This past year has been the roughest for me when it comes to Deity work. The Morrigan spent the first half of it trying to prepare me for Her departure, while another was trying to come through.
The Morrigan leaving was hard. I had been with Her for about a decade. I learned and grew so much as a person, as a Death worker, and a Spirit Walker with Her. It truly was a complete transformation of the self, building new solid foundations, and spiritual connections. Way too much to even “cliff notes” here. There is no way to summarize all that has happened and the depth of that bond and relationship to Her.
It was time though, for Her to go. I had done all the work that She had come to do. This seems to be how They work, at least for me. They have certain things to work on, to teach me, and then They go. Sometimes They come and go, but this was different, and very final. The loss of Her hit hard and was like losing a beloved family member – and I went through all of the grieving process with it.
At the same time though another was starting to come in. This is where all the confusion and turmoil came in. It was an energy I hadn’t really felt before. I also think because I was dealing with the loss of my main and constant Guide, and just accepting it, made it even harder to feel out the new one.
I went down many rabbit holes, getting close, but still not getting a clear connection. During this, the Goddess Hel showed up to do some deeper ancestral work, including going more into the ancestral soul. I had thought She was going to take the driver seat for this next phase, but Her work ended up being more about the community aspects of my work (Death Doula/ teaching). Beyond the deeper ancestor work, there wasn’t anything new for me personally. I was just flowing with it though.
Looking for a Deck
I got an urge recently to buy a tarot deck. I wanted something that really represented Death, since that is my path and work in a variety of different ways. To hear the whole ordeal of that you can read this article: How Many Death Goddesses Does One Need??
The shortened version – I don’t just get urges to buy tarot decks, there is always a reason behind it – and this reason was Santa Muerte. I did not know it when I started looking, but after about a week of looking, debating on decks, and some other interesting clues – The urge to get a deck was to put the Santa Muerte straight in my face and squash any doubts. I’ll admit, I needed that here because I would never have naturally made my way there.
Santa Muerte – The Image
I have seen the image of the Santa Muerte since I was a kid, I didn’t know the image was a Deity per say, but I had thought it was a representation of death, specifically associated with the celebration of the Day of the Dead.
I had always loved the image, the colors, the joyful celebration, and the cultural perspective of Death by the Mexican people. The deeper you get into Death work – the more this type of perspective really comes to the forefront. You will hear this from many long time Death workers – The deeper you go into Death, the more connected you become to life and living.
I spent that week of upheaval researching Santa Muerte. Reading and listening to everything I could find. The presence that I had been feeling, the energy that was coming in, grew stronger and stronger. Yep, it was the Santa Muerte.
Pitfalls of Deity Work
Because of all the false starts/ rabbit holes I had been through this year with Deities/Guides, I was skeptical and beginning to get a bit jaded. The loss – the missteps – the confusion of trying to figure out who this energy was and where I was going next had taken its toll on me.
This is also a part of Deity work that most don’t talk about but is experienced by so many at some point. Each misstep/ mis-identification does lead us closer – there are clues and needed lessons there – but it is also frustrating and disheartening. I feel like I have been jumping all over the place and it looks chaotic to me, so I can only imagine what it looks like to those who follow along on my journey.
I went through this chaos before when first connecting to The Morrigan. For the first few months I wasn’t completely sure it was Her. That first year, others would come in to teach or show me something, which added to the confusion and doubt. At the end of that first year though, there was no doubts, no more confusion, just a strong connection and steady path forward – one that changed me forever.
As I sit here this morning, reflecting on all of this, I see so many similarities between that first year and this past year. Not exactly the same by any means, but also a good reflection of it. I also remember the feeling of it, when I finally knew, without a doubt, that The Morrigan is who it was and that She was going to be my primary Guide. Yes, that feeling, that deep knowing, is the same here.
So I decided to go all in. I got the Santa Muerte, Book of the Dead tarot and decided to create Her effigy for my altar. A lesson that I learned through the Goddess Hel recently. So, I got a poseable Halloween skeleton and some material. I wanted to hand make Her clothing and cloaks. My husband loves to create and build things, so he volunteered to create me scythe for Her (I wanted a double edged scythe – as you can see in the picture).
I rearranged my room, and started creating an altar for Her. I will be honest, none of my Deities have ever cared about my altar space. That was for me and my visual/ connection needs, and They were always clear about it. Santa Muerte is completely different though and I think it is because She is heavily involved in the physical world – the whole life of Her people – not just their spiritual and self growth as my other ones have been. There was always a community side in that, don’t get me wrong, but it was in sharing and helping others, not in altars and physical space for Them.
Santa Muerte cares very much about the altar and physical space I create for Her. So I started with the aspects I felt were right for me, and what I learned from others, but starting small. I created Her statue, put a glass of water on since this seemed to be a key element many said, added a representation of the world – an owl – candles – some candies – and some roses. I did go get a tiny bottle of tequila because of what everyone else said but that did not go well.
When I finished I asked Her with the pendulum if She liked it, and She gave me a very clear NO. Confused, I decided to use the pendulum to ask about each item placed there. She was good with everything except the tequila – and I know why.
I hate the taste of alcohol, thus I don’t drink. It has always been that way. I used to force my self to try it from time to time but it always tasted nasty and just not for me. Of course though, putting it on Her altar as an offering wouldn’t work – there is no sacrifice in that act for me. I would never drink it, and it means nothing to me, thus for me it is not an offering the Santa Muerte would want from me. We live and learn.
I will say that creating Her effigy, Her statue, was the best thing I could have done. There is a deeper bond I find I am creating when creating and making Their images. It took time to design and hand-stitch all the clothing. During that time She was at the forefront of my mind and heart – strengthening a bond between us. It is also more personal to me and means more to me than if I just bought a statue.
The Santa Muerte Tarot
The deck finally arrived – after a lot of delays. Up to that point I had only been able to use the pendulum because none of my other decks would work. I don’t really like using the pendulum much, and really hate it for the beginning process of communicating because it is all yes no questions. I find it extremely annoying when someone keeps asking you question after question after question, with no real conversation in-between them – and here I was doing it to someone I wanted to build good communication with. I felt like an asshole continuously asking yes no questions so I tried to limit it and be patient for the cards to arrive.
From the moment I started using Her deck, the communication was clear and deep. That ease and fluidity of conversation I had been missing. The artwork of this deck is also amazing. It really captures my experience and feel of death – the colors, the joy, the celebration of life in all of it. The meanings are also different then other tarot decks, very personalized to the understandings of that culture and perceptions of death. If you are thinking about connecting – I highly recommend this one.
The devotional aspect of Santa Muerte is heavily rooted in prayers. I will be going deeper into all of this and what I have been learning about Her soon, but for now I am just going to touch on it because there is a story with this.
Santa Muerte is very much on the exchange level, which is how most interact with Her. They exchange prayers and favors, for favors from Her. Although I work in the same way – a partnership and exchange with my Deities/ Guides – I am also very careful about it. It would be easy, especially with Santa Muerte I think, to fall into the trap of seeing Them like a vending machine – seeing the relationship as more transactional than a true bond.
So I started with Her most common, non-traditional rosary prayer, which I will add in the next post. I also created my own rosary for Her and I work with together.
I used the common prayer a few times, but there were issues for me in the wording and flow. I am not Catholic and much of it, even in the non-traditional form- resonated that religion for me. Yes, She grew from the people of that religion but it is also not all She is. I had to figure out something that would work for the relationship I was building with Her, so I used the original as a template and reworded/ created my own (again – I’ll put it in the next post).
I am sure this one will change over time too as our relationship grows and deepens, but for now it is really working. Prayer is an important part of building bonds with our Guides. Whether you look at prayer in religious sense or just talking out loud to your Guide – it all is a form of “prayer.” Through this act we are focusing our thoughts, emotions, and energy on Them. We are giving Them our energy in that way, and building the energetic bond between us.
My main focus for this beginning period was to just build our connection and bond. Work on the altar, talk to Her, and say Her rosary everyday for 7 days. I wasn’t planning on asking for anything because I was just focusing on building our bond.
3 days in and I had a real need. My son is getting his wisdom teeth in and has been struggling with pain due to it. We have been trying everything to help ease it with no luck. So the other morning, I apologized but I really needed to ask Her for help – if there was anything She could do to ease his pain. That morning my son woke up with zero pain and has not had any since.
I have no doubt that it was Santa Muerte who took his pain. Was it to show Her power? After all, miracles is what makes Her a saint of the people (the church hates Her). Was it to put any small doubts left to rest? I can not say for sure why She answered my plea, all I know is She did, and very swiftly.
I was clearly doing the work, and if She knows anything about me (which She does), She knows I will go all in when I commit to something. Still I am finding myself being extremely cautious in how I approach these exchanges. I always want the focus to be about the bond between us, not what I can get from it from a favor perspective.
I am sharing all of this because I see an opportunity to do something different. The whole idea of showing the progression and what it is like to build these bonds with Deities/ Guides in a different way. Showing it and sharing it as it is happening. Not after I have figured it out.
So I am going to write about this journey.
There are things I need to catch you up on but this was a good start I think. This blog will not show the perfected work, the teachable work, but all the little things I encounter as we build this relationship. The rawness of what that looks like, the vulnerability, and the authentic journey.
Santa Muerte has asked for one very specific thing from me so far. It was something huge and has taken a little time to wrap my head around. This is the one thing I will not be sharing in any public format though until Winter Solstice. There is something big coming then, and I will be sharing it here first.
One Last Thing…
Santa Muerte is the personification of the whole Death/ Rebirth Pattern, but seems very linked to the fates aspect with Her physical world involvement. She seems more concerned with the physical life of Her devotees than their actual Death. Her “miracles” or “favors” are centered around our needs in this physical life – our physical needs.
She also welcomes everyone to Her – no matter your history, work, culture, social standing, etc. As the personification of Death She does not judge those who come to Her – She welcomes all to Her – for we will all experience Death. This is why you will see and hear stories of some not so savory people devoted to Her. She is the most “neutral” Deity in this way.
All my other Deities only cared about my physical life in terms of giving me the space and needs to complete the work we were doing together, but never a real interest in my physical life/ my life in this world. I had been jokingly asking for one who would actually care about that part – little did I know one was waiting for me.
I spent 10+ years working on myself, my foundations, how I move in this world due to that, developing and enhancing my spiritual side, and working in the world of spirit. I have a feeling, the work coming is going to be very different. Not that the other part goes away, but building and adding on to all that I have already done. A new book in my series of this life.