November 02, 2007

Santa Muerta

I was talking to T yesteday about blogging, and she mentioned hearing a piece on NPR yesterday that she found fascinating about St. Death, or, Santa Muerta. I first found out about St. Death when I stopped into Augestine's Spirital Goods, a couple of doors down from where I work. Amidst the various icons, herbs, oils and candles, I found little statues of Death — looking very much like the Grim Reaper. As I've read up on her (she is most often depicted in female form), I've thought of her as a balancing aspect to Anima Sola (though I don't think I'll get a matching tattoo). It should be noted that Santa Muerta bears a striking resembelance to the Virgin Mary — and stays true to the Vesica Piscis shape which alludes to the Goddess. Outside the symbology she bears for the Mexican community, for me she symbolizes the veil of death that is patriarchy. She is the woman shrowded in fine cloth, dressed up with nowhere to go. I don't find it a conincidence that many pray to her for release from poverty. Just as this world is veiled in great wealth and riches, the poor are the hidden reality we all must face. It is as unescapable as death.
And speaking of death, I'm headed to the National Musuem of Mexican Art this afternoon to take in the Día de los Muertos exhibit and admire the many ofrendas and maybe even get a calavera or two for the kids.


David said...

Val - My brother is trying to say I should go to an opus dei meeting. Maybe his e-mail, below, will give you some words of wisdom for me, or food for thought/blogging. I might check it out just to see how off-kilter it is/isn't. What have you heard?

Dear Jenniey [my brother's nickname for me] -

Just wanted to follow up with that info regarding the Evenings of Recollection in your area. The closest one to you is held at:

Visitation Church, in Elmhurst on York Road, east side of the street, 3 blocks North of Butterfield. They are on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 7:30 PM and go for about 2 hours. The contact for more information is Mimi Kelly 708.447.3855 (make sure to call her and get the "secret handshake" if you are ever able to make it).

Like I said on the phone, these evenings of Recollection are basically a 2 hour meditation. The priest does a couple of meditations that are
similar to a homily and specifically focused toward real-world struggles facing those who are married, working, raising a family etc. They have
some time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for those who want to take advantage of it (not everybody goes and they don't make you). But
other than that, it is a silent and reflective time of prayer and meditation.

I understand how difficult it is to find time to do things like this with life's busy schedule and all of the various activities you may want to check out, yet haven't been able to, but I will say that since I
have been going to these, my relationship with God, my marriage, family, work, and overall attitude toward life in general has benefited
exponentially. I'm not saying that I now live in a fairy tale that is perfect, on the contrary, I still have all sorts of defects (maybe just more
aware of them) and I still have a long, long way to go, but I can say with certitude that without the spiritual foundation that Opus Dei has
helped me with, the previously mentioned aspects of my life would be in serious trouble (JP will attest to that!).

Anyway, hopefully you can make it someday and see if there is some benefit for you there. Give the kids a big hug and kiss from me...

Anima Sola said...

Oh my. I have a lot of experience with an individual who was in Opus Dei. If I were you, I'd steer clear. I can't say that the entire organization is "evil," but that individual certainly was, and from what I know generally, it is a super conservative group with strict structures and roles for women, ie, one of subservience. Opus Dei, in many respects, is everything I'm fighting against in our Church. Then again, if you do decide to infiltrate, bring back lots of useful information for me!