I wrote this for UFO Digest some years ago; it seems to have disappeared from the UFO Digest site. Here it is: Mary as Trickster, my speculations on BVM apparitions not always appearing to be what they seem to be.
Speculation on Mary as Trickster
An American professor is describing his atheism to a Mexican who is attempting to understand his faith. Suddenly there is a gleam of understanding in the eyes of the senora.
“We know that you do not believe in Jesus,” she said with a look of sympathy, “but surely you must believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe!” ~ [Virgin of Guadalupe Goddess of the Americas, Patrice Wynne]
There aren’t many female aspects of the Trickster. But I wonder if Marian apparitions can’t be considered a female version of Trickster manifestation.
If we accept that Marian apparitions are a paranormal/anomalous (and not religious) phenomena, and often within the context of UFOs, and that the Trickster is an innate part of paranormal, UFO phenomena, then it isn’t too outlandish to consider the symbol of the “Virgin” Mary as a Trickster.
Demetria Martinez, in a short piece on her relation to the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, considers Mary a “sacred Trickster”: Guadalupe, that sacred trickster who faithful to her Aztec predecessor appeared on the hill where Tonantzin, the corn goddess, was worshipped by Nahuatl-speaking people ~ [Martinez]
I’ve often been struck by the irony of the Catholic Church cracking down on both those church members who believe appearances of Mary is a part of their religious experience, as well as the Marian Apparitional phenomena itself.
It’s clear there is an entire political agenda present in the church’s stance on maintain power in contrast to the appearances of a deity that seems, whether intentionally or as a by product, to mock the church’s position.
In this way, these apparitions of Mary could be seen as a manifestation of Trickster.
She shares other characteristics with Trickster:
- She appears outside of, and regardless of, the church’s official, authoritarian position.
- She appears within the context of paranormal, supernatural, and or UFOlogical phenomena.
- Her messages are often contrary to what is currently presented by the church.
- She continues to appear, despite the efforts of authority to quench those appearances.
- The phenomena invites debate, stirs up trouble, and creates divisions among Catholics, the religious, the spiritual and the non-religious or spiritual alike. From church goer to UFO researcher, all groups engage in controversial and opposing discussions about her appearances. Science enters the fray; more debate.
- Often Marian apparitions occur on sacred ground or in places where previous supernatural, anomalous appearances have taken place.
- The messages of Mary are often urges to reject the church’s official line. Trickster laughs at authority, usurps it, mocks it.
- People continue to follow their beliefs, curiosity, and remain true to their personal experiences in terms of Marian apparitions by visiting her shrines, creating groups, communicating with others who share similar views, often in defiance of church mandate.
- At times, the church has gone so far as to get the law involved in shutting down pilgrimages, etc. Here the authority cracks down on the anomalous; even, in typical Trickster like irony, that authority is itself anomalous.
- Paranormal phenomena has occurred in many MAs, (Marian Apparitions) : rosaries turning gold or silver, aerial phenomena, dramatic weather events, the strong scent of roses, etc. These can be compared to various “stunts” performed by UFO occupants, in an anomalous, paranormal context.
- Even the symbology of Mary herself, often thought of as only a Catholic icon, is Trickster like.
Mary was not a “virgin” in the strict sense in Jewish and other traditions; Mary, a Jew, was mother to Jesus Christ, another Jew.
Her pregnancy is a mystery; occurring because of a “visitation” of an angel. If these events were placed in a UFO/alien/paranormal context, the presence of the Trickster is apparent.
The Trickster is a joker. From the spiritual aspects of marian apparitions; Guadalupe, Medajorgie, Lourdes, etc. to the pop culture circus like appearances of the Blessed Mother on window panes, trees and tortillas, we see the extremes and contradictions of Trickster.
From the divine (appearing on holy sites) to the ridiculous (appearing on bread, tortillas and oily window panes) the Trickster holds up the image of Mary to all of the folk, while thumbing its nose at the approval of the church, as well as society.
Mary as Political Icon
The Virgin of Guadalupe is a political symbol, not just a religious icon. Her image appears on t-shirts, candles, all kinds of mundane objects.
People put her image on their cars. Keys hang from plastic encased images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, her image is stuck to the front of refrigerators. Other Marys appear in these ways as well. Even non-Catholics, like myself, have taken on her iconography to
represent an oppositional stance towards the institutionalization of spiritually.
Though raised in that tradition and baptized and growing up in part in Hispanic culture, I also come from a Jewish background: you can’t get more inverse than that!
In these ways, we can look at Marian Apparitions as an aspect of the Trickster, and consider the symbol of Mary in all her manifestations as both a feminine and divine side to the Trickster.