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The Scythe and the Pentagram: Santa Muerte from Folk Catholicism to Occultism

Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Box 256 751 05, Uppsala, Sweden
Department of Culture and Communication (IKK)/Arts and Humanities (KVA), Linköpings Universitet, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: R. Andrew Chesnut and David Metcalfe
Religions 2017, 8(1), 1;
Received: 24 February 2016 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 27 May 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Death in the New World: The Rise of Santa Muerte)
Santa Muerte is establishing a presence among practitioners of contemporary occultism in Europe and North America. The occult milieu is highly different from the Mexican cult of Santa Muerte, having a strong heritage of secrecy and tradition as social capital and being mostly middle-class in orientation. Nonetheless, this Catholic folk saint with a mostly pragmatic, popular, and grassroots cult is becoming increasingly popular among occultists. Based on a survey of three recent books on Santa Muerte geared towards an Anglophone, occult audience, it is therefore the aim of this article to understand how and why the Skeleton Saint is attracting adherents in the occult milieu, by analyzing the underlying causes of this growing trend, as well as the conditions shaping it. It is the overall argument of this article that the beginning reception of Santa Muerte in occultism is a result of perceived needs and demands specific to the occult milieu rather than characteristics inherent in the symbol itself, and that an analysis of the ways in which she is spreading outside of her original sociocultural context must be guided by an understanding of the novel one she is integrated in. View Full-Text
Keywords: Santa Muerte; occultism; Catholicism Santa Muerte; occultism; Catholicism
MDPI and ACS Style

Hedenborg-White, M.; Gregorius, F. The Scythe and the Pentagram: Santa Muerte from Folk Catholicism to Occultism. Religions 2017, 8, 1.

AMA Style

Hedenborg-White M, Gregorius F. The Scythe and the Pentagram: Santa Muerte from Folk Catholicism to Occultism. Religions. 2017; 8(1):1.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hedenborg-White, Manon, and Fredrik Gregorius. 2017. "The Scythe and the Pentagram: Santa Muerte from Folk Catholicism to Occultism" Religions 8, no. 1: 1.

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