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Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death

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Death welcomes everyone. This is the foundation for the veneration of Santa Muerte, or "Holy Death." Considered to be the female personification of death, she is associated with protection and safe passage to the afterlife. She is also the patron saint of people who live on the fringes of society and often face violence and death. In recent years her constituency has expan Death welcomes everyone. This is the foundation for the veneration of Santa Muerte, or "Holy Death." Considered to be the female personification of death, she is associated with protection and safe passage to the afterlife. She is also the patron saint of people who live on the fringes of society and often face violence and death. In recent years her constituency has expanded to include the LGBT community and people who are marginalized or whose jobs put them at significant risk of death such as military and police personnel. Santa Muerte is hailed as their potent and powerful protector, capable of delivering them from harm and even granting miracles. Santa Muerte is a complete ritual guide to working with this famous--and infamous!--Mexican folk saint. It takes us beyond the sensational headlines to reveal the truth about why Santa Muerte is so beloved by so many. Author Tracey Rollin presents simple, straightforward methods for working with Holy Death that may be used alone or easily incorporated into your own magical practice.


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Death welcomes everyone. This is the foundation for the veneration of Santa Muerte, or "Holy Death." Considered to be the female personification of death, she is associated with protection and safe passage to the afterlife. She is also the patron saint of people who live on the fringes of society and often face violence and death. In recent years her constituency has expan Death welcomes everyone. This is the foundation for the veneration of Santa Muerte, or "Holy Death." Considered to be the female personification of death, she is associated with protection and safe passage to the afterlife. She is also the patron saint of people who live on the fringes of society and often face violence and death. In recent years her constituency has expanded to include the LGBT community and people who are marginalized or whose jobs put them at significant risk of death such as military and police personnel. Santa Muerte is hailed as their potent and powerful protector, capable of delivering them from harm and even granting miracles. Santa Muerte is a complete ritual guide to working with this famous--and infamous!--Mexican folk saint. It takes us beyond the sensational headlines to reveal the truth about why Santa Muerte is so beloved by so many. Author Tracey Rollin presents simple, straightforward methods for working with Holy Death that may be used alone or easily incorporated into your own magical practice.

30 review for Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals, and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death

  1. 4 out of 5

    Frater Xolotl

    This book is probably one of the worst books I have ever read on Santa Muerte. Not only does the white author get a few things flat out wrong about the veneration of La Flaca but she even encourages people to use Nordic Runes, Wiccan phraseology, Golden Dawn rites, and adds in so much Chaos Magick, you could forget that Santa Muerte is a Catholic folk saint. The only possibly redeeming quality is that her non-Christian rosary is absolutely amazing. Like seriously, when it finds it's way online, This book is probably one of the worst books I have ever read on Santa Muerte. Not only does the white author get a few things flat out wrong about the veneration of La Flaca but she even encourages people to use Nordic Runes, Wiccan phraseology, Golden Dawn rites, and adds in so much Chaos Magick, you could forget that Santa Muerte is a Catholic folk saint. The only possibly redeeming quality is that her non-Christian rosary is absolutely amazing. Like seriously, when it finds it's way online, it'll be an amazing tool for cultural Catholics who still wish to practice in the way of their childhood. But the amount of white washing, cultural appropriation, and outright disrespect for the culture and people from which Santa Muerte hails is astonishing. Do yourself a favor, copy down the aforementioned rosary and never touch this book again. La Muerte makes exceptions and has certain understandings with people in regards to their personal style of veneration but you will learn nothing here about how to truly get to know our Mestiza Saint of Death.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nikmaack

    After a thorough history of Santa Muerte, the book provides a lot of "recipes" and spells on how to worship her. What frustrated me is something I find frustrating with a lot of "magick" books. They're all about methods, recipes, spells, directions -- but they very rarely tell you anything about why you would bother or how these methods actually manifest in anything. I complained about this on Twitter, and people agreed that this is a common problem. Magicians tell you how, but not the why or the After a thorough history of Santa Muerte, the book provides a lot of "recipes" and spells on how to worship her. What frustrated me is something I find frustrating with a lot of "magick" books. They're all about methods, recipes, spells, directions -- but they very rarely tell you anything about why you would bother or how these methods actually manifest in anything. I complained about this on Twitter, and people agreed that this is a common problem. Magicians tell you how, but not the why or the what happens. The thing is, magicians are nervous or private about such matters. It is also, quite honestly, difficult to explain how a "spell" affects the world when a lot of it is (in my opinion) due to the placebo effect. If it's all in your head, writing it down in black and white might just kill the experience. (And I mean "placebo effect" and "all in your head" as GOOD things.) I read the first 100 pages of this book with some interest. Then I got bored and skimmed the rest. Talk of rituals and rosaries and coloured candles and offerings and all that. It's like reading a cookbook. No one sits down and reads all the recipes in a cookbook. They figure out what meal they want and make it, then turn to the one recipe they want and follow the directions. With food, you at least know what you're getting. But let's say you set up an altar to Santa Muerte and ask her to get you money. How will this manifest? How has it manifested for other people? The author has next to nothing to say on this and doesn't offer any personal experiences. It doesn't help that I firmly believe in making up rituals to suit my own personal quirks and beliefs. (Chaos magick.) So when someone says, "Here's a magick recipe," I sneer. It's not like we're talking about a souffle here. It's whatever focuses your mind. So, the "magick" recipe (with all its intricacies) is even more useless to me. Because I could take or leave whatever ingredients suit me. As an example. The author provides many elaborate spells to be read to Santa Muerte as a type of prayer. Ugh. Let's say you are a saint or god. Which prayer would you rather hear: one out of a book, or one spoken from the heart with some energy in it? Perhaps I am too skeptical and psychologically minded to believe things laid out as they are here, in this book. Additional thoughts: after reading other reviews, I see people complaining this is not the real take on Santa Muerte, but a pagan perspective where they worship many different deities. I can see that. Too bad, as it would be far more interesting to hear someone more focused purely on Santa Muerte talking about their personal experiences.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Hubley

    I agree with some of the other reviews that mixing in of the pagan stuff seems weird and inappropriate. She is obviously trying to make it appeal to the pagan magic crowd but it just confused it and made it hard to know for sure what's traditional Santa Muerte practices and what's her pagan eclecticism. Also some stuff just seems entirely inappropriate, for example there was really no need for her to spend so much time on the pagan triple goddess or the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram! I agree with some of the other reviews that mixing in of the pagan stuff seems weird and inappropriate. She is obviously trying to make it appeal to the pagan magic crowd but it just confused it and made it hard to know for sure what's traditional Santa Muerte practices and what's her pagan eclecticism. Also some stuff just seems entirely inappropriate, for example there was really no need for her to spend so much time on the pagan triple goddess or the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram! As well as this the book repeated itself in ways that made it seem like it was very sloppily edited, which made me distrust it in general.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    I am falling in love with this lady quite literally. I am talking about Santa Muerta of course and the authoress has written another among many about the subject. This book garners high praise. Written by a former Catholic who found the praying to saints was more effective than praying to god. She is also a chaos magician. Santa Muerta is perfect for the chaos magician. The fastest growing religious movement is still relatively unstructured and no official framework has been set up. You can relat I am falling in love with this lady quite literally. I am talking about Santa Muerta of course and the authoress has written another among many about the subject. This book garners high praise. Written by a former Catholic who found the praying to saints was more effective than praying to god. She is also a chaos magician. Santa Muerta is perfect for the chaos magician. The fastest growing religious movement is still relatively unstructured and no official framework has been set up. You can relate to her as feels write. The book discusses the many possible historical origins of our sacred lady. Covering the mythology of the Aztec and their history. We see that blood nourishes the ground leaving way for more being and food to grow. She is the crone that taketh life and the mother that gives life. Life and death are sides of the same coin. There are also European connections as well. La Parque the parched one as she is called was the Grim Reapress from Europe. She too may have her origins in the Greek fates, the most powerful one being she who cuts the thread. Not even gods could overcome death and change their fate. Her name was some like parque. There are also possible African origins to her as well. Remember Death was created in the Bible before anything else. Death even overpowers Jesus. The book is chock full of prayers and knowledge about the seven colors and their uses are. I found the instructions on how to use a rosary a bit confusing due to their complexity but you can make use of them in other ways. The book tells about herbs and offering to our most holy death. I found the section on charging tools to be useful and easy to follow. Something I will definitely use. The novena which are nine day prayer working I found useful and will use. Novenas are usually nine day working done with 7 day candles. Now this book recognizes that 7 is very holy to Santa muerte. If you plan on working with Santa Muerte then this is one book you will definitely want to get.

  5. 5 out of 5

    L. Ann Marie

    This was definitely not what I expected and I am so delighted! The history and modern background to Santa Muerte is fascinating. The book is very informative and unlike any of the others I have read. There isn’t any of the scary sensationalism that I have seen with some of the other books. I gives a clear and comfortable was of working with the folk saint that is easy to understand and practical. The pace of the book wasn’t dry nor textbookish at all. I would highly recommend this book to anyone This was definitely not what I expected and I am so delighted! The history and modern background to Santa Muerte is fascinating. The book is very informative and unlike any of the others I have read. There isn’t any of the scary sensationalism that I have seen with some of the other books. I gives a clear and comfortable was of working with the folk saint that is easy to understand and practical. The pace of the book wasn’t dry nor textbookish at all. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is seriously curious about a straightforward and no crap introduction to this saint.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Edric Unsane

    A fairly decent look of the folk saint Santa Muerte. The author was relatively informative, and at points repetitive with some of the subject matter. I really enjoyed that the spells and workings were laid out in such a way that make working with Santa Muerte fairly easy for practitioners of differing beliefs and religious backgrounds. I found the book to be enjoyable and informative, and am glad I purchased it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marc de Brujo at Lattlay Fottfoy

    This is a great introduction and segway (segue?) into a very misunderstood and maligned folk Saint. The work is entertaining as well educational helping one seperate the truth from fiction and then give us real world experience to help know her better. The 200 + pages seem almost like two years of college classes, the subject matter truly interests me and when I can I will find more about her as I feel the call. A great read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    Incredibly insightful and detailed, written by a practioner herself, into the history, rituals, and other information about the iconic Holy Lady of Death, Santa Muerte. Perfect for the curious or the spiritually ready!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Li Fictitious

    I would not recommend this book as an authoritative text as it intertwines the factual with the non-factual, the correct with the incorrect, in a seamless way that tends to mislead more often than it enlightens. Whilst there are clearly some well researched historical inclusions these are often undermined by less than well researched assertions and assumptions, which tend to detract from the overall authority of the information presented. As for the 'Novenas' ... don't get me started. The book is I would not recommend this book as an authoritative text as it intertwines the factual with the non-factual, the correct with the incorrect, in a seamless way that tends to mislead more often than it enlightens. Whilst there are clearly some well researched historical inclusions these are often undermined by less than well researched assertions and assumptions, which tend to detract from the overall authority of the information presented. As for the 'Novenas' ... don't get me started. The book is aesthetically ordered, well presented and concise in the information that it imparts but when it comes to the devotional aspects of the text, the inherent approach appears to be more a presentation of the author's own particular belief system/frame of reference than a generic text on the subject. The author does go to pains to respect and cater for those readers with differing belief systems however, so that should be noted.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ren

    There are other better books on Santa Muerte. Rollin's book offers a decent introduction to the saint, talking about the Indigenous ties and other compatible deities or Santos that work well with her but then the book quickly sours when Rollin tries to link her to the Triple Goddess, other Grecco-Roman entities, and Divine Feminine. This book really simplified Santa Muerte to make her palatable to the wider pagan audience. Santa Muerte is dark and scary, if people want to work with her they shou There are other better books on Santa Muerte. Rollin's book offers a decent introduction to the saint, talking about the Indigenous ties and other compatible deities or Santos that work well with her but then the book quickly sours when Rollin tries to link her to the Triple Goddess, other Grecco-Roman entities, and Divine Feminine. This book really simplified Santa Muerte to make her palatable to the wider pagan audience. Santa Muerte is dark and scary, if people want to work with her they should know and understand that.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Kinda has a heavy Catholic slant, which (I guess) should be expected in a book about a Catholic Folk Saint. Also mentions and utilizes "Saint Humiliation," which she teaches to cover your Saint representation, make them face the wall, and verbally humiliate them when they don't do what you want. Really hit me the wrong way, personally. But, again, apparently this is another aspect of Catholic practice. The thing that gave this book 4 stars instead of three were the numerous prayers and invocatio Kinda has a heavy Catholic slant, which (I guess) should be expected in a book about a Catholic Folk Saint. Also mentions and utilizes "Saint Humiliation," which she teaches to cover your Saint representation, make them face the wall, and verbally humiliate them when they don't do what you want. Really hit me the wrong way, personally. But, again, apparently this is another aspect of Catholic practice. The thing that gave this book 4 stars instead of three were the numerous prayers and invocations listed for each of the 7 aspects of Santa Muerte.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Haynes

    I enjoyed reading the multiple histories of this formidable figure. I had been curious as to how the traditions surrounding her started and loved the in-depth information in this book. With the Day of the Dead getting closer every day I would really recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about the traditions and rituals surrounding this center figure. It is very informational and easy to follow.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gene

    Merely a medium article written It is really bad. I mean I expected an unbiased study with verified sources, notes and, at least, some basic structure in her thinking. This childish essay is a medium post you are paying for - inconsistent, vague and diluted with quasi-mysterious nonsense text which, due to her fairly limited ability to write, fails to deliver. What a waste of time!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Pitkin

    I liked it just wished the author did not go to in depth with the occult practices of Santa Muerte as it kind of made me feel uncomfortable with how they talked in great detail about to pray to her and even how to step up an altar to get what kind of spell you want. But I did like the look at the history and the symbolism of this figure.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Damaris Huerta

    I like this book because it focuses on Santa Muerte and rituals you could do for her but it was written by a white women instead of a Latinx person who would know more about her. Still as a writer this book could be used for a lot of story ideas.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alejandra

    I have a question. My girlfriend keeps bringing a book of la santa muerte back to my house after I've told her plenty of times to get rid of it . Would I be cursed, or would it give me bad luck. If i throw it away? I need some one to answer my question plz I have a question. My girlfriend keeps bringing a book of la santa muerte back to my house after I've told her plenty of times to get rid of it . Would I be cursed, or would it give me bad luck. If i throw it away? I need some one to answer my question plz

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Pierre

    This book is worth its price alone for the sections dealing with working with the rosary. My only real issue with the book is that there are sections that get a bit repetitive in the beginning.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Alex

    Very thorough view of Santa Muerte. Can't wait to share it with my cousin. Very thorough view of Santa Muerte. Can't wait to share it with my cousin.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Skari

    A great, practical guide.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Damien Black

    Loved this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    A very comprehensive introduction to Santa Muerte. I’d highly recommend it to anyone curious about her.

  22. 5 out of 5

    MJ AU

    very informative and inclusive.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hunter Mikell

    The author of this book, Tracey Rollins, demonstrates both a shocking lack of understanding for Catholicism and Christianity as a whole, as well as for Santa Muerte. Some of the "facts" she parades out in these pages seem to be of her own invention, as no point of reference to back them up can be found elsewhere. A great deal of this work seems to be educated guesswork, which is fine, except that the author insists upon presenting these guesses as absolute fact. The one bright spot in this entir The author of this book, Tracey Rollins, demonstrates both a shocking lack of understanding for Catholicism and Christianity as a whole, as well as for Santa Muerte. Some of the "facts" she parades out in these pages seem to be of her own invention, as no point of reference to back them up can be found elsewhere. A great deal of this work seems to be educated guesswork, which is fine, except that the author insists upon presenting these guesses as absolute fact. The one bright spot in this entire book comes from the first couple of pages, wherein the author recommends another book on Santa Muerte that got her interested in the topic. I'll be reading that one now, to undo the damage this author has done to intellectualism, and to get an accurate report on Santa Muerte

  24. 5 out of 5

    PuchoAlmighty666

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jtsuruoka

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alicia May

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  28. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Morgan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cynova

  30. 5 out of 5

    Salome

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