“Am I not here who is your Mother? Are you not in the fold of my garment? Are you not in the crossing of my arms? Am I not the source of your joy? Do you need anything else? Don’t allow anything to worry or disturb you anymore.” –Words spoken to Saint Juan Diego by Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Dalai Lama said, “Religion I take to be concerned with belief in the claims to salvation of one faith tradition or another–an aspect of which is acceptance of some form of meta-physical or philosophical reality, including perhaps an idea of heaven or hell. Connected with this are religious teachings or dogma, ritual, prayers and so on. Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit–such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, which bring happiness to both self and others.” In her book, “The Mystics of the Church” Evelyn Underhill writes: “. . . the fact that true Christian mysticism is neither a philosophic theory nor a name for delightful religious sensations, but that it is a life with an aim, and this aim is nothing less than the union of man’s spirit with the very Heart of the Universe.” I led a Christian religious life in early youth until my late 20’s. After leaving an organized religion, for two decades, I led a spiritual life. Until my pilgrimage to Tepayac in 2001, I had not experienced a mystical encounter.
Through synchronicity, I was introduced to the Aztec Virgin by hearing a late-night broadcast from Art Bell in the summer of 1999. His guest, John Mini, had published two books on the Aztec civilization and their spirituality. I was fascinated by hearing a different account of Aztec history. Even though I’m Mexican, I knew little about the ancient history of my ancestors. According to Mini, the Aztecs were a sophisticated matriarchal society, rich in artistic culture and highly developed in sciences. They resolutely believed that the earth and life were sacred. He went on to describe the Spanish conquest and near genocide of their race because the Aztecs would not surrender. The Aztecs, however, immediately conceded once the Virgin de Guadalupe manifested Herself in a tilmàtli owned and worn by a peasant, Juan Diego. Guadalupe’s appearance saved the race from being wiped out.
Juan Diego’s original cloak and its impression of the Virgin are preserved and still viewed at the Great Temple in Mexico City, called Tepayac. I felt the most significant aspect of the broadcast was Mini’s position that the impression of Guadalupe on the tilma was a secret codex of Aztec mysticism. When the Aztecs saw the imprint of the Virgin on Juan Diego’s tilma, they immediately understood the codex and its hidden messages to end the war with the Spanish, infuse their Aztec mysticism with western Christian spirituality and transcend into a different reality.
John Mini’s ideas of the Virgin awakened a desire deep in my heart to learn the codex. I wanted to understand the Virgin’s message of peace and how to mystically engage my human experience in a Sacred Union of Divine Spirituality and transcend into a new reality.
“On the historic side, every mystic is profoundly influenced by his environment, and cannot be understood in isolation from it. He is rooted in the religious past of his race, its religious present surrounds and penetrates him whether he will or no, and through this present and this past some, indeed much, of his knowledge of God must come.”
Sometimes we need to find a sanctuary, a place of healing where we can go to deal with the chaos of the world responsibly and respectfully. Going on a spiritual pilgrimage can set a new order and resonance into your life. It told your subconscious that you’re serious and committed to improving yourself and you’re willing to take the steps required to do it. I felt visiting the Virgin in her Temple with a pilgrimage to Tepayac would initiate a spiritual and physical transformation in my life. The decision was made to visit the Temple at Tepayac during a blue moon on December 31, 2001.
A CIRCULAR PYRAMID AND HUMAN TEMPEST
The Great Temple of the Virgin de Guadalupe is a circular pyramid design that the Aztecs used for the pyramids for their man/god, Questzaloatl, who represented the union and mirror of Heaven and Earth, Spirit, and Matter.
Arriving at Tepayac was like showing up at the scene of a class five hurricane. Outside in the courtyard, I could feel the swirling emotional energies of the multitude, as in a whirlwind, pressing to enter the Temple. Stepping inside the Temple was like walking into the eye of the hurricane. I could feel the storm of the masses whirling around me. My encounter with the Heart of the Universe had started.
THE CHAPEL OF SAN JOSE
“. . . If a soul is to see God it must look at nothing in time; for a while, the soul is occupied with time or place or any image in of the kind, it cannot recognize God. Only he knows God who recognizes that all creatures are nothingness.”
Sitting inside the Temple, I fixed my gaze to the front where Juan Diego’s tilma hangs on the front wall with clear visibility of Guadalupe’s image. From the tip of her head to the slippers, the image is four feet nine inches. Even as far back as I was sitting, I saw every feature of her impression. Enchanted, I sat feeling the repose of the hurricane’s eye. Then I realized that all the emotions that I felt spinning around were the collective consciousness of the collective going under the Virgin’s mantle. Once inside you are swallowed into Her serenity.
After a few minutes, I felt an impression to take my focus off the image and begin to walk around the inside of the Great Temple. I was drawn to the north end; and as I wandered in silence, time was suspended. I don’t know how long it took me to find my way to a small chapel located on the south side of the Temple. My mind was empty as I entered the Chapel of San Jose. Sitting in the rear of the Chapel, I began to feel a shift in energy physically.
The south end of the Temple is the direction of Huitzilopochtli. The active aspect of the heart, spiritual will, Spirit of the Divine Child, the Great Solar Being is Huitzilopochtli. Sensing the energy shift, I sat with my eyes closed for an unknown length of time. My mind was still in a state of neutrality when I opened my eyes and noticed that I was the only one sitting in the Chapel.
The Chapel is Tecpatl shaped with a Tecpatl ceiling and skylight. It’s a light and airy cement room featuring a bloody, whipped Jesus Christ on the cross preparing to die. There’s a chaotic and unfocused feeling in this Chapel. The pews appear to be tossed about at random. Jesus hangs in the north, the direction of death. The pulpit is also aligned in the northerly direction and seems to be arranged with no purpose. There is a sad and aimless statue of St. Joseph, who holds a small child in his arms. He stands alone and unadorned.
The Chapel of San Jose perfectly captures the height of spiritual turmoil. It’s the feeling of abandonment, that sense you feel when you know that your mission is one that you will take alone. It is the feeling of being cut to shreds for standing alone in front of the opposition.
Huitzilopochtli is the Spirit of the Divine Child. It is the Spirit of not caring about the circumstances or consequences. It matters not that you may lose everything and may appear to be less than a shining hero. When this fearless child faces opposition and feels the pain of abandonment, ridicule, and poverty, it can turn into the crushed child who dies inside never to return. But, it can also choose to embrace the moment of infinite healing; and this is the moment when you make the spiritual decision to fulfill your destiny unconditionally, regardless of the apparent outcome. This is the crucible of power when you either surrender to your actual living self, or you die spiritually. The Tecpatl energy of the Chapel began to cut into the center of my being, the Heart of my Universe.
Everything inside the Chapel of San Jose is misaligned. The priest preaches to no one. The Virgin is giving you the “in-your-face” view of the reality of creating Heaven on Earth. I realized that the Mandate of Huitzilopochtli wasn’t empty optimism and baseless positive affirmations. It was about wrestling with yourself. Facing and accepting who you indeed are—warts and all. What I was beginning to feel, and experience was a realization that real positivism comes from your final decision to be who you are, whatever it is. I started to understand and feel in my heart that this was how to become an unstoppable Spirit. And this is when cosmic forces begin to conspire to help you. It is when synchronicity takes over, and you find yourself in places where you never dreamed you could be. It’s when your dreams begin to manifest in a new reality and you co-create with Spirit in complete spontaneity. This is the State of the Divine Child.
You disappear from the mundane world when you enter the Universe of the Divine Child. You’re still here—more engaged with life than you ever were before—but—there is a feeling of invisible protection and safety that goes everywhere you look inside your heart. Suddenly, I was able to face my greatest fears, my most profound painful wounds from childhood and adulthood, and feel a profound sense of well-being and contentment. At that moment, once again, I felt inspired to get up from my pew and walk. Standing up, I saw that a priest had entered the Chapel and that he was standing up in front with a shaker of Holy Water. It was time for my renewal with a baptism of the Spirit of the Divine Child. I walked forward to the priest and received the water and his blessing. After the initiation, I heard the gentle voice of the Virgin beckoning me to follow the path that was leading outside the Chapel and down to the moving stairway that would take me to Her feet.
STANDING AT HER FEET
In a state of ecstasy and rapture, I stepped on the moving stairway that slowly transported me under Juan Diego’s tilma. Once underneath the tilma, I felt like I was floating outside of my physical body. Time evaporated. I was standing in a cloud. I could hear the compassionate words of Guadalupe in my head as clearly as if she was there whispering them into my ear.
“Am I not here who is your Mother? Are you not in the fold of my garment? Are you not in the crossing of my arms? Am I not the source of your joy? Do you need anything else? Don’t allow anything to worry or disturb you anymore.”
At that moment, my heart tore open, and I began to weep like a small child who was being held by its mother. The tears flowed without restraint. They weren’t tears of grief and loss; instead, they were streams of joy and discovery at being in the presence of the Celestial Mother. There was comfort in knowing that I had at last united with the Sacredness of what my ancestors called Huitzilopochtli.
Evelyn Underhill wrote, “Mysticism has been defined as ‘the science of the Love of God,’ and certainly those words describe its essence.” In my pilgrimage to Tepayac, I had mystically discovered the truth of God’s love through sacred union with the Virgin de Guadalupe. I was at peace. The ancients have known for thousands of years that there is a place where you can physically bring Heaven to Earth and build your dreams. Visiting the Great Temple, I came together, encountered and united with the “Heart of the Universe” and transcended into a new reality.
Quotations taken from:
“The Aztec Virgin,” Trans-Hyperborean Institute of Science, 2000; Day of Destiny, Trans-Hyperborean Institute of Science, 1999
“The Mystics of the Church,” Evelyn Underhill, Wipf and Dtock Publishers
Fr. Rick Romero is an Ordained Catholic Priest under the protection of the Old Catholic Churches International.