Tonantzin – Virgen de Guadalupe

Nican Mopohua tlen Melahuac ica Tonantzin-Guadalupe

In the beginning stages of reconnecting with our Indigenous consciousness, subscribing to the “Spanish trickery” narrative of the image of the Mexican Guadalupe is one of the first rebellious stances many of us take. In my Indigenous reclamation process, I also once held that stance. When learning about the atrocities against our people, anything evoking a Spanish or Christian likeness can trigger righteous anger and defensiveness. In that beautiful initial phase of unlearning colonizer lies, we understandably tend to accept any iconoclast, rebel-spirited conclusion that lifts Indigeneity and puts down Spain or Christianity. However, when we do this, a lot of knowledge gets thrown out with the bath water, so to speak.

While we understand how these defensive stances come into being, we aim to push forward with a non-victimized perspective of our Mexican-Indigenous ancestors, along with not perpetuating implied notions that Mexicans are superstitious and naive people. Rather, our Ancestors were creative, resourceful, and ingenious in the face of a brutal genocide.

In the case of this topic of the Mexican Guadalupe, we also assert she is not merely a “synthesis of old and new” worlds. At least not in the subservient way, it is often framed to center the narrative on Spanish superiority, intention, and origin. Please make no mistake: The Mexican Guadalupe and the Juan Diego stories are of Indigenous origin, creation, and purpose.

The more I studied the highly advanced intelligence of our ancestors and the Indigenous mobilizing power of the Mexican Guadalupe’s image and story, the “Spanish trickery” narrative seemed too deficient and eventually offensive. Continuing to grow in knowledge and experience of analyzing the various popular Mexica topics the Tolteca way— with my mind and my heart,  I concluded many years ago that the “Virgen de Guadalupe,” as the image and story is popularly known, is in fact of Indigenous Mexican creation and intention.

Intention of the Guadalupe Pieces

The intention is not so much to debunk what I consider deficient arguments that conclude the “Virgin de Guadalupe” (image and story) to be a hoax. I can easily go into an “academic” mode and do all that academic pedantry.

Rather, the main intention here is to dethrone the dominant narrative regarding Tonantzin-Guadalupe from being centered in a Spanish colonizer worldview that dismisses and disrespects Indigenous capacities and intelligence.

Whether one believes the apparition story to be completely true or whether one believes the Spanish pulled an okey-doke on arguably the most intelligent and savvy society in the world at that time, both sides are premised on and reinforce the “dumb Mexican” stereotype.


“The Toltecs were truly wise; they conversed with their own hearts. . . . They played their drums and rattles; they were singers, they composed songs and sang them among the people; they guarded the songs in their memories, they deified them in their hearts.”


Another focus is to exercise our Indigeneity beyond the growing inundation of superficial, secular, culture-political pomp and circumstance displays and memery we see at mainstream events and on social media. One of these exercises to help take us beyond the superficial when assessing historical narratives of our people is the Toltecayotl practice of “Conversing with Our Hearts” (perhaps a form of intuition depending on your definition).

Western methodology and research have walked hand in hand with the colonization of our people. Building our “heart conversation muscles” as an additional way to analyze information can provide access to new dimensions of knowledge.  

We can also delegitimize and outmode the current status quo conclusions about Indigenous peoples that have often been, at the least, harmful–unhelpful, and, at worst– hostile to us. As an example, using terms like “superstitious” and  “pseudo-” towards Indigenous metaphysical perspectives is the modern-day version of racist colonizer labeling of old that belittles Indigenous forms of knowledge and learning. Let us work to ensure that our future generations are not held subject to the limited capacities of Western methodologies, knowledge-keeping, and understanding of reality.


More on Tonantzin..

The Mexica Guadalupe

Juan Diego on top of hill with virgen de guadalupe

Catecismo Tonantzin Guadalupe

Bernardino's Suspicion