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Queer The@phany Bearer

By: Justin Ferko

Person dressed as The@phany Bearer Cuauhtlatoatzin, Pride, Mexico, D.F. 2014

Photo by Keph Sennet, Used with Permission

This poem is written in dedication to my LGBTQIA2S+ Community in recognition

of June as Pride Month and the sacredness of our lives. Let this be a the@phany of life

breathed into all places of oppression.

A the@phany is a manifestation of the Divine. Here, I use @ in place of “o” or “a” to

indicate that the Divine is within and beyond our gender categories. I also use the

Nahuatl names for Juan Diego and Guadalupe to honor their indigeneity.

A soundtrack for this Prayer Note to listen to as before and after you read and meditate: “La Virgen de Guadalupe” by Fray Alejandro R. Ferreirós OFM

Queer The@phany Bearer

As Cuauhtlatoatzin Juan Diego Talking Eagle journeys along the path

At the base of Tonantzin María Guadalupe’s sacred hill,

An explosion of birdsong and chant crescendos and reverberates in their heart,

A whirlwind perfume of flowers blooming out of season encircles Cuauhtlatoatzin on their

ascent to Tonantzin’s holy home.

Flor y canto, an invitation from the Divine to deep, personal relationship.

“You are beloved, child.


Hear this.

Know this in your heart-mind.

Embody your sacredness.”

Tonantzin speaks to them with fierce Divine love, to you.

At the bishop’s office, Cuauhtlatoatzin tells of the Beautiful One on the hill.

And the institution retorts:

“You? Holy?

You? Worthy?


Reader, Look! Come closer!

See Cuauhtlatoatzin’s tilma-cloak filled with flowers

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, pink, blue, white, black, brown blossoms

Spilled out at the feet of the institution.

On their tilma, an image

The brown-skinned powerful Tonantzin,

dancing and pregnant Tonantzin,

Divine Tonantzin!

An outpouring of petals, perfume, flor y canto inundate the bishop’s office.

The flood of the@phany bursts the heavy wooden doors,

Pours out onto the streets,

Fills the cracks in the cobblestones, the walls, the laws, all hearts,

Shines brilliant in the sun.

Tonantzin and Cuauhtlatoatzin dance into the streets

Traversing all roads, all lands

Joining the chant and protests:

Black lives are holy, holy, holy.

Trans lives are holy, holy, holy.

Flor y canto love anointing the children

Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color- Holy, Holy, Holy!

Transgender, Mahu, Two Spirit, Non-binary- Holy, Holy, Holy!

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Asexual, Intersex, Questioning -Holy, Holy, Holy!

Agender, Cisgender, Queer, Gender-Queer - Holy, Holy, Holy!

All The@phanies of the Divine- Holy, Holy, Holy!

And the dance arrives at your door.

Tonantzin and Cuauhtlatoatzin reach out to pull you into the celebration.

What is the Divine’s invitation to you to sacred activism?

Justin Ferko (he/they) is a queer Interspiritual Companion, Certified Relational Nature

and Forest Therapy Guide, 2022 New Contemplative with Spiritual Directors

International, and graduate of Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development (SDSG and

DYDM). He celebrates the giftedness of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and facilitates soul

friendship with Mother Earth. You can reach him for spiritual companionship,

supervision, or in-person/virtually guided Forest Bathing walks: and

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