(12/13/00 11:10:19 pm)
Okay, if I'm being a poting hog, please call me on it.
I read the article in the Miami news that Greg posted in another topic, and it inspired me to start a new topic:
The street children of Miami have a whole folk network based on the idea that God has abandoned the world, and angels and demons have been left to battle it out for supremecy. This theme of God's abandonment of Earth is one that resounds itself in current dramatic works: I refer you to Jose Rivera's "Marisol" and Tony kushner's "Angels in America." Now, I am not very familiar with biblical myth, but is this a theme in folklore or mythology? Or is this a current trend in the mythical imagination of a technological age? The only myth of a god or goddess's abandonment I can think of right now is Circe's hibernation after Persephone's abduction.
(12/14/00 11:59:26 am)
The whole thing reminds me of Deism to a degree, in that God supposedly made the Universe then left it for us to sort out. In that context "angels" and "demons" could represent our own better and baser natures striving for dominance. Probably reaching, but in this context a mythology created by those with the least power in a society and as such much more personally affected by the baser or better nature of their fellow beings... well, the particular form it's taking seems almost inevitable from that perspective. I don't know, but it's food for thought.
(12/21/00 8:46:52 am)
There is probably some degree of this, if nothing else as an element underlying their beliefs. Abandoned children operating on a religious premise that God has ditched them just like the rest of the adult universe doesn't seem much of a stretch. That part sounds like a description of someone's contemporary fantasy novel.
What I find more amazing is how they have assembled on their own, and mostly by oral communication, an intricate, functioning belief system out of whatever was handy. La Llorona, mermaids, Virgin Mary, Santaria...it's a remarkable grab-bag of elements.
(12/21/00 9:00:09 am)
|re-post: Florida Nightmares|
I posted this in the teaching thread, but I think it's better off here - sorry for the doubling up!
I read the article too, and have been letting my thoughts percolate for a few days before replying. Did anyone else find an unnerving resemblance to the Philip Pullman series here? God - Pullman's Authority - abandons the earth, leaves it to a force of fighting angels (who, in Pullman, attempt to cover up his disappearance). The Blue Lady of Florida, besides her Mary/Yemaja connections, seems something like the character of Mrs. Coulter, though more benign. The demons correspond to the various cliff-ghasts, wraiths, and evil clerics in the book.
I'm certainly not claiming that the children have read Pullman; I'm a little curious whether Pullman knew of this burgeoning folklore movement. But beyond this, isn't it fascinating how we create similar stories in such different spaces? Seeing the same physical events through various lenses (whether direct or media-ted), and using shared archetypes to reason and re-create them. Perhaps this doesn't make much sense to anyone else, but it at once frightens me and reaffirms for me the magick of the world.
(12/21/00 11:26:03 am)
|Re: re-post: Florida Nightmares|
It's very interesting, as you said, the similarities in the stories we tell ourselves at different times and different places. A Jungian might say it's just tapping into the collective unconscious, though I don't know if it's that simple (if it's not silly to refer to that concept as _simple_). When the boy was talking about Bloody Mary and "don't matter if you're good, don't matter if you're smart" I immediately flashed on "and even a man who says his prayers at night may become a wolf in full moon light," to mangle the quote a bit. Maybe it's just being human. That's not so simple, either.
I think the thing that struck me hardest was the sheer _power_ in those tales. Those kids have tapped into something primal, something that, all too often, we only get the barest glimpse of in the legends and stories that have come down to us over the years. Jane Yolen once said that storytelling was our first and best method of casting out demons and summoning angels. We call it mythmaking in this context, and it is, but that's not the way those children see it. Those kids are telling themselves stories about the world they live in and trying to understand. That's as real as it gets.
(12/21/00 12:54:10 pm)
I wonder if the visceral power doesn't come from the storytellers themselves living in circumstances without any of the noise that filters through the lives of most of us, of most children. The usual suspects come to mind--TV, games, etc.. They are filling the gaps in their lives which such noise would normally drown out at the same time that they're making sense of their lives, to whatever extent they can. It's so primal because they are creating their code of life, their rules.
And, yeah, Larry Talbot would have turned into a werewolf in their company by now.
(12/21/00 1:01:00 pm)
Where did you post that link to the Florida kids? I'm dying to check it out.
(12/21/00 2:30:54 pm)
|Re: Pared down|
That's a good point, Greg (if I may). In a sense the stories are all they have. For that reason I find myself hesitating to read too closely, afraid my subconscious will turn it into grist for my own mill, as it does most everything else sooner or later. We're in sacred territory here, I think. Caution and reverence seem in order.
(12/21/00 6:18:48 pm)
I'm feeling a bit lazy (my excuse for not finding the original post) but as there does seem to be alot of discussion involving this article and it does send out a very powerful message (and you asked though not myself personally) I thought I'd extend a helping hand, since I beat Greg to it. =)
(1/29/01 5:46:05 pm)
|Bloody Mary |
Both on and off the subject. I first heard about Bloody Mary living in a lower class/working class neighborhood. The girl next door told me about Bloody Mary (said her mother had told her the story) and repeated a lot of the details in the article. Shortly after, the girl was given up to the adoptive/foster system by her mother when it was discovered her stepfather was sexually abusing her. The mother didn't want to leave the father. There is a possibility that the girl and her mother had spent time in a shelter prior to me meeting her, although I am not sure.
I was shocked to hear the story was still in circulation. The key components: she had murdered her own child, and in several versions, her husband as well. I was never clear whether she had killed just one of her children or if she had had two children and killed them both. She was bathed in the blood of her child and came in billowing robes (without any wind) and was always looking for her little girl. She might mistake you for her child and try to take you back but would eventually go mad and kill you. You could summon her through a mirror but once you did then she could come to you any time after that. She would sometimes kill to protect you but inevitably you were murdered as well. The little girl that told me said she had summoned her or her mother had and that after Bloody Mary embraced her, her dress was soaked in blood.
It's interesting, I had heard the story again, but without such vivid detail.
I should mention that was nineteen years ago, and we were living in Western Washington.