The possession with Santa Marta, to my understanding can be of two kinds, the fist one, as a â€œMetresaâ€, more gentle and flirtatious and the second one as â€œPetroâ€ with darker tones and more intimidating. When Santa Marta descends in her â€œhorseâ€ as Metresa, she laughs, asks for beer and cigarettes, wants perfume and speaks sitting upright with sibilant sounding voice. She wears a purple scarf around the head and sometimes, in saluting her worshippers she is flirtatious and sensual, showing her tongue as she speaks as a snake would do.
When the possession is of type â€œPetroâ€ Santa Marta descends with convulsions that throw her caballo to the floor where he or she starts tearing the clothes off and contorting in the dirt as a serpent. During this type of possession eggs and ground coffee are offered to her which she consumes raw. There is also a third type of possession: when Santa Marta does not descend, she might send her snakes to do the work, â€œel Punto Culebraâ€ and in this case, the possessed also convulses on the ground and contorts like a reptile, but usually does not speak. The majority of â€œServiciosâ€ (offerings) and â€œLamparasâ€ (votive oil lamps) for Santa Marta I have
come across are used to ask for her intervention to solve a problem or to â€œtake careâ€ of a person or a situation. As I said earlier, she is mainly used to manage love matters, but she can also be invoked to help with money problems, law problems and even immigration papers.
Exerpt from an Article Written by: Giovanni Savino