Originally written some time in 2011.
All one needs to do is believe. Believe and have a few lines of rituals or prayers, along with candles and salt, to do brujeria—witchcraft that is. Make a star with the salt and put a candle in every corner. Chant the rituals or prayers and believe in whatever’s wanted to happen. Tarot cards are used to read someone’s future. But not just anybody can pick them up and start reading them, one must have the gift—and two little girls did have it.
One day, Yajaira Meza, 27, and a friend of hers got together and started fooling around with tarot cards and candles for the first time when they were only 11 years old. The spooky thing was: everything they said came true within days of their sorcerous experimentations.
But no matter what type of ritual a witchcraft practitioner may do, if they are Mexican and with superstitions, they are bound to use the image of La Santisima Muerte—an image of Death that is—for their brujeria as their guide and idol to ask favors from.
There are many different colors for the Santisima Muerte such as: black, which calls the spirit—it is also one of the most commonly used along with the white, which can do many things such as cleansing a spirit. There is a green one for money, a yellow one for faith, a red one for love and a purple one for evil or to pretty much do anything bad to someone else. Different colors for different effects. The person prays or chants a ritual to the Santisima Muerte that pertains to whatever it is they want to do.
If somebody were to be given a Santisima Muerte it shouldn’t be thrown away or destroyed or anything like that, said Meza. If one doesn’t have a use for it, it should be given away to someone who needs it and more than likely knows what to do with it, if not, the chain of passing it on will probably keep going.
“I have a 4 foot tall Santisima Muerte the color of bone—it’s actually the one that I would use mostly,” said Meza. “I also have a medium sized black one and a medium sized red one that I’d use a lot, too.”
Meza said the word spread around fast after she did her first tarot card reading in the small town she lived in called La Cañada in Mexico, during her childhood years. She said that when she was 15 years old a woman went knocking at her house asking for “the woman who can read the tarot cards and do witchcraft,” she answered the door and responded “well, it’s not a woman that does it, it’s me.” The woman at the door got a little taken aback, but requested her services nonetheless. When she read the tarot cards to her, she discovered that the man she was dating was married and the real reason the woman had gone was to get Meza to help her get rid of the wife.
“I couldn’t break up a family; the woman had said that the guy had already told her he wasn’t going to leave his wife and kids but she went to me either way to break it up for her.” said Meza. “I instead told her how to do it, because I didn’t want to do it myself.”
The ritual that Meza gave to the woman worked—the guy left his family for her—ten years later Meza bumped into the woman who told her that she was still with the man.
Before she’d begin reading the cards, she said she’d always do the same thing to start off: shuffle the deck of cards three times then make the person whose being read the cards shuffle them seven times. She’d make them split the deck in three and afterward she’d align them in rows of sevens; although she said that the number of cards per row varied depending on how she felt about it, she’d sometimes set the rows with cards of eights or tens.
As soon as she’d start setting the cards down she’d start muttering what was going on and as soon as she’d see the character representing one come out in one of the cards she’d let the person that’s being read the cards know whom they are in the cards. She’d also point to the cards surrounding the character and explain what everything meant. When the character that is representing one is surrounded by gold coins, it means money, when it’s surrounded by swords it means pain, when there’s another character close to one’s, it means there’s a connection of some sort between one and them, etc. (there are more symbols).
Meza said that reading the tarot cards for someone was like reading their luck, since we’re the ones who shuffle the cards in the first place it’s like we’re placing the cards in that order for ourselves; she just knows what the cards mean in every combination.
Another witchcraft practitioner claimed to have had a Santisima Muerte of every color at one point and used all of them at least once.
“I have a small ceramic Santisima that I used to cure, along with herbs and a black medium sized one—the one I used mostly and I call Ines, along with one of each color more,” said Ninfa Cano, 40, a witchcraft practitioner.
Both witchcraft practitioners, Meza and Cano claimed to have felt or seen the Santisima Muerte more than once. Meza said that she always wore a necklace of the Santisima but one time when she was 16 years old she had bought a “‘pimpin’ cross necklace that made her look badass” and took off the necklace of the Santisima so the cross necklace would look better on her. She said she lay down and had some sort of vision of the Santisima lying next to her crying very loud. She said she was very upset that she had taken off her necklace to put on another one; she had to give away her new cross necklace and put the necklace of the Santisima back on.
Meza said that another time, close to when she started practicing witchcraft rituals and prayers, the Santisima had shown herself as a beautiful blonde woman with a long white dress in her back yard at the house she lived in in Mexico. She said the woman didn’t talk to her, it was just an apparition; she told another “witch” about the apparition and that’s who told her it had been the Santisima. After that she started giving things in return to her “Flaquita” for the favors she asked for.
Cano also claims giving things in return for her favors to her “Inesita” such as cigars or hard liquor, sometimes fruit such as strawberries or kiwi. Meza said her “Flaquita” would sometimes even ask for joints of marijuana. They both said it’s just a feeling that they’d have to know what their Santisima wanted in return for the favor they wanted; like a connection between minds, because they claim to have heard her at times. Whatever they’d put down for their Santisimas would disappear in about two days after setting it down for her. Cano said that her “Inesita” was always there with her when she was reading the tarot cards to people; she knew what to say because she had her guide right next to her. When she wouldn’t ask for favors in a while, Cano says that her “Inesita” would get upset and start moving things around to catch her attention.
Cano didn’t practice brujeria for too long, she said. One time in Matamoros, Mexico an old woman saw her and had a feeling about her—a kind of vibe, she had told her. Cano said the woman went up to her and told her that she must teach her how to do brujeria, because she knew she had the gift. She said she taught her how to do good things, such as prayers for money, health, love and things like that; also, how to read the tarot cards and once she started practicing all this, everything would come out accurately, like she did have the gift—just like the old woman had told her.
She said she got too into all that witchcraft stuff by asking too many favors to “Inesita” that one time she decided to do something bad to somebody who wouldn’t stop bothering her, but she went a little too far, because the woman she did the bad witchcraft to had an accident a couple of days later that caused paralysis to her legs. That had been the first time she had practiced doing something bad and it obviously didn’t go too well.
Meza commented that when praying for something bad to happen, one must say exactly what’s wanted or else anything can happen. She learned from a bad experience, too; she said her husband would go out a lot with a certain male friend and she hated him for taking her husband away so much. She decided to do hardcore bad witchcraft one day by using 12 black candles without glass, she made a six-point star with all of them and added salt from a bar and home along with other powdered ingredients, such as saw dust. She sneaked into his car one day when he was visiting her husband and took out a sweaty, old, dirty shirt that was lying around in his back seat and dipped it in cooking oil. She wrapped the shirt around a doll and put it in the middle of the star, then prayed until the candles burned out; it took around 30 minutes, she said. Three days later there was a really big storm that caused the guys’ roof with his wife and newborn son in there, to blow off. Fortunately, nothing happened to anyone but it did cause them to move, which benefited Meza in grand.
“The prayer that I’d use the most was the one to bring a partner back; in my case: my husband. He’d always be leaving at night to bars and stuff and I would always be doing prayers to make sure he didn’t leave for good,” said Meza. “Most of the time when he came back, he’d mention that he had felt someone pulling him back toward home.”
She also said that when she’d do her prayers crying and desperate they wouldn’t work, but when she’d do them mad he’d call within two minutes saying he was on his way already.
Cano also practiced that prayer a lot, too, but for other women who wanted their men back. The prayer that Cano would use most on herself was the one for money. She said she was always doing badly economically, so she’d pray to her “Inesita” to always have money in hand. She would also have to buy the candle for money; the candle for money consists of seven colors (the colors of the rainbow). After that she’d have to put the Santisima’s incense around the whole house; she said that if the incense was not her own, the Santisima wouldn’t grant the favor.
Both Meza and Cano have recently decided to quit practicing their prayers and rituals to their Santisimas and surprisingly they both had the same reason for it. “I want to be closer to God now; I’m trying to decide who to give my ‘Flaquita’ to,” said Meza. And Cano said, “I want to attend church more now and forget about brujeria, since my pastor has found out about my witchcraft practices.”
At the end of the interview Meza confessed how she felt about all those years practicing brujeria with La Santisima Muerte.
“I had my fun,” said Meza. “I did many good things for me and for other people as I did bad things for my benefit, but I think it’s time to dedicate myself to God now instead.”