By Guest Contributor Aaman Lamba*
In the before times, when we were all free birds and wore our masks on the inside, I used to travel a lot – weekly trips to cities large and small, visiting business clients. I would land at some airport or another, pick up my rental car and drive to my hotel, which was often some distance away. There was typically little memorable about these trips other than the occasional good restaurant or bookstore and nights spent alone, reading in one hotel room or another.
In early 2020 I was visiting a client in Indiana, the whispers of COVID-19 were in the air and we were all somewhat concerned about what might lie ahead. I had been to the city, Columbus, years before and was looking forward to refreshing my memory of the town, especially their eclectic architecture. I retrieved my rental car, pulled onto the highway, and hit the road, a long Midwestern stretch of fields and the occasional small town. It was after sunset and my mind was on dinner
I had been driving for ten or fifteen miles when I thought I saw something on the right by the side of the highway. I initially dismissed the image as a billboard or perhaps an exotic construction to draw in visitors but continued to see it as I drove on. It was a large, very tall image of Santa Muerte in her black form. I surmised that some local devotees had probably constructed a temple to Santa Muerte, much like we have roadside shrines in India. My rational mind told me this was unlikely, and I wondered why I was still seeing it as I drove on through the chilly night with the usual traffic speeding past. I could see her quite clearly, pacing my car, standing tall and true. She was at least the height of a tall billboard, scythe in hand, but I did not feel afraid.
I kept driving, opening myself up to whatever she had intended for me, feeling safe and secure. I was given a sense that she was here to stay, that I and my dear ones were under her blessing and we would see this through. The vision, if I might call it that, lasted for over twenty miles until I neared my exit to Columbus. I took the exit and drove a little while longer until I reached my hotel and a nearby Mexican restaurant. I did not feel disturbed or frightened in any way.
The food in the restaurant was excellent. I remember ordering grilled nopales, tamales and chile verde. I called my wife and shared with her what I had experienced, with a sense of gratitude and also compassion, for we knew dark times lay ahead.
In the nearly two years since this unforgettable experience, we have lost close friends, even extended family members, and known many other people whose lives were cut short too soon. We ourselves have experienced this terrible pandemic, and yet have had faith that we are under her protection until she should choose to call us to her eternal presence.
I did have another interesting experience with Santa Muerte that showed her constant protection over us. One night, fast asleep, I dreamt that I was walking downstairs and had a sense of apprehension, as if there were danger nearby. I walked towards our security alarm to see it was turned off and some keys were lying atop it. I turned towards the front door, noticing it was slightly ajar. As I looked up, I saw a dark shadow outside, appearing to step forward.
As it moved toward me, I saw two beams of white light flash from my study next to the door, piercing the shadow and dissolving it. I knew the beams had come from the two statues of Santa Muerte I have in my study, the angles being precisely aligned to their position.
I woke a few moments later, knowing there had been some sort of psychic intrusion repelled by Holy Death, and gave a prayer of thanks to her.
My personal faith in Santa Muerte has grown ever stronger, I have two altars in my study, maintain a consistent practice, and am lucky to have many close friends who also work with her and research her, including Dr. Andrew Chesnut, who has been a wonderful source of knowledge on this saint for our time.