San La Muerte (Saint Death), is a folk saint venerated in various parts of South America. Like with many folk saints, the veneration of San La Muerte is not supported by the Roman Catholic Church.
Apperance: San La Muerte is most often portrayed as a grim reaper. In years past San La Muerte was most often portrayed seated, often on a throne. However, today one can find statues and images of San La Muerte standing or in other poses. For images of San La Muerte, click HERE.
Lore: According to some sources, San La Muerte originated among the native Guaraní people who merged traditional ancestral worship with the veneration of Catholic saints. The veneration of San La Muerte may have been, at it's earliest stages, the veneration of the bones of the ancestors. Despite his origin San La Muerte has evolved into a central figurehead for which believers venerate in exchange for his aid. Like most folk saints, San La Muerte does not work for free, meaning he doesn't grant wishes or petitions out of the kindness of his heart. Instead, he must be paid via offerings. Some of San La Muerte's offerings include; liquor, tobacco (cigarettes or cigars), blood, sweets, and hot or spicy things. Additionally, many believers claim that when addressing San La Muerte one must make a strong demand or command for their petition and not just simply ask for it. Some believers even abuse or threaten to abuse the image of San La Muerte until the request is granted.
Powers: San La Muerte is believed to grant wealth, luck, protection (especially from witchcraft), and protection from imprisonment or granting the freedom of already imprisoned people. San La Muerte is also petitioned in order to bring destruction to one's enemies.
Defense Against San La Muerte: ???
Trivia: Some people are of the opinion that the devotion of Santa Muerte actually originated as devotion to San La Muerte as the cult spread northward. According to this theory San La Muerte switched genders and began to be viewed as female at some point during the migration.