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Celebrating Halloween and Samhain With Santa Muerte

Updated on August 22, 2015
Nightcat profile image

Nightcat is a practicing witch who loves to write about Wicca and many of the Gods and Goddesses she’s had the pleasure to encounter.

My beautiful lady has this mantilla from the start of our relationship. Far from being scary, this skull actually lights up and pulses with light, much to her amusement.
My beautiful lady has this mantilla from the start of our relationship. Far from being scary, this skull actually lights up and pulses with light, much to her amusement.

Embrace The Mystery of Samhain

A lone pagan goes to an outdoor altar at midnight on Samhain. There have already been rituals and feating to honor the old gods, but alone in this clearing lit only by the moonlight a simple offering is left and prayers of thanks for her blessings are said. The pagan, prayer and thanks completed turns to leave, only to be caught in the loving embrace of La Santisima Muerte. She cradles her beloved charge close on this one night of the year when the veil is the thinnest then is gone, leaving behind a scent of copal and the sound of an owl's soulful call.

As the leaves turn vibrant reds and gold and spicy aromas fill the air, the year wheel steadily moves on. Samhain, sometimes called Halloween, is a lively harvest celebration, time for family and friends and a sacred holiday all rolled into one. A time of fortune telling and setting out offerings to welcome back the beloved dead.

But where does Santa Muerte, be she goddess, saint or angel to you fit into the celebration? Does Death even have a place in the holiday when you already have gods of the underworld and she may seem like an unwanted redundancy? I'd say yes, she can have a place. Whether she is your central goddess, or one you serve among others, Death by whatever name you call her, being the guardian and caretaker of the dead we welcome back, certainly does have a place.

This article actually stems from a reader request and I've tried to make it as inclusive as possible. There are many paths, Christian and pagan alike that work with La Santisima and they view her in very different ways, and each view is certainly valid and should be respected. We are all brothers and sisters in our mutual love for her.

I'm not ashamed to admit she came to me in a first as a folk saint, then transitioned to a more neo-pagan viewpoint, and now is happily in her full Azteca form of Mictecacihuatl. So I can tell you she responds, no matter how you view her.

As always all writing and photography are my original work. Any included videos are for educational and informational purposes only. If you own the copyright and want credit and a link or something removed, please contact me.

Note: If any advice goes against your teacher, trad or what your Santisima desires, always default to what you were taught. These are just general guidelines. I am not associated with any cult of Santa Muerte and simply release the Hubs as a way to present a more fair and balanced view of her than is given in mainstream media.

As a gift to my readers you have my permission to print any photo here for personal use on your altar if you so desire. You may also use any photo as devotional wallpaper if you so desire, but any commercial duplication of text or photos is strictly prohibited.

La Santisima's Moon

Connected to the moon, she will enjoy you spending some time moon gazing, no matter what phase it is in.
Connected to the moon, she will enjoy you spending some time moon gazing, no matter what phase it is in.

First Things First: Clean And Bless Your Space


Maybe you are used to a big clean for Yule, or before New Year's Day or whatever holiday the people you grew up with felt was extra important. My family was never messy by any means, but I always knew when a major holiday was coming so was a major house cleaning. You don't have to go crazy and do it all in one day, but like attracts like.

A clean house, no matter how humble is a welcoming place where the spirits of the dead and other good folk will happily linger and La Santa enjoys cleanliness. If you have even seen one of the better documentaries on her, you will notice that although it is not a palace her temple in Tepito, so important to Catholic followers (they are our brothers and sisters in her, be nice) is kept extremely clean and so she blesses her faithful.

After making the entire home clean, altars included, bless your home however your teacher or faith has taught you. Holy water, smudging, oils, washes, prayers, it is all good, but make sure you are firm as you do it that this is your space and no negativity is welcome. You can ask for spirits of good intent who will bless you to enter and your choice of scent will depend on your tradition and your Santa Muerte. Yes, you can certainly ask her to bless your dwelling alongside those you serve.

If you have no scents for your tradition associated with the dead try flowers that make you think of the dead or death. Roses have become iconic symbols by now in Western culture and are often offered to the dead, marigolds, coxcomb, baby's breath, lavender, white mums, hibiscus and more are offered worldwide to the death or deities connected with the underworld. And specifically for La Santa copal is the traditional scent and all you need, though be aware that the real stuff is mighty strong so a little goes a long way. You are not being a culture vulture by honoring her in the old ways.

Copal gives you migraines you say? Although not traditional for her per se, I've also found she's partial to any wash that lifts up your spirits and has cleansing magical properties. And yes, you can literally wash your now cleaned floors with it. I do a lavender and pine wash and it works beautifully.

Dancer

One of the lovely statues I got to honor her roots, this dancer graces her altar year 'round.
One of the lovely statues I got to honor her roots, this dancer graces her altar year 'round.
Holy Death (Santa Muerte) 7 Day Black Unscented Candle in Glass
Holy Death (Santa Muerte) 7 Day Black Unscented Candle in Glass

These are really good for smashing hexes and riding your life of negativity. I actually keep one on her altar at all times, unlit, as an offer. And they come in almost any color, white and red included, so you can certainly get on tailored to your need and Santisima.

 

Dia De Los Muertos Libation

You'll Need:

Two Oranges

Two Apples

Four Red Rose Tea Bags

Four Bengal Spice Tea Bags

Four Hibiscus Tea Bags

Four Cinnamon Sticks

Six Dashes Each of: Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger

One Cup of Cane Sugar

Two Tablespoons of Agave Nectar

One Tablespoon of Butter

Four Quarts (One Gallon) of Water

Note: Feel free to adjust tea bags and other amounts up or down to your personal taste.

Slice oranges and core and dice apples, get out the pitcher you will serve the tea in, fill with water then put the water in a big pot on the stove. Add sliced oranges, sugar, tea bags, butter, cinnamon sticks and other spices to the water then turn the burner on high. This is a different method of making tea, but I find it works well for me.

Once it reaches a boil cover the pot with a lid, shut off the burner, and let the tea steep at least five minutes. It's fine to boil this as long as you like, just not too long, and once it is off let it steep as long as desired.

Then discard your tea bags, fish out your fruit with a spoon and when cool enough pull the meat from the oranges. Put the orange flesh and apples in your pitcher with enough of the tea to cover and use an immersion blender to pulverize, then return this mixture to the pot and pulse briefly with your blender, minding those cinnamon sticks.

I traditionally like a hot mug with an orange slice and then let the rest chill overnight in the fridge, cinnamon sticks and all.

It didn't dawn on me until recently that I came up with this recipe to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos and so it incorporates some Mexican elements such as Hibiscus tea, agave and cane sugar and those connected to Santa Muerte such as an orange for her, and orange for you, apples and so on. As an unintentional bonus it has many health benefits and although I don't remember doing it on purpose each element is either connected to a god or goddess of the underworld or to the dead.

As always, please feel free to make substitutions based on dietary restrictions. The end result should be something that pleases your Santa Muerte and yourself as you will pour a drink for both of you.



La Santisima Muerte Blanca

La Santisima is La Santisima no matter what color she wears. The white robed aspect is still her, and is, after all, her oldest aspect.
La Santisima is La Santisima no matter what color she wears. The white robed aspect is still her, and is, after all, her oldest aspect.

Celebrations in Mexico

Here you can see celebrants both in the graveyard for the holiday to spend time with their beloved departed, something one writer pointed out is closer to our American Memorial Day where we tend graves and visit our fallen warriors, and also a brief look at a celebration for La Santisima. Don't get lathered up that it is a folk Catholic celebration. They are the most consistently open and welcoming practitioners and you will still find pagan elements such as the lady herself included. Keep in mind that honoring the dead and honoring her are two very different things.


Yummy Offering

Corn is a good offering and popcorn likewise.
Corn is a good offering and popcorn likewise.

Make Some Food


Even if the local fire marshal has forbidden you from cooking ever again, food is the staff of life and part of every fiesta. So feel free to pick up any of the goodies you associate with not only your ancestral dead, and preferences, but the time of year and the sacred path you walk. For example, I'm fairly eclectic. I will need bread and milk for an outside offering, something for my parents for inside (think tea, coffee and a plate of the food for the party), bags of candy for Trick or Treaters, popcorn balls and maybe a few foods both Baron Samedi and Santa Muerte can both enjoy as my holidays are starting to blur into one long Halloween-Samhain-Day-of-the-Dead-Fet-Ghede celebration.

But foods you enjoy should be included, not shoved aside for a whole new menu. I remember one year as a tiny witchlet offering doughnuts and cider to the God and Goddess, so they are always on the menu.

Since pumpkin shaped snack cakes or skull-shaped cookies and other goodies can be found in some dollar stores this time of year, they make lovely offerings. Fresh fruits, especially small pumpkins would work, an orange or apple from the sack you got on sale, or treats like candied pumpkin or sugar cane. Generally one for her, one for you. as she likes to share.

Fresh homemade bread or tortillas, main dishes form Mexico, sugar skulls, Mexican candies. The last two of which are seriously addictive and may one day conquer your treat bags. Or you can put out a little bit of what you are having on a special plate that is hers. She obviously loves candy, chocolate and any Mexican spirit or soft drink will be most welcome, though if budget and dietary restrictions don't allow a feast a humble offering of love and tap water will do. Yes, I am serious.

She is the guardian of the homeless, the refuge of those with little to nothing to offer. Even if you can only offer up your own meal for a blessing she will feel loved and welcomed. Please, do not feel bad or guilty if you have nothing to offer, she understands and loves you all the more for your honest love. We've almost all been to the point where we didn't know where that next meal was coming from, so trust me, pagan gods don't judge.

Fast food or fine dining she will be happy to bless and one of her trademark moves is a sudden abundance of food. Whether she simply opens our hearts so we can be grateful for what we already have or adds in extra I can't say for sure, but it happens.


PS Want to make the yummy popcorn above? I posted the recipe here.

Home Protection Spell


I know, I do use a lot of his videos, but this is a good example of a home protection spell. As you can see she works best with her symbols, but if you already have a home protection spell and wish to cast it on Samhain (some people renew every major holiday) it wouldn't be a bad idea.

Want to adapt? Try using your usual Jack 'o Lantern guardian under her care. Yes, non-pagans they threaten off malicious nasties and light the way home for our beloved dead. Pagans don't fear our dead or death for that matter.

Note: You will notice he has no problem hexing folks. While this is not needed, all you need do is ask your lady for justice, and he points that out in other videos, many witches and other pagans have no problem with fighting fire with fire or a preemptive strike. This is not a case as some would see it of being negative, but going on the offensive. If you feel in your heart that is wrong, simply refrain from doing so.


Copal

Mayan White Copal Incense Sticks
Mayan White Copal Incense Sticks

Copal is her signature scent and can be offering in various colors, blends and forms. I enjoy stick forms, but you can also buy the resin in blulk and burn on charcoal.

 

Gravestone Guardian

The original story of her guarding the bones of the dead has been translated by many as a connection to graveyards and protecting them.
The original story of her guarding the bones of the dead has been translated by many as a connection to graveyards and protecting them.

Altar Color Choices And Décor


The colors you choose can be entirely up to you, a lot of you may wish to stick to the colors of the Santa you serve and that is a lovely idea. We want her happy, after all. But I see no harm in seasonal additions or temporary changes if you Santisima is open to them. You don't, of course have to switch robes colors, and again, it is up to you which color you work with. Just don't think you have to default to black because it is Samhain if you normally serve white or red. (If you serve her in yellow, seven colors or bright blue this still applies.)

Here in the US traditional Halloween color patterns were the classic black and orange and many pagans use them or natural woodland colors and decorations for the altar, and there is no reason to exclude the lovely La Santa from your celebration. Traditionalists may fuss, but she is your family now. Do you exclude new family members or lovingly show them how the family celebrates and why your traditions are meaningful?

Spicy leaves topped with a candle in a glass holder, pine cones, acorns or whatever natural decoration you give to your chosen form of Divinity will be just as welcome on her altar regardless of the color robe she wears. When I go leaf or acorn gathering I get enough for all, male or female, woodland divinity or sea going spirit and have yet to get a complaint though I'm sure I've amused Divinity to no end.

She is fond of pumpkins, bats and owls, perfect symbols of the season and there's no reason you can't use your imagination. Just remember that any decorations are now hers and if stored away or taken away tell her why. But perhaps you want to go with a theme closer to her home turf. Look up what you can on Aztec culture or Dia De Los Muertos, and use the imagery the feels right and respectful to you.

Ah, if you are honoring other deities during the celebration make sure La Santa has her own little space. She doesn't mind sharing other spaces if she has at least one area no matter how small for her alone. Mine, for example if fine sharing hearth space and my tiny office altar for she has the kitchen and other spaces as hers alone. And if she gets to treat the other deities or saints as guests it seems to work a lot better. She is the Queen, OK? It is her queendom to divide as she sees fit.

If she is a guest deity of sorts in your home for Halloween, Fet Ghede or another holiday still give her her own space even if you don't have a statue or altar cloth handy. For those who want to ask: although I have seen associations between La Santa and Dia De Los Muertos or Samhain and many temples and faithful joyfully include her, the holidays are also about welcoming back the dead and celebrating with them.

As for La Calavera Catrina, I only have seen one source that claims her to be Santa Muerte. La Calavera Catrina, is, of course, the fancy lady skeleton originally meant to poke fun at the rich and get native Mexicans back to their roots and a sense of native pride by the artist Posada that is now in so many celebrations.

Some claim she is actually the modern face of Mictecacihuatl and that is why she is included in so many celebrations, but to others she is a cultural icon like black cats and witches in US Halloween décor. Keep in mind that not everyone living in Mexico celebrates the holiday or even approves of it, just as there are those in the US who staunchly refuse to celebrate Halloween, usually because they feel it is Satanic. It isn't and they are wrong, but there you go.

She could most certainly preside over your celebration but don't forget that the holidays are not just about her but also about welcoming the dead back to the land of the living and a celebration of the harvest. A chance to thank Divinity for all the things we have and ask for future blessings. Yup, non-pagan readers, Samhain it actually is a pagan harvest festival. So all those people avoiding the pagan elements by having harvest festivals to thank God are, ironically, joining right on in. There's only one Divinity, remember?

When Do You Include Santa Muerte?

What holiday if any do you include her on?

See results

Bejewled

I love my Santa Muerte cap and wear it often. Isn't she pretty? You could certainly bling out a poster or even a print out to honor her.
I love my Santa Muerte cap and wear it often. Isn't she pretty? You could certainly bling out a poster or even a print out to honor her.

Holiday Differences


There are many different holidays going off all at once and here is a rough guide to what they mean though the meanings can vary from practitioner to practitioner and nothing here should be seen as applying to all practitioners:

Halloween: October 31st The secular holiday focuses on parties and Trick or Treat, but unless directed at the very young the dead are shown to be evil and menacing and said to return to attack the living. Think zombie films, nightmarish ghostly encounters on TV and the portrayal of the Grim Reaper as a fictional and very menacing figure. The dead too are thought to be fictional and this is a purely secular if spooky holiday not connected to any religion. But yes, as a witch I enjoy it too.

Samhain: October 31st A sacred harvest festival and holiday for many pagans worldwide. The dead are welcomed back with a wide variety of customs, including setting out food and rituals. It is a joyous time of feasting and a time when various aspects of the God and Goddess are honored depending on the tradition. Underworld deities are often worked with on this sacred holiday. Great for prosperity spell casting and fortune telling. I celebrate both this and secular Halloween which I was brought up with.

Dia De Los Muertos: October 31-November 2 This holiday can run several days or one day and can vary from region to region. It is not the "Mexican Halloween" well meant as those words might be as the dead are joyously welcomed home with flowers, feasting and altars filled with their favorite foods, personal items and photos of the departed. Some imported traditions such as spending the night in the graveyard to visit the dead have also been woven in. Celebrations will obviously vary depending on the celebrant's religious background and don't let the holiday being new to you stop you.

All Souls Day: November 2. A Catholic time of prayer for all departed souls. Family members can be prayed for and remembered. Often connected to All Souls Day, though departed family members are not held by some in the same regard as the sainted dead who have preformed miracles and beheld God. It doesn't however mean that departed friends and family are not loved or won't have a thing or two to say upon returning to hearth and home if food is set aside for them.

All Saints Day: November 1 (actually spans October 31-November 2) A time when saints are celebrated, prayers are said and sacred masses held. The holiday celebrates the notion that prayer can help the living communicate with the sacred dead who have beheld God. Saints, by the way, are noted for clean (or clean enough in some cases) lives and miracles both before and after death. Some become the patrons, or special friends of living people and give advice, help and protection, though strictly speaking the Church teaches they can intercede before God, many faithful ask them for help directly.

Fet Ghede: (Dates Given Vary) Vodoun holiday that can features such elements such as graveyard cleanup, feasting and remembrance of the dead. What lwa (spirits) are celebrated and how varies from house to house but a party in honor of a specific spirit is not uncommon.

Whether you celebrate these holidays and choose to include you Santisima is entirely up to you. Remember she is a highly adaptable goddess and fits in easily, though I respect those who don't wish to include her with the more traditional elements of their holiday. Keep in mind we are all linked by a need to remember the dead and show them some form of respect and love during this time.

Strictly speaking, La Santa has nothing to do with any of these holidays and they are for honoring the dead. That said? Just as many pagans will present valid arguments for her inclusion, not the least of which that as Mictecacihuatl, the goddess of the underworld and Death herself, she presided over Aztec celebrations long before the conquest adapted the pagan holiday into what we now call Dia De Los Muertos.

Best Explanation of Dia De Los Muertos Ever

You can always do plenty of heavy research later, but this is still one of my all time favorite videos. I know, it can be scary approaching any holiday you didn't grow up in. It can feel a bit awkward at first, and you don't have to go overboard and abandon your current observances. But as La Santa comes from Mexico it is good to honor her roots and a respectful thing to do.

The Bride in Yellow

I love my bride statues and make no apologies as she first approached me as a bride. It can be a way to celebrate your spiritual union or her beauty and a bride would make a lovely altar or feast table centerpiece.
I love my bride statues and make no apologies as she first approached me as a bride. It can be a way to celebrate your spiritual union or her beauty and a bride would make a lovely altar or feast table centerpiece.

Should You Do A Dedication Ritual?


Samhain seems to be a holiday specially crafted for La Santa, but before you decide to dedicate yourself to La Santisima or any Aztec diety for that matter, think long and hard. Unlike other deities who are more laid back and are quite happy to accept any offering and be served as long as you are interested she is different. If you dedicate yourself to her you are making a promise to her and it is never a good idea to break your promises to Death.

I am not saying she will destroy you if you declare yourself her priestess Samhain night then walk away in boredom, but I'm not saying she won't either. Dedication is literally the giving of oneself to a specific deity. And if you give her something there is no taking it back. So you may want to hold off on any dedication to her. Ditto that huge back tattoo you were planning because you like her energy as it literally marks you as hers.

I'm not trying to scare you away by any means, she is most often sweet and gentle, but she takes things rather seriously and if you dedicate yourself to her she will take you at your word. There are countless dedication prayers on the Internet or printed on candles for her, most promising, may the gods forgive me, stuff most of us know we will never do. Do not, for the love of goddess promise daily devotion and endless flowers or anything you don't intend to deliver.

Now I'm not saying that you need fear for your life if you promised, say, daily fresh flowers and faithfully keep your promise until a sudden job loss, illness or weather prevents you from doing so. Go to her humbly, apologize for not keeping your promise and know that she understands.

I am saying that if after a while you decide that that flower money is better spent on caramel lattes since she never seems to appreciate anything you do, you are in big trouble. So think before you dedicate yourself to her for life, OK?

Still want to go through with it? Then, and lazy readers will hate me for this, think about what this dedication will mean to you and what you want out of it. A lifelong friend and protector? A mother, grandmother or aunty? A mentor or advisor? When you have searched you heart and know what you can honestly offer and what you expect in return, write your prayer of dedication then build your ritual around it. Whether you write a long fancy ritual or simply say a simple but heartfelt prayer this time of year may make it especially meaningful for you.

You have to design this ritual yourself as one, it shows you are serious, and two, only you honestly know what you can offer her in return for a lifetime at your side. There is also no use in you reciting words you don't mean or doing hours of costly prep if in your heart of hearts plain words will do.

My advice is that be it long or short, filled with candles, robes and mystery or just a softly spoken prayer it should be honest and come from the heart. It should suit your personality and give the lovely lady an honest idea of what to expect so you may want to think twice before ordering the ice sculptures and hammered gold goblets to feast her with.

Your best is fine, special is great, putting you in the poorhouse isn't OK? Like any other dedication ritual to any other lovely lady or gentleman there is no such thing as a return on monetary investment. So if, for example, including a statue and altar dedication, don't expect that bigger and more expensive is better. La Santisima does not work like that.

Diamonds on her altar do not mean diamonds on your wrist. And I don't care what any statue seller told you bigger, more costly statues or ones of precious gems and metals do not mean she will therefore bless you more. You don't even need a statue or altar if you can't have one or can't afford one. Love and trust are the most sacred offerings you can give her.

How you live your life and the person you are can be your offerings. Love her and be someone she can be proud of and that is offering enough. Swear your loyalty to her until your dying day in your heart of hearts and that is dedication enough.

Enthroned

I love this statue as her expression says it all. Approached with love and respect as the queen she is, she will work with most anyone. Tease her and the expression "Death is angry" comes to mind.
I love this statue as her expression says it all. Approached with love and respect as the queen she is, she will work with most anyone. Tease her and the expression "Death is angry" comes to mind.

A Word of Caution


I would normally expect my readers to know better, I would. But it is Halloween for a huge part of the world and some of them might be looking for something "fun" and "spooky" to do. Messing with La Santisima (or magic for that matter) for the fun of it is not advised, nor is the rather strange ritual now floating around the Interwebs.

If you research her for very long you will hear tales of a saint with vaguely the same name being tied to a chair and threatened and whipped. My problem with the story is that there is only one source that everyone keeps quoting, and two, it sounds like a ritual, if it did happen, akin to working with petro Vodoun spirits.

The ritual deals, as do the petro spirits, with the horrors of centuries of slavery and any wrong move, anything that goes wrong and you are going to have an enraged spirit on your head. It is a very sacred ritual, very deep, and meant, and I can't stress this enough, only to be done by a priest with the proper training or in the confines of a temple.

If you have worked with Santa Muerte for long, does she strike you as the type of goddess who would meekly let herself be tied to a chair and beaten? Or does she strike you as the type to break free of the chair, stab you with the remains and choke you to death with your own whip? That's what I thought.

I keep stressing that she should been seen and respected as a warrioress. And like any warrioress worthy of her weapons and training she will lure you into the danger zone and attack if you present yourself as an enemy. You are not the boss man or lady, she is not your slave or servant. She does not work for you, you serve her.

Ditto for statues where you take her hands. So far as I know from having worked in a Catholic supply store some statues have removable hands simply so they won't break off in shipment. And if you know her? Threatening does not work. Threatening or any type of disrespect will likely earn you a reaction worthy of yet another Internet horror story.

She can be the sweetest lady in the world, she's very loving and kind. I'd have no problem leaving a baby or kitten with her and she has never harmed my elderly aunts though they clearly are nervous around her. But she is a feral goddess and she won't be owned. Remember, you're dealing with Death, not some kind of goddess vaguely connected to the underworld, but directly, with your own personal Death. Treat her well and she will love you forever. Misbehave or try any foolery and may the gods have mercy on you.

Best Friends

One of La Santa's plushes shown here happily seated alongside Maman Brigitte's bear. The ladies get along quite well, though Brigitte has her own area. I thank both ladies for their gracious permission for the shoot.
One of La Santa's plushes shown here happily seated alongside Maman Brigitte's bear. The ladies get along quite well, though Brigitte has her own area. I thank both ladies for their gracious permission for the shoot.

Celebrations and Keeping Everyone Happy


Despite what horror tales you've heard from other witches, Santa Muerte will not come in and chase your other gods and goddesses away. If anything, mine firmly insists they are all my family and all are welcome. Is she the queen? Of course, but remember something. Most deities are specialists in one area: health, love, death, wealth, etc. She controls everything, yet, she is not redundant by any means. Nor are the gods you currently serve. Specialists, remember?

So how do you keep them all happy? Try giving everyone areas just for them, even if you a welcoming old gods back or welcoming her in. Love Gods and Goddess for example, may enjoy an area decorated in a more fanciful manner with sweets, while if you serve the underworld gods a quiet corner where they can gather, each with his or own space can be welcome.

Depending on if you have guests for the day or night celebrations, curious pets or kids, make sure any candles or burning offering such as copal are safely tucked back so that they can't be bumped or jostled. Even if you don't have anything out for them, let those you serve know they are welcome among those gathered and they will likely show up and bring blessings besides.

The old gods, La Santisima among them, are canny. If you must serve them in private and can only invite them to a secular party, they will understand. And just think of how much more food drink and decorating there will be for all to enjoy. Beside which many of the decorations and colors can still point to them, subtly.

As mine has happily accepted Western Grim Reaper statues and decorations, I'd say you can quite happily include Grim Reapers, skulls and skeletons, keeping in mind that in the Aztec world view they would signify fertility and abundance. Sugar skulls and Dia De Los Muertos decorations can also be included and yet be subtle enough not to attract special attention.

Whether you include a statue of her or a public altar for guests to interact with her is going to depend on you and how comfortable you are with your guests seeing the altar. She certainly won't mind the extra attention but keep in mind that even pagans will have many questions and some may have concerns, just like some are terrified spitless of Loki or Odin, so if you plan on an altar to her be sure to mention it in invites sent well in advance and include a sentence or two on how you serve her.

And if you are having that altar? Feel free to go overboard with your beloved Satisima's favored colors and reaperess decorations.

Walking Abroad

I grew up celebrating Halloween and had this statue, which is now hers for a while. Dollar stores and drug stores yield much inexpensive bounty this time of year, especially if you shop sales. Altar décor need not leave you penniless.
I grew up celebrating Halloween and had this statue, which is now hers for a while. Dollar stores and drug stores yield much inexpensive bounty this time of year, especially if you shop sales. Altar décor need not leave you penniless.

Trick or Treat?


Whether you are taking your kids out or piling up treats to give out you may notice your Santa Muerte wanting to be involved. Now you don't have to put a statue of her front and center on your porch and cause a stir, but you can do one of two things. One thing I do, and I do this for all my spirits, but especially Baron and La Santisima since they adore children, is to make up the goody bags, put the bowl of them on my kitchen table and invite any of them to give their blessings to the goodies.

I try and make sure they will get bags as well, but this does two things. It reminds your La Santisima that she is an important part of this celebration, and it confirms your goodwill and hers towards the costumed little ones. My Santisima enjoys getting as close as possible as do Baron and the ghede. They adore children and fuss mightily, and it isn't unusual to see one or two tiny ones recognize their presence.

The second is to ask her loving protection on any little ones so long as they are on your property. And trust me, she will do this. Mine never wants payment as she despises anyone who would harm a child, but what you offer in return is entirely up to you and your Santisima. A candle lit when the event is taking place, her own goody bag. Use your good judgment and she will be pleased to watch over adults as well.

Oh, for your own personal safety, especially if your area has moved the day from Samhain and to daylight hours? Leave out your bowl the night of with a note inviting people to help themselves and for the love of Goddess don't answer the door after nightfall.

Seven Colors

A bride of many colors, she can indeed do anything she puts her mind to.
A bride of many colors, she can indeed do anything she puts her mind to.

In Closing


This time of year can be a wonderful time to rededicate yourself to La Santisima, start a relationship, or dedicate that altar. But as with everything else, it is a question of balance. If you already have a full schedule of circles, attending school plays, harvest festivals, handing out goody bags and hosting parties, one more mega celebration isn't practical or needed. She is adaptable, able to weave herself in wherever you have room.

If you serve her alone it can be a time to work with her, make sure those altars are sparkling clean, and invite your ancestral dead home. There is no one way to fit every pagan or household. For many the holiday may be bittersweet for although our loved ones return home it is for a brief time and if you need to take this time of year and be alone with your pain and ancestors, seeking her healing and wisdom will be a great help to you.

Wild parties, if that is your normal thing are fine too, keeping in mind that she most likely would rather her statue didn't end up at the bottom of the hotel pool. If you want to be secular and serve her in another way? It's all good. This time of year is a time of reflection, of setting aside things for winter and fresh starts. It's a time for thanking Divinity for what we have and harvesting the fruits of our labors. However you celebrate and however you choose to include her may your path be a joyous one.

Beloved Lady of the Shadows

A final look at our queenly lady, looking both regal and beautiful.
A final look at our queenly lady, looking both regal and beautiful.

Santisima Muerte/Day of the Dead

I'm including this video, even though some older followers may have seen it. Knowing how Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated and how modern people work with her can help you plan your own workings.

Comments or Questions?

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    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 2 years ago

      Thanks, Carfaxabby! I'm going to add a few videos, hopefully today and add something to her roja article, so feel free to check back! I'm happy you liked it!

    • profile image

      Carfaxabby 2 years ago

      Wonderful article thanks so much for posting this enlightening bit of information it was informative and definitely seems to be a labor of love thanks so much Night cat

    • Nightcat profile image
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      Nightcat 2 years ago

      Thank you!

    • MichalWrotter profile image

      Michal 2 years ago from Czech Republic

      Hello, just red your article and it is so nice to read it. Very interesting and rich for information. I am amazed.