Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

John Milton’s Paradise Lost was one of the books that Aleister Crowley thought was important enough to pack on his alpine expeditions into the Himalayas. An epic poem that everyone knows about, if they haven’t read it, Paradise Lost is one of the pillars of literary English.

Milton was a blind rebel and conflicted Puritan. As a member of the government of Oliver Cromwell after the English Civil War (1641-1648) he defended the new republic’s execution of King Charles I by insisting that a free people needed no king. He also wrote essays on the necessity of free speech and press, equality in marriage and the challenges of representative power.

Versed in many languages Milton had read the Bible in the original Hebrew, Greek and Latin before he went blind. He composed the entirety of his epic about God, Satan and the Fall of Man in his head over a decade after he went blind to his daughters who wrote it down. Feeling the Christian creation myth needed a little clarifying he personally felt he was filling in the blanks.

Notably what is striking about Paradise Lost is much of the epic is seen from the perspective of Satan, one of the most complex characters in western literature. While Milton was a “heretical” Christian, who disliked the authoritarian structure of both the Church of England and Roman Catholicism, many readers believe, like Blake “he took the devil’s side without knowing it.”

This book with phrases like “darkness visible” and “red right hand” is still open to interpretation. Filled with Milton’s knowledge of not only the Bible but of angel lore, demonology, heresies and world mythology, an easy interpretation of this work is not available.

Milton the rebel, sees the first rebellion as the origin of evil. But he also sees it as something necessary for the human race to have a challenge worthy of achieving a great potential. Dismissed as “boring” by those who haven’t read it, Paradise Lost, set in a Copernican universe, is a seminal text about the birth of modernity, the ideas that led to the French and American revolutions, the corrosive power of greed, the psychology of evil and the burdens of responsibility.

Love is the law, love under will.

Blazing Star Oasis, Ordo Templi Orientis

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

My name is Frater Xolotl and I am here to talk about my presentation done at Blazing Star Oasis on my very own patrona, La Santisima Muerte, or The Most Holy Death.

She is also sometimes simply called La Santa Muerte, which can be translated to Holy Death or perhaps more accurately Saint Death. She has Her origins in Mexika mythology and tradition, Spanish folk Catholicism, and even some major influences from the African Diaspora Religions or ADRs for short.

She is the Patron Saint of the queer community, women, people who work with death or are near death daily, people who work at night (specifically taxi cab drivers and prostitutes), and those are considered outcasts from mainstream society.

For starters, I want to touch on some of the lingo used in my talk. Who most people call the Aztecs, I referred to above as the Mexika. The German anthropologist Alexander von Humboldt named them the Aztecs meaning “People from Aztlan. He did this utilizing various words from their own language, Nahuatl. Mictēcacihuātl, pronounced Meek-tek-a-sue-wahtl, which means Lady of the Dead, was the Mexika goddess of death, Queen of Mictlān (the Mexika underworld) and the main deity celebrated at the pre-Hispanic festival that would evolve into Dia de Muertos.

Now, this is important because La Santa Muerte can be traced directly back to Mictēcacihuātl and because of this, many of Her followers celebrate Her Feast Day on the final day of Dia de Muertos, November 2nd. It is from this source that we get Her femininity, Her animal form or companion being that of an owl, the use of palo santo and copal, and the symbol of Her holding the world in Her hands as it is said that Mictēcacihuātl’s jaws could unhinge to swallow the stars.

While She is indeed heavily indigenous, Her Spanish and colonial origins can’t be denied.

La Parca, in Spanish folklore, was the Grim Reaper’s wife and considered to be a lot kinder than her husband. This is where She gets Her robe, scythe, scales, and Her habit of making deals with Her followers. Traditionally, when La Parca came for someone and they weren’t ready to die, one could strike a deal and offer her fruit or prayers in return for more time to say goodbye to loved ones. In modern times, La Santa Muerte isn’t prayed to to be kept away as was in the case of La Parca but She does ask for offerings or tratos (deals) prior to accomplishing whatever it is Her follower have asked of Her.

In the video, I will discuss the current state of Her cult, traditional offerings, how to set a proper altar to La Muerte, and also an invitation to the international audience along with a word of caution for those who wish to seek out and work with this beautiful, loving, and all accepting spirit of Death Herself.

Love is the law, love under will