Santa Muerte is an idol female deity or folk saint in Mexican and Mexican-American folk. A personification of death she is associated with healing protection and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees. Despite condemnation by leaders of the Catholic Church her cult has become increasingly prominent since the turn of the 21st century.
Since the pre-Columbian era Mexican culture has maintained a certain reverence towards death. Santa Muerte hails from the Mexican cultural tradition that relates to death deities and death worship not only among the Aztec but also the Maya Mixtec and other people. This can be seen in the widespread commemoration of the Day of the Dead. Elements of that celebration include the use of skeletons to remind people of their mortality.
Our Lady of the Holy Death is a personification of death. Unlike other saints who originated in Mexican folk religion Santa Muerte is not herself seen as a dead human being. She is associated with healing protection financial wellbeing and assurance of a path to the afterlife.
The two most common objects that Santa Muerte holds in her hands are a globe and a scythe. The scythe can symbolize the cutting of negative energies or influences. As a harvesting tool a scythe may also symbolize hope and prosperity. Her scythe reflects her origins as the Grim Reaper and can represent the moment of death when it is said to cut a silver thread. The scythe has a long handle indicating that it can reach anywhere. The globe represents Death's vast power and dominion over the earth and may be seen as a kind of a tomb to which we all return.