The History of The Sacred Milagros
Milagros is the Spanish word for miracles. Spanish Milagros hold a very magical and spiritual representation of ‘wishes’ for good fortune, good luck, healing powers, and even little miracles that people may wish for. Milagros are given in the form of little charms that are made from gold, silver, copper or brass. They are offered to a Saint by the faithful believers, believing that they hold spiritual power that can heal, help, provide or improve upon the things that will help our overall well-being. They are also given in forms of gratitude for prayers that have been answered. These delicate little charms, Milagros, symbolic of our wishes and prayers are made into anything which represents those wishes or prayers, like: if we wish for a new addition to the family, a little baby Milagros may be given. For a wish or prayer for help with a physical ailment, a part of the body is given. For prayers of love, you often see a heart. They are typically nailed, pinned or hung from ribbons on crosses, altars, shrines or sacred objects. They are also carried, worn or pinned on clothing for protection and good luck. In Mexico, the use of Milagros are often connected with a common practice, known as a “Manda”. This where a person will ask saint a favor, and then, in order to repay the saint after the favor has been granted, makes a pilgrimage to the saint’s shrine, and leaves a Milagros with a small written prayer of thanks.
Milagro charms, Symbols & Meaning
HEARTS – These can represent the human heart, or may be connected with the worries over a heart condition. They might represent the love that one person feels for another. They can also represent the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Sacred Heart of Mary.
EYES, DOUBLE EYES, GLASSES
The milagro of the eyes is often connected with a popular Mexican saint – Santa Lucia – who, in her popular image, is shown carrying a tray with two eyes. People pray to her – and make mandas to her – about eye conditions. The eyes can also represent the concept of watching. One practice is to attach the milagro to the frame of the image of a deceased person, in the belief that the spirit of that person is watching over us, helping to defend us from spirits from the land of the dead, or pleading our case before the saints and the angels.
BODY PARTS (LUNGS, EARS, KIDNEYS, ETC)
Various body parts, such as kidneys, livers, lungs, ears, noses, breasts, lips/mouth as well as the better known arms and legs are usually used when asking for help with a particular ailment of the identified part (ie Lung cancer, Kidney stones, hearing loss, etc.)
BOOKS, PENCILS, NOTEBOOKS
Students will often use Milagros of books, notepads or pencils.
PRAYING FEMALE FIGURES
This popular milagro can represent a woman, such as ones’ mother or wife, or any other woman who is perceived as being faithful. It can also represent any female saint, such as the Virgin Mary, for instance.
PRAYING MALE FIGURES
This milagro can represent a man, such as ones father or husband, for instance, or any other man who is perceived as being faithful. It can also represent any male saint, such as the San Isidro, for instance, who is always shown in a praying posture.
A milagro of woman’s head might represent a woman, a woman’s head, a woman’s mind, a woman’s spirit, or a condition such as a headache.
A milagro of man’s head might represent a man, a man’s head, a man’s mind, a man’s spirit, or a condition such as a headache.
This popular milagro might represent one’s female child, niece, grandchild, or any other girl. It might also represent the childlike qualities in anyone, such as oneself, in the sense of nurturing ones inner child, for instance. It can also be connected with a manda to a saint, wherein one might have prayed to give birth to a baby, and as a result of these prayers, a girl child was born.
This very popular milagro might represent one’s male child, or a nephew, a grandchild, or any other boy. It might also represent the childlike qualities in anyone, such as oneself, in the sense of nurturing ones inner child, for instance. It can also be connected with a manda to a saint, wherein one might have prayed to give birth to a baby, and as a result of these prayers, a boy child was born.
The milagro of the arm might represent an arm itself, and some condition associated with it, such as an injury, or, an arthritic condition. It might also represent ones strength, ones ability to work – and hence ones job – or some related concept. It might represent an embrace, and physical demonstrations of affection that involve embracing.
LEGS AND FEET
This milagro might represent ones leg itself, and some condition associated with it, such as an injury, or arthritic condition. It might also represent ones strength, and the concept of travel, such as a journey, or even the idea that one might be safe driving back and forth from work everyday.
Houses usually represent ones own home, and the blessings upon the family that lives there. It can also represent the hope of owning a home, or it can represent blessings on another home. It might also represent any other building that is like ones home away from home. When traveling, it can be a charm to ensure that one will arrive safely home again, or it can establish a connection between the traveler and the loved ones at home.
HENS, ROOSTERS & CHICKENS
The hen is actually a very powerful symbol, as are all of the animal Milagros. This one, like the others, might represent ones own hen, with one seeking blessings so that she might always lay good eggs. Or, it might symbolize human qualities like those of a mother hen – the concept of mothering.
The bull might symbolize strength, protection, stamina, endurance.
The horse might symbolize the qualities of a man in being a workhorse, or it might symbolize travel, and be involved in a prayer about a journey.
The mule, like the horse, might symbolize the qualities of a man in being a workhorse – being able to “work like a mule” – or it might symbolize travel, and be involved in a prayer about a journey. It might also be involved in a prayer or a charm to overcome stubbornness in either in oneself or in another.
SHEEP, LAMBS, GOATS
The sheep could symbolize any of the Bible verses about sheep, such as the parable of the Good Shepherd, or the Lamb of God. It could also symbolize the concept of togetherness, or family. It might also be used a charm to try to erase the effects of behavior that is typically described in a negative way as being like that of a sheep – such as giving into peer pressure with negative results, or, say, the concern of a parent that her child my be involved with a harmful cult or some other group that one does not approve of.
The family dog Milagros could symbolize loyalty. It could also symbolize protection.
The pig could symbolize nourishment – “bringing home the bacon“. It might also be used a charm to try to erase the effects of behavior that is typically described in a negative way as being like that of a pig, such as perceived lack of control in ones eating habits.
My Milagros ~
…each day I get lost for a little while… in a dream
There have been many things that I have wished and prayed for. Sometimes I get my wish, and most times… I don’t. I really liked learning about the Milagros. I think it’s a sweet tradition and I like the message behind it. It’s alright to hope, to wish and to pray. Not only for yourself, but for your loved ones too. It’s important to wish and pray for the right things, to avoid wishing for unreasonable and selfish things. Someone once said to me, “People buy lottery tickets, day after day, week after week, year after year, and never win. But they keep hoping, wishing and praying that they do. They never lose faith. People pray to a higher power or a Saint for something, just one time, and when they don’t get it, all hope and faith is abandoned.” Why?
It has taken me many years to find faith and spirituality within myself. I have a better sense of it now more than I ever have. I don’t use faith to ask for selfish things, unreasonable things, or impossible things. I have learned to be humble when I turn to faith and spirituality, to respect it for what it is. What it is to me, believing that there is something greater out there, and finding ways to connect my spirit to that greater force. I am always extremely grateful when I experience a spiritual moment, when I feel the connection… (this usually only happens when I’m out in the world, in nature, like on the beach or in the mountains). I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for five wonderful years and I had more miraculous moments of spiritual connection out there in the mountains than I have anywhere else… ever! Sitting on top of a mountain and feeling how tiny and insignificant you are compared to the world, is a very spiritual experience. (I miss Salt Lake terribly…)
Giving thanks for my Milagros ~
There are many miracles that I have been given in my life. Milagros that I’m already aware that I possess. Deep inside my heart and spirit, I keep my Milagros safe, just for me. That is where they stay. Although I am aware of the wonderful Milagros that I have been given, I don’t become blind that I can lose them at any time. Nothing is forever. Not all things are permanent. Nothing can be promised until the end of time. We are all little Milagros ourselves, our life is a Milagro. I give thanks for my Milagros. I am grateful to be aware of my Milagros. I hope, pray and wish that i always remain aware of them and the miraculousness of their presence in my heart, mind, spirit and faith.
~ Jen Lefever
The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Johnny Depp or survived months at sea. But my miracles are different. My miracles are personal to my life story…
…this is me~
Other’s Milagros ~
“Miracles are what happens when you get out of the way of yourself.”
― Brad Szollose
― Dana Reinhardt
― T.F. Hodge