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” Revelation 12:1 (Entrance Antiphon for Our Lady of Guadalupe)
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted on the cloak of Saint Juan Diego on December 12, 1531. That the picture is still perfectly preserved nearly 500 years later is a testament to its miraculous origins.
Much significance has been given to various parts of the image.
Here’s an overview of the signs and symbols of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe – The only apparition where Our Lady left an actual picture of herself. All other apparitions were drawn from the description given to them from the visionary. To the Aztecs: a message; To the Spaniards: a picture. The colors, lines, stars, designs, rays, moon, etc all have meaning to them.
Depiction – Mary as an adolescent around 14 or 15 with an oval, Mexican, clear dark face, like a little mother. The size of the image: 6 1/2′ X 3 1/2′
Head Bowed – Indian culture gods and goddesses looked you straight in the eye to show their power and were often depicted with large eyes. Mary, with her head bowed, showed she was neither a god or goddess, and that there was a higher power above her.
Hands – joined in prayer of supplication, therefore not a goddess; there is someone greater than Her.
Blue Mantel – Blue was a sign of royalty, a sign of virginity, also color the goddesses wore. Indians lived by the stars and here she wore them on the blue mantel, showing her God is more powerful than the stars. The blue mantle also represents heaven.
Stars – They are the brightest gold, signifying royalty: It is said that there are 48 stars, 8 points; 22 on right, 26 on left show constellations that were in the sky at the time of the apparition 10:30 am December 12, 1531. The stars on one side represent the northern constellations, the others represent the southern constellations. One can see Venus the morning star, while Virgo would fall on the hands, Leo on the womb, crown of stars on the head.
Dress – A similar to a style worn by Jewish women two thousand years ago; Mary was Jewish. The design is likely the hills and mountains of Mexico, with gold thread. Gold was important to the people.
Cuffs – The sleeve cuffs with fur means royalty/Jewish nobility
Black sash – Tied around her waist, it was a cultural symbol of pregnancy . The central part of dress appears bulging. This would indicate she was pregnant with the Child Jesus at the time of the apparition.
Rays of the Sun – The rays are bright near her body and fade out away from her body . There are 129 rays – 62 on right, 67 on left equidistant alternating forms: 1) straight like swords 2) undulating flames. The red border indicates a rising sun, signifying new life.
Surrounded by a Brilliant Light – Indians worshiped the sun god. This showed Our Lady was clothed in the sun, and therefore her God was more powerful.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, intercede for the Church, protect the Holy Father, help all who invoke you in their necessities. Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the Grace of a firm faith and sure hope amid the bitterness of life, as well as an ardent love and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.