Thursday, March 17, 2016

An Exciting Evening with the Disturbing Mary Poppins

Crazy girlies!

I went with Emma and some of her friends to the musical version of Mary Poppins last night in Houston's Theatre Under the Stars. I had no particular interest in seeing the show, other than realizing that I desperately needed to get out for an evening, and going somewhere with Emma and her friends always rejuvenates me. They're amazingly sweet and, as you can see in the photos above and below, crazy funny.  It's a special treat to do things with them.

Aaron and Angela ham it up after the show.

Michelle had spent the night with us.  She and Emma really pitched in to help me so that I could go, taking care of all the grandparents' evening rituals for me while I directed a crew of furniture movers until 6:15.   Talk about cutting it close!  The show was to begin at 7:30 and was a 45-minute drive away.  And I had to change clothes first.  If it hadn't been for Emma and Michelle steadfastly encouraging me to go, I would have given up and collapsed on the couch.  It had been a really long day in a series of long days.

Thanks to Emma Jo Go-go's high-speed driving skills we zipped in and out of traffic, narrowly missing a stalled vehicle in the middle lane of Hwy. 90 and skirting major congestion with two fire trucks at the scene of a burning vehicle on I-10, where we briefly shot toward the closest exit but then ricocheted back to our former lane when it was apparent we could get by the disaster relatively quickly.

I'm convinced Emma's guardian angel rocks a jetpack.

Michelle was following us in her car, poor baby!

"Come on, Mich," Emma would whisper under her breath when she lost sight of her in one of our fantastic maneuvers.  We arrived at the theatre with the warning bell signaling ten minutes till showtime.  By then I felt like I had already had enough excitement for the evening and was ready to go back home.

The usher directed us to take one flight of stairs to get to our seats in the mezzanine.  I should have asked her to define "flight".  My leg muscles turned to silly putty by the time we reached our destination.

"You've got to be kidding me," I thought, as each new stairway appeared before me.

Finally we arrived at the mezzanine and found our seats.  We met Angela and Aaron there.  I dropped into my chair and anticipated an evening of light entertainment.  Unfortunately, I could never get into the show.  I was constantly trying to figure out why much of it made me uncomfortable.  I don't know if it was because I was so tired or what, but I couldn't come to a conclusion about it as a whole, other than something was not right about it, and there were a lot of things that really disturbed me.  One of the things was the occult-like symbols that were flashed in the background when Mary Poppins put some kind of spell on the children.  I think it was to get them to go to sleep.  I tried to focus on the symbols to see if I could recognize anything definitely of the occult, but I couldn't.  Casting a spell of any kind was serious enough to grab my attention, though.

I searched my memory trying to find if I had ever read anything about the author of the book or the original story itself, something that would help me understand my discomfort.  I realized I knew nothing other than the Disney movie, and I haven't seen it in years, certainly not since I have developed a Catholic worldview. I kept thinking, "Who is Mary Poppins?  Nothing is ever explained about her or her unusual relationship with Burt, the chimneysweep.

Then there was this song, "Anything Can Happen if You Let It."  I felt like it was conveying a twisted message, but I couldn't quite pin it down.  One line of it that really caught my attention was Mary Poppins' praising of free thinkers.  I couldn't understand the rest of the song, other than the refrain.  I looked up the lyrics this morning.  It promotes being open minded to the point of being able to "see the world more upside-downish," so that you can "turn it on its head then pirouette it."  Hmmmm.

After reading the lyrics, I decided to just google Mary Poppins and occult.  I found a post on the Women of Grace site that explains that the author of Mary Poppins, Pamela L. Travers, was into the occult and theosophy.

Although the Disney film (which Travers apparently hated) was clean, her books are quite dark and mixed with many occultic elements from magick to reincarnation, all of which came from her association with theosophy. 
Needless to say, things started making a lot more sense.  Clearly, the musical draws more from the book than the Disney movie, not that I'm making a case for Disney.  I'm definitely not.

One of the things that really bothered Emma was Mary Poppins' saying that she was "practically perfect." There was a song about this idea, and Emma and I talked about it on the way home.  In the Women of Grace post, there is a quote which addresses this issue: Mary Poppins as the Great Exception:  Helene Vachet of the Theosophical Society’s Quest Magazine clearly describes the theosophical meaning behind much of the symbolism and story of Mary Poppins.

“Mary Poppins, one could say, resembles a guardian angel, demon, or cosmic being who comes from time to time to visit Earth,” Vachet writes.
The sky and wind bringing Mary Poppins to Cherry Tree Lane refers to a “walker of the sky” described in theosophic writings as a siddhi, or spiritual power to which a yogi joins himself to “behold the things beyond the seas and stars” and to “hear the language of the devas”.

Travers’ Mary Poppins is referred to in the books as the “Great Exception,” which Vachet says means that “she has gone beyond the evolution of humanity and her life now stands in contrast to those who have not yet reached this stage.”

My goodness.  And at first I thought Mary Poppins was just a lot of fluff!

Now that you know all the background, you can really appreciate this picture from St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska, that I found in the March 14, 2016 online edition of 

Are you starting to "see the world more upside-downish?"  Apparently this display of Mary Poppins is just to celebrate "culture."  It puts me in mind of a parody of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence, though.

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