La Reina de Mexico: Celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe

I’ve been corrected. The Virgin of Guadalupe is not a saint. She is Our Lady of Guadalupe, giver of miracles. In reality, she is the quintessential symbol of Mexican syncretism, combining indigenous roots/beliefs with Spanish Catholicism. In reality, she is more indigenous than Catholic receiving much more attention than the Virgin Mary or Jesus.

A few of the many Virgins created on Virgin Play Day 2019

As a spiritual symbol, Guadalupe, or Lupita as many call her, sings to us. Especially women. She is Queen. She is Corn Goddess. She is Mother Earth. Protectress. She is Tonantzin.

A Virgin in the making
San Martin Tilcajete woodcarvers and painters made Virgins, too

To celebrate her, regardless of religious beliefs or spiritual disposition, is therefore easy and fun.

Virgins come in all sizes, shapes and genders
And, now for the finishing touches.

In the spirit of fun-ness, I participated in a Virgin Play Day at the home of Linda Hanna, who has been hosting this event for years. This was my first time and it was a glorious respite from my routine (whatever that is).

Our host Linda Hanna with the Virgin she created
Don’t miss this Virgin of Guadalupe exhibition in Mexico City, organized by Linda Hanna, there until April 2020
Purely Mexican Goddess, the Virgin of Guadalupe

About forty women, extranjeras and Zapotecas, gathered in the courtyard to create our own version of the Divine Lupita. There was a wood form which we would spend the day breathing life into.

Calavera Virgins are a popular theme this year
I’m with ceramic artist Angelica Vasquez, Grand Master of Oaxaca Folk Art

Creating a goddess icon was easier for others than for me. Too many choices of bric-a-brac, magazine images, cloth, glitter, paint, and every other creative type of decorative materials you could imagine. I managed to burn my fingers using the glue gun, another first for me.

Four Virgin Versions
Ruth came from Philadelphia to participate

I was reminded about how important it is to take a creative day away from the everyday. It was good to catch up with women I rarely have the opportunity to be with. And, of course, the potluck interlude for lunch was over-the-top! There are a lot of good cooks in Oaxaca — even extrajeras!

Virgin of Guadalupe altar, Teotitlan del Valle church

Then, to put a cap on an already glorious day, at the end of the day I returned to Teotitlan del Valle. In the church courtyard, Los Danzantes de la Pluma were paying homage to the Virgin with their traditional Dance of the Feather. As evening descended into darkness and warmth turned to chill, the village gathered here in celebration of ancient traditions. Pre-Hispanic traditions.

Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico, honored in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca
Taking big leaps for the Virgin of Guadalupe, Teotitlan del Valle
Doña Marina and La Malinche twirl in honor of the Virgin
This is her first year of a three-year commitment

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