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SECRETS OF SANTA MUERTE WITH CRESSIDA STONE

Hello Cressida,

Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. One of my very forst spiritual awakenings happened when I was 9 years old sitting atop the pyramid of the sun at Teotihuacan with my Dad. My father was a Mexican man, and also my hero. He passed away when I was 12, but before that my family spent a fair bit of time visiting and vacationing in Mexico. From the moment I opnened your book I felt a strong pull to reconnect with my cultural roots. Dear Sanhre,

Sorry this took a while. Things have been very busy! I hope you are doing well.

Here is my reply. Please let me know when you post this. Also, if you need any clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Blessings,

Cressida

INTERVIEW SECRETS OF SANTA MUERTE BY CRESSIDA STONE

Is Santa Muerte a closed practice?

No, although you might have to spend time in Mexico with brujos and curanderos to learn of the many practices, tips and magical rites I describe in the book, such as the blood pact as this information is not available to everyone. But getting back to the question, if you ask devotees in Mexico, they will generally tell you that since Death comes to us all, as we will all die no matter who we are, she will listen to the prayers of anyone. Regardless of whether you are gay or straight, no matter your gender, skin color, income, job choice, age or nationality, she will hear your prayers and you can work with her. Having said that, as I explain in "Secrets of Santa Muerte", la Santisima does not just listen to anyone at random: devotion and dedication to her, a deep, loving bond are essential, humility and reverence to her immeasurable power are vital. Santa Muerte must be prayed to with great respect. Death is a formidable force.

Is Sante Muerte "Evil"?

Absolutely not. To the devoted, she is a mother, a healer, a bringer of abundance and love. Although she may exact revenge for the faithful who ask for it to be dealt to their enemies, it is because she is a loving mother who detests when her children are hurt. This question is interesting to me, because I have often heard this question asked to Santa Muerte leaders by those new to the spirituality. The answer I have most often heard from Mexican leaders such as Yuri Mendez, who is the most influential Santa Muerte leader in Cancun and an incredibly powerful bruja (witch), is that it is people who are evil, not Santa Muerte. Yuri -who is also known as la bruja de las tres virtudes, the witch of the three virtues- reminds people that it is we who ask for evil, we who bring it to the world, not Santa Muerte. Additionally, we have to recall Santa Muerte's Indigenous origins when considering this question. Although she does meld Christian saint praxis, after all her name is Santa, which means Saint, she also has Indigenous ancestry and this means she is non-dualistic and therefore beyond simplistic ideas of right and wrong. She is Death which comes to us all. As Death she is oneness, she cannot be understood through a dualistic framework.

What is it that Santa Muerte would like to teach us? Does she have a message for humanity?

I would not ever speak for Santa Muerte but if you devote yourself to death she will teach you what you need to know and guide you on your path. If there is anything I have learnt from her that is of vital essence, it is that our days on earth are not forever, nor are those of our beloved family and friends. Cherish every day of life you live, every moment of beauty and wonder you are gifted here on planet earth, and treasure your time with your loved ones for tomorrow is promised to no one: value each breath you take and each day of life for those you love. But do not be afraid if Death comes to you, if you honor her, you will get to know that she is a beautiful, gentle lady who will take you home in her bony embrace when it is your time to go.

Working with the spirit of death may seem intimidating or down right terrifying to some, what would you say to those who feel called to work with Lady death, but are afraid?

It is better to be afraid than nonchalant! Notwithstanding, as long as you treat her with the respect and reverence she deserves, and do not treat working with the Saint of Death lightly or carelessly, there is nothing to be afraid of. Death is the most powerful and ancient force in our universe but remember that in keeping with the non-dualistic framework I mentioned earlier, Death is also Life, and Santa Muerte brings miracles of life and blessings of all kinds to devotees so although you invite Death into your life when you work with her, you can also invite life.

Just yesterday she reminded me of this: I had a frightening incident driving during an intense rain storm. A branch suddenly broke off a tree and dropped onto my windshield. It blinded my view as I was driving down a slippery road. I had to abruptly and drastically slow down. I was trying hard to see the road to try to pull over and remove the branch. I keep a Santa Muerte statue in my car for her protection. Suddenly, I felt Santa Muerte's hand lift the branch off my windshield and toss it aside. It literally flew off my car. I know that she saved my life, Had someone been behind me, or the branch not been lifted off I could have had a terrible accident. This is just one of many examples I have experienced of how Holy Death can save your life: do not be afraid, instead if you approach her, do so with humility, love and utmost devotion.

Many practitioners of magick have an aversion to the abrahamic religions, and the Catholic church at best does not recognize Santa Muerte, and at worst, condemns those that do. Is it possible to work with Santa Muerte outside of an abrahamic structure?

Absolutely, although my book does allude to the fact that many Santa Muerte devotees consider themselves Catholic and may turn to God and invoke him as well as la Santisima in prayer, this is not essential. Indeed, Soraya Arredondo Hernandez, who is a magnificent, mysterious and magical bruja (witch) who has a beautiful temple in Tula, Hidalgo, works outside the abrahamic structure. She does not pray to God and does not believe in his power, for her there is no power greater than Santa Muerte's.

Did you have a magickal practice before coming into contact with Santa Muerte?

I had explored various different spiritualities but nothing felt truly right until Santa Muerte came to me. Having said that, when I was a child I met someone who read tarot for many clients and they gifted me my first tarot deck, as one day, they said I would be a guide for others. They told me I had a gift, and asked me if I had had dreams which predicted the future, I answered yes and they asked me if anything had happened that stood out. I recall telling them of a very intense dream I had had, about the death of my great aunt. I saw her funeral in my dream and my entire family dressed in black as her coffin stood before us in church. The following morning, right after the dream, the phone rang. My mother picked up and started crying, because my great aunt had just died. I have always had dreams that predict the future and I still read tarot cards although not the same deck that was gifted to me as a child. I now work largely with Santa Muerte tarot decks and her powerful immense spirit to help those I love, and to aid my clients with guidance, both in general and also should they need advice on how to work more deeply with Santa Muerte.

How did your life change after committing to the practice of Santa Muerte?

I cannot even begin to describe the huge changes and miracles in my life. And not only in my life, but what has been beautiful to witness are also the changes in the lives of my friends and my clients. I am so moved to see how Santa Muerte helps those in need. Just today a dear friend messaged me to thank me for bringing Holy Death to her life. When I visited her last summer, her life was in ruins and I was very worried about her. I conducted rituals with her and asked for the powerful scythe of Santa Muerte to drive away demons that were plaguing her and remove brujeria (witchcraft) that had been done to her. I guided my friend on how to work with Santa Muerte who she felt a strong calling to. She bought my book "Secrets of Santa Muerte" and I also recommended she work with a bruja friend of mine who is based in Mexico for added help during a very difficult time in her life when everything was going wrong for her. Since her deep devotion to Santa Muerte, everything in my friend's life has changed. Her business, which was once failing, is flourishing and she is making very good money. Her health has also improved drastically, she was getting terrible aches and pains which are now gone and her energy is restored. Her broken relationship with her mother has been restored and they message nearly every day. And her love life has been blessed. Santa Muerte helped her cut ties with her toxic ex-husband who was cheating on her and spending all their money on drugs, alcohol and other women. She is now living happily with the love of her life. I am so delighted to witness the very dramatic life changes and miracles that Santisima Muerte has gifted to a woman who was suffering and who now is bathed in the blessings of Santa Muerte.

Can one work with Santa Muerte while working with or worshiping other Deities?

Yes, one can. While some people choose to exclusively work with Santa Muerte, such as myself, this is not vital. You can work with her and other supernatural figures, and I know devotees who work with Santa Muerte and for example, Yemanja or Anima Sola or other deities. But Santa Muerte must have her own altar, she does not like to share her space with other spirits, saints or deities. Occasionally, in Mexico I have seen people place other figures, such as Saint Jude, San Jesus Malverde or Saint Ciprian on their altar for added help, but generally they are placed in such a way to recognize Santa Muerte's superiority and these devotees have asked for her permission to do so and she is known to "get along" with these other folk saints. For the novice, I do not advise ever having an altar that has numerous deities and then Santa Muerte too. Give Santa Muerte her own altar where she is supreme. If you want to work with other deities, have separate altars for them. As long as you respect her and treat her with the care she deserves, acknowledge her great power, and create a loving bond with her, she will understand and you will reap the benefits of her puissant scythe.


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