Santa Muerte Comes To Rest On MacDougal Street

By Lynn Pacifico

I have noticed Santa Muerte, (Holy/Saint Death), beloved in the American southwest and Mexico, in NY more often lately. Still I was a little surprised to come face to face with a larger than life Santa Muerte on MacDougal Street, just north of Bleecker.

I remember the magnificent bronze Artemis (Great Mother) who held court on Prince Street from 1993 until 2006. She was a two ton fertile many breasted brown goddess on a skinny busy downtown NYC sidewalk. 

Santa Muerte comes to rest on MacDougal street. Photo credit Lynn Pacifico

Now we have Santa Muerte. Many Catholics have adopted Santa Muerte and believe that she gets her power from God, but she is a pre-Christian folk deity, an iconic skeletal manifestation of the divine feminine. In the cycle of life, decay must happen before anything new can be born, so her archetypical energy includes the force of life, and especially the force of death.  

Santa Muerte is said to have many powers but her graces include granting forgiveness to the living, salvation to the dying and protection. Devotees believe that she is always with them and address her affectionately:

  Santa Muerte, Please protect me, and my loved ones.

Sweet Sister, Hear my pleas and strengthen me in the temptations that trouble me.

Kind Mother, when my time comes, carry me in your loving arms.

Lynn Pacifico is a fourth generation villager, who loves dogs, nature and New York City.

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