THE MEXICAN FOLK STORY OR THE SCARY TRUTH?
The Latin America itself has so many mystical things and hides a lot of interesting stories, scary tales and urban legends. It seems that you can find inspiration on each corner over there and to keep going enjoying such an amazing mixture of exotic nature, ancient myths and modern narration and culture.
When I started to show interest for Mexico, I met the destiny of the dangerous spirit, La Llorona, so called the Weeping woman and I wanted to find out more about this phenomena and why all children in Mexico, are scared of this name. Miguel, the Mexican man in his thirties, told me that you can warn kids that they will be taken by Llorona, if they are naughty. That usually helps because the generations of children have been grown up on creating the irrational fear from the Weeping woman. From one to another, the fasciation with this creature was never out of attention, never out of scary thoughts. The main reason for it is that this is not the mythological figure from folklore but the real person that used to be someone’s daughter, wife and mother.
Who was the real La Llorona ? According to the stories, Maria was one of the most beautiful women in Mexico, back at the time. Naturally, she met handsome, young and rich ranchero and their marriage has been blessed with two wonderful sons. Nevertheless, the good looking husband of Maria had wild heart and the character of womaniser. Maria was betrayed and ready to make a revenge, pushing the common sense to the edge:“It so happened that the father, her one true love, had abandoned her for another woman, breaking her heart and fracturing her mind, making her an outcast in her own community. Racked with the agony of his affair, she became bent on revenge, paying him back in the most horrific way imaginable—leading their children down to the water and drowning them both, one after the other. A truly selfish act for La Llorona, but it did come with one consolation. So disgusted at the sight of what she had done, she decided to follow right after them, taking her own life in those very same waters. An easy way out, for certain, but the only way for her to avoid the shattered reality she had created, and wrap up this horrible tale of love and loss and a mother’s betrayal.“
With this scenario, it would be just a sad happening from some of many unhappy destinies in Mexican society but unfortunately, this wasn’t the end but the beginning of our real and creepy story that got the attributes of attractive urban legends, screened in Hollywood. This revengeful spirit has never been really gone from the community but all over there, searching for eternity and peace, but bringing only pain, fear and tears. It is said that the deep crying of La Llorona is something that cant be forgotten. She is lurking on the children, that are alone, standing there in white, showing her empty hands and inviting children to join her and accept her mothers love. The other inform that La Llorona is actually hunting the cheating husbands, turning their lives into the hell. The many sides of the story could be explained by the different roots of the cultural heritage. The part of Mexican identity is linked to the old civilisations of Aztec and Mayas but still developed within the urban Mexican mentality, encouraged with popular American campfire exciting tales. We shouldn’t ignore the fact that Aztec people expected fearsome goddess or snake woman to come and conquer Mexico, and called her Cihuacōātl. Depending on the origin of myth, you can note the slightly differences between the La Llorona cult from Central American jungles and the one from lonely deserts of Mexico. In both cases, we are talking about the lovely and angry ghost that is searching for a rest or for a victims. The people in Mexico take this curse very seriously and with caution and many claim that they saw or heard La Llorona cry and invitation.
The worst sin ever is for mother to kill her own children and that’s is exactly the point that put the La Llorona into the devil playground. From the social, religious and cultural perspective, the La Llorona fate is something that cant be explained, described or justified. Naturally, the ghost must be forever cursed and also all that is under ghost hunt. The Hispanic background, especially in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is full of the witnessing statements that La Llorona has been there but the ideas about her and her presence goes to the American Montana. The crying woman is lurking on lonely victims on the river banks around the whole North and Latin America, as it seems, but the reality shows us actually the weakness of human mind and the ability to be scared from unknown.
The Latin folklore has many alluring moments and figures, as well as ghosts, creatures and destinies. Each of them is unique, because it is a kind of merging with ancient civilisations and their specific tradition and polytheistic approach, that has been cruel sinked into the christian official religion. The Roman Catholics Church has accepted many variations of local myths and urban legends, with the purpose to attract the new flock. That tolerance was intentional since the Latin America has a great touch of spiritualism and ancient religions. Even the typical exorcism has been mixed with solutions against dark forces, created by shamans.
La Llorona is more than a myth, it is a reminder that unhappy heart is the curse with no end, the darkness with no time, the pain with no chance for recovery. It is never ending story that has been shaped through the years and social challenges. For some people, La Llorona figure is there to work on discipline of the children and for some people is just a cool story before sleeping in tent, somewhere in the wild Mexican deserts or jungles with lost cities. Whatever is your own opinion, when you are there, show respect for those who believe in La Llorona and show compassion for the tragic end of that poor and betrayed soul.
3 thoughts on “LA LLORONA : THE CURSE OF THE WEEPING WOMAN”
An interesting article and thank you for sharing the story. Yes, I guess the advice towards the end of the piece is indeed a wise option, as is all cursed souls, the vindictive intention is to take it out on the next person and so on as the cycle repeats itself. I know all too well this is the only way in which the cycle is broken, the as you say it is effectively a deep routed curse that no matter what techniques and peoples solutions to the problem, it is indeed a difficult cycle to sever, with the overpowering influence it has on people.
Interesting, I will read again at some point.
Kind Regards, Tim
What an excellent and mystical article, Sarah !
The moral of the story is that once a person, in general, and a woman in particular, is hurt, the person is capable of such drastic measures !
Trust, also known as Faithfulness, is a Must in a relationship. Love and Faithfulness are an integral part of a conjugal life.
Thank you, Sarah, for yet another beautifully written article and for the intriguing concomitant illustrations.
Sarah’s insightful and elucidating article reminded me of ‘雪 女’ (i.e. Yuki-onna : Woman of the Snow) from ancient Nipponese folklore…
There were various versions of the same apparition across The Nipponese Archipelago, which is often the case in any folklore evolution, as topography, distance and other aspects isolate myths and legends once shared among people and later organically-evolved in different areas.
One of the common tales associated with Yuki-onna is of an unmarried, young man living in the countryside as a subsistence farmer. One winter morning, he was removing the suspended icicles from around the edges of the roof of his cottage. As he did this, he sighed and said ‘I wish I had a wife as beautiful as these icicles…’
That evening, just as he was falling asleep by the hearth, someone gently-knocked upon his cottage door. He rose and went to open the door, and he thought he was dreaming for a moment, because a beautiful, young woman attired in a silk-white kimono stood before him. With a soft and comforting voice, she asked if she could warm herself by his fire. She entered…
The days and weeks passed and they fell in love, but when the spring emerged, she wandered away and did not return. The man was distraught and was unable to think what he may have done wrong for her to disappear, after he had searched for her for many weeks in the nearby forests. He became despondent, once more…
The months of the summer solstice passed and the young man toiled on his farm. Then, a young woman from a nearby village came by; selling clothes for workers like him. She stayed with him, and they fell in love and married.
The following winter, Yuki-onna re-appeared at the cottage, and she was angered by the presence of the other woman and vowed vengeance upon the man. She left, and waited for the couple to sleep, when she returned, took an icicle from outside and stabbed the man, repeatedly. Her face was contorted and ghastly, as she killed him. The other woman screaming and running from the cottage…
Most tales of Yuki-onna are tragedies, as most ancient agrarians and fishing village folk had miserable existences and created myths and legends to imagine alternative existences…