Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Are you familiar with the hidden meanings behind some of the main elements of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe given to Saint Juan Diego? If you aren’t familiar with them, then read on. You may just find them really fascinating and interesting, as I do.
Below is replica of the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. You may want to reference this as I go through each element.
The first element is the Sun which is represented in not one, but three different ways. The first way the sun is represented is where you cannot see it. It merely casts light onto Mary on the left side, creating a shadow. The second way the sun is represented is as golden rays of light behind her. These rays of sunlight signify the fact that she indeed the mother of light and is superior to the Aztec sun god, whom she outshines. The third representation of the sun comes in the form of the four-petal flower on her tunic which indicates that she will give birth to the Almighty Sun.
The clouds which surround Mary in the image are symbolic of the fact that she came from Heaven. It was common among the indigenous people to greet anyone they believed to have come from God with the phrase ‘Among fog and among clouds.’
Around her neck, Mary wears a golden medallion with a cross on it. The indigenous people believed medallions to be a symbol of consecration. Therefore, the cross medallion that Our Lady wore symbolizes that she is consecrated to Jesus.
The indigenous people used not only their hands to express their prayer. They also commonly used their entire bodies. Mary, in the image is shown with her one knee slightly bent to signify dancing prayer in addition to folded hands.
Tunic and Mantle
You might not be surprised to learn that both Mary’s tunic and mantle have hidden symbolism in them. Mary’s flowery tunic symbolizes the earth, while her starry, turquoise-coloured mantle symbolizes the Heavens. A mantle was typically only worn by native emperors, so Mary’s mantle also represents the fact that she is royalty. She is the queen of Heaven and earth.
The dark-coloured ribbon that can be seen just above Mary’s waistline is an indicator that she is pregnant. At the time of her appearance to Saint Juan Diego, she was expecting. The trapezoid-shaped ends of the ribbon also meant something to the Aztecs who saw this as a symbol for the end of an era and the birth of a new one.
Even the flowers on Mary’s dress are not without their own symbolism. The nine golden flowers represent life and truth. The flowers are made out of glyphs that symbolize a hill and a river. Hills were considered the highest points of encounter between God and people by the indigenous.
The four-petaled jasmine flower appears only once on Mary’s dress, over her womb. This humble flower symbolizes the one true God.
Mary is depicted standing in the center of a crescent moon. The Aztec word for Mexico being Metz-xic-co literally means ‘in the center of the moon’. The moon also represents the Aztec moon god, fertility, birth, and life.
The angel, known as ‘the Virgin of Guadalupe’s Angel’ is shown having eagles wings. Eagles were believed by the Aztecs to deliver the blood of sacrificial victims to the Gods. The Angel then with eagles wings, holding the pregnant virgin symbolizes that the child is her womb is a pleasing offer to God.
Sources: Official website of the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico; Secrets of the Image website, Knights of Columbus.
I hope you found all of this as interesting as I did. If you enjoyed reading this post, then please consider sharing it.
Maria from Immaculata Kids