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  • Somebody told me on Face Book that today´s date 12 - 12 - 12 is the last repetitive date anyone of us living today will ever see again.

    The 12th day of the 12th month of the year also is the Day Of The Virgin Of Guadalupe here, this year supposedly - if you believe the Rainbow People - the last time, becaiuse in between the 21st and 23rd of this months the world will either end or transform or both. I do not know if the Virgin Of Guadalupe has a place in the New World Order to come?

    Even though I was raised Catholic, when I arrived in Mexico I was already an agnostic with Buddhist inclinations. Nonetheless, the Virgin of Guadalupe impresses me.

    Legend has it that on December 9, 1531, Juan Diego, a young indigenous man, saw a vision of the virgin on the hill of Tepeyac. In his native language, Nahuatl, the Virgin asked him to build a monastery at the same site. Juan Diego then went straight to the Spanish bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga. Listening to the peasant’s story Fray Juan wanted a sign to prove that his story was true. The Virgin had asked Juan Diego to gather roses, even though it was winter and no roses bloomed. Miraculously Juan Diego found roses and gathered them in a cloth. When he presented the roses as a sign to the bishop an image of the virgin miraculously appeared on the cloth.

    Skeptics in Mexico assure us that the whole thing was made up by the church to get the pagan natives of Mexico to accept the new Christian belief. If this is true, it was a brilliant plan, which worked wonders and still does. In Mexico it is still true that the whiter your skin the easier you get accepted into the upper levels of society. Still, on the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the 13the of December, Mexican mothers of all races and social classes dress their little boys in native clothes and paint them a dark moustache above their little toddler mouths.

    I have seen hard-wired skeptics, once they were diagnosed with some serious illness, go on pilgrimages to the Basilica de la Virgin de Guadalupe in Mexico City. Suddenly they were convinced that if they just prayed hard enough the virgin would cure them. There are rumors that even some drug lords go and pray to the virgin before or after they undertake their dark business, asking for forgiveness.

    The Virgin’s shawl carries the colors and emblem of the Mexican flag. Far more than a Catholic saint, she is the Mother of All Mexicans! Women shed their tears with her and she succeeds in making the toughest macho men softhearted.

    There is a kind of order of young and not so young men and women in Mexico who dance and sing in self-made costumes inspired by the old indigenous Mexican cultures — the Concheros. They travel through Mexico and the world singing and dancing in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Once you enter the Concheros it is a commitment of a lifetime. Once the Concheros came to town to dance on our bishop’s — world famous liberation clerical Don Samuel Ruiz — birthday. I went to see them. All through the night they danced and sang in a small old church, all the while embellishing the altar with flowers and candles. I was euphoric when I left around midnight to go home. A friend of mine danced with them until midday the following day. When I met her later, her eyes shone as if she had seen the virgin too.

    Some say that the Virgin of Guadalupe took the place of older indigenous goddesses from the ancient cultures. Some say she is the Mayan goddess Ixchel who stands, among other things, for weaving and fertility and is connected to the moon. Several of my women friends in the US who are fervent worshippers of the Goddess instead of God, see the Virgin of Guadalupe as one image of their Goddess. One of the first things one of these friends does every time she comes to town is to visit the Virgin of Guadalupe in her little plain church up on a hill facing the sunset far above the hassle and buzz of our town. “Go, and ask the Virgin for what you want!” she once encouraged me, “Last time I asked her for a lover and sure enough, soon afterwards I found one, for a while. This time I asked her to help me with a house to stay in when I return to the US and I am sure she will find just the right thing for me!” And she did! The next time I accompanied this friend to our Guadalupe Church. I asked for enlightenment. So far she has not given that to me, but I know that that is a big one.

    The time when the Virgin of Guadalupe has most impressed and touched me was when a very close friend of mine suddenly fell sick with a fatal brain tumor. My friend had grown up in the United States with a Baptist education. As an adult she left the church and became skeptical of any religion, even though I always perceived her as a very spiritual person. She had lived for many years in Mexico, but now needing extensive health care, returned for her last year of life to the States. We talked regularly on the phone. During one of those talks, a few months before her untimely death, she told me, “Yesterday I suffered from a terrible pain in my head. We were driving to the hospital and I felt so sick I thought that I would die right there. It was a very cold day and I had some ear warmers over my ears. I was desperate. Suddenly I saw and heard the Virgin of Guadalupe. Take these ear warmers off! She demanded. I did. And all the pain dissolved immediately!! I realized that the two warmers were held together by a metal which had turned very cold and was pressing on the scar from my operation.” From that moment on the Virgin kept accompanying my friend, talking to her, giving her advice and helping ease her pain. My friend faced her death with complete composure. It consoles me to imagine how the Virgin took her lovely soul into her arms and carried her straight into Heaven after she died.

    The Virgin Of Guadalupe seems to be the biggest gift ever to Mexicans and not just Mexicans....

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    Art by Kiki ("Adoring The Virgin")

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