La Santa Muerte: symbole et dévotion envers “la reine des épouvantables” = Santa muerte: symbol and devotion to ""the queen of the dreadful


Abstract


Santa muerte: symbol and devotion to "the queen of the dreadful". This paper offers an epistemological examination of the devotion of the Santa Muerte. It argues that Death, more than any other phenomenon, is critical to the understanding of all human doings. In that sense, an analysis of religious fervor, as a form of paroxysm, offers a vantage point to scrutinize the rationale of contemporary sociocultural behavior in the West. If the imaginary of the Death plays a major role in all social behavior, then an examination of the Santa Muerte, “la reine des épouvantables” (queen of the appalling) may also shed light on how cultures in general experience a sense of spiritual transcendence. The pregnancy of the symbol is categorical; the Santa Muerte holds the world in one hand and the reaper with the other. The domains of the Santa Muerte are absolute, but at the same time subterranean, occult, and marginal. Following Simmel’s idea of the Hidden King, death is everywhere veiled; studying it is thus a way of discovering the foundations of all behavior. Death is a crucible in which social life is energized, it is the tragic substratum of everything, the original point of attachment from which life emerges. In this article, we will analyze a series of beliefs and rituals that surround the Santa Muerte in Mexico. For this, we present a hagiographic approximation on the so-called Niña Blanca, which we built with the testimonies of journalists, priests and devotees. Then we analyze the nature of its social stigma under the anthropological idea of the hatred of death. And finally, we work in what is called the domestiaction of death, while pointing out that the process of sacralisation of the layman, who is at stake.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n10p109

Keywords: Death; Religiosity; Imaginary; Profanity; Stigma

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