Queering Santa Muerte

The second in my Queering Deities series, this is ‘Queering Santa Muerte’. (Copyright Nic Phillips 2021).

Originating from Mexico, Santa Muerte – ‘Holy Death’, is honoured as a saint and the personification of death itself, usually in female form.
As a deity outside of the mainstream, Santa Muerte attracts many queer devotees, since Death does not discriminate or reject anyone.

My Challenger (model) for this painting was Tomás, a devotee of Santa Muerte. Here are his own words about the connection they share:

“Being queer means existing in a space of liminality… of being neither this nor that, yet both and everything else all depending upon the mind an eyes of those who perceive me. La Santa Muerte, as the embodiment of death into tangible form, does not judge. Death accepts everyone equally; rich, poor, benevolent, evil, young, old… nothing about you, your actions, your past, or your morality matters to her.
This is why many queer people and I are devoted to her, devoted to the one spiritual force in this world that allows us to come as we are without judgment, agenda, or preference. And in her darkness, we find healing. We learn to “see” without having to see with our physical eyes, we learn to embrace the unknown, we learn to appreciate the ephemerality of all things and take no moment or experience for granted. I am a devotee of Death, and because of her, I appreciate and live life more vividly.”

Tomás Prower, author of ‘Queer Magic’ and ‘La Santa Muerte: Unearthing the Magic and Mysticism of Death’.

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