Clouds



Truths of the Image
The Virgin of Guadalupe is shown among the clouds, representing her divine origin.

For Spaniards the figure of the Virgin of Guadalupe is shown among the clouds, clearly representing her divine origin.  For Indians, it not only expressed this same idea, but also some special characteristics, which we can discover by comparing it to the manner in which Indians greeted those they thought came from God, with the expression “in the fog and among the clouds” (1), of which we have a few examples:

• In 1519, Montezuma greeted Hernan Cortes, whom he believed to be the god Quetzalcoatl returning to repossess his throne, as follows: “Lord, I am neither asleep nor am I dreaming, with my eyes I see your countenance and your body.  I have been expecting this for some days, days in which my heart was looking at those places from where you have come.  You have come out from the fog and among the clouds, a place unknown to all.  This is what we were told by past kings, that you would return to rule in these kingdoms and that you would settle on your throne, now I see that what they said is true.” (2)

• Another example we have is in the way cacique noblemen greeted the first Franciscans: “we know you have come from among the clouds of the sky, so your coming is new and marvelous to us, as well as your presence and the way you talk which we have heard and seen.  It all seems heavenly to us.  It seems to us as if you have opened a chest of divine treasures from the Lord of Heaven before us.” (3)

• Another example of the way Indian priests talked to the Franciscan missionaries.  “We are so low and coarse, unworthy of looking at the faces of such valuable persons whom the Lord, our God, has brought to reign over us.  We do not know where you come from or how such a place is or where our lords dwell; for you have come by the sea among the clouds and the fog (a way we never knew), sent by God among us, His eyes, ears and mouth.  He who is invisible and spiritual, in you becomes visible.”   There is no doubt that Montezuma’s manner of speaking and that of these caciques and Indian priests also reminds us of Juan Diego’s Speech.

The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, being among the clouds, is confirmed as something from Heaven, a place unknown to all, and She was the bearer of a chest of spiritual treasures.  She was the presence, eyes, ears and mouth of the invisible God made visible through her.

(1) Maxtitlan Ayauhtitlan = “in the fog and among the clouds” was synonymous of the presence of God.
(2) Florentine Codex, Edited by the Mexican Government, in a edition supervised by the Archivo General de la Nacion (Mexico) 1879, Book XII, f. 25r.
(3) Coloquio y Doctrina Cristiana con que los doce frailes de San Francisco eviandos por el Papa Adriano VI por el Emperador Carlos V. convirtieron a los indios de la Nueva Espana, en lengua Mexicana y Espanola, 1524, ASV, 1564, Misc. Arm. I-91, f. 34r.