The Real Meaning of Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

by ghostwriter

Such a beautiful poem, evoking pretty images of a bright colorful garden. Sadly the true story behind Mary, Mary Quite Contrary is horrific.

The true story behind Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Such a beautiful nursery rhyme, evoking pretty images of a bright colorful garden where one might want to just sit and relax, leaving your troubles behind.

Sadly the true story behind Mary, Mary Quite Contrary is that of blood, gore and horror.

Posters on Mary Mary Quite Contrary

A fantasty rane of nursery pictures, framed or unframed
Mary, Mary, Quite ContraryMary, Mary, Quite ContraryMary Mary Quite Contrary How Does Your Garden Grow?

Who was Mary, why contrary?

Mary is in fact Queen Mary or Bloody Mary as she was also known and daughter of King Henry VIII. Her nickname 'Bloody Mary' was derived because she wouldn't think twice about ending the life of an individual and all too often executed people in a wholesale fashion, mass executions, almost like a production line.


It is interesting that her father, Henry VIII fell out with the Catholic Church over rules relating to divorce and indeed embarked upon a destruction campaign, demolishing properties owned by the Catholic Church, plundering their gold and silver, stealing land etc., yet his daughter was a staunch catholic and infamous for such incredible bloody executions on those who open and continually declared their Protestant faith.

Where was Mary's garden?

So, the first line; “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” could relate to the contrary aspect of her chosen religion. (contrary to her father's).


How does your garden grow? - let's dismiss the beautiful flowers in a cultivated garden, forget that haven designated for peace and relaxation; this garden was a cemetery like mass of land with ever extending rows of graves occupied by murdered, headless protestant martyrs.

Those beautiful scented flowers growing from the soil were nothing but simple grave markers noting yet another person tortured because of their faith; same God, same history, different church and that was Mary's reason to murder those people.

Silver bells and cockle shells?

Nothing but instruments of torture; the silver bells were extremely nasty thumbscrews, placed securely onto both thumbs and gradually turned, screwed to the point of crushing the victims bones, consequently extracting a confession and admission of their protestant faith or indeed and what many would see as a cowardly act, the denial of their faith, but at least they might live. When would a confession was extracted is was presented as evidence against them, leading to a horrible execution. So, those silver bells were indeed nasty devises.


What were the 'cockleshells'.

Think of a cockleshell, like a clam shell but in a mechanical form with vice-like grips that were attached to the protestants private parts and gradually tightened and squeezed, administering excruciating pain that was more than sufficient to inducing a solid confession thus providing evidence against that would lead to their bloody death

'Maids all in a row"?

The original guillotine was named 'The Maiden", Mary didn't use one or two, but rows and rows of them during mass executions, placed in a row and used to dispatch the protestant martyrs in a fast but bloody manner.


It is difficult now to recite that beautiful, quaint nursery rhyme without thinking of those horrific scenes of torture and executions. Crowds of people including friends and families of the martyrs, watching each and every one being despatched in a cold and heartless manner under the authority of 'Bloody Mary'.

Updated: 06/22/2011, ghostwriter
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Bob on 07/08/2017

Frank, the passage in Acts is a good one for shedding more light on a topic. It shows that women were not treated, or not to be treated, as doormats, that they are intelligent and that they have something to offer. Some women today are awesome and they have wonderful ministries. But note that they do not, or are not supposed, to have authority over men. The chain of authority is to be followed. Priscilla was with her husband Aquila who both shared with Apollos, so that Priscilla was not teaching or having authority over Apollos. When I read Scripture I like to look at the whole picture instead of only a small part of it. I am sure you have seen whole churches based on one or two verses of Scripture, and I am sure also that you have seen cults come from misinterpretation of one or a few verses. Scripture never contradicts itself, because it comes from God. One passage will give a bit of a different angle than another one, to shed more light and give us a fuller picture. We need the whole counsel of God's Word. The more Scripture we gather the better. Yes, read it prayerfully. The Holy Spirit will illumine us. But He will never contradict what has been written in the Scriptures--though some groups will tell us that the Holy Spirit gave new revelation which does contradict the Bible. Those people are to be ignored. We need not be satisfied with a general sense, Frank, for God will give us specific understanding. A general sense can be so broad as to not be clear. As for cultural relevance, many people say that biblical truths were for Bible days and not for today. But the Bible is the most culturally relevant book ever written and it transcends history with the same meaning for all generations. Otherwise, God would be a God of confusion. Scripture is complete in its understanding and explanation of the human condition and the human condition is the same today as it was thousands of years ago. Styles and societal norms may change but human nature has not changed. Have a great day, Frank.

Bob on 07/08/2017

Frank, I found a link about Christa and it is dubious. The term is a feminine form of Christ, anointed one. One definition is benign and gives praise to "Christa" women as radiant, sexy, passionate, loving, highly intelligent, and one not to be crossed. I saw another link last night which gave Christa a new age basis but I cannot find it now. We have also Crista ministries, with the h not in the name. Christa seems to be a bit of a mixed bag, depending on what people want to assign it.

frankbeswick on 07/08/2017

1 Timothy 2:12 forbids women to teach men;Acts 18:26 says that Priscilla and Aquila explained the faith to Apollos. So Scripture seems to say differing things. However, the wisest way to proceed with Scripture is to gather as much of it as is relevant to one's investigation, read it in a prayerful and open minded spirit and then to come to the general sense of what it is getting at.

frankbeswick on 07/08/2017

I have searched for Christa and cannot find the term, but I do recall reading a news report some years ago about a feminist service where Christa was celebrated. I think that it is an occasional aberration rather than a serious movement.

Bob on 07/08/2017

Hi again Frank, in matters as this we must stick with the Bible as our guide. The command is clear and the reason is clear. Women are not to be pastors or priests. Religious authority comes from Christ to the man, not the woman. Women can share testimonies, teach women and children and be on committees. Women can have a lot of goodness, but God still tells us, through Paul, that women are not to teach or have authority over men.

I will do a Google search on Christa. Good day, Bob.

frankbeswick on 07/07/2017

Christa is a rare aberration of which I have heard.

I think that while religious authority is neither male nor female, but depends upon the knowledge of truth and the goodness of the one who exercises it. It is all derivative from God.

Bob on 07/07/2017

Frank, while Jesus did appear as male but was not limited to human male personality, we must be careful in applying the distinctives of male and female personality to Jesus. The male/female formula we see in people was uniquely human, since Eve was taken from Adam. All good qualities are present in God. But we cannot say that women are predominately sensitive, loving and caring, and that men usually lack these qualities. Men have these same qualities, unless they are selfish brutes. In this topic I believe I am accurate enough in saying that we will not know all of God's qualities and how they are revealed until we arrive in heaven. However, women today have the same inherent weakness which Eve had. On the contrary, friend, Jesus could not well have come as female, for leadership and authority come through the male, by God's design. The order of protocol is God, then Christ, then the man, and then the woman. Oh yes, often men think through their hormones rather than their brains, but spiritual deception is on another plane. In that arena, men are more discerning than women. Frank, I am not familiar with Christa. Is this some new aberration in the name of spirituality? The world comes up with all kinds of counterfeits, in order to hide from the true light. I did not stop to think about being a guest writer/commenter. I have been carrying on not knowing a difference existed. Tomorrow perhaps I will sign on. The time is late and I want to go to bed soon. Thank you for thinking highly enough of me to want me included in the body of Wizzley writers. When I write an article I will advance what is in my heart, and that is the need for Christians to more seriously live for Jesus. See you soon, mate. Bob.

Bob on 07/07/2017

Hi Frank, it is really not surprising that Jesus was not recognized by the two on the way to Emmaus because Jesus made it so they would not recognize Him. He hid Himself from Mary's recognition at the tomb,as well. When he broke the bread the two immediately recognized Him, and when He called Mary's name she immediately recognized Him. It was most likely that Cleopas was a common name, as John or Bill is today, so we cannot infer that this Cleopas was the uncle of Jesus. As for names being common, even two of the disciples had the same name. It is really going out on a limb to speculate the name of the other disciple on the way to Emmaus. The foundation for these conclusions is missing. Jesus was not immediately recognized only by those whose eyes were closed. As for those close to Jesus who did not immediately recognize him, we would therefore be forced to exclude John from that group, for when they were fishing in Galilee it was John who told Peter that it was the Lord. Note that Jesus did not appear in His glorified form during the 40 days He remained on earth, and note also that the only form of His glorification which He revealed to the disciples was His going through walls invisibly, and also by ascending into the clouds.

frankbeswick on 07/06/2017

Irenaeus was no heretic and was never accused of this error.

Yes, the risen Christ is the same person as the historical Jesus, but with a glorified body. Note that he was not immediately recognizable by those on the way to Emmaus, which is surprising, as according to Eusebius, Cleophas was the name of Jesus' uncle,[Joseph's's brother] and the other disciple may therefore well have been Simeon, Cleophas' son, who succeeded James as head of the Jerusalem church in the sixties. So Jesus was not immediately recognizable to people close to him. He had been transformed. so there is no reason to think of the risen Lord as exclusively masculine, white, Jewish etc.

Jesus had a male body, that's for sure, but do we think that his personality was exclusively male? He seems sensitive, loving and caring. He weeps in compassion. He loves children. These are feminine qualities, not exclusively so, but in many ways associated with women. I believe that while he had a male body he had a personality that was as much female as male, for the fulness of human nature was in him, and that is male and female in unity. He could as well have been born female as male, but for cultural reasons God chose to incarnate him in a male body.

You speak of how women are easily deceived, but men too can be susceptible to deception. We are often led by our lusts, often to disaster.

But be sure, I would never concur with those feminists who celebrate Christa, for this is not a biblical title.

Bob, I note that you are a guest rather than a Wizzley writer. Now is the time for you to sign on as one of us. I await your first article.

Bob on 07/06/2017

Hello Frank, I did not know that Veronica is your sister. That is how she has such a good contract with you. As for Iranaeus, was he not noted for heresy? I am calling this fact from memory and am not entirely sure. But I do disagree with his premise. When the risen Lord Jesus appeared to the disciples He was very much male in appearance. As I said in a previous post, I believe God represents Himself as a male because it represents leadership and authority. Thus, the male pronoun. The historic Jesus and the risen Jesus are one and the same, with the only noted difference being His glorified body. It is rather a tenuous dichotomy to divide the earthly Jesus from the glorified Jesus, don't you think? Paul himself said that there is neither male or female but all are one in Christ, but at the same time he forbade women from teaching and having authority over men, for the underlying principle that women are easily deceived, and that truth held true for Eve, it held true in Paul's day and it holds true today. This truth has nothing to do with culture. It is rather obvious, in addition, that Eve predated the culture of Paul's day, so it was a truth before then. In addition to all this, God created the woman to be a helper to the man, not to be over him. This, also, is an eternal principle which overshadows culture. Would it not be wise to follow what Scripture says? What Paul instructed, then, was for all time, based on the eternal principle which underlies his command. Being educated or not educated has no bearing on this case. And whether or not women are capable also has no bearing on this case. The instruction has been given, by one who was taught by Jesus, and the instruction should be obeyed.

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