Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico and a symbol of the country’s identity and Catholic faith. When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531 and imprinted her image on his tilma, a cactus-fiber mantle, she did so recognizing the local beliefs of the Aztec people. This led to an image of Our Lady that is full of symbols that were meant to teach the Aztec people who she was and highlight her closeness to the local population.
Below is an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe painted by Susan of Rosa Mystica Medals and descriptions of some of the symbols included in images of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Face and Hair –Our Lady of Guadalupe appears with the complexion of the indigenous people. Her eyes are cast downwards, indicating to them that she was not a god and symbolizing humility.
Mantle and Tunic – The lady a mantle is a bluish-turquoise cloak with stars upon it. This is the color of both royalty and the heavens above. She may not be a god, but she is certainly from heaven.
Hands – She is pictured in prayer, showing again that she is not a god, but praying to someone else who is.
Sun – Behind the lady are the rays of a sun. This meant she was greater than their Aztec sun god.
Moon – Similarly, she stands upon the moon, showing her superiority to the Aztec moon god and that she is greater than the night.