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Devoted to DeathSanta Muerte, the Skeleton Saint$
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R. Andrew Chesnut

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199764662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199764662.001.0001

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White Candle

White Candle

Beliefs and Practices

(p.50) Chapter 2 White Candle
Devoted to Death

R. Andrew Chesnut

Oxford University Press

The astonishing growth of the Santa Muerte cult over the past decade has resulted in millions of new devotees who are neither jilted lovers nor traffickers of narcotics and stimulants. The new flock of faithful is a heterogeneous group with diverse afflictions and aspirations. To meet the various needs of her diverse devotional base, the Powerful Lady has abandoned her narrow specialization in matters of love and passion for the new role of an omnipotent generalist whose range of operation is probably greater than that of any other spiritual rival, including the Virgin of Guadalupe and Jesus. In looking at her complex new identity on the Mexican and American religious landscapes, this chapter focuses on how devotees conceive of her, while the views of nonbelievers will also be taken into account.

Keywords:   Santa Muerte, Saint Death, skeleton saint, devotees, devotion, drug traffickers

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