be a good word to use at times. And although she loves me deeply and I love her just as deeply, she is ferocious.
Her love includes her tough lessons, lessons that can be overwhelming at times, which is why you see anyone who works with her telling you not to. She isn't evil or even cruel. She is just going to make me into the best person I can be and she surpasses even Ogou in her determination to see it happen.
That said? She is also the one I turn to when I'm frightened or sad. When her lessons are too much to bear I ask her for strength and she gives it to me. When I'm sick and in bed she will hold me. She is loving and ever at my side.
I love her more than any other aspect because I know I'm bullheaded and willful and prideful. I listen because she is bigger and stronger than me and she can throw a good scare into me every now and then as a gentle reprimand.
But when I'm behaving as I should with love and respect she is infinitely sweet and loving. There is no end to her love. I love singing to her, making the foods she enjoys and having her around for company.
She's my best friend and my most devoted companion. She isn't a mother to me nor is she interested in having me as a daughter. I belong to her and that is what it is. I am hers. Her property, and I musn't be naughty and try and run away. Seriously, she will track me down like a cruise missile, but again, I need that. I won't like a lesson because it hurts and run off, but she will track me down and finish the lesson.
When it's all over she will be the concerned and beloved companion she usually is and fuss over me worriedly. She had cried over the thought of loosing me and she more than any other aspect holds me close. She is my heart, my soul, the air I breathe and she returns that devotion and we both know it.
We respect one another. I'm not her slave or housemaid. You function with her, at least I do, more like a close friend or spouse. Keeping her altar clean, presenting her with offerings, showing her affection.
But again, if she is more of you beloved aunty, granny, mom, then make your Santa happy. I didn't want another mother, I'd already had the best. And I don't feel daughterly instincts towards her. She is my mentor and anyone who knows me gets the inside reference there.
Is The Black Aspect For You?
If she is calling you or your spiritual advisor in your pagan cult for her says so, then yes. Now she can be very loving, but she is not a goddess I'd just randomly hand someone. La Santisima can be aggressive in any color, getting right up in your face for attention. She is not the type of goddess to be shy or quiet when she wants something either. So if you aren't used to active goddesses that will manifest their presence, and trust me, she will, she may not be for you.
Also, this aspect is Death with a capital D even if the white aspect is older. She will decay fresh flowers and offerings the fastest and may drink more and use up things on her altar. You will most certainly find anything she doesn't like on the floor. She had clear ideas about things and no problem in showing them.
And she can be scary at times. As loving as sweet as mine is the majority of the time there are times when she just gets ferocious and aggressive and although it is never in a cruel way, she is definitely announcing her presence. She always calms down with some lovely fresh water and a black candle for me, or some times spent soothing her with attention at her altar, but that aspect is there.
Her punishments aren't overly cruel, but La Santa Negra can be harsh. So, no, unless she has drawn you to her I would not work with her. Especially if you are on a power trip or into revenge and causing people pain because she can seriously ruin your life and in an instant. Or reel you in to deep waters so she can drown you. She isn't anyone's servant or slave. She is not the aspect to anger or play around with.
But if she has chosen you you don't need to fear her or cringe in her presence. She's usually mellow. She can be intense and passionate, she revels in her shadows and mysterious nature, but treated with love and respect she will always provide for you and watch over you. Although she is tough she is not evil. She is just a goddess that answers to no one and not inclined to let you forget it. If you can work with mutual respect or serve happily because she will be the one in charge, then you are ready to work with her and may your journey be a rewarding one.
I do want to make one thing clear before you go. You will answer to your own Santa Muerte. Not to me, not to anyone else. So it doesn't matter what I think about your actions, her judgment is the only one that matters. She is the one who judges your actions and deals out rewards and punishments accordingly.
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We All Serve Differently, But We All Get Results
A Word About Graveyards
I'm happy a reader asked about an article you can find your way to in the comments below. In the article a statue of the black robed Santisima Muerte was said to have been found in a graveyard. Alleged find was given as proof by an "expert" that black magic was afoot and the town was cursed by witches. Or Catholics, depending on what extremist group the author listened to. This expert, by the way, was not one of her priests or cult leaders, or even a rootworker or hoodoo man. Nope, they drug in a man who sees belief in her as primitive and infectious.
First off, if you are serving her, respect is key. It is very disrespectful to leave a statue of her anywhere. You can take a statue to get dressed and blessed if you like and leave it in a temple, but there's no more reason to leave a statue of her in a graveyard that there is to leave her anywhere else. If your tradition does insist, for example, she has to be outside, you build a shelter around the statue.
The statue may not be her, but it is an image of her. Think of her as a beloved friend or family member. You wouldn't just dump them in a graveyard, would you? No, you'd stick around to make sure they were safe and kept out of the weather and so on. A lot of people call her Grandmother. Are you going to put your poor old gran out in the rain or blazing sun or cold? I hope not!
I work with both her and the Baron and I've been in graveyards for magical purposes exactly twice. Once when I was a wet behind the ears pup doing hoodoo, and then later to settle Baron's altar. Both called for about a spoonful of graveyard dirt and out of respect for Baron who rules the cemetery you can be sure I didn't bother his beloved dead for it.
So, unless you have a teacher who can give you a legitimate magical reason for doing so, there's no reason to put her statue in a graveyard for any length of time. And remember what I told you about sending her after people? If there was malicious intent and she found her targets were innocent (you can't fool or cheat Death) she came back on the person or person who did this with a vengeance.
And again. We have no proof pagans did this. Maybe it was someone's idea of a joke, or a prank, or they thought she was spooky and cool and made up a spell and left her there. Or they did it to cause trouble, or make a statement, or as art. I wasn't there, I don't know this person, so your guess is as good as mine as to why it was done and by whom. For all we know the expert did it himself, rather like the ghost hunters who have crew members toss pennies and whatnot off camera then scream blue murder and run like idiots.
Also, graveyards are considered a sacred place for the dead to rest in peace. Visit all you like, do work with ancestors you know (not random strangers) but be very careful as the dead are as close as close can be. You anger them and they will come after you, and it is their right to do so. They are still people, like you and me, show love and respect to them and most will respond in kind.
And, yeah, angering any deity that is Death incarnate is usually not a good idea. You don't need Baron releasing his ghede, Kalfou releasing the vengeful dead, or Muerte showing up enraged.
Please Note: I have nothing against anthropologists and I respect everyone's rights to their beliefs or lack thereof. I understand the need for scientific objectivity for researchers as well. But to say embracing a belief corrupt or that her spread into modern paganism is akin to an infection (that's the impression I got) is insulting. If you wish to understand a faith, ask a practitioner not an outsider claiming to be an expert.
Her Fierce Protection
One of my most dramatic and terrifying experiences with her happened years before I even started working with her. My father's side of the family was having a party for a very sick member. To make peace my family was invited as well. Now my father was very sick with cancer and going through chemo, but he didn't let it stop his photography.
Being photo buddies we decided to walk a trail we liked since it was near the park where the reunion was at and we'd walk up the hill to meet everyone else. Well, we entered the woods and got a very creepy feeling, I call it my woods sense. I've walked in the woods all my life and you know when something is off.
My dad felt it too and told me quietly to keep going because if you show fear to strange people or turn your back on them they will know they have scared you. And believe it or not, it's always worked with people with met. Anyhow, we passed something that could have been trash or could have been a meth lab.
And we were worried. We hadn't gotten too far down the trail when we saw evidence that there were people in the woods, yet we couldn't see them. It was like they were hiding and watching us and yes, disturbed people will do that. I looked up in the sky for whatever reason and I know my dad saw it too.
There was this figured in greyish black tattered robes. I couldn't make out the face, but I was terrified and I mean terrified because it seemed enraged with us. We made it to the family gathering walking quickly but not running, all the time terrified this thing was going to attack us though we wouldn't admit what we saw until after the party.
Well, at time time the guy who owed the woods had let them be logged and I had thought it was some kind of angry nature spirit, but the black robe didn't make sense. I realize now Santa Muerte was there with us that day. She loved both of us, even when I refused to serve her and was scared of her. There was danger on that path and she knew she had to keep us away.
Why not show her sycthe or skeletal face? I think maybe she did, maybe I was refusing to see her so badly that I saw what I saw. I think my father saw her clearly because she frightened him. I asked her recently, because it dawned on me that it was her, loving and protecting us and her black robed aspect just shrugged and said : da nada, it's nothing. Protecting me, keeping me from harm was as natural to her even when I wouldn't acknowledge her as anything else.
And that isn't the only time she's saved my life. My lady has also sheltered me from danger before, enveloping me and my mom, protecting us from bursting glass that should have killed us and saving us from bad people. She is a good girl, and I won't hear a word said against her.
His book at last
I have as of yet to read this book myself, but I haven't seen anything in his videos I strongly disagree with and trust readers to figure out which of his views and traditions they agree with. It appears he has a second book as well, with prayers and rituals.
One Last Thing
I love and serve this aspect with passion but as you see from the thank you photo above, she can be a harsh mistress for our own good. And that is with the way I serve her. So unless you are in training with a serious cult I would not advise jumping on the animal sacrifice or blood offering bandwagon. I know, I know, you love and serve your spirits the best you can. I hear you.
But blood is a sacred force and these are things that only highly trained priests in a given religion can do and you do not want her any more wild and ferocious than she already is. Candles give her enough energy and agave can be a dandy and sacred substitute for a blood offering. There is no controlling or stopping her as it is, she is Death, do you really want her turbo charged? I didn't think so.
Secondly, she can be rough with her lessons, but she will also be your healing balm after. A lot of people abandon her because of her harshness but she really does it out of a place of love. Remember she is a warrioress, a dark goddess, she is the deep waters. But she isn't cruel and she only makes us face those parts of ourselves we'd rather not see because she cares.
You can also try Mexican Coke-a-Cola. Mine goes crazy for it and it both soothes and energizes her at the same time. Remember, you don't want her loose in your life totally out of control. Well, she won't be, but you don't want that darkest and most destructive aspect cleaning house. You will see enough of it without the blood, trust me.
The photo above is actually a statue in a purple dress but as an easy edit shows, La Santa Muerte Negra is ever present, in all aspects.