Detail of Jesse Treviño’s three-story “La Veladora,” 2006, by Jay Lee; ”Treviño’s massive, three-dimensional veladora [candle], which contains an eternal flame, ranks as the largest Virgin Mary mosaic in the world, and is said by Treviño to have been designed to last at least 500 years.” In “The Warrior Queen: Encounters with a Latin Lady” (one of the chapters in Goddess of the Americas: Writings on the Virgin of Guadalupe), African American author, storyteller, and priestess of the Ifá/Orisha religion Luisah Teish writes,
Then it begins again and She is there. Ave Maria Morena, the Virgin of Guadalupe. I talk to the Lady on the candle. Who are you today, Ms. Lupe? Shall I choose a green one for Tonantzin, the sustaining power of the Earth? I pick up the green candle and remember the coronation of la Morena. She was declared the ‘Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas.’ I recognize in Her Ala, the Igbo Earth Goddess; Asase Yaa, the Great Mother of Ghana; and Nana, Mother of All the Gods in the Kingdom of Dahomey. I take a moment to thank Her for welcoming my ancestors to these shores. I thank Her for the knowledge of the herbs of this land which the Native Americans shared with my people. And even now as I stand in the grocery store, I acknowledge that this little girl from Louisiana has found a place in Oakland, California. I am snug and safe in Her belly.