Santa Muerte, also known as Santisima Muerte or Our Lady of Holy Death, is more than a personification of death. Though she is not recognized by the Catholic Church, she is a powerful, ancient figure associated with protection, healing, and safe passage to the afterlife, as well as the guardian of the souls of the departed. Those who work at night frequently pray to her for protection against the dangers of the night, and members of the LGBT community request her help and protection, but she has influence over the whole earth and every living thing on it.
Petitioning Santa Muerte
Santa Muerte does not discriminate. She can help anyone, good or bad, in their time of need. Petitions are cries for help to her, and she is willing to answer your prayers for money, love, and so many other desires.
Candles are one of the most popular ways to seek her aid. The colors most strongly associated with her are white, red, and black. White is used for invoking her to purify or remove negative influences, bring good luck, soothe arguments, create peace, and bring spiritual blessings, among other things. White is an "all-purpose" color, so there are a few requests that it cannot be used for. Red Santa Muerte candles are used for love, lust, passion, and anything to do with matters of the heart. Black Santa Muerte candles are used for protection, overcoming problems, revenge, reversing jinxes, removing hexes, or sending hexes to enemies. Multicolored candles are used to bring luck and blessings in all areas of life, each corresponding to the colored layers of the candle.
These candles can be used as part of a simple candle ritual, by lighting them and praying or meditating over them. They can also be used as part of a Santa Muerte altar, to help deepen a connection with this saint.
Setting Up an Altar to Santa Muerte
To develop a relationship and work with Santa Muerte, it is best to create an altar for her. This gives her a space in your home and ensures that you will devote energy to her and make time for her in your life. Since she is petitioned for help by the downtrodden, she does not require a fancy altar or elaborate surroundings. An image of her, a candle, and a glass of water are all that is really necessary, though some enjoy including flowers, offering bowls, and other items in their worship. The image can be a prayer card depicting Santa Muerte, or an elaborate statue of her. The candle can be a red, black, or white pillar candle, or something as small and simple as a tealight or white birthday candle.
Choose a quiet spot that will not be disturbed by children or animals. Clean it thoroughly -- sweep the floor, mop, dust, and do whatever you need to do. After that, cleanse the area by washing the floor and table with blessed salt water, using a Spiritual Cleansing floor wash, misting the area with Florida Water, or burning purifying herbs or incense. After this, you can set up your altar however you like. There is only one stipulation: Santa Muerte does not like to share her altar. The list of saints and spirits she is willing to share space with is short, so keep her altar dedicated to her and her alone.
Once her altar is set, refresh the water daily and give her offerings of food or liquor. Talk to her image as though she is present with you. Interact with her frequently, and your spiritual connection to her will become stronger and stronger.
Santa Muerte may not be treated as a saint by the Catholic Church, but that does not diminish her at all. If you need help, she will answer your call. As the personification of holy death, no living thing escapes her, and no cry for her help goes unheard. Set up an altar to Santa Muerte and strengthen your relationship with her, and she will never ignore your requests for her aid.