Goddesses in the Dirt: Eva Peron and The Tale of a Traveling Corpse

Unearthing the Divine Feminine, one archetype at a time.......
Issue # 8: Eva Peron and the Tale of a Traveling Corpse

Most of you have heard of Eva Peron through the wildly popular musical Evita, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice. It tells the tale of her life as a young Eva Duarte, trying to make it as an actress in 1940s Buenos Aires, who eventually becomes a political organizer capturing the attention of powerful General Juan Peron.

They eventually married and she became the first lady of Argentina - a complex women who worked to make life better for the country's poor and disaffected. Yet the actress side of her personality was never far away, evident in the dramatic gestures when she gave speeches, and in her fashion sense during a tour of Europe where she was received like a rock star.

When Eva died from ovarian cancer at the age of 33, Juan Peron ordered her body embalmed, a process that took over a year to accomplish. Because of her illness she had lost a lot of weight and the process restored her body to her pre-illness youthful looks. 

At the time of her death, plans were made to construct a monument in her honor, dedicated to the descamisados, or to the nation's workers and the poor. Soon afterwards the government was taken over by a military coup in 1955, running Peron into exile. The new regime removed her body from public view and hid it, where it officially went 'missing' for 16 years as the nation placed a ban on Peronism from 1955 - 1971. 

This is the beginning of a long series of strange journeys for Eva's body, which went traveling to a variety of locations; at one point even being hidden within a piece of furniture in the office of a military major. Eventually it was put on a ship and sent to Milan, Italy, where she was buried under an assumed name. The body was discovered in 1971 and flown to Peron's home in Spain, where he was living in exile with his third wife, Isabel. It is said that Juan and Isabel actually displayed the corpse on their dining room table. Peron returned to Argentina as president for the third time in 1973 and died in office in 1974.

His wife reportedly arranged to have Eva's body returned to Argentina from Spain where it was briefly put on public display alongside Juan's. Arrangements were later made for her to be buried in the Duarte family tomb in Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, a fact that Eva probably would have hated, as this is the final resting place of the country's elite. As a dedicated Peronist, Eva's heart was with her beloved descamisados to the death. 

The following photographs were taken at the Evita Museum in Buenos Aires. It is a small museum in a beautiful old building, filled with memorabilia from Eva's childhood and clothing from her years as Argentina's first lady.

Children praying for Evita

Eva as a pinup girl

One of the First Lady's iconic suits,


and fabulous gowns.

Eva in the guise of the Virgin Mary

Eva's death mask

These words were printed on the wall of the final gallery, presumably to evoke the characteristics which defined this remarkable woman's life:

Top three photos courtesy of Google images 

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