Santa Muerte Altars and Altar Offerings

For sharing altars and getting advice on building an altar. Altars are not necessary for building a relationship with the Santa Muerte, but constructing an altar is recognized as an act of devotion. Any questions about altars or how altar offerings are made? Please discuss here.

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  • My altar started out as a few pictures printed from Facebook, tacked onto the wall, with an LED candle beneath them. I eventually felt the urge to pamper a real statue, but prices and especially shipping costs were prohibitive (there are no botanicas in our area, and the Mexican shops pointedly keep their distance from Santa Muerte, Malverde, and the rest of the “folk saints”). I asked Mother Muerte, and I was led to a somber-faced Latina fashion doll sitting in the closeout bin at the dollar store. A few scraps of fabric later, and She was all dressed in black and ready to be venerated.

    Eventually there were more leftover dolls and fabric remnants, and things started to take shape. But there isn’t anything on my altar that cost more than a dollar or two. Silk flowers, LED candles, a vintage silk scarf as an altar cloth...the point is to build the relationship first and foremost. That’s what an altar is for. It’s not a checkout lane where you make transactions; it’s a cozy place where you can get to know each other better. And while I recognize that building a large altar is often an act of gratitude and love, all too often it seems to be an attempt to buy one’s way into Mother’s love and grace.

    Having said that, my red-robed Santa Muerte likes Her girly stuff. I make sure she gets a spritz of citrus cologne daily, and that Her flowers and dresses are always clean and bright. She also demands that my husband smoke a cigar and have a drink with her every Friday night. All the “Girls” like to watch us eat fruit and drink juice, but we don’t leave unattended food on the altar for the same reason that we don’t use regular candles: inquisitive cats who sleep right next to the altar. I’m prone to sneak an illicit KitKat bar into the house (I’m supposed to watch my sugar consumption) and eat it in front of the altar. The point is that Mother Muerte is a member of the household. She wants to do what families do: eat and drink together, spend time talking, and making crafts together.

    Santa Muerte’s altar is not so much about working magickal rituals, but is more about letting Her have a room of Her own where she is loved and cherished. As someone whose childhood was violent and chaotic, I find the serenity of a simple altar and flickering candles to be a healing experience for me. Sewing dresses, arranging dollar-store silk flowers, and all the rest… it’s what you do when you love each other.
    • Sounds lovely - thanks for sharing how your altar grew, your post should be very helpful for new devotees.
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