All Mexican culture revolves around its core, its center, its lifesource, its sun: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Actually she is such a staple presence in daily Mexican life that sometimes her effects go unnoticed by Mexicans. (But not by me.) 🙂
Have you ever gone to a department store in Mexico wanting to purchase a new brasierre only to learn that trying on any kind of under garment is strictly forbidden in most states in the republic? Have you looked for tampons in a local pharmacy (outside of foreigner-laden San Miguel de Allende or la playa)? They are rarely to be found. Want to buy a transparent shower curtain? Think again, pervert! These kinds of behaviors and dry goods simply do not jive well with virginity.
How Can I Know La Virgen?
Who is the first person one should approach with a problem, worry, or confession? La Virgencita, that’s who! Light her a candle and take off a load! She can be trusted with everything from small decisions to heavy burdens. Most altares for La Virgen de Guadalupe are placed prominently in one’s entryway or in the sala for easy access. No one knows tristeza and angustia like the Mother of G-d, who bore the Jewish Messiah as a confused 15 year old virgin, only to watch her promised child die in his early 30s a shameful and agonizing death. La Virgencita does not judge or shame, she is all-accepting and all-forgiving.
Tonantzin, Revered Aztec Goddess Mother
Not only is La Virgen the Mother of the new, Mestizo Mexico, but she existed long before as the central Goddess in Aztec society as Tonantzin (Toe-nant-SEEN, or Our Revered Mother/Mother Earth). Lupita, our Lady of Guadalupe, first appeared on December 9, 1531 (not December 12, as she is presently celebrated), the first day of the Goddess Tonantzin’s holy festival. Not only did Lupita speak with Juan Diego on the first day of Tonantzin’s celebration, but she also happend to make her appearance RIGHT ON Tonantzin’s worship shrine at the Cerro de Tepeyac (hill of Tepeyac) in the Aztec center of action, presently Mexico City (El DF: El Distrito Federal)! Coincidencia? I think not. Whatever her true identity, she remains the central figure of Love and adoration by indigenous Mexicans, Mestizos, and Mexican-born Spaniards alike. She united the indigenous of Mexico with the Europeans, the conquistados or chingados with the conquistadores or los que chingan. She was and remains the Great Mediator of Mexico.
Feminist Brown Mother
Maintaining such high status as La Madre de la Tierra and La Reina de México, La Virgencita helps the poor and downtrodden, the brown-skinned, the lowly, the conquered. Guadalupe (aka: La Morena/brown-skinned) has elevated the female (and the dark-skinned female) back to the highest position of importance in Mexico at a time when the conquistadores had recently arrived with their machista sexist ways. It is no wonder that matriarchs are so common in Mexican society and that La Virgen is prominently mentioned in the most famous Mexican anthem: Cielito Lindo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVQGxFDINng
“Yo a las morenas quiero
desde que supe que…
morena es la Virgen