Jesse Hathaway Diaz 2021


LECTURE: The Garden of Death: The Herbal Lore of la Santisima Muerte.
Within the traditions surrounding the Mexican Folk Saint, La Santísima Muerte, certain herbs have become increasingly associated with her worship and medicines made under her patronage. The cult of the Holiest Death reflects Mexico herself, rooted in indigenous concepts and practices, and mixed with and dressed with colonial Spanish overlays of culture and religion, now mitigated by globalism and modern trends and personal innovation. As such we must ask the question what makes an herb “of la Santa”? Her herbs are an extension of larger traditions of herbalism and magical theory spanning the oceans of colonialism and time, brought into relevance through historicity, nostalgia, inspiration, and magical politic. What then can these herbs teach us of the saint, and what in their use might put them specifically specifically under the gaze of her hollow eyes? This lecture will seek to explore not only herbs held sacred by her followers, but explore the use of psychotropics and intoxicants in Mexican history and their contemporary use within the cult, and to give a broader contextualized understanding of what may grows in the Garden of Death.

Jesse Hathaway Diaz is a folklorist, artist and performer living in New York City. With initiations in several forms of witchcraft from Europe and the Americas, he is also a lifelong student of Mexican curanderismo, an initiated olosha in Lucumí, and a Tatá Quimbanda.

For the last decade he has been a member of Theatre Group Dzieci, an experimental ensemble based in NY dedicated to the search for the sacred through the medium of theatre. He is half of Wolf & Goat, a store specializing in both Traditional Craft and Quimbanda materia magica and magical art, a co-host on the Radio Free Golgotha podcast, and a co-editor on the Folk Necromancy in Transmission Series through Revelore Press.

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~Video Recordings from the 2021 online VGS are accessible for 30 days from purchase date~