Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Memo Rodriguez on the Image of Guadalupe

[For reference, a photograph of the image itself:]

There is just so much that can be said about the image itself!

Here are just a few bits and pieces:

The image is of a young woman with obvious “mestizo” complexion. “Mestizo” is a Spanish word, which I do not know how to translate very well. It literally means “mixed-race”, and it is the word to describe the children of a Spaniard (usually the father) and a Native (usually the mother).

Originally it had the negative connotation “mixed-race” sometime has in English, but not any more. In Mexico, the vast majority of the population is “mestizo”, not only ethnically, but culturally as well, and we are very proud of it. Not in the least because that makes us like the image of the Queen of Heaven.

The height of the image is 143 centimeters, or a little under 5 feet, consistent with the height of a mestizo girl between the ages of 18 and 20, in that time.

Her face reflects a serene tenderness, freshness and strength. Her almond-shaped eyes are partially closed, and are not looking directly to the front, but through the corner of the eye. This was regarded as the polite way to look to someone you cared about a lot, the way the bride looks at her groom, the way a mother looks at her children. It was the way God looked upon the world to create life and order.

Her hair falls free under her mantle. This was typical of pregnant women, a special honor semi-reserved for them.

Her pregnancy is quite obvious because her abdomen is taller than it is wider.

The image itself shows adherence to an almost universal beauty standard called “Golden Proportion”, which is a height/width ratio consistent with masterpieces from cultures as diverse as the Mesopotamians, the Greeks and the Romans.

In the center of these “architectural” elements, we find her womb, and specifically, the four-petal flower (Flowers! Flowers! Remember?), the Aztecs called “Nahui Ollin”, which represented the fullness, the center of the universe (both conceived as space and time), and the presence of God.

Her hands are over her chest, put together in a posture we could (wrongly) interpret as one of prayer. No, this is not the Aztec posture for prayer, it is the Aztec posture of “I have a gift for you, because I love you, and I have it hidden here, right behind my hands”.

She is clothed with sunshine and standing on the moon, which evokes the Book of Revelations, but it has an additional meaning for the Aztecs. Tonatiuh, the Sun, was one of the major deities of the Aztec religion, he was regarded as an expression of Teotl, the One True God, the One Our Lady is claiming to be the mother of. The Moon, on the other hand, Mezti, was a very close diety, very familiar, because she, with her astronomical cycle, represented the cycle of fertility in the women, and therefore, of the archetype of women, mother-earth. The Nahua roots for “Mexico” are “Metz-xic-co”, which means “on the center of the moon”.

So, the girl clothed with the Sun, pregnant of the new Sun of Justice, is standing on the center of the moon (that is, “right here”), to bring us the New Life.

Her belt, barely visible over her womb has a trapezoid shape, which represents the change of the era, and it belongs to the child in her womb, Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega, Lord of the Old World, and the New one.

She has her left knee slightly flexed. One could think, as if walking towards the viewer. But the Aztecs probably saw something different: She has initiated the sacred dance, and she is expecting the viewer to follow suit. She comes to bring Christ to the New World, however, the next step, that of accepting Christ and live by His Law, that is a step we have to take.

Her mantle is an accurate star map. It depicts the heavens above the Anahuac valley and the positions of the stars are entirely consistent with the ones observed from the Tepeyac during the early morning of December 12th, 1531.

But backwards. That is, the mantle shows the stars as if seen “from above” the firmament, that is, from eternity. She is who she is, not by means or merits of her own, but by the same grace her Son offers to her first, and to all of us.

Her entire image points not to herself, but to Him, who (in her own words) is “my merciful gaze, my help, my salvation”, He who is Nelli Teotl (The Very True God), Ipalnemohuani (The Giver of Life), Teyocoyani (The Creator of People), Tloque Nahuaque (The Owner of what is near and what is far) and Ilhuicahua Tlaltipaque (The Lord of Heaven and Earth).

To Him Glory, forever and ever. Amen.

No comments: