Friday, December 12, 2014
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In my book, Lady of the Sea: The Goddess who Births the New Age, I wrote a short piece about the Virgin of Guadalupe, which I will quote here:
In the early years of Spanish rule in Mexico, during a time in which the Indians were being (often forcibly) converted to Catholicism, she appeared on December 9, 1531, to an Aztec Indian man, remembered now by his adopted Christian name, Juan Diego. It was early and Juan was on his way to Mass when he passed Tepeyac, a hill previously the site of a sacred shrine to the Corn Goddess, Tonanzin -- whose name means “Our Mother.” He was surprised to hear birds singing -- apparently rare in the winter -- but even more surprised when he saw a lovely young native woman standing near the top of the hill. She greeted him with maternal affection, calling him her “little son.” A golden mist surrounded her, and she was wearing a dress covered with traceries of flowers and leaves, and a blue cloak with eight-pointed stars on it. (In the past the eight-pointed star has been a symbol of Inanna and the planet Venus) She identified herself as the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, and said she wanted a temple built for her at that place.
In the days that followed, she appeared a few more times to repeat the request. It took several visits to the bishop by Juan and a stunning miracle on the part of the Lady to convince the bishop of the truth of the apparition, but the cathedral eventually built on the spot still stands today in Mexico City. And the miracle -- her image on Juan’s cloak, complete with the miraculous winter roses and the moon beneath her feet -- hangs above the cathedral’s altar for all to see. (1)
The more closely I examine pictures of this miraculous cloak, the more interesting it becomes to me.
Her cloak is blue, with stars on it. This would seem to represent the night sky, lit only by stars. Her gown is covered with images of flowers and plants, traced in a deep reddish-gold against a pale rose background, clearly representative of the earth’s plant kingdom. Taken together, the cloak and gown seem to represent the star-filled night sky and the plant-filled fertile earth. She wears a black sash, which to the Aztecs of the area signified pregnancy. She stands upon a crescent moon that is held by an angel. The angel holds the edge of her gown in one hand, and the edge of her cloak in the other, as if to show the union of heaven and earth, and to indicate that she is important in both realms.
She is encased in an oval whose shape is reminiscent of an auric field. She is surrounded by what appears to be rays of light, the source of which—mostly likely the sun—seems to be behind her. All this fits rather precisely with the description of the woman in the Book of Revelation, who was “clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet.” While the Virgin of Guadalupe does not wear a crown of 12 stars as the woman in Revelation does, she does wear a crown (more apparent in the older images than the more recent ones), the spikes of which blend in with the rays of light that surround her.
The woman in the Book of Revelation is pregnant, about to give birth, and “travailing in labor.” As I mention in my book, I feel the woman described in the Book of Revelation to be the Goddess giving birth to the new age—at that point in time, the Age of Pisces. The image of the pregnant Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared in 1531 to Juan Diego, so closely fits this description that it seems to me that she might well be indicating the goddess who births our new age, Aquarius. While the Age of Aquarius was not was not dawning in 1531, it was just below the horizon – so to speak – and a new way of being was certainly on its way to the world, particularly the “new" world of the American continents.
The Lady also appeared to Juan Diego’s dying uncle, Juan Bernardino, curing him of a disease and telling him the name by which she wished to be known: “The Perfect Virgin, Holy Mary of Guadalupe.”
But Guadalupe is a Spanish word, and the Lady would have spoken to both men in their native tongue. Many believe the word was actually Coatlaxopeuh, which in the Nahuatl language meant “She who crushes the head of the (stone) serpent.” In addition to the fact that there is a biblical reference to the woman (interpreted as Mary) who will “crush the head of the serpent,” the word Coatlaxopeuh sounded very much like the Spanish word Guadalupe, which was the name of an important Black Madonna shrine in Spain. At least that must have been how the bishop heard it because that was the name given to the apparition and the site. The Spanish word “Guadalupe” actually comes from an Arabic word that is said to mean, quite appropriately in this case,“river of love.” (2)
The Guadalupe apparition was an extremely significant event for many reasons, not the least of which was that it marked a time that, with the intermarriage of the Spanish (and later other Europeans) and the Indian peoples of the Americas, a new ethnicity was about to come into existence. The Lady of Guadalupe is, in a very real sense, the mother of these people, and of all the mixed blood people of the Americas, and may, indeed, be America’s own “Black Madonna.”
Over the course of the apparitions, among the words spoken by the Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego were these: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you.”
Truly, the words of a mother. She is our mother indeed!
UPDATE: Just after I'd finished posting this I found a most wonderful article about the Lady of Guadalupe. Written by Ani Williams, it has even more detail about the image on the tilma than I have provided! Read it here --
(1) McArthur, Margie; Lady of the Sea: The Goddess Who Births the New Age, pp 78-79
(2) Ibid; also - wad-i al-hub; Arabic Place Names, www.billcasselman.com/place_names_of_the_world/arabic_place_names_one.htm , and