In his fabulous book, Daimonic Reality, Patrick Harpur suggests appearances of the Virgin Mary are essentially appearances of the divine feminine emerging poignantly from the collective unconscious, that may be shaped by expectation and mythologies emerging in progression from the original, indistinct appearance.
Harpur asserts most Marian appearances begin rather ambiguously; Mary never seems to name herself initially, rather, she seems to adapt into her specific role as questions are asked, and as the event and story grows. Of course, Harpur is referring to events of personal apparition, not an image on a window or tree. But interestingly, this image-apparition in Salt Lake City seems to still follow these ideas.
But this article isn’t just about the groovy weirdness of a paranormal event; Hawks integrates this event from the Fortean world into the “real” world, here and now. Appearances of Mary are a symbol of hope, and a catalyst for humans. From the divine, or sacred (paranormal or supernatural) and meeting the mundane (everyday) these events trigger positive changes:
Certainly, in the decade since the appearance, the neighborhood area is almost completely transformed. The grassy vacant lot behind the tree is now a brand new, busy children's park. Directly across the street is the amazing Koko's Kitchen-an award winning Asian restaurant with some of the city's best sushi, and legendary miso soup. There's now a trendy charter school down the street, full of brainy-cool emo middle school kids, Salt Lake Arts Academy. The image was a vehicle that broadcast the voice and image of the Latino community to the larger population, and also physically and psychically attracted the larger population to the area. In all, the image seems to have been a catalyst of inclusion.
Mary appears when the divine feminine is repressed. Her appearance in this context is easy to understand. Beyond that, Mary herself has been repressed; the female divine in all mainstream religions has been purposely suppressed, and still is. To this day Mary’s divinity is challenged, denied.
Perhaps more central though, there has been a moderate amount of strife over requests to know more about Heavenly Father's wife, Heavenly Mother. According to standard lore, all requests for information, both formal and informal, are answered with something like: "Heavenly Father respects Her so much and She is so sacred that He doesn't want to parade her around."
If that isn't repression of the feminine divine, I don't know what is. Here, we have the unusual instance in which the existence of a Divine Mother is not a source of debate or speculation-it's dogma. An actual acknowledged Goddess within Christianity, whose name, image, attributes, role, etc. are literally being hidden from her wanna-be worshippers.
Speculation on Mary as Trickster