From Forums of the Virgin Mary [translated]:
The symbology used by the Virgin of Guadalupe to present herself and Jesus Christ.
In 1531, the Blessed Virgin appeared to the Indian Juan Diego to ask the bishop to build a temple in her honor.
The bishop asked for proof of the veracity of what the Indian said.
And when he went to take the proof of the roses that did not grow in that place (of the apparition, nor that cool time of year), when he opened his tilma, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared stamped on the smock.
The image, as many know, has a series of miracles within it, which we tell in other videos and articles.
But here we want to tell how that simple image was the engine for the Aztec nation to become in less than a decade, a prodigy that has never happened in the world.
We will talk about the symbolic language that was stamped on the image of the tilma and that persuaded the indigenous people to leave their polytheistic religion and their dark customs, and adopt Christianity peacefully.
Spanish explorers had begun to colonize the Caribbean area after the discovery of America in 1492.
And in 1521, the capital of the Aztec civilization falls into the hands of the army of Hernán Cortés.
His small force managed to defeat the much larger Aztec forces and put an end to the endless stream of sacrifices.
And less than 20 years later, the Aztec nation, which for centuries had professed a polytheistic religion, converted to Christianity.
One of the first Franciscan Fathers, Toribio de Benavente, already affirmed in 1537, only six years after the manifestation of the Guadalupana in the tilma, that nine million Aztecs had been baptized.
The magnitude of this achievement becomes evident when we realize that the evangelization of other Spanish and Portuguese possessions took centuries.
And even more, taking into account that in the year 1529, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, had written a letter to the Emperor of Spain, Carlos V, in which he mentioned: “If God does not provide His hand, this land will end.”
There was a real threat of an Aztec uprising against the Spanish conquistadors just before the apparition.
And major human losses due to the war and smallpox that had come from Europe.
And what was the engine for a conversion without any historical precedent to take place?
Heaven sent the Virgin Mary to earth to act.
It took only 5 days for Fray Zumárraga to accept the supernatural, building a firm bridge between the Christianized European world and the polytheistic indigenous world.
And the Virgin spoke to the indigenous people in a language understandable to them, through the image stamped on Juan Diego’s tilma, with symbols that were familiar to them, generating a syncretism that attracted them to Christ.
On December 9, 1531, ten years after the arrival of the Spanish in Greater Tenochtitlán, the intervention came through the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose message is a true Aztec codex expressed in the symbolic drawings of her image.
It was those apparitions and their consequences that radically changed the culture in Mexico, which would not have been possible without the intervention of the Virgin.
God does not multiply miracles unnecessarily, and if Mexico could have been converted without such intervention, then He would have let events unfold as normal.
But it was not like that. Maria manifested herself speaking publicly to the Aztecs in their language, with their symbols, in a very persuasive way.
For four days the Virgin had communicated with Juan Diego speaking to him in his own language, Nahualtl.
The name “Virgin Santa María de Guadalupe” she herself gave to Juan Bernardino, Juan Diego’s uncle, when she appeared to him to heal his illness, and it sounded to the ears of the Spanish friars as the [Spanish] Estremaduran “Guadalupe” [a place in Spain].
Therefore, the Virgin communicated in such a way that both the Indians and the Spaniards understood her.
The Creoles, the indigenous, and the Spaniards united in the veneration of the Guadalupana, who represented the Creole homeland and became a factor of national unity.
The image would be invoked and displayed as a remedy against droughts, floods, and epidemics, and would later be adopted as a political banner by insurgents.
A national symbol arose, recognized by the vast majority of the inhabitants of New Spain, which allowed them to identify with the land where they lived.
But basically Our Lady spoke to the Aztecs.
The indigenous nations settled in Mexico, Mayas, Aztecs, and others, communicated with images and signs, which unified their languages.
These ‘Mexican codices’ are drawings made by Mayan or Aztec artists on maguey fiber paper or deer skin, which communicated ideas through symbols.
And what were those symbols? [scroll for more:]
The Virgin of Guadalupe presented herself to her children as the Mother of the Creator and preserver of the entire universe, Who comes to her “town,” and wants to welcome them all, Indians and Spaniards, with the same love of Mother.
With the prodigious impression on the smock, a new world began, the dawn of the sixth sun that the Mexicans awaited.
The ayate [cactus tilma] carries a message that is like a “pictorial catechism,” a proclamation of evangelical truths, which the indigenous people did not yet know.
The first symbology is in place, the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe took place on the sacred hill of Tepeyac, one of the four main posts for pagan sacrifices.
And it means for the indigenous people that she is the mother of the gods.
The lack of a mask means that the Lady is not a goddess, because the indigenous gods wore masks.
But despite this, she is superior to the sun and the moon, the great divinities that the Aztecs adored.
The Virgin of Guadalupe hides from the sun, its rays appear from behind, she steps on the moon, and the stars adorn her mantle. [Some of these features were later added by artists.]
And the request for a temple to be built has the deep meaning of the beginning of a new life system.
The image represents a young woman between the ages of 16 and 18, 1.43 meters tall, compatible with the indigenous people.
And her head is bowed, she does not look straight ahead, because among the indigenous people to look straight ahead was not to offend.
Her hair is loose, which among the Aztecs is a sign of virginity, therefore she is a Virgin.
And also Mother, because her abdomen is swollen, with greater vertical prominence, corresponding to a pregnancy almost in its last stage.
The ribbon above the belly marked the pregnancy in the indigenous women.
And it falls into two trapezoidal ends, which in the Nahuatl world represented the end of a cycle and the birth of a new era.
It symbolizes that with Jesus Christ a new era begins.
In addition, there is a flower with four petals in the belly of the Image.
That represents for the Aztecs the Abode of God and the Center of the Universe.
And being on the womb of Mary means that she brings us to God in her womb.
Her hands are joined in a sign of deep prayer.
The right is whiter and slimmer, the left is dark and fuller, and they symbolize the union of two different races.
And they form the drawing of the “Sacred House,” which she asked that Juan Diego present before Bishop Zumárraga.
In her tender and loving eyelids, the throbbing that gives life is reflected, but even at that time the prodigy that her pupils show the presence of a dozen images of people could not be known.
The tunic is red-pink in color that would represent the earth.
And it contains figures drawn in gold, which is a divine metal.
And it has 9 floral arrangements, which mean the nine towns that left Aztlán to found the Great Tenochtitlán, according to the legends of the Aztecs.
The mantle, iridescent blue-green, represents the sky and it has been proven that the arrangement of the stars in it corresponds to the order of the constellations at the winter solstice of 1531 over Mexico, but seen from above. [It is believed by some that these were later added — but no less inspired!]
A luminous aura surrounds the Virgin, and it seems that rays of the sun come out of her womb, announcing the arrival of Christ Jesus, the Son of God, and the Virgin radiates it.
On the neck is an oval with a cross.
This symbology for the Spanish is a Christian medallion.
But the natives made a perforation between the neck and the chest in some of their stone idols, placing a green semi-precious stone, which meant their heart, which they polished until it became a mirror and called it the heart of divinity.
The Virgin of Guadalupe stands in the middle of the moon, and the word Mexico in Natuahl means “in the center of the moon.”
The moon for the Aztecs is a symbol of fertility, birth, and life, and marks the cycles of female and terrestrial fertility.
The angel who supports the Lady of Heaven is a young man with a serious and adult countenance, like a young warrior of the army of the sun, and his raised hands communicate Heaven with earth. [Again, an artist’s inspiration.]
Its wings have three colors: blue, white, and red, which are linked in meaning to the black color of the moon, and are the colors of the four directions of the universe for the Aztecs.
Finally, the clouds that surround the image are associated with the elevation of the spirit and announce the Divine, the arrival of a New Era.
Well up to here what we wanted to tell about how the image that Heaven imprinted prodigiously on Juan Diego’s cloak is an Aztec codex to communicate the Christian message to the indigenous people.
In a marvelous task of inculturation, impossible to devise and carry out by human hands, and hence the success of the conversion of the Aztecs in less than a decade.
And I would like to ask you what other things you know about the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which was supernaturally printed on [or later added by inspiration] to Juan Diego’s tilma.
[resources: life-sized tilma]