Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bloody Mary


Bloody Mary is:
A. a popular adult beverage
B. a divination ritual practiced by adolescent girls
C. a historical English monarch
D. all of the above


D. all of the above


A mixture of vodka, tomato juice and a number of spices and flavorings, a Bloody Mary has been said to cure a hangover.  As many people know today, alcohol does not cure the horrible feelings of a hangover, it only masks the pain.  However, because of the link, a Bloody Mary is a popular adult beverage for morning, noon and night. 

I don't care for the beverage as I'm not a big fan of vodka.  I don't drink too often but when I do, I am lucky enough to suffer few hangovers.  But if I did, I wouldn't drown the feelings of a hangover with more alcohol.  To me, a hangover is simply your body trying to rid itself of a toxic substance.  It's a process that should be encouraged, not hindered with more toxicity.


Like with many other pieces of folklore, the "game" of Bloody Mary changes with the person telling the story. 

Historically, a girl is suppose to walk up a staircase in a dimly lit room backwards with a hand-held mirror.  By gazing into the mirror, the girl will see either the image of her future husband or, in the case of death before marriage, a skull.

The image of Bloody Mary can come as either a corpse, a witch or a ghost.  She can sometimes be covered in blood.  Bloody Mary is sometimes screaming at, cursing, strangling, otherwise harming, or drinking the girl's blood.

A more modern version of the ritual has participants taunting Bloody Mary about her baby.  This version ties the historical figure of Bloody Mary with the divination ritual. 

I remember attempting this ritual as an adolescent.  I don't remember ever seeing any actual images, but I do remember having the crap scared out of me.  I was to stand in front of a mirror and call out "Bloody Mary" three times.  I was told the image of Mary would appear behind me.  It didn't work.  My preferred method of divination lies with tarot cards.  I'm of a mindset that you shouldn't conjure anything unless it is absolutely necessary.


Queen Mary I of England (Feb 18, 1516 - Nov 17, 1558) was the only daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.  For the first years of her life, Mary was doted on by her father.  But when Henry married Anne Boleyn in 1533, Mary was deemed illegitimate, stripped of her title of princess, had her home taken away and was forced into servitude for her half-sister, Elizabeth.  Mary's relationship with her father continued to be strained until the Act of Succession of 1544 stated that after the death of Henry, his son, Edward would be king who would be succeeded by Mary and then Elizabeth.

Long story short, Henry died and was succeeded by Edward.  During his reign, Edward excluded both of his sisters from the throne.  Edward died at the age of 15, probably of tuberculosis.  For a short time, Lady Jane Grey - a cousin - was named queen, but the validity of this was highly questioned.  Mary fled to East Anglia and established a campaign to reclaim her throne.

After her success, Mary did her best to restore England to its Catholic faith - a religion expelled from the country by her father.  Over the course of five years, Mary had over 280 people burned at the stake for disobeying her religious beliefs.  Because of her ruthless religious policy, she became known as Bloody Mary.

Mary was married to Prince Philip of Spain.  Whether the couple had feelings for one another is unknown.  But there were a number of times that Mary, along with her court and her doctors, thought she was pregnant.  Each of these pregnancies turned out to be false, resulting in no children -an no heirs - for Mary.  She was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth.  Mary and Elizabeth are buried together in Westminster Abbey.  Latin words are inscribed on their tomb that translate to "Consorts in realm and tomb, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of resurrection."

Even though I'm not a big fan of religious zealots, I can't help but feel bad for Mary I of England.  She began life as Daddy's Girl, only to have it all ripped away.  She basically became a nobody.  As a writer, I do have future plans for Mary! 


  1. Hmmm, so much material there too. I had no idea there were so many Bloody Mary's!

    1. Yes, most people today know of one or two Bloody Mary's, not all three.