Always compassionate. The Indians felt that the face was the window of the
inner person. She is almost always dark-skinned and dark-haired like
Her hands are not poised in the
traditional Western style of prayer but in the Indian manner of offering.
(Note: we could not find any examples of such hands on the Westside)
The sun rays recalled for the Indians that the sun played a key role in
their civilization. But the image of the Virgin is meant to be greater than
the sun-she hides the sun; only the rays come forth. She hides the sun, but
does not extinguish it.
The angel at the bottom of the image was seen by the Indians as an "intermediary god" carrying in a new era.
Her eyes are always humble, looking down, suggesting that, great as she is,
she is not a god. Indian gods never looked down-they looked straight ahead.
The usual color is turquoise-a color
that was once reserved for the great god
Omecihuatl. Although the Indians had many "intermediary gods," Omecihuatl
was considered the supreme god.
The maternity band around her waist was the Indian symbol for a pregnant
women, a mother who will give birth.
The stars on the mantle are a sign that a new
civilization, or era, is beginning. The Indian tradition recognized the end
and the beginning of different eras throughout the ages, and the
destruction of a particular civilization or era was always accompanied by a
comet, or a body of stars.
Standing on the moon indicates that she is greater than the god of night,
the Moon God.
(Source: "The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe;" Mexican American Cultural
Center handout; Houston, Texas.)