Being dark isn't such a bad thing...
Our journey has brought us to the seventh line of the devotion, and the last nickname. This post was originally published February 21, 2018.
Ave La Negra, She who protects me.
This nickname for Santísima Muerte, La Negra, refers to the Black Robe of the three-robe tradition. She is the most misunderstood of the three robes, and the most maligned. She has a fearsome reputation which she has earned. But this is the same reputation of a stern grandmother who demands proper behavior. La Negra is a Saturnine influence, a protector, and a disciplinarian.
As a figure of protection, La Negra is fierce. Black has long been associated with protection. Black stones and crystals vibrate to a frequency that offer protection. Darkness conceals and thereby protects; “Under cover of darkness” is a phrase frequently seen in literature. La Negra is called upon to protect us from physical, magical, or psychic attack. Her children might also call upon her to bring vengeance upon those who have wronged them.
As a figure of discipline, La Negra is also associated with influence, controlling situations, and self-control. In the realm of all things physical one thinks to call on La Roja, but for things like breaking a bad habit, where self-discipline is required, it is La Negra to whom one turns. Looking to start a gym regimen and want help to stay focused? La Negra is your partner. Studying, writing a book, or catching up on paperwork and need to stay focused on the task at hand? Keep La Negra on your desk.
On a personal note, I would like to take a moment to mention Steven Bragg, whose writings on Santa Muerte encouraged me to embrace the discipline of La Negra. It's odd to think that even with a twenty-year military career under my belt, I would have been reticent to embrace her, but I was. His example and his writings were paramount in my ability to step up, and for that, I am grateful.
“Focus on Peace but remember to feed the things that protect you.”
It took a long time for me to get started with this post. By the time I was ready to begin, the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida had occurred; its events and imagery filled the public landscape. One would think that focusing on protection would have been easy at that point. Naturally people want to protect themselves and their loved ones when the psychotic elements among us snap. It should be easier to think about these things when events happen elsewhere, and the horrors of life do not strike as close to home.
But I couldn’t think of protection. All I could think about was the gun debate and anger, especially anger. For someone who deals with stress-induced migraines, anger is not something that I can hold onto for long without consequences. And so, instead of focusing on protection, my primary focus was on peace. As such, I was burning white candles and fuming magnolia oil, a fragrance which speaks to me of welcoming, gatherings, and civility.
I kept this practice up for a week. However, in my meditation one morning, I received a clear message. “Focus on peace but remember to feed the things that protect you.” See, I believe in the old adage of keeping your eye on the prize. In this case, of staying focused on peace and light. But it’s also true that we lock our doors at night. On the spiritual side of things, it’s imperative to maintain a good relationship with the forces that protect us, that watch over us whether we’re driving on the street or sleeping in our beds.
And so, I began to renew my protection magic practices, which I had let slip over the past few years. The subject of those practices is really a whole other post, but I made new charms for my doors and car. I also fed new candles for my altars. It was a healing act as much as a protective one; one that helped clear my mind and provided comfort. Comfort from a protective source. Ave La Negra, She who protects me.