I dedicated my blog to Our Lady of Guadalupe and specifically named it, “Under Her Starry Mantle” and I felt compelled to do this as I am deeply affected every time I read the dialogue of love between Our Lady and Juan, between mother and child. Of course, she is referring to us all as well – we are all her ‘littlest ones’ that she wishes to cradle in her mantle.
The traditional Mexican shawl cloth for the women is a ‘rebozo’ and one of it’s main purposes was to carry the infant child – this is exactly how Our Blessed Mother wishes to carry us!
It suggests the closest of intimacy, the complete, the loving dependence of a young child to a mother - to sleep contentedly there, to feed tenderly there, to be as close as we possibly can to our mother, to hear her very heartbeat, her rhythmic breathing and her natural motherly frangrance – as mothers we know so well how precious this age is and what it does to our hearts and souls, so we get a real insight into what Our Lady is really saying to us all.
Mary’s mantle is no ordinary mantle – it is a ‘starry’ one. But these are not the random placement of stars for decoration but a true and perfect reflection of the constellations in the sky at the time Our Lady appeared to Juan Deigo but in reverse – as if Mary herself was looking down from the heavens through this veil of stars to earth.
Here's a quote that explains that better:
" The Virgin's mantle is covered with stars which stunningly and accurately map out various constellations as might be seen in the Mexican sky. Even more remarkably, this "star map" on the mantle is in reverse: providing a view of the constellations from beyond them, as would be seen looking through them towards the earth. The constellations are consistent with what astronomers believe was in the sky above Mexico City the day the Image was formed, December 12, 1531."
But the trouble is I am NOT doing any justice to the ongoing, minute and perfect scientific discoveries in this layout of stars and so I highly recommend that you read this article written by Robert A. Sungenis who has done a masterful job in explaining it all – even if you do not have time to read now, save it to your computer and read it when you have time, it will deepen your understanding of why this mantle is truly miraculous.
One thing I would like to mention is the placement of some of the major constellations either on the mantle, partly on the mantle or where they would be on Our Lady’s face or body if the constellation pattern had been continued all over the complete image.
And so I quote a small part of Robert’s article:
“ At the top is the Corona Borealis (the Borean Crown), which would appear on the head of Our Lady, appropriately signifying her royalty as the queen of heaven (Ap 12:1). Below the crown is Virgo, near Our Lady’s heart, showing her purity and virginity (Lk 1:35). Leo the lion, identifying with Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Ap 5:5), is near her abdomen, representing her virgin conception of the Christ child. Our Lady is wearing a black band, which is the symbol of pregnancy in Indian culture. Regulus, meaning royalty, is Leo’s brightest star and symbolizes Christ’s kingship (Ap 12:5). Coma Berenices is the tuft of Leo’s tail. Near the bottom is Gemini, the twins, placed near her two legs and symbolize the birth of Christ (Gn 49:10).”
I highly recommend two books to deepen your knowledge and love for this most beautiful of all Mary’s images – since it is her own self-portrait – a portrait that tells us exactly who she is and what she is to us.
The Handbook on Guadalupe that explains this image in depth including the constellations I have mentioned today.
The other book is Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness - I never tire of reading and re-reading this incredible story, starting with Cortez and ending with Our Lady of Guadalupe, it is probably my most favourite book ever.
I just wish to finish with repeating the words I never tire of reading or hearing:
"Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within the fold of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."