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Bloody Mary

The first beginnings of "Bloody Mary" began back in Bahia, Brazil, nearly 200 years ago, with a woman named Maria. She was a widow, a 'cabocla' (daughter of a white man and a black woman) freed by her father when she had come of age. Maria had only one child, a daughter named Clara.

She was a very organized and quick thinking woman, known for never thinking things through. Maria was a very beautiful woman, but extremely narcissistic. When she wasn't doing the household chores, she was fixing herself up in the small cottage she shared with her young daughter or she was offering ebo to Ajé, her personal Orisha.

Maria belonged to the phalange worshipping Ajé, a minor Orisha, but a really greedy one. There weren’t many adepts that worshipped her, Ajé marked them at birth with bloody tears. Only those children that cried blood at the moment of birth were accepted into her phalange. The main ebo for Ajé was blood, especially chicken blood, but she could accept lamb or sheep blood too, and she was always hungry for more, so Maria strived to maintain her satisfied. In return, Ajé kept Maria young and beautiful.

Every Friday night, Maria danced the drums to summon Ajé with her phalange brothers and sisters, and Ajé always came to her. In the trance of possession, Maria danced and her life energy got renovated. But as the years went by, Maria offerings, possessions and prayers stopped to prove sufficient to hinder the passing of the years and their toll on Maria's beauty.

At night, Maria used to look at herself in the mirror and notice the tell tale signs of her getting old, and she cried. Alas, one day, she noticed that Clara, now ten years old, was beginning to bloom. Angered, she ran from her cottage, and shouted.

"Ajé, I have served you well all these years. Have I not always fulfilled my compromise to you and gave you Ebo? Have I not let you possess my body once and again to walk the earth? What do I have to give you to attain eternal youth a beauty!"

Her cry was answered. Suddenly Maria's tears turned blood, as she had cried as a baby. Maria was approached by Ajé, who offered her her desired wish in exchange for her a very special ebo. She quickly agreed, and in return, Ajé taught her a ritual to restore her beauty and give her eternal youth: she was to offer her daughter's blood as ebo.

The next night, Maria knocked out her young daughter, who woke up in the middle of a large circle, drawn in the middle of their floor in chicken's blood. Five red, black and maroon candles were lit around the circle. After mere minutes of drumming and chanting, the ritual took place. She cut the girl's wrists with a swift movement of her ritual knife. Before her eyes, Maria saw the youth of young Clara drain from her face into herself as her blood drained from her body into the hungry mouth of Ajé.

Once she regained her beauty, Maria was ready to finally kill her daughter, when Clara, remembering the children name for the powerful Orisha Iemanjá, murmured at the last moment. "Janaína, please help me." Before Maria could slash Clara's heart, an entity cloaked in blue entered the home, and picked up the withered Clara. Instantly, her face returned to its original youth.

Iemanjá then turned to Maria, who was cowering in the ground before her beauty. The black candles lit around Ajé's circle flickered and died, Ajé herself was afraid of Iemanjá. With a grand gesture Iemanjá made Ajé corporeal and scowled at her.

"What does this mean, my child?" she asked the daring orisha, for Ajé was Iemanjá's daughter, one of many. "Killing a child to satisfy this woman's greed for beauty? To satisfy 'your' greed for blood?"

"Don’t you know that children are my sons and daughters, just as you are?"

Suddenly emboldened by the child's blood she had managed to drink, Ajé straightened before her mother and faced her. "I am tired of being one of many. I have no use for the watered blood of chickens and lambs!"

"I am Orisha, I want more. I deserve more!"

Furious because of her daughter's unrepentance and disrespect, Iemanjá grew before Maria and Ajé's eyes.

“For your greed I punish you, Ajé, to wander the land of humans in the body of this woman. Shall you enter her body and never be able to leave. Blood will no longer satisfy you; shall you be always hungry."

She then turned to Maria, "and you, shall you always be a 'horse'(1) for Ajé and never fulfill your ambition of eternal beauty. You shall be scarred and ugly, and your eyes shall always weep blood!" With this, Iemanjá left the house, taking Clara with her.

She didn’t stay to witness what happened afterwards. Even if Iemanjá's power was as great as a typhoon, Ajé had been greatly empowered by Clara's blood, and Maria had become as invigorated by her life force. They mingled together, their evilness mixing and creating a new being, with human resources and Orisha power. They resorted to their waning power, and managed to enter the realm of Orishas, but with the ability to return to the human’s world.

Sensing the devastation in her worshipper, Ajé talked to Maria. To be able to regain her freedom and Maria's beauty, they would just need sufficient ebo. She had enough followers, she could get it. But the thought of blood made her sick and she remembered Iemanjá's words, and she too despaired.

Then she remembered the fear she had seen in Clara's eyes, and she smiled. An ugly smile, mirrored in Maria's ugly and scarred face, and a dark light shone in her destroyed eyes. Fear was an equally valuable ebo, humans' fears could feed them. If they got enough ebo they could free themselves.


Ajé - the Orisha of blood.

Other names: Bloody Mary, 'La llorona' (she who weeps) after she mingles with Maria.

Characteristics: Ajé is a minor Orisha; she's greedy and opportunistic and would promise her worshippers much in exchange of ebo.

Number: five

Colors: black, red and maroon

Ileke: five black beads, five red and five maroon, this pattern separated by one black one red and one maroon bead repeated five times. The pattern is repeated till the desired length. Ajé's followers wear these ilekes under their clothes.

Ebo: blood, and after Iemanjá's curse, fear.


(1) the person possessed by the Orisha is called 'horse' while he/she's being possessed. The Orisha is 'mounted' on this 'horse', as he/she is directing the persons movements and actions.

Special thanks to Meghan for providing the basis for this profile.

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