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Santa Muerte likely originates from Europe, arriving in the New World with Spanish conquistadors.
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Subscriber Account active since. During one of Pope Francis' speeches on his landmark trip to Mexico earlier this year, he issued a cryptic admonishment. For those outside of Latin America, the pope's reference to a secretive " cult " that venerates Santa Muerte, or "Saint Death," is likely to escape notice. But to the 10 million to 12 million adherents in the region, the pope's criticism of Santa Muerte, which has challenged the influence of the Catholic Church, was clear. Santa Muerte, and the people who worship her, are much maligned, often associated with the region's narco underworld.
Culture Trip stands with Black Lives Matter. The deadly saint is sometimes depicted as a man, but in Mexico you will most likely find her as a female entity. A skeletal figure, Santa Muerte is not to be confused with the popular Mexican image of the Catrina — a personification of the indigenous Mexicans who wanted to adopt European styles, an image first drawn by Jose Guadalupe Posada. Mexico has a particular affection for the Virgin of Guadalupe — her cult of worship far outpaces that of all other Catholic saints and maybe even Christ himself.
A personification of death , she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees. Since the pre-Columbian era , Mexican culture has maintained a certain reverence towards death. Santa Muerte hails from the Mexican cultural tradition that relates to death deities and death worship, not only among the Aztec but also the Maya , Mixtec and other people. Originally appearing as a male figure,  Santa Muerte now generally appears as a skeletal female figure, clad in a long robe and holding one or more objects, usually a scythe and a globe.