Hand-cut, hammered, and shaped ornament is made with reclaimed tinplate framing this tiny print reproduction of an antique holy card featuring the Sacred Heart.
After filing and sanding sharp corners and edges, I embellished it from my stash of vintage, antique, and/or reclaimed fabrics, metals, beads, and trims, including resin rhinestones, vintage lace, a satin rose, a vintage plastic faceted heart charm in a brass frame, and a tiny little curl of dried vine for the crown of thorns.
I’m working on several more, but these two are up at my website now. If you are fond of Erzulie Freda, keep your eyes open – I’m trying out a number of techniques and effects as I work on a custom piece commissioned by a client, to see what does and doesn’t work for the effect the client wants, so you should see a few more Freda pieces over the next weeks as part of my design drawing board.
Can Santisima Muerte be petitioned for uncrossing and healing?
If you are already a devotee of Santisima Muerte and have a strong relationship with her, you probably wouldn’t be typing such a thing into Google, so I’d wonder why you want to do this. There are plenty of other saints to petition (and plenty of non-denominational methods) to get help with uncrossing and healing, and you need to establish a relationship with Santa Muerte before you go asking her for things. Since uncrossing and healing generally have some sort of urgency attached to them, it seems like an odd place to start for your first approach to Santisima Muerte and I would recommend other methods, something non-denominational, or if you already know something about working with saints and spirits more generally, petitioning one you already know.
I’d advise that you establish a good working relationship with any saint or spirit before asking for favors. And the penalties for treating Santa Muerte with disrespect can be quite severe, so that’s why I don’t advise you just go buy a holy card, bring it home, and start demanding shit. I’d advise that you first establish a good working relationship with a protective saint like St. Cyprian or St. Michael before working with Santa Muerte, as well.
But he short answer to the question is yes, she can be petitioned for uncrossing, healing, and a host of other things. Those who have long-standing, strong relationships with any saint will petition that saint for all kinds of things. That’s how patronage works, which I touch on in an explanatory post on working with saints as well as in various posts throughout the years including the one on St. Martha (particularly in the comments section of the version on livejournal).
As you can see from this photo essay by Time magazine, devotees petition her for all kinds of things, sometimes the same sorts of things one would petition any saint for, and sometimes for the kind of assistance that other saints wouldn’t touch. Here is a collection of prayers that demonstrates some of the range of things for which her devotees call on her.
Above all, I think it’s important to recognize her and to honor her. Get to know her and let her get to know you. Give her gifts and make a place for her in your home and your life. Use the rituals and traditions of the Catholic church. Don’t try to “paganize” her or skimp on the incense and scapulars and rosaries and novenas. Invoke and establish a relationship with a figure like St. Michael or St. Cyprian (or Christ or the Trinity or Holy Family) as well, to honor and call on alongside her. Then you can ask her patronage for blessing, uncrossing, healing, protection, money, justice, etc.
But if you’ve never dealt with her before and you have a pressing need for uncrossing or healing, I’m not sure why you’d want to start with her for your first attempts – there are simpler and safer ways to approach your goals. But once you have a relationship with her, she is a powerful ally for all kinds of things, is said to love and protect her children fiercely, and will help the under-dog and the disenfranchised get help and justice from persecution.
Can you put Erzulie Freda with Santa Muerte?
I would not recommend this. First of all, they come from two totally different traditions. This is not a buffet and neither will appreciate being treated as mix-n-match. Second of all, they have very different personalities and very different realms. Third, they have both been described as a bit choosier or pickier about the company they keep than some others might be, and neither is a spirit that you want to piss off. Fourth, they do not like the same decor or offerings. Fifth, you complicate an already complex situation by risking displeasure if one perceives that you are treating the other better or not giving her the respect or offerings she deserves; Freda especially can be picky or demanding, and you don’t need to invite trouble.
If you don’t have much room in your home and can’t give every saint a separate altar, at least delineate separate areas; for instance, if you have only one mantle on which to keep statues, then have one section set off with a cloth covering of a color appropriate to your work with Santisima Muerte (if you are setting an altar up to her for the first time, I’d start with her white aspect), and have a separate section with pink or lighter blue or a lacy white cloth for Erzulie Freda, so they have their own “rooms.” But I would avoid putting them together like this if I at all could. I have heard of both of these making their displeasure known in very unpleasant ways.
Some saints aren’t picky about this kind of thing, but some are. For instance, I have Erzulie Freda and Erzulie Dantor in separate rooms of the house. I happen to have Erzulie Dantor, the Ghuede family, my ancestor altar, Ogoun, and Santisima Muerte in the same room, but each has their own altar structure, table, shelf, whatever. Dantor and Santa Muerte don’t share the same wall (but Santa Muerte shares the same wall with my ancestor altar). And even though I work with St. Cyprian and St. Michael when I’m working with Santa Muerte, they all have their own full altars separately.
This is nearly finished (something unique to this loa and therefore not for public consumption still needs to be added), but I wanted to photograph it because it’s a new "feel" for me on a Ghuede box – less flash, more Victorian, more "mourning cabinet" type of thing.