Card: La Santa Muerte / Holy Death
Numerical Value: 13
Astronomical Symbol: Scorpio
Depiction: In the Tarot de la Santa Muerte, "La Santa Muerte" depicts the Santa Muerte cloaked in white, surrounded by various symbols that represent the Santa Muerte and her power. In her right hand she holds a scythe, and in her left she holds the world. Behind the Santa Muerte, illuminating her image, is the bright sun. Also surrounding the image of the Santa Muerte are the images of the moon, an owl, an hourglass, and the scales of justice. The background is black and cloudy and makes it appear as if the Santa Muerte floats high above, beyond the heavens and beyond all time. One foot appears in front of the other, as if the Santa Muerte is about to walk right off the card.
Symbolism: La Santa Muerte represents endings, new beginnings, transformations, and transitions. The cloak of the Santa Muerte in this card is white, a peaceful and protective aspect of Holy Death, but the cloak is darker than other white cloaks in the deck. This is because there is a transition of light happening in the image, but whether the darkness in the image is coming into the picture or leaving it, is a matter of perspective. While death may be the end of our physical existence, it's also the only way to get past this physical existence - into whatever might be next.
The scythe in Santa Muerte's right hand represents her power to cut the thread of life when she sees fit. The globe in her left hand is a symbol of her dominion over the world, where death is a fact of life for all who inhabit it. The bright sun behind Santa Muerte is a symbol for life itself, but the fact that the Santa Muerte stands in front of the sun is a constant reminder that even the brightest suns will set.
Balancing the imagery of the Earth and sun is the moon, used here as a symbol for the stages of life - new, waxing, full, waning. The owl represents wisdom and knowledge, a symbol for the things we stand to learn in death. The hourglass represents the unstoppable nature of life and the inevitability of death. Finally, the scales of justice represent equality - here symbolizing the absolute fairness of death and the fact that she comes for us all, no matter how successful or powerful.
The black and cloudy background that makes Santa Muerte appear to be walking on air is a representation for the infinite reach of the spiritual or non-physical realm, which is another symbol of the all encompassing certainty of death - for there is nowhere in or out of this world where you can hide from her. The fact that she appears to be walking right off the card is another symbol for the constant progress and unstoppable nature of death - for no matter how much you don't like the idea, death is slowly walking toward you right now, at this very moment.
In a reading upright, La Santa Muerte represents the end of a chapter in your life, the start of something new, and the beginning of a transformation or transition into your next new self. Although it may seem scary and uncertain, change and transition are as certain as death itself, and your ability to move with the current of change will do you good as you maneuver from one stage of growth to the next.
In reverse, La Santa Muerte represents a period of no growth or progress. It is a sign that you may disagree with change or may even be actively working to prevent it. While it might make sense to you, your inability to accept change and progress may be preventing you from living the life you want or learning the things you need to learn.
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