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The Myth of the Virgin de Guadalupe

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The original image, as discovered on Juan Diego's tilma... supposedly!

The original image, as discovered on Juan Diego's tilma... supposedly!

The Virgin of Guadalupe

The Virgin of Guadalupe is the Catholic title for the Virgin Mary, a religious icon to the Mexican people who is more than a version of the Mother of God: She is a national symbol.

What many do not know is that this goddess who is revered and considered a Christian deity is actually the product of a cross between Christian mythology and an ancient Nahua goddess called Tonantzin. Even more interesting is how this myth came to be. The myth, which supposedly took place in 1531, was unheard of until 1648 when a Creole, not a Nahua Indian, created it. In this article, I hope to enlighten the reader and separate the truth from the myth.

The Myth

According to the myth, in December 1531 on a Saturday morning, a humble Nahua named Juan Diego was on his way to church to be evangelized when he heard birds singing on the hill of Tepeyac. He went up the hill to investigate and saw before him a beautiful lady surrounded by a bright, shining aura. Her message was simple: She wished a temple to be built in her name on the hill of Tepeyac. From there she would make it known to all that she was the protectress of the Mexican nation. She told Juan Diego to take this message to the bishop and, reluctantly, he agreed. The bishop did not believe him.

Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac and told the lady what happened. She instructed him to return the next day. The next day, a Sunday, he returned to deliver the message to the bishop and was once again received with doubt. The bishop asked for proof.

On Monday, Juan Diego avoided Tepeyac, taking a different route, but she saw and questioned him. He told her the bishop wanted proof. The Virgin then instructed him to pick flowers at the top of the hill. This was an odd request because it was December and there were no flowers to be found there at that time of year. But sure enough, just over the hill, he found every kind of rare flower he could think of. Obeying the command he picked several flowers and put them in his tilma, a kind of pancho. This time, when he went to the bishop and opened his tilma, letting the flowers fall onto the floor, an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was stained into his shirt. This was proof enough for the skeptical bishop.

The Chapel on Tepeyac Hill

The Chapel on Tepeyac Hill

The Truth

The truth is very different from the myth. There is no mention of this myth until 1648 when Miguel Sanchez published it. The supposed bishop in the story was Bishop Juan de Zumarraga who, while a real historical character, was not the bishop in Mexico at the time. In fact, Zumarraga was the only real character in the story, because there is no evidence of there ever having been a Juan Diego.

Zumarraga, in all his records as an inquisitor and even later, when he finally became bishop, makes no mention of this miracle. Something that would have seemingly had such an impact on a religious person is unlikely to go unmentioned for over one hundred years until it is written down as a second-hand account.

Another undeniable fact is that the image of the Virgin in the tilma is man-made. There is nothing other-worldly about it. The paints and the fabric can be traced back to the paints and textiles that were popular at the time. In fact, the image even has an author: Marcos Cipac. It's pretty hard to claim heavenly divinity when the item in question is very human.

The Virgin as a Nahua Goddess

The real kicker is that the hill of Tepeyac was originally the site of a Nahua temple to honor Tonantzin, a Nahua goddess. The year 1531 is also suspicious because it was just ten years after Cortez’s conquest, and the top priority of the Spaniards was to convert the Nahuas to Christianity. It is highly possible that Nahuas continued to make pilgrimages to the hill of Tepeyac to honor their Nahua goddess, and the Catholic monks and friars, in their haste to convert them, declared that Tonantzin was actually a Christian goddess. This explanation is more plausible than the concept of a Christian miracle.

The Unfortunate Reality

All of this evidence and research will do no good when confronting a Mexican patriot. The Virgin de Guadalupe is not just a religious symbol, as I said before, she is a patriotic one. My favorite quote on this subject is by Octavio Paz:

“The Mexican people, after more than two centuries of experiments and defeats, have faith only in the Virgin of Guadalupe and the national lottery.”

Most, if not all, Mexican Catholics will take offense to any of the facts listed above. In fact, even the Vatican took issue with these claims and their response was to beatify Juan Diego, even though no evidence exists for the myth of his existence.

When historians, such as Stafford Poole, write articles on this highly sensitive topic, they are assailed with insults. I find myself in a similar position by publishing this article, but I welcome the onslaught.


  • Peterson, Jeanette Favrot. "Creating the Virgin of Guadalupe: The Cloth, The Artist, and Sources." The Americas Volume 61, Number 4, April 2005: pp. 571-610.
  • Poole, Stafford. "History versus Juan Diego." The Americas, Vol. 62, No. 1 July 2005: 1-16.
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe, The Origins and Sources of a Mexican National Symbol, 1531-1797. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1995.

© 2011 emmaspeaks

Please Vote Up!!!

John M. on May 02, 2020:

My biggest issue, is why would she ask for an alter to be worshiped at. Not even Jesus asked for that. Can someone explain that.

Oscar on August 27, 2019:

It is interesting how many "miracles" are attributed to the virgin of Guadalupe from the secret of her eyes, to the healing of the sick, to the explosion in the 1920's that caused no damage to the image. Yet where was the miracle of Mexico successfully defending itself from an expansionist United States that used an excuse to invade a weaker military power? Mexico suffered double the casualties and yet its "mother" stood by and did nothing. To this day Mexicans are severely ashamed to even mention the war.

I am still waiting for the virgin's miracle on turning those politicians, drug lords and sicarios into men of good because honestly Mexico is a failed state that stinks of corruption and death. It is odd that a country that was "blessed" with the apparition of the virgin of Guadalupe is now blessed with unrelenting corruption, blood and gore.

Can any Catholic, or devotee, explain to me what is happening? Supposedly her apparition alone converted five to six million Aztecs to Catholicism why can't she do the same with the depraved people who are running around decapitating people.

As for the supposed miracles. There is no hard evidence on the existence of Juan Diego other than the legend itself. The bishop who supposedly witnessed the miracle made no mention of said miracle or of ever meeting Juan Diego.

Look at a wall or floor with oatrerns and I can assure you that with a little imagination you will be seeing demonic faces, funny faces, cartoons and what not. As humans we tend to recognize patterns no wonder you people see men, or a family of natives on her eyes.

To claim that the virgin healed so many people would require abundant evidence and not hearsay. Many people pray to the virgin for a miraculous healing of their cancer inly to end up dying. To attribute these as miracles is an argument of ignorance as you believe that there is no evidence of the contrary.

Juanmartinezconpanyleche on June 21, 2019:

2 Corinthians 11:14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Yes Catholics believe in the trinity and in God Scripture is clear, God is a jealous God and Satan has deceived Mexicans by posing as the Virgen de Guadalupe! Creating miracles is one of Satans many business adventures. People unfortunately want proof and when the devil provides it people will be forever deceived until God fills them with the Holy Spirit. Read God’s word people and do not be deceived by the roaring lion!

Juanquiiii on June 06, 2019:

this ain't a myth

Manny on February 08, 2019:

How is it possible this tilma has survived for 5 centuries, and how do you explain the many miracles attributed to it, not to mention the conversion of a pagan people, who at one time practiced human sacrifice and worshipped a serpent. Similar paintings on the same material,disintegrated after 10 years. People have tried to destroy it,but it has survived the attempts,but the surrounding items were destroyed.The Virgin has appeared not just in Mexico but in many places in the world over the centuries, Fatima portugal, Lourdes france, to name a few and many miracles have been reported there, the miracle of the sun in Portugal was witnessed by 70,000 people. The Image on the tilma was not painted, it has been x-rayed there are no brush strokes or under sketch.There are people found in the eyes as would be reflected in a human eye,the examiner fainted when he saw this, he was an eye specialist. The temperature of the tilma is the same as a human body. The stars on the cloak are in the same position as the stars on the date of the apparition Dec 12,1531, but they are in reverse as someone looking down from beyond the stars would see them, not as someone looking up at the stars. The Lady's message is repent, quit offending God, do good for love of God, that is not the message of a nuhua goddess.

NuBeeLuna on January 20, 2019:

Thank you.

People need to educate them selves before believing in anything also if they discredit this article they should also investigate... just Google some of the information instead of insulting.

People need to open their eyes and not believe blindly.

Thanks again

Angel on December 21, 2018:

This is really dumb. The fact that you say that she is a "goddess" makes me think that you are doing your research wrong. Catholics do not view her as a goddess as we only worship one God. And if you do then you are committing a sin. Before making a whole article about what you call facts maybe research Catholic practices.

Luis Vazquez on December 13, 2018:

Its pagan idolatry, the 1st commandment is you will have no other gods before me.

Juan Diego on December 12, 2018:

It's not true I lied, I was craving for attention......sorry.

M vasquez on November 03, 2018:

This article is full of lies and speculation designed to lead everyone in the America’s away from the truth. It does not explain why, when the eyes are examined the are alive like a human being, how are the images of the people she appeared to seen within the eyes and impossible for any human to paint in them, and speaking of paint there is no paint of that we know of like that. So your assertion is completely wrong

Chuck McOrmick on September 10, 2018:

The author clearly is no expert, all she has is a claim she studied under a Dr. Viviana Grieco. Her mentioning the virgin Mary as a goddess is indicative she did not even bother how Catholics differentiate their saints to their god. Catholics practice monotheism, one god. So much for her researching prowess. Though I do appreciate the information she has put forth, it puts her writing in a poor light to see she is a sloppy researcher.

Valentina on June 22, 2018:

Who are you?

Marian Man on May 30, 2018:

Virgin of Guadalupe is not a "myth" , this is very unrespectful for whom has giving you the redemption in Jesus Christ. she conceived our saviour. and suffered his crucifixion for you and the rest of us. What can we expect of this person and her teacher:

"Emma is a creative writing and history student at UMKC and studied under Dr. Viviana Grieco, an expert on the Spanish Conquest."

of course Emma is very, very creative but her teacher is not expert at all, not in spanish conquest at least.

Sergio on December 27, 2016:

Thank you. very interesting article, of course it´s hard to be acceped by those adults who still believe in fairy tales

Emilia McCoy on March 30, 2016:

Hi, I like your hub, I just have one recommendation, before you publish something with words not in your native lenguage,is always a good idea to give it to someone who knows the vocabulary better than you. I'm Mexican and I'm not insulted at all about the Guadalupana part at all, but I'm very disappointed about your use of the Nahuatl word. You write it more than twice and is not "Nahua" is Nahuatl. And your HUB is enlightening, but most mexicans are not open to facts, they believe more in fantasy stories.

Anahi on January 23, 2016:

Nobody was there when all this happened so anyone can believe or not. . . this article is obviously not completely true, like I said nobody was physically there to explain such story as "the truth" or "the myth". So if anyone believes, they are free to believe, if anyone thinks its a myth then life goes on.

kmurf on October 25, 2015:

Researcher and physicist Dr. Aldofo Orozco told participants at the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe that there is no scientific explanation for the 478 years of high quality-preservation of the Tilma or for the miracles that have occurred to ensure its preservation.

Dr. Orozco began his talk by confirming that the conservation of the Tilma, the cloak of St. Juan Diego on which Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared 478 years ago, “is completely beyond any scientific explanation.”

“All the cloths similar to the Tilma that have been placed in the salty and humid environment around the Basilica have lasted no more than ten years,” he explained. One painting of the miraculous image, created in 1789, was on display in a church near the basilica where the Tilma was placed. “This painting was made with the best techniques of its time, the copy was beautiful and made with a fabric very similar to that of the Tilma. Also, the image was protected with a glass since it was first placed there.”

However, eight years later, the copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was thrown away because the colors were fading and threads were breaking. In contrast, Orozco said, “the original Tilma was exposed for approximately 116 years without any kind of protection, receiving all the infrared and ultraviolet radiation from the tens of thousands of candles near it and exposed to the humid and salty air around the temple.”

Dr. Orozco then discussed the Tilma’s fabric. He noted that “one of the most bizarre characteristics of the cloth is that the back side is rough and coarse, but the front side is ‘as soft as the most pure silk, as noted by painters and scientists in 1666, and confirmed one century later in 1751 by the Mexican painter, Miguel Cabrera.”

Following an analysis of some of the fibers in 1946, it was concluded that the fibers came from the Agave plant, however, noted Dr. Orozco, the researchers couldn’t figure out which of the 175 Agave species the Tilma was made from. Years later, in 1975, “the famous Mexican researcher Ernesto Sodi Pallares said that the species of the agave was Agave popotule Zacc,” Orozco explained, “but we don’t know how he reached this conclusion.”

Before concluding his presentation, Dr. Orozco made mention of two miracles associated with the Tilma.

The first occurred in 1785 when a worker accidentally spilled a 50 percent nitric acid solvent on the right side of the cloth. “Besides any natural explanation, the acid has not destroyed the fabric of the cloth, indeed it has not even destroyed the colored parts of the image,” Orozco said.

The second miracle was the explosion of a bomb near the Tilma in 1921. Dr. Orozco recalled that the explosion broke the marble floor and widows 150 meters from the explosion, but “unexpectedly, neither the Tilma nor the normal glass that protected the Tilma was damaged or broken.” The only damage near it was a brass crucifix that was twisted by the blast.

He continued, “There are no explanations why the shockwave that broke windows 150 meters afar did not destroy the normal glass that protected the image. Some people said that the Son by means of the brass crucifix protected the image of His Mother. The real fact is that we don’t have a natural explanation for this event.”

Kiki on September 13, 2015:

Well if u look it up it will say she has a satan symbol if you look at the picture of her look all the way in the bottom where the angel is holding her and you will find "horns" like the devil it's like long and black

human on September 09, 2015:

I'll take the low road by stating the obvious. Only a mentally challenge moron would believe that this painted piece of cloth is anything special. The people using "science" to support this load of bull need to take a refresher course about science. Science doesn't deal with absolutes. Science doesn't deal with the supernatural (since it does not exist). Science deals with the best available explanation based on falsifiable evidence. And people like Lori pervert science trying to use it to prove this nonsense. As a final note, you religious nut jobs should try proving that your sky fairy daddy exists first before trying to claim miracles in its hollow and empty name. Otherwise you come across as less than educated.

Lori on July 26, 2015:

How can a TILMA, made with cactus fibers, still be in tact? That in itself is a miracle. NASA has confirmed their findings in her veil. There are too many things going on in the actual tilma that was far too advanced for back then and now modern technology can prove this. I love how modern science can't disprove their findings in the tilma. A beautiful story. You can't fight science. So many people post without knowing any modern day facts about the TILMA. The Virgin Mary has appeared to many people throughout time as many names and has looked different each time. Can someone tell ms. Emma why Juan Diego didn't write the story himself or is it that obvious only to my 5 year old daughter? Some need to see to believe, others have their faith and unfortunately some have proven facts (by scientists) before their eyes and still fail to believe. God bless!

GEORGE ROMERO on April 15, 2015:

The shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was the most important Marian shrine in the medieval kingdom of Castile. It is revered in the monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, in today's Cáceres province of the Extremadura autonomous community of Spain.

The original carving is Romanesque, made of cedar wood, which according to ancient legend was found by a shepherd named Gil Cordero, a resident of Cáceres, whom he appeared next to the Guadalupe River, who took the name the Virgin and the people. According to that legend, the image had been centuries ago by the body of San Lucas, exposed in Rome and Seville, until in 714, in full Muslim conquest, the image was hidden next to Guadalupejo river, name that comes from the union from the Arabic word "wad" (river) and the "lux-speculum" (mirror light) Latin contraction, where he remained until his finding by Gil Lamb.

The name of the Mexican Lady of Guadalupe derives from the Extremadura, homeland of many conquistadors, including Hernán Cortés.

In Mexico there is a homonymous invocation, whose roots lie in Extremadura. According to some theories the name of the Mexican Virgin was placed because the Bishop Juan de Zumarraga then had difficulty pronouncing his name in Nahuatl, Coatlaxopeuh, and called it "La Virgen de Guadalupe" because "Coatlaxopeuh" sounded like the name by which the Extremadura used to invoke the Virgin. However, this does not match the phonetic similarities proposals mean "that crushes the serpent stone" or "treading the head of the snake", as in the image on the tilma in Mexico there is no snake. However, the document Nican Mopohua, written in life of Juan Diego in Nahuatl language, the name of Santa María de Guadalupe is clearly transcribed in Spanish. Fo more information you can read with more details at:

Anna on March 17, 2015:

How do you explain the conservation of such an artifact? The painting of her was very obviously been tampered with several times and is several hundreds of years old. How do you explain its current state of preservation? Also in research, there a microscopic images imprinted in the eyes. How do you explain that?

Fernando on October 07, 2014:

I don't understand why mexicans get all offended when they are confronted with the truth. she is telling us a fact, real evidence. has anyone of you have seen or touch the fabric. I am sure noooooot.

Hrlascruces on August 18, 2014:

To Del DF en Chicago:

Once again why are you so pained that we believe Our Lady appeared in Mexico. My take on this is you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. MILLIONS of indigenous people converted............millions not hundreds, not thousands, MILLIONS. Were the Aztecs stupid? Were they inferior? Not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact history shows us that in many ways they were superior to the Europeans who came to the new world. So for me, the fact that her "alleged appearance" changed the world is of significant consequence. God Bless

Hrlascruces on August 18, 2014:

I am having this discussion with someone very close to me. Whether or not Our Lady appeared in Mexico is not material to our salvation. I really don't understand why folks who have not accepted that this happened care. It's interesting that they don't believe it happened and feel that because they believe it's a hoax that the believers somehow are stupid. To those who believe it's a hoax, that's fine. For those of us who believe it, that's fine too. It's our faith. We love our mother and we believe she appeared. We believe that miracles happen, so what is your objection? Even the Church does not require the faithful to believe in personal revelations. You can be Catholic and not accept this personal revelation. I accept it because I love my Church, and my Church conducted extensive investigations and declared that the Virgin de Guadalupe is worthy of a special place in the minds and hearts of the faithful. I trust the Catholic Church way more than I trust, with due respect to the writer of this article. Before you say it let me preempt you by admitting that the Catholic Church and the men who run it have made terrible mistakes, but that does not mean the great majority of what the Church teaches is wrong. In life we have very few things we can count on. I have found peace and truth within the Catholic Church and it makes me happy. Please, if you think the Virgin of Guadalupe is a hoax, fine, I get it, but why is it so important to you to try to convince me otherwise. For every story that show it's a hoax there is one which shows the opposite. Let's agree to disagree and allow each other to enjoy our beliefs or our choice not to believe. I was a non-believer once, and now I believe. That is a miracle insandofitself. God Bless

Adrian on June 28, 2014:

Omar on May 17, 2014:

First of all, I'm Mexican and was raised Catholic but am not religious at all. I agree with your article. It completely makes sense that the Spaniards would create a "miracle" to convert the natives to Catholicism shortly after conquest. I don't believe in religion, much less the Virgen of Guadalupe.

The problem with speaking out against the Virgin in Mexico is that you are basically taking away their hope, their strength. One thing that they still believe is good in this world. Sadly, the "non-believers" are outnumbered. Although, things are changing here in Mexico as older generations die off.

Rich on May 15, 2014:

We haven't heard from Emma in a long time. I suspect she failed out of college. She was very mean and hurtful,,, besides being wrong. Watch the movie called "the blood & the Rose"

Pachis Bal on April 29, 2014:





alexnet on April 06, 2014:

Well....well...where is emmaspeaks (the hub author) check above the very slap in the face given by Jav Sarab 10 months ago, with plenty of "cited sources" ....again emmaspeaks did you buried your head now like an ostrich...????

D Guerrero on March 21, 2014:

What's your explanation as to why a fabric that would normally only last 20 years, has lasted over 400 years? There have been replicas made on the same kind of fabric and they've lasted between 8-10 years before fading and falling apart.

Cesar Cantu on February 14, 2014:

I don't know why people are so blinded in false faith to the obvious. The paint is peeling off just by looking at it you can see it.

Mark B on January 11, 2014:

"No mention until 1648". Not true. The whole history was recorded in the 1548 Codex, written in Nahuatl, which has been scientifically authenticated. This was written a mere 8 years after the event. So much for myth and fabrication. Juan Diego was a historical person who in fact witnessed the events attributed to him, as did all the others recounted in the history of the event.

The idea that the Virgin of Guadalupe is only a baptized Tonantzin is ridiculous. She was a vicious, blood thirsty, demonic goddess with a head made of snakes. The idea that either the Indians or the Christians would accept one as the other is laughable. If anything she is like the opposite, the nemesis of the brutal goddess. It is more likely that the very name refers to the crushing of evil, such as the blood thirst for human sacrifice of the Aztec gods. "Coatlaxopeuh" or "quatlasupe", while Nahuatl sounds remarkably like the Spanish word Guadalupe, but means the one "who crushes the serpent."

As to Del in DF's claim about the events of Christianity, the earliest writings on Christ were a mere 15 years after the death and resurrection. And as Paul recounts, there were more than 500 witnesses at one time to the resurrected Christ, most of whom were alive at the time of his writing.

Mikey Amaro on January 04, 2014:

Can you please cite your article correctly.

I'm working on a research paper and this information is good for my paper just that I'm having some trouble citing the article.

MLA Format:

- For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites. Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if not publishing date is given. -


"How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009

Del DF en Chicago on January 03, 2014:

Soy Mexicano, and as as the nationality implies, Native American , descendant of Nahuatl -Mexica . Indeed there are no known writings of the "Virgen de Gualalupe" by anybody involved in the supposed apparition . The first writings happened decades after the supposed ocurance much so like the ocurance of Jesus Christ. The Roman and Jewish people involved in the ocurance were utterly silent about the event. Writings, as well, happened decades after the supposed ocurance. There is a virgin in Spain by the same name Guadalupe. Guada comes from the Arabic name for river and lupe from the Latin lupus= wolf, therefore wolf river. Yes the Spanish used anything at their disposal to control the Mexicans and steal as much as they could, how convenient for the Virgin to appear where they were already congregating regularly to pray to the Mexican Goddes Tonatzin. Just like how convenient was it to set the birth of Christ when the Roman Empire was already celebrating the feast to Sol Invictus, at the winter solstice.

Human weakness lends itself to invent all kinds of stories (religions) for cosmology to have a connection with the immense power that nature is.

Every religion believes that it is the true religion and pray to the true god, how can this be? There is only one answer to this question.!!!

Our Mexican religion states that the Gods gave their life for us and as such it was the responsibility of the " Chosen" Mexicans to keep the human race alive by likewise sacrificing humans . Thereby practicing human sacrifice, the same thing as the Christian religious birth, by sacrificing Jesus. Very similar stories.

Yes, it has been an unmet challenge to find contemporaneous written data for both the Virgen de Guadalupe and Jesus Christ . In fact at one time it was punished by death to question these issues, it was blasphemy. The Inquisition was not only practiced in Europe but also in the Americas and the sequelae still remain, some people still are unable to question these issues.

Gonzalo Ramos Aranda on December 12, 2013:

Les comparto a mi . . .


Posada sobre la luna,

cuidas mi nopal, . . . mi tuna,

tornas suaves las espinas

del mundo, en que me encaminas.

Benditos siempre tus pies,

nunca tocarán el suelo,

tú the elevas, . . . así es,

curando mi desconsuelo.

Virgencita Guadalupe,

hoy, rezándote, ya supe,

de tu gran misericordia,

al mexicano . . . la gloria.

Madrecita de Juan Diego,

a tus designios me pliego,

manos de la imploración,

de súplica, del perdón.

Tu tez, de color morena,

es calma que me serena,

fe, esperanza, caridad,

aullentando la maldad.

Quiero que me hagas milagro,

quites penas, trago amargo,

que nunca nos desampares,

que cuides nuestros hogares.

Manto con el que nos cubres,

bondad, la que tú descubres,

mes diciembre, tu día doce,

que de ti . . . mi alma goce.

Autor: Lic. Gonzalo Ramos Aranda

México, D. F., a 12 de diciembre del 2012.

Dedicado al Sr. Ing. José Guillermo Romero Aguilar.

Reg. SEP. Indautor No. 03-2013-051712171201-14

Cindy on December 12, 2013:

Let me start this off by saying that you state you wrote this to separate a truth from a myth, right? To educate, am I correct? If this is so, then what I am going to say is not to convert you because people convert themselves through inner faith, not by twisting of the arm or a few words we may type. So why, if you are a college educated person, do you not carry common sense yourself? If you are so strong within yourself in not being converted, why is it important to try to convince others that they are wrong? We Mexicans and Catholics are just as strong within ourselves to keep believing in our faith. Why does it bother you so much that people have a faith? Is it so important to you that you have to read and write and dedicate so much of your time to it? Well we Guadalupanos thank you for your time and devotion to our Virgen of Guadalupe. However, your so called research is based, as you keep saying, on cited research. Research you've only read yourself, not physically done. Have you done tangible research on the tilma? I haven't. But I also don't claim to be an expert when I am a student reading other peoples research. You said yourself that you welcome the onslaught yet you also threaten to remove comments not of your likings. You state that your cited sources are truth....yet, your sources are also so-called experts who've only read and written their own opinions based on things they've read themselves. All you're doing is repeating it. How does that make you an expert and all knowing? I am not an expert in my faith, nor am I all knowing. Yet you have faith too. Faith that the Virgen de Guadalupe is a myth. Your faith is based on cited sources. My faith is based on research stemmed from writings centuries ago, very much like yours. We both believe our sources are true. You have experts, and so do we as stated in comments above. If your purpose was to bring light to what you believe is not true, you did a poor job. If you're going to try to convince this Mexican Catholic that the Virgen de Guadalupe isn't real, you're going to have to do better than just giving your written opinion based off of things you simply read from others. Come back when you've done your own physical and scientific work.

Alley on December 11, 2013:

For the person who wrote this article. If you're not mexican this story means squat to you and you're not telling the truth. The fabric has been studied hundreds of times by scientist all over the world. And they cannot find traces of paint paint strokes and how the fabric is still in tact. So if you're not a scietist and have been to mexico to see the fabric yourself Sit the f down and stop writing shit that you don't know anything about. Do some extended reserch you obviouly failed to read more.

David on December 10, 2013:

The admiral Andrea Doria carried an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe with him during the battle of Lepanto, which took place in October of 1571. Furthermore, Miguel Sanchez' work was based on the Nican Mopohua, a Nahuatl work documenting the apparition that was composed c. 1556. ( So, it is false to say that prior to 1648 there was no written record of the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Cathy on December 02, 2013:

This facts are interesting, the problem here is that you mentioned that it is undoubtedly a painting. Richard Kuhn a Nobel prize in chemistry determined that the pigments were not of human, animal or vegetal origin, and when it was put to the laser there is no paint brushing, in fact if you get 3 to 4 inches close the image disappears. So it is heavily disputed that is a painting, in fact most scientist agree is not a painting. Second you missed to mention that the first time the Vatican studied it, they declared they couldn't confirm its origin which was the reason why mexico broke relationships with the Vatican. It wasn't after multiple scientific studies in the 90's when they agreedvto officialize it, so you cannot say it is a sensitive subject for the Vatican as themselves they recognized many of the facts mentioned here.

jake on December 02, 2013: haven't done any good research. you can check out any youtube videos and see that even NASA proved the colors made in the cloak was not of this earth. so get your facts straight. just saying boo.

jake on December 02, 2013: haven't done any good research. you can check out any youtube videos and see that even NASA proved the colors made in the cloak was not of this earth. so get your facts straight. just saying boo.

Rose on September 12, 2013:

Kind of hard to explain away the results of NASA...

Also hard to explain related discoveries made by Nobel- Prize winning scientist Richard Kuhn.

I'd love to hear someone try.

rob-o-bob on August 24, 2013:

so far I see two contradictory pieces of "evidence" and some coincidences that are very convenient.

1) The Bishop Z guy didn't mention this in the notes that we have

2) this painting is lasting a very long time

It seems quite convenient for this miracle to happen at a time when a bunch of people needed to be converted.

It also seems rather convenient that of all the stuff I have investigated about this painting on both religious and scientific sides agrees that the rigor of this piece of work is truly remarkable. I have not seen any scientific explanation for this, but not being an art historian my noting of this might be due to my own ignorance. Still, I have not seen it addressed.

I wonder why people who believe in God who gifted them with the ability to use logic and reason would be afraid of verifiable evidence of human origin for the work. Then again I am amazed that given the Gulf of Tonkin incident I find it hard to believe that those who claim that the 9/11 attack in 2001 in New York and DC are without basis for their claim.

Conspiracies have happened in the past. Huge coverups that were later finally admitted to when overwhelming proof was shown.

If there is a lot of proof that this is human-created and a lot of later-"discovered" proof to support the divine creation of it, would not a just God want us to use our divinely given gifts of perception to find out what what was really happening?

I am not saying miracles don't happen. Not saying they do. Just saying that clear vision is a necessity.

Jav Sarab on May 26, 2013:

this is just 1 piece of evidence...On May 7, 1979, Americans Dr. Philip Serna Callahan, a biophysicist at the University of Florida and an expert in infrared photography, and Jody B. Smith, a professor of aesthetics and philosophy at the College Pensacola, who are both specializing in painting and members of NASA, photographed the image under infrared light and scanned at very high resolutions. After filtering and processing the digitized images to eliminate "noise" and enhance them, they discovered that portions of the face, hands, robe, and mantle had been painted in one step, with no sketches, or corrections, and no visible brush strokes or sizing used to render the surface smooth, no protective varnish covering the image to protect its surface. The Image changes in color slightly according to the angle of viewing, a phenomenon known as "Iridescence", a technique that cannot be reproduced with human hands. Scientists were unable to find any trace of paint residue or dye of any sort on the Image and yet the the colors maintain their luminosity and brilliance. What produced the colors on Juan Diego's cloak or how they were applied remains a total mystery of science. The quality of the pigments used for the pink dress, the blue veil, the face and the hands, or the permanence of the colors, or the vividness of the colors after several centuries, during which they ordinarily should have deteriorated, defy all scientific reasoning. The Image still retains its original colors, despite being unprotected by any covering during the first 100 years of exposure.

Ernesto on February 12, 2013:

"Obeying the command he picked several flowers and put them in his tilma, kind of like a pancho".

It´s a poncho, not pancho. Pancho is the nickname for people called Francisco.

Yes, living in México and speak against "La Virgencita" is like social suicide.......

Jess on September 17, 2012:

Hi Maria!

I was brought up catholic. Throughout the years and by reading and learning about other cultures and religions I realized that I became very cynical about my own religion. Part because what I saw, first hand, during my imposed "catholic devotion" and my need to know more and question everything specially if no one knows the story and tells you what they have been told. At 40 I've learned to disregard and I admired people like you who would go the extra mile to come up with articles like this one. Remember that convictions are more dangerous enemies that truths and lies, therefore the traditions of those convictions become our security, making us believe in absurdities and latter commit atrocities... "The most henious and the must cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives" Mohandas K Gandhi, Young India, July 7, 1950, quoted from Laird Wilcox, ed., “The Degeneration of Belief”

And remember:

Where knowledge ends, religion begins.

Benjamin Disraeli Quote

Keep up the good work!

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on August 27, 2012:

Where have you searched, Maria? I have cited my sources where are yours? You must not have looked too hard. This subject has been wrote about extensively among scholars and I have researched it for quite some time, so it would seem that the one whose research is lacking is yours.

maria on August 27, 2012:

I have looked around for information about your claims and I see they have been very challenged. If you want to prove a case you have to know more than the people who are claiming the opposite and it is not easy because you are supposed to be quite well rounded. In this case some scientists from reputable degrees earned in good universities or theologians or socio historic analysis, otherwise what you are speaking about only shows that you are a skeptical. In some cases skepticism is made by incorrect sloppy mendacious, only half true claims or not good view of primary sources that if they were made by believers would for sure crush any possible consideration of sanity :-)d therefore not a good scholarship research aligned with your claims and it will not matter how not documented or even correct they are

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on August 02, 2012:

Do I agree that this apparition really ever took place? No. There is just way too much evidence contradicting it. As a history scholar, I have seen the evidence for and against and I can tell you that this apparition story is not unlike any other apparition story. There is nothing that stands out in this case. It is almost textbook fraud. But thanks for your input.

Elem Jay Puhttos on August 01, 2012:

OK Emma, here's the deal. Tonantzin (la virgen de Guadalupe) WAS INDEED used by the Catholic Church to convert indigenous people. As you may know, after the Spaniards "took over/conquered" the indigenous people, "los indios" didn't just sit back and start obeying these invaders. No, revolt after revolt they gave the "new leaders" a miserable life. Many indigenous people fled Tenochtitlan and continued their lives in rural areas (deserts, jungles, etc.) and until today they remain away from the nastiness of euro-based societies in Mexico. So, I believe (and maybe you agree) that this aparition DID occur but it had nothing to do with Christianity. Tonantzin spoke nahuatl to Juan Diego, not Spanish. This was a message for natives, not white people. How it got all intertwine.... well the people in people decide what history must be told and the Spaniards stole this moment in native american history and made it theirs.... just like the land. Agree?

Elam Jay Puhttos on August 01, 2012:


Eduardo on April 06, 2012:

You are very welcome, and in regard to Cipac, you are right, my mistake. I read this: "The myth that supposedly took place in 1531, was never even heard of until 1648 and was created by a Creole, not a Nahua Indian.", and erroneusly assumed you meant the painting. My apologies. Regarding Zumárraga's position as bishop, I disagree with you, but it is of no importance. Keep up the good work.

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on April 06, 2012:

I don't say anywhere that Cipac is creole. Also, No, Zumarraga was not in fact Bishop at the time. Check out my sources, sir, but thanks for the comment.

Eduardo on April 05, 2012:

Very well written piece, emmaspeaks, congrats. And, if you don't mind, here are a couple of minor corrections to the facts you mention:

1. Marcos Cipac de Aquino was not a creole (criollo). A "criollo" was someone born in Mexico from spanish parents; Marcos is supposed to be either native american (indio), or "mestizo", that is, one of the parents a spaniard, the other a native.

2. Juan de Zumárraga was IN FACT bishop of Mexico in 1531, appointed (recommended) by Charles V, but he had not received official consecration as a bishop.

I have been debating and, I'd like to think, debunking the myth of the virgin of Guadalupe for many years now among friends and peers and anyone willing to listen to my heretical words. And I'm mexican, just try to imagine the level of opposition I can find. :)

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I think your article is a very good one.

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on March 24, 2012:

Your grammar is atrocious and so is your spelling. I'm not even sure what exactly you are trying to say. Thanks for the LULZ.

canito on March 23, 2012:

Satan rules the world .He uses every means to his disposal (lies for most part) to insult God .And to deturn humans away from him .What a shame that we rather believe crap like the Guadalupe idol or the Santa Muerte than to try to be better persons to please God.It has been written is from your acts that people will recognize whose disciples you are .Judging from what is happening in Mexico we can tell very easily.

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on January 22, 2012:

Thanks John! I am currently in college and still learning about all of Latin America, so I'm sure I will be publishing more on other myths as well.

John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on January 22, 2012:

Great hub... I'm of Cuban origin and Cubans believe in "La Caridad del Cobre" which is the Cuban version of "Guadalupe..." Most countries in Central/South America have their own personal deities of the Virgin Mary and "Guadalupe" is the Mexican version of this Catholic tradition...

Great hub and informative at that....


emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on January 21, 2012:

Yeah, obviously! Like coming to a gun fight with a knife. Sad.

Tony Lawrence from SE MA on January 21, 2012:

His source? Probably the Virgin Mary herself. Fourteenth hand, of course..

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on January 20, 2012:

Could you cite your sources, sir? I believe I cited mine. Your comment is useless drivel. Your beliefs are unfounded.

FUSION on January 20, 2012:

You must have looked up the info in all the wrong places. The Virgin had good reason to appear at that particular hill, To crush the pagan beliefs of tonantzin and all the local pagan deities. This is represented in her standing on the moon. The moon was seen as a source where deities could be invoked. Of course there was no Juan Diego in any records. His official name was an indigineous one (don't recall the name). His Baptized/christianized name was Juan Diego. You need to research the history of the indigenous people and their pagan beliefs before you get a blurred idea and get it all wrong. Also, how do you explain the existence of the tilma today? It should have been dust by now. The tilma is made from the fibers of a cactus plant abundant locally. It has a lifespan of 20 years! Also st cypryan, how do you figure you can compare a demonic witchcraft symbol used by mexican drug dealers as a so-called protector to the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother Of God? There is absolutely no history to this santa muerte crap. 1st, a saint can only be attributed to a flesh and blood human being. How can a skeleton representing death be a saint? You can argue that is represents a good death, but that's only according the the "brujas", "santeros" and whoever decides to dabble in witchcraft. This is not a Christian belief nor does it represent Christianity in any way shape or form. It is seen as an abhorration and the satanic world's attempt to "morph" this false icon into Catholicism.

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on December 28, 2011:

Thank you Simone! I have had an interest in the Guadalupe myth ever since I was a child so it is very satisfying to be able to write about it now. I will continue to do so, even though some would rather not hear about the facts.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on December 28, 2011:

Positively fascinating! I had not been aware of the Virgen de Guadalupe's origins before, nor was I aware of the truth behind the myth. Isn't it amazing how folklore evolves and changes over time, and how propaganda can morph into different forms over time? Thanks so much for the wonderful Hub. Voted up and interesting!

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on December 24, 2011:

Thank you Hecate-horus. I agree, and some of these comments reflect your statement.

hecate-horus from Rowland Woods on December 24, 2011:

Good article. Many Christian customs and symbols stem from Pagan roots;in fact, as I've said before, most of our Christmas traditions are from Pagan beliefs. It's a hard fact that the Catholic church used Pagan holidays and switched around Pagan stories to help convert people. Christians rather stick their heads in the sand about it.

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on December 24, 2011:

Thank you Pcunix. It happens every time. I'm used to it. But St. Cyprian, these facts are far from lost in the mists of time. There are records and historical archives. I think you are under the impression that we have to rely solely on what facts have been passed down, and that is simply not the case. I would be a very poor historian if that were all I had to go on. The fact is that there are records. There is a wealth of evidence. My point with this article was to show how to some, such as yourself, and even the Vatican, evidence does not matter. Only beliefs matter, and that is a tragedy. As far as academic critique goes, I welcome any new information someone might have. Granted, I just spent the past semester immersed in all the new information there is out there, but people make discoveries every day, so I welcome that. Personal beliefs have no place in history. As a historian, I am not here to pass judgment, so my personal beliefs stay out of this. I only present the facts.

Tony Lawrence from SE MA on December 24, 2011:

Every "miracle" is from the same root cause: fool more people.

I love that these folks feel that truth "attacks" them. It does - it attacks their foolishness.

St.Cyprian on December 23, 2011:

I don't think any academic critique can be made here... you have set forth some facts, as such. And, there they are. This is great information, but it is only that. What kind of academic argument are you expecting?

Something like this: There is a parallel between the unifying legend of Our Lady in Mexico and the unifying legend of King Arthur in England. The facts of each are arguable, because they are lost in the mists of time. Although, it is possible that such persons as those involved in the story may have existed, according to many experts. Both legends seem to contain a combination of facts and fiction and are an important part of each culture's history. To attack these ideas is to attack the people, their culture and their very essence.

There you go.

When you attack people at their core, you're going to get an unpleasant reaction. ...I'm not Christian, Catholic or Mexican. I just try to be a decent person. It's hard to understand why people make full on attacks and then wonder why they're getting flak.

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on December 23, 2011:

"all I will ever do is tell you to be your true self," How am I not being true to myself? It seems like you have made a very hasty judgment. And after reading this article, anyone who insists that beliefs are relevant, missed the point of this article.

Hattie from Europe on December 23, 2011:

Well personally I don't try to convert anyone, if you've read enough of my own hubs you would know this, but this is exactly why I don't usually get involved with most articles or forums on such things as this. I have studied many religions, and beliefs. I never convert anyone, and I believe everyone should follow their own paths. For me I just respect all religions, cultures, and people. I've stated that enough times on hubpages. You should have expected most people who read your hub, are going to tell you what they have experienced whether they are atheist,angostic,religious,spiritual or what ever. It doesn't matter to me if you leave my comments. I am a peaceful person, and most people know this too, on hubpages. I stay neutral in all territories, because each is their own experience and path. So if you felt I was trying to convert you, all I will ever do is tell you to be your true self, and follow your own inner compass.

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on December 23, 2011:

Well, thank you, St. Cyprian, but as I said before, personal beliefs and experiences are personal, and cannot be used as a measuring stick for anyone else. That you may have had some experience in regards to this deity can no more be proven than someone else's experience with Buddha, for example. My comment that that I welcome academic critique stands because that IS a measuring stick that can apply to everything in regards to the historicity of this "event".

St.Cyprian on December 23, 2011:

Excellent hub. I've never heard the "true story" before and it certainly is a more plausible one. I think people who have experiences with this energy will find the academic part to be only academic. Lots of powerful miracles are associated with Our Lady and other manifestations of Mary by any name. It's hard to override people's personal experiences with something like this using more unprovable ancient "facts."

I am a fan of both Guadalupe and La Santisima Muerte - now there's an interesting history! And, she, too has many miracles associated with her. Hers is a very powerful energy that goes back to the ancient Aztecs.


emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on December 23, 2011:

Thanks Daniella and Zena!!

Zena on December 23, 2011:

I hate how christians use scare tactics. Glad you put this up.

Daniella Lopez on December 23, 2011:

Wonderful and informative hub, Emma! I love the perspective that you have written this in. Voted up!

emmaspeaks (author) from Kansas City on December 23, 2011:

Hattie, this is not an invitation to convert me. If you have some academic information that can apply to this topic, I welcome it. I will not allow any more comments from you if all you have are your own personal beliefs. They are no more relevant than my opinion of the color blue.

Hattie from Europe on December 23, 2011:

hmm...I studied this before, because I was brought up Catholic, as well as Medjugorie, and Fatima, Lourdes, etc. I don't believe it is a myth, but many miracles happen all the time. I received such a gift from Medjugorje, so I am a believer in Our Lady. I've read many books, and investigations in various places for years. While everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions, I really don't agree with this hub anymore than the Mexican people would. It's not about Patriotism. It's more about believing in a higher power than yourself and God is what they call it, where Our Lady is an intercessor and brings a message of peace and love to all nations. There has been many healings, and different miracles out of many of these stories. I know some people in my own town.