One thing that I wanted to expand from class is the name Guadalupe. The nahuatl text of the Nican Mopohua, and subsequently Spanish translations use the name Guadalupe for the image that is believed to have appeared to Juan Diego in Tepeyacac hill. Applying the Spanish name of Guadalupe to the Mexican Virgin apparition tends to distract from the nahuatl term that mary would have been used…since it is recorded Mary spoke to Juan Diego in his native language.
“Nican mopoua, motecpana, in qenin yancuican ueytlamauisoltica monexiti in senquisca ichpochtli Sancta Maria Dios Inantzin tocihuapilatocatzin, in oncan Tepeyacac, moteneua Guadalupe.”
The first section of the Nican Mopohua names her “Sancta Maria Dios Inantzin tocihuapilatocatzin… Guadalupe”. It uses the Latin term “holy” (Sancta) and the Nahuatl honorific mode of “Mother”. Most of the references to her by Juan Diego seem to be in this respectful mode; titles and names in Nahuatl used for a person of high status usually end in “-tzin”. The name Guadalupe itself could be a hispanization of a nahuatl term Mary used when she spoke to Juan Diego and Juan Diego’s uncle.
The term "cihuatpilatocatzin" literally means reigning female counterpart... basically Queen. The term implies status as both favorite and as spouse which is important since this treats her almost as an equal to God and parallels pre-hispanic ideas of reigning deities which usually existed in couples.
As early as the 1660s theologians, such as Luís Becerra y Tanco, were debating the Náhuatl name of Guadalupe. His conclusion; Coatlaxopeuh. This may seem trivial but in fact the name would have been important not only in an indigenous but in a Christian context. Coatlaxopeuh literally means “(she) who crushes the snake”. An extensive mythology of pre-Hispanic gods narrates the rule, leaving and hoped-for return of a principal serpent god. The fact that Mary (Guadalupe) would “crush” the serpent would allude to scripture (Revelation 11:19, the dragon of Apocalypse) and possibly the snake in the Garden of Eden who deceived the first woman (Genesis 3:1). Mary brings the good news of Jesus Christ our (the) messiah (Iesu Christo in totemaquizticantzin) and of the True God (neli Teotl Dios). In doing so she 1) adopts the indigenous people as Her children 2) destroys the old sinful ways (human sacrifice, worship of other gods). It was not uncommon for writers at the time to describe indigenous religious practice as Satanic since they often assumed the things they saw were inspired by none other than Satan (tzitzimitl).
The Nican Mopohua seems to incorporate Classical Nahuatl literary style especially in the way it describes people and places of respect. Section 25 of page 173 in the nican mopohua text reads as “"Maxikmatti, ma uel yu ye in moyolo, noxocoyou, ca neuatl in nisenquisca semicac Ichpochtli Sancta Maria, in Inantzin in uel neli Teotl Dios, in Ipalnemouani, in Teyocoyani, in Tloque Nauaque, in Iluicaua, in Tlalticpace” “She said to him, ‘know for sure my dearest and youngest son, that I am truly the most perfect (immaculate) most Holy Virgin Mary, who has the honor to be the Mother (use of honorific title) of the only and most true God for whom we all exist, the Creator of (all) people, the Lord of all around us and of what is near us, the Lord of Heaven and the Lord of Earth. Mary reinforces Catholic teaching by reiterating that she is not an indigenous goddess, she is Mary and that the God that is Hers is also their (Juan Diego’s, Mexicans’) God.
On page 18 of the Conception excerpt; the author plays with a lot of pre-Christian Mesoamerican imagery. Mary seems at a certain level as a continuation or fulfillment of pre-Christian religion. By comparing Mary to the Ark of the covenant and fine and fragrant lumbers the author appeals to Nahua ideas of godly anointment (fragrance) as well as drawing a parallel between the “Cedar of Lebanon” with the ahuehuetl, a cosmic tree of sorts with importance to the indigenous people before and after Christianity.
The author of the Nican Mopohua and the ecclesiastical authors writing on the topic of the apparition attempt to create a tender picture of Christianity that may contrast against the tragedies of the conquest, famine and plagues at the time. In speaking to Juan Diego, Mary explicitly terms Juan Diego as Her son; “¿Cuix amo nican nica nimonantzin ¿Cuix amo noseualotitlan, necauyotitlan in tika ¿Cuix amo neuatl in nimopakcayelis Cuix amo nocuixanco nomamaluasko in tica ¿Cuix oc itla in motech monequi?”… “Am I not here, I that am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and my protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle and in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more?”. She offers her protection and guidance to Juan Diego and requests that a shrine be built in Her honor. For this reason Mary does not simply Destroy (the serpent, old pagan ways) but also Creates since she reinforces the importance of accepting the True God and all the while maintains a delicate balance found in pre-Hispanic theology such as God couples and motherly motifs in the objective of public cults.