Honoring Santa Muerte

I was visited by Santa Muerte on All Souls Day in 2015. She came to my bedside and woke me up. See,  I had gathered my girlfriends, that afternoon, on All Saints Day, for a ceremony honoring the dark mother and this was her way of thanking me. What really surprised me though was this dark mother looked a lot like the Grim Reaper. She was dressed all in black and carrying a scythe. She must have sensed that I was a little frightened because when she spoke her voice sent out a calming vibration.

“Thank you for honoring me today”

I started to well up with emotions so I couldn’t speak.

“May I ask a favor of you?”

I remember nodding, “yes” but I must have fallen back to sleep because when I woke up the next morning, I could not remember what she wanted me to do. I began meditating to Santa Muerte and she reconnected with me in the dream-world. She took me by the hand and led me through a passage to a place where people were celebrating death. They were crowded together laughing and throwing red sand in the air. Then, I was taken to another place where I witnessed one person weeping alone at his kitchen table. Santa Muerte turned to me and spoke only one sentence.

“Change the meaning of death”

I was hoping there would be simple instructions but instead, Santa Muerta knew I needed to experience it.  Last January I came face to face with death. My son Cody tried to commit suicide last January. He is twenty-one years old and has suffered from mental illness and drug abuse for the past five years. He claimed it was due to his meth addiction but it was indeed a desperate cry for help because he shot himself in the hospital parking lot and then walked in.

He collapsed on the floor with a gunshot to the chest. When my husband Kent got the call, Cody was already in surgery and we were out of town. We had a two-hour car ride and about half-way, I suddenly felt my son’s soul leave his body. I began sobbing uncontrollably and called out to Santa Muerte.

“Cody is with me” She calmly spoke

“Thank you Mother” I cried

When we saw Cody in recovery, I praised her. Then I praised his team of doctors and we hugged our son.  I was so exhausted, we left to go home while he slept. I lay my head down and Santa Muerte comes to me.

“Hurry Shelli, you need to pray for Cody right now!”

At that moment Kent’s cell phone rings and I just about jump out of my skin. It’s the hospital requesting permission for an emergency blood transfusion. I closed my eyes and laid there praying until we received the call that Cody was stable.  It was miraculous how Cody’s body healed so quickly. I know that I had a chain of prayer warriors sending him healing and I truly had high hopes for his mentality.

Sadly though only a few months later, Cody took off to California in the middle of the night. He literally left with the clothes on his back. He had no cell phone, wallet or ID so I prayed to Santa Muerte.

“Please protect my son’s life as you have done so many times ~ thank you”

Cody called us and had made it to Colorado Springs but his breaks went out so he was doing odd jobs to get them fixed. We tried to convince him to come home but he was on a mission and insisted on making it to California. I called upon Santa Muerte and she became my saving grace. Whenever I would think of my son out there all alone, I would send Santa Muerte to his side. I mean who is really going to mess with the Mother of death?

When Cody finally makes it to Los Angeles, his car gets impounded and he became homeless. We told him to find a shelter and then I called upon Santa Muerta. She sent a Good Samaritan to get Cody off the streets and helped Cody onto a Greyhound bus back to Minnesota.

Unfortunately, my story doesn’t have a happy ending but rather it’s a continuing saga. My son is still struggling with mental illness and I see no end in sight. It saddens me to watch him being so lost and I think that’s why I had such a tough time writing this blog.

I really didn’t feel I had changed the meaning of death in my life. In fact, I seemed to helpless to even save my own son but Santa Muerte felt differently. She showed me that when I faced death, I had her by my side and that changed everything. I started to see that she was right. I was no longer alone or afraid of death, instead, I had the Saint of Death to share the sorrow and carry the burden for me.

Thank you for listening to my story and if you are interested in more information about Santa Muerte, check out “Believers” on CNN.com. Reza Aslan does a segment entitled, “By embracing death, Santa Muerte followers enjoy life.”

In the article, Aslan describes why Santa Muerte is so popular.

“Death plays no favorites, rich or poor, powerful or peasant, death comes for everyone…transgender, gay and lesbians, prostitutes, felons and drug traffickers…where people feel abandoned by both church and state, Santa Muerte has created a new growing faith community for whom death is not to be feared but venerated.

Blessed Be

Rev. Shelli

Forty-Days of Love


Lent has always been a time of mind over matter for me. Whenever I have honored the days, between Ash Wednesday and Easter, I did so by challenging myself to change a behavior. Some years I quit chocolate or other vices but recently I have started to add a good behavior for the forty day cycle, like exercise or included fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. When I started adding this positive behavior, Lent became a whole new experience that I looked forward to.

This year, March 1, 2017 – April 16, 2017, I am following Jesus’ tradition and seeking council in the wilderness for forty days. The definition of wilderness means a wild place which is removed from all human influence and control. I am recreating this wild retreat by unplugging myself from the world and going dark for 15 minutes every day. My intention is to listen to the gentle Wisdom deep within my heart and heed its call.

“Does not Wisdom call out? Does not understanding, raise her voice? O people, I call out to all mankind, those who seek me will find me. Whoever finds me, finds life.” (Proverbs 8:1-17)

In the Old Testament, asking for Wisdom meant you were communing with the Goddess. Wisdom is calling out to all those who are searching and I plan on finding Her during my 15 minutes in the wilderness and regaining my life. “Knowing thyself” is a concept I believe in and I’m positive forty days of Wisdom is my key to opening up the gate to transcendence.

I hope my forty day challenge of love inspires you too, but whatever you decide to do at least be mindful of “Who’s driving the bus”. That was the question posed by my teacher, Rosanne Bane, in her book “Around the Writers Block: Using Brain Science”. What Bane was trying to say was that sometimes we aren’t in control of our thoughts because of the way our brain is wired. She claims that there are moments when the best part of you isn’t steering the wheel and it happens more often than you think.

The brain system has three parts; the brain stem which controls bodily functions, the limbic system which responds with flight or fight and the cortex or learning brain, which is the source of our “Higher thinking”. Optimally, the cortex should be driving our bus because it’s productive and creative but unfortunately our limbic system likes to push the cortex out of the driver seat and lead us around in a frantic panic.

What makes matters worse, is we don’t even realize it’s happening until it’s too late and you’re arguing with the “Peanut Gallery” inside your head. Bane explains that this group of neurons, found in the left hemisphere, are the real culprits for the negative story telling we tell ourselves. The “Peanut Gallery” are saboteurs’ and twists our thoughts to influence actions. These Saboteurs can literally wreak havoc with our peace of mind and understanding their intentions can stop the madness.

There are five types of Saboteurs in our brain system that dialog with us on a daily bases.

  1. “Attacker” -Its job is to insult everything you do so it will hate on you no matter what.
  2. “Enticer” – Its purpose is to stall progress and will whisper comments like, “Don’t worry about finishing that project, it will magically get done so just ignore it.”
  3. “Discreditor” – Its job is to point out how inexperienced you are and yet insist that it’s a waste of time to learn something new.
  4. “Protector” – Its job is to promise to keep you safe. It begs and pleads with you to stop whatever you’re doing claiming that it will be too emotional to handle. The protector is the worst kind of saboteur because it’s easy to believe it has our best interest at hand. Fear of failure can stop us in our tracks and stifle our creativity.
  5. “Unlucky” – Its job is to point out every failure you’ve had since childhood, regardless if it pertains to your current situation or not. Unlucky utilizes these past mistakes by spinning “what it” scenarios until you feel like a loser.

Unfortunately, you can’t destroy the comments from the, “Peanut Gallery” but you can redirect the neurons pathways by creating new habits. Bane suggests that adding 15 minutes of a new behavior and repeating that good habit can train your thoughts to respond differently to the saboteurs. Educating yourself is the first stage of awareness and taking action is the next.

These next forty days surround yourself with love whenever you feel yourself being sabotaged. Love sounds fluffy but it’s a fool-driven, self-sacrificing, heart-wrenching, euphoric energy that’s capable of supernatural wonders. Raising that extraordinary vibration is what brings out the hero within us all. It’s time to ask for love especially if you’ve lost that loving feeling and demand that this magical energy come back into your life. Let love prove its existence and then you’ll know thyself is true.


Reverend Shelli Haft