A simple 9-day novena prayer ritual for Santa Muerte devotees to celebrate the days leading up to the Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos, in Spanish), the time of year when the dead are allowed to return back to the land of the living.
For some background information on how Halloween and Dia de los Muertos are celebrated today, and to learn the difference between the two holidays, check out my blog post "Day of the Dead in Modern Mexico".
A novena prayer is generally accepted to be a prayer or set of prayers recited in sets of nine. The prayer could be recited nine times in a row, over nine days, across nine weeks, or even across nine months. For devotees of Santa Muerte, a novena prayer ritual can serve as an act of devotion, an act of petition, or both.
The novena prayer ritual that follows is intended to be recited on the days leading up to and including Halloween on October 31st, All Saint's Day on November 1st, and Day of the Dead on November 2nd. This prayer ritual serves as both a sign of devotion, to show the Santa Muerte that you acknowledge the presence of death in your life, and also as an offering for the dead, to show respect and wish blessings upon those who have passed away.
If you are using the Gregorian calendar and celebrating the western / Hispanic idea of Halloween and The Day of the Dead, then the Day 1 prayer can be recited on October 25th, and the Day 9 prayer can be recited on November 2nd. If you want to celebrate another death related holiday, then simply start this novena prayer so the final prayer coincides with the final day of death celebrations.
There is no physical item you need to perform this nine day novena prayer for but you are free to recite the prayer at your Santa Muerte altar, and / or light a candle to Santa Muerte to accompany each day of prayer. For an added act of devotion, you can recite each prayer nine times on the appropriate day, or you may recite the Santa Muerte Rosary after each daily prayer.
As always, you are free to perform this prayer ritual however you want, and to incorporate it into any other celebrations or devotional acts that you would like.
Santa Muerte, Saint in Black,
by your grace the dead come back.
When the veil is made most thin,
peel it back, and let them in.
World of life and world of death,
all around, the dead do rest.
Rest good now the time is near,
soon you will return to here.
When your day to cross arrives,
may you feel again alive.
Feel so free to rise and roam,
in the world that was your home.
Santa Muerte, with your scythe,
she who brings an end to life,
time is nothing in your hand,
date of death you do command.
When that date of death does come,
when to death we all succumb,
need we not for dread or fear
for we know that once a year,
Once a year the dead come back,
free to laugh and sing and dance.
Soon they will appear again,
once the veil is at most thin.
Blessed those who've come and gone,
blessed all who live beyond.
Hear this prayer, which is now prayed,
may it serve to light your way.
Light your way as you prepare,
for that time once every year,
time when Holy Death allows,
you to move freely about,
free about the land of life,
like you did before you died.
Here it comes, that time again,
rejoice well, all ghostly friends.
In this world, we are but guests,
all our days, granted by Death.
She who holds the sands of time,
she who cuts the silver line.
Though there is no stopping her,
once a year the dead return,
free to cross the bridge and back,
by the grace of Death in Black.
Spirits now who sit and wait,
for the chance to breach the gate,
paint a smile on your skull,
soon your name, it shall be called.
Equal under Death we are,
no matter how bright our star.
In the end we all meet Death,
when it is our turn to rest.
By your hand, Holy Death Saint,
all the living, end the same.
Treated fair are the dead, too,
once a year, they're let back through.
Back through to this land of life,
to visit the left behind.
Holy Death who holds the key,
bless the dead, and set them free.
The line is long, at Death's gate,
spirits now patiently wait.
The night is close, the time is near,
when the dead will join us here.
Those who live, be blessed and calm,
nothing is to fear at all.
With this prayer, Death keeps us safe,
so here no mischief be played.
Santa Muerte hear this prayer,
keep us safe from tricks and scares.
May only the kindest dead,
dance with us, and share our bread.
The veil is now at its most thin,
and the dead can now march in.
First the children lost so young,
cross now back, and have some fun.
Candies, costumes, just for you,
sing and laugh, the whole night through.
Chase and play through fields of graves,
indulge in the sweets you crave.
Visit loved ones, who you know,
those who cried when you did go.
Though from life you did depart,
know you are still in their hearts.
Honor for all those who've died,
those who served us all in life,
those who lived for others first,
those for who this world now thirsts.
Welcome back, and welcome home,
feel now free on Earth to roam.
Take this time of yours to rest,
or go to, make others blessed.
Please accept our gifts and prayers,
may you know how much we care.
Though we can't know all your names,
know you are revered as saints.
Santa Muerte, Patron Saint,
standing at the threshold gate.
With your power, turn the key,
send my loved ones home to me.
All the ones I love that died,
set them free, this holy night.
Free to join me over here,
free to feast, and share good cheer.
Until light of new dawn breaks,
dead and living, merry make.
When the night comes to an end,
may we all depart as friends.