31 Responses to “La Llorona”

  1. Lex Lapolla

    This is probably one of my favorite pictures you’ve drawn!

  2. Jason Porath

    Thank you! I try and push myself.

  3. Lex Lapolla

    you’re welcome :)

  4. jhalpernkitcat

    I remember seeing that “Got Milk?” commercial on youtube back in college–it was one of the weirdest ones IMO.

  5. Sofy

    Ayyy. I love this entry. The drawing is amazing. <3

  6. Kyna

    My best friend’s mom use to tell us this story to freak us out as kids… In her version of it La Llorona had the face of a horse.

  7. Jessi Lyn

    Brilliantly done, although calling the Winchesters ‘two goofy brothers who go on to die hundreds of times’ isn’t really fair, is it? In their defence, the lore on the show is very well researched if not always 100% accurate.

  8. Jason Porath

    Shameful admission: I’ve never seen an episode of Supernatural, I just have a friend who’s SUPER into it.

  9. Jessi Lyn

    It’s actually really good, and despite errors made by the Winchesters, the lore is actually pretty spot on. It’s clear that a lot of time and energy is spent on research to get it right.

  10. Flavia Barbieri G

    One of the versions of Medea’s story also has to do with “gets mad at
    guy, kills her children”, which is why I wonder if there was some
    European influence to shape this myth. Not that I think Cortés’ party
    had enough culture to know Greek ancient stories, but still…

  11. Jeanette Wu

    Nice spooky effects. Perfect entry for Halloween week.

  12. Jeanette Wu

    The idea of a specter crying for her children or a child-snatching bogeyman is an archetype prevalent among many cultures. As far as China and Japan, you have the story of the sky god’s youngest daughter, who flies around in the form of a nine-headed bird, kidnapping children to replace her own son, who she can never find. So stories of Coatlicue and Cihuacoatl weeping for their children were probably older than European contact. But Malinche’s story came after European contact, so there might be classical mythology being mixed up in there.

  13. Samantha Black

    Hi! I’ve been following for a while now, and I have to say that La Llorona is probably my favorite artwork yet. It is genuinely eerie and conveys a sense of power – as if her grief is causing the fire and the lightning and all of the disasters. Anyway – I think it’s really cool. Keep it up.

  14. JezabelleDisreali

    La Llorona also has a practical element to it, at least in my home town. Before the dam was built, our section of the Rio Grande had a serious problem with rip currents and places where the water looks deceptively shallow; and since it’s pretty agricultural there, we have ditches that are pretty dangerous too. We were always told that if we went down to the river at dark (like dumb asses) we would get snatched away by La Llorona and drown. Of course we went to the river (like dumb asses), and I fell into one of the sneaky deep parts. It was terrifying despite being a decent swimmer, and I can only imagine how many stupid kids drowned when the river was flowing naturally.

  15. Akio

    i just found out that the horror movie “Mama” Is loosely based off this story and that mama is la llorona

  16. Josie

    Here in Indiana, we have pretty much the same myth (most commonly in the northeastern parts). The story is almost exactly the same, only with new locations. I’ve read that the Indiana La Llorona is either the exact same ghost, entering our folklore thanks to Mexican immigrants, or a similar ghoul who recieved her name from the same.

  17. B.E. Miller

    I’ve often wondered if that’s where the ‘crazy woman looking for a drowned kid’ story got its start. With parents attempting to keep their children away from rivers where they could end up dead. They were already losing kids due to childhood diseases, and now their kids gotta’ go be stupid little dumb asses and go play in the river? “Hey, let us tell them a story of a crazy bitch/ witch/ demon that will snatch them if they go by the river.”

  18. Jason Porath

    It’s my layman’s opinion that most fairytales started as methods for mothers to get children (and their husbands) to behave. Russian ones are the best – there’s an imp that kills you if you don’t make your room, a mermaid that kills you if you go out drinking and run around on your wife…

  19. Jeanette Wu

    I would concur that this mostly started as a warning tale. In this case, an expression of anxiety over failure to fulfill the duties as mother. Fertility being very important in ancient cultures and perceived as an integral part of a functioning human being (not just for women, but for men as well, as seen by the fertility rituals held by Egyptian pharaohs and Mesopotamian kings). At the same time, almost all cultures acknowledge a special bond between mother and child. So when a mother either fails in childbirth, or loses her children, then she can be classified as “failed at life”. Having experienced such a spectacular failure, a human soul would not be able to find peace, even in death, so mythology consigns to her the fate of a wandering vengeful spirit, looking to make other mothers suffer as she suffered. All over the world, there are stories of women who have died in childbirth and wander bewailing their lost babes, female monsters that steal or eat children, and more insidiously, female monsters that take the guise of a mother to trick and eat passer-bys. Many of these spectres lurk near water because water itself shares their liminal quality. They straddle the line between life and death, a mother and something distinctly not motherly, like the river that would mark a boundary. And they are deadly, just like the river. Though, whether the dangers of the river inspired people to identify it with a devouring mother, or whether the story of the devouring mother was compared to a river, is a chicken and egg question. We’ll never know which of these fears came first, whether this serves to caution mothers to watch their children better or warns children away from the water. We only know that humanity had a few primal fears that get expressed in various cultures across the world.

  20. Jackal

    Wow, how in the hell is having her kill her own kids supposed to be *better* PR?

  21. JezabelleDisreali

    And it’s believable too. The horse tail and willow make some really disconcerting noises when the wind blows, like in the spring and when the kids are getting tired of being cooped up in the house. I was an intern working in the bosque this past spring and I nearly died when I heard that noise. That was when I decided that maybe I was more suited to benchwork in a lab than field work. Haha

  22. JezabelleDisreali

    While I agree that the concept of the dark mother is a global one, and that rivers by their nurturing nature can easily fit the dark mother narrative as well, I don’t think that’s quite where this story goes. La Llarona, at least as it was told to me, focuses a lot on the events around the children, rather than the events around Maria and her marriage, or Maria as a mother.

    The story I learned was this: Maria is down at the river doing laundry with her children. Point of reference, at this time the Rio Grande would have a mosaic layout, rather than the narrow-water-in-between-banks layout we think of today. The children are jumping from sandbar to sandbar when the little boy overestimates, and tries to jump to a sandbar just too far away and falls in. The current carries him away, and his older sister jumps into try and save him. Hearing her children’s screams, Maria throws herself in as well. There is a dramatic bit about how Maria and her children struggle for awhile, and Maria is eventually fished from the water by her husband; the children are never recovered (not super surprising, the sand in the river covers anything that it snags on pretty quickly). Maria, since there are no bodies, goes mad with grief and wanders the river looking for her children, taking any that look like hers.

  23. RandomLatino

    I would actually have to disagree with the way you presented La Llorona because:

    1) It’s a vastly shared story in all of Latino America from Argentina to Mexico, changing to different names, etc.
    2) It’s not as much as a “bitches be crazy” story as more of your mom screaming that “La Llorona is going to take you away if you don’t listen to me” or calming you saying “She doesn’t really exist” after you find out the story by yourself.
    3) As funny as the versions you gave, there are actual real different versions in Latino Folklore, mostly affected by real mother’s sufferings. In Argentina sometimes her child is taken by dictator-led soldiers, in Panamá she goes partying and leaves her child next to a river as to not forget him, yet the current grows and the child is taken away in some places she doesn’t even kill her own children but it’s the husband’s new conquest that does.
    4) This is actually a big cultural figure in Latino Lore and Pop Culture, inspiring a traditional song, parts of the day of the dead parade, and is very dear to some people’s hearts such as me. The story might not be the most feminist but it’s more than a patriarchal construct, it reflects a key aspect of Latino life.

    it’s not a story to take at face value as if it was a real happening, but it is more serious than you made it out to be.

  24. RandomLatino

    You mentioned many of these things now that I re-check but, I still have to say that personally, I just don’t find it right to take this story, this piece of culture as something that isn’t serious.

  25. Jason Porath

    That’s a totally valid response. As I hope came across in the writeup, I’m not dismissing the impact or place in the culture, just the specifics of the story itself.

  26. Valeria

    Came late to the party but whatevs. I’m from somewhere between Argentina and México (and firm believer that Bolívar was nothing but a dick), and the myth in my city (region, or something) is that she is the spirit of a woman that got pregnant by the cueche (a rainbow, don’t ask) and had to give birth near a river (because that was a thing), but when she finally gave birth, she fainted and her baby fell into the river. So, when she woke up, she started searching for her kid and she mutated in a thing (later called Turumama) condemned to search for her kid forever (and ocassionally trying to stole other people’s babies).

    The other myth I have heard is about Coatlicue (that one is Mexican) who was a godess that weeped for her children (the aztecs) because she was predicting the arrival of the spaniards that would conquer their lands. Or something. I’m pretty proud that I remembered the names.

    Mostly, I think the whole “bitches be crazy” was a theme after the colony, because is very, very common in some leyends; did you do the do with a priest? Bam! You’re now a horse with a woman’s face, were you found being unfaithful to your husband? Kazam! He cuts your leg and leaves you in the forest, and you become a bloodthirsty demon with one leg. Pretty normal y ‘all.

  27. Tammy

    So she is like a woman in white. They are woman who find out their husban was unfatefull and in a fit of insanity they killed their children. When the relize what they done they kill themseves hunting down unfatefull men

  28. esmeralda

    so she did not kill her kids?

  29. Helen Burke

    And there is also the hebrew “demon” lilith, poor lilith