Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Booknote: La Santa Muerte

Tomas Prower, La Santa Muerte: la exhumación de la magia y el misticismo de la muerte. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn, 2016. ISBN: 978-0-7387-4974-7.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: religion, spirituality, Spanish language
Format: e-book galley
Source: NetGalley

This is a Spanish language edition of a book previously published in English. The book is an  introduction to the cult and worship of La Santa Muerte (Holy Death), which  is very popular among Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Santa Muerte's absolute impartiality is one of the appealing factors. The book provides history, background, and enough tools and information to get you started if you wish to be a devotee.

The book is organized as follows:

  • Parte I: La historia y la mitología. Part One describes the history of Santa Muerte and how she came to be seen as the patron deity for sinners, outcasts, drug cartel members, the downtrodden, and the LGBTQIA community among others.
  • Parte II: Herramientas del oficio. Part Two goes over the attributes of Santa Muerte such as appearances, colors, tools used in performing spells and works, and details of veneration.
  • Parte III: Hechizos. Part Three covers specific spells. It goes over ingredients and steps to perform various spells. The author provides some basic spells on topics such as money, love, healing, and even advice on a curse or two (but you should be cautious with these). 
  • The book also features an appendix listing places where you can find devotees in the United States, and  it also has a bibliography.

The book is geared for curious readers, like me, as well as readers who may be considering taking up this practice. If you are the latter reader, the book offer plenty to help you decide if this is for you and to get you started. The book does pack a lot of information. I read it straight through for review purposes, but this is a book to read a bit here and a bit there. In fact, the author even encourages readers to pause their reading and meditate or do other reflection exercises to help with growth and learning.

Overall, I  did find it to be an interesting book on a topic I knew little about before reading it. Though I am not rushing to become a devotee, if I felt the desire to do so, I feel this book can provide a good, solid start. For me, the first two parts were the most interesting. Do keep in mind the sections on tools like stones and crystals, colors, plants, so on can be a bit lengthy. That material is more for reference than just reading through. As for the Spanish translation, it is well written, and the book overall is easy to read. The author has a warm, conversational, sincere, and encouraging style of writing that makes it easy to engage with the material. As I said, were I to decide to make offerings to the Dark Lady, this book would provide a good start.

4 out of 5 stars. 

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This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:

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