A Guest Post from Jeff of Druid Journal
A couple of months ago my friend Kate Gladstone wrote to me:
I guarantee you will never forget this: detailed six-page article on
the mythological system created by homeless kids.
Click the link below to start Page 1 …
She was right. It’s a long article, so don’t feel compelled to jump right over and read it immediately, but it is amazing, poignant, and harrowing, and should be read. The children have collectively created a mythology that is rich, colorful, and choked with fear and desperation. For someone such as myself, who believes in various overlapping mythological systems, it raises all sorts of difficult and vital issues. Are the children really tapping into spiritual truths? Are they actually being contacted by spirits, as they claim? If so, why is their vision so full of fear and doom, when the visions of so many other spiritual people have so much light and joy?
Below, I’ll outline the mythology, and then describe the result of some meditation I’ve done on this, and offer some partial answers.
Mythology of Fear
God has lost hope and abandoned Heaven and Earth.
His angels remain — well, some of them do — and continue to fight the good fight. But Satan and his demons have opened a multitude of doors into our world, and are invading in force. The angels are losing. The evidence of transcendent evil is everywhere for these children, in a world where drugs and gangs and violence and gunfire repeatedly tear their fragile lives apart.
The spirit world is populated with angels, demons, and ghosts — dozens, hundreds of ghosts, the wandering dead — homeless in death as they were in life. Even the angels themselves are essentially homeless, since Heaven has been lost to Satan. Somewhere in the jungles beyond Miami is a safe, if temporary, refuge, a place guarded by giant crocodiles, where souls can go to rest for a while. But the dead can only enter it if a fresh green palm leaf is dropped on their graves.
There are two mighty spirits that figure prominently in the childrens’ mythology. One, known as the Blue Lady, lives out in the ocean, and sometimes comes to help the children, and speaks comfort to them from afar. Her skin and eyes are pale blue, and her hair is dark, and she is surrounded by multicolored flowers. She lives under a spell or curse that limits her power, and she can only help those who know her true name. But she loves all the children, and for many of them, the simple knowledge of that love is a great comfort.
But the other mighty spirit is an evil one, and much more potent. Bloody Mary is her name, and La Llorona (the Weeping Woman), and she delights in and feeds on the mutilation and death of children. Even Satan fears her. Her eyes are empty sockets that cry blood or black tears, and if you see her, with her robes blowing about without wind, and her red rosaries clicking, you know she has marked you for death. She enters the hearts of friends and family and turns them into deadly enemies. If you dare, smear a mirror with ocean water, and stare at it in the dark as you chant her name, and she will come. The stories say that she killed her own child, and has made a pact with the devil to kill all human children. The stories say even more horrible things, but I will not repeat them here.
From the Mouths of Babes
How do the children know these things? Some of the stories are obviously derived from urban legends found in other places. The basics of the Bloody Mary story are known to children throughout America and Europe, especially among girls, although her name is variously Mary Worth or Worthy, Mary Worthington, or Hell Mary, and she is not always viewed as evil. The Bloody Mary legend appears to have been merged with the La Llorona legend of Latin America, a woman crying for her children, whom she drowned. (If you want to be horrified a dozen times over, look at the Wikipedia articles on these urban legends.) As for the Blue Lady, she may have derived from Yemana (or Yemaya or Imanja or Big Mama Wati), a compassionate blue-robed Santeria ocean goddess.
But none of this explains the children who have seen and spoken to these spirits, and whose lives have been touched — for good and for bad — by them. They do not explain the angels and dead relatives that come to the children and give them updates on how the War is going. They do not explain the child haunted nightly by the ghost of his father until he managed to place fresh leaves on his grave. They do not explain the girl who met the Blue Lady in the midst of a hurricane, and learned a complex hymn of hope from her. They do not explain the gang that called on Bloody Mary to help them protect one of their members from justice… and how she incited them to kill him themselves.
So this mythology is not a false one; it is at least partly true. But how can that be? Those of us who pray to God know full well that He has not abandoned us. Those of us who pray to pantheons have experienced firsthand the richness of the spirit world, the cycles of growth and retreat, and the supreme power of Light over Dark (if Dark is acknowledged to be anything other than an illusion!). How can the children be so clearly connected to the spirit world, and yet draw from it so much fear and horror?
The Fascination of Horror
Have you stood in front of a dark mirror and called out her name? Most of us have. Anyone who hears this story is bound to be horrified, but also intrigued and curious… Would it work? Would she really come? What would it be like? Am I brave enough to do it — and if I am, and she appears, am I brave enough to do anything other than scream?
The excitment and delight and thrill of a really good scare — this is nearly universal among us. But why?
Regardless of whether Bloody Mary is real, any attempt to contact her or summon her is at best an act of idiocy, at worst a particularly unpleasant way to commit suicide. What is it that pulls us to her? What is the source of the fascination?
In meditation, I visited my anima, who had this to say.
First, yes, Bloody Mary is real, and so are a whole host of other evil spirits. But in fact they are not very powerful. In and of themselves, most of them can be banished by sunlight on daisies. What really gives them power over us is our own fear and ignorance. They cannot affect us unless our fear drives us down to a low enough “vibration” that they can reach us. Bloody Mary will not appear in the mirror unless you are already ridiculously frightened — the fear alone will give her the strength to take on a visible form. She really does feed on fear, in a very literal way; and lack of fear will render her powerless.
So what is the source of the fascination? First, understand that we are immortal souls; we may be damaged or blocked for a while, but we cannot be destroyed. Second, remember that it is by facing our fears that we grow and mature. Therefore, what could be more natural than a fascination — an attraction — to danger and adventure? Danger is nothing more than an invitation to growth; fascination with it is healthy.
But for these homeless children, who have fear and desperation as constant companions, and have few comforts in life, Bloody Mary is a power to be avoided at all costs.
The Creeping Horrors
I experienced the fascination of horror myself while I was researching this article. A few years ago, I would have dismissed the Bloody Mary legend as balderdash, but now I’m a little older and wiser and I know what spirits can do. I found myself intensely curious about this story, and read many different versions of it, and found lots of examples of people online who had seen her.
Clever me — I was doing this research in the middle of the night. I was not in a room with a mirror, but of course all the windows around me were mirrors with the darkness behind them. I slowly, inexorably began to freak out. I was sure I felt a not-too-friendly presence in the room with me, and wondered if I had been summoning Bloody Mary — or something equally unpleasant — with my fascination and fear.
I fought hard to dispel the fear. I saw nothing. But for the first time in over twenty-five years, I had to go to sleep with the lighs on.