Biblical Iconography of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Previous:
I. My New Age Background
II. My Encounter with Our Lady: “Somewhere I have never travelled” by e. e. cummings
III. Book Review: A Handbook on Guadalupe

Since that time Mama taught me how to read.  She taught me how to read the bible and its imagery.  And I learned that she is the Lady of Revelation:

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1).

The Seat of Wisdom:

For she is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.  For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness. (Wis 7:25-26)

The Ark of the Covenant:

You shall make an ark of acacia wood…. Plate it inside and outside with pure gold…. Make two cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the propitiatory…. This propitiatory you shall then place on top of the ark. In the ark itself you are to put the commandments which I will give you. (Ex 25:10-21)

When the camp is to set out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and take down the screening curtain, and cover the ark of the covenant with it; then they shall put on it a covering of fine leather, and spread over that a cloth all of blue…. (Num 4:5-7) (NRSV translation.  In NAB blue is violet)

And a whole lot more.

The icon of our Lady is a true abstract art, for it is based on strict rules for interpretation as provided by the Scriptures.  Each detail of the icon adds a new layer of the interpretation.  Since a multitude of layers of symbols are superimposed, the task of the icon reader is to try to identify each layer and translate it into a page of text.  For example, “morning (sun rays) star, evening (crescent moon) star”.  This means Venus.  But evening connotes a sense of “falling,” since the sun sinks into the West.  And the black crescent also suggests a “pit.”  Thus, we may translate this series of pictures into the text of Isaiah, which is traditionally interpreted as the Fall of Lucifer, the Light-Bearer:

How have you fallen from the heavens, O morning star, son of the dawn! How are you cut down to the ground, you who mowed down the nations! You said in your heart: “I will scale the heavens; Above the stars of God I will set up my throne; I will take my seat on the Mount of Assembly, in the recesses of the North. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will be like the Most High!” Yet down to the nether world you go to the recesses of the pit! (Is 14:12-15)

Who can fathom the riches of Guadalupe?  Whenever I look at her, I always see something new.  Like Wordsworth watching daffodils, “I gazed—and gazed—but little thought what wealth the show to me had brought.”

Next:
V. Rediscovery of My Catholic Faith

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About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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