A beginner’s guide to Mexican folk saints

The Mexican Labyrinth

“Anyone who has visited a Mexican botánica, or spiritual store, can confirm that the country doesn’t lack for saints or spiritual iconography.

A wide variety of religious statues are typically on offer, along with an eclectic array of potions, herbs and other mystical products. While spiritual symbols like the Virgen of Guadalupe are officially recognized by the church, others are grass roots figures who exist outside of formal religion. Such folk saints have an even greater appeal to many Mexicans. Unmediated by the priesthood, they are often seen to act in a more direct way in the lives of their devotees. Here, is a summary of five of Mexico’s most famous folk saints.

Santa Muerte


The divine skeleton, Santa Muerte, is by far the most popular folk saint in Mexico. Often described as a narco-cult because of her popularity among the country’s criminals, Santa Muerte in fact has a much broader…

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