Mythical Monday: The Moon Woman of New Zealand by Mae Clair

I’ve been fascinated by the moon and the heavens in general ever since I was in grade school. I can still recall how excited I was when in second grade we learned the names of the planets and I was able to recite them in order. At six years old (I started school early) I was apt to share this little gem of information with anyone who’d listen. I’m sure my parents probably got tired of hearing me recite them, but they never let it show.

When I was seven my dad bought my older brother a telescope, which opened a brand new door of wonder to the heavens (despite my brother trying to convince me he’d seen little green men dancing on the moon). Eventually, a few years later, my father bought me my own telescope seeing my interest in stargazing wasn’t just a passing phase. I remember going out at night with a sketchbook and trying to replicate what the surface of the moon looked like after I magnified it through the lens. That telescope lasted through the years into my late thirties. As an adult I didn’t use it nearly as often, but there were still occasions when I dragged it into the back yard and angled it to capture a glowing moon.

mysterious worldMaybe it’s because I love that silvery orb so much I find it hard to believe anyone would curse it, but that’s exactly what the Moon Woman of New Zealand did. A Maroi girl by the name of Rona, she made a habit of trekking from her village to collect water from a nearby stream each day. One day she forgot to complete her task during the hours when the sun was high, and had to venture out at night.

The chore wasn’t trying at first for the moon shone brightly, lighting her way. But as Rona neared the stream, it slipped behind a cloud plunging her into darkness. In the sudden nighttime shadows, Rona tripped and fell. Perhaps she skinned her hands and knees; perhaps she hurt herself badly or broke her water pitcher in the fall. Whatever the reason, she grew horribly angry and began hurling insults at the moon for concealing its light.

Incensed by such blatant disrespect, the moon swept down to the Earth and attempted to carry her away. Realizing her danger, Rona wrapped her arms around a tree, refusing to let go. But the moon was so angry with the girl it ripped the tree from the Earth, roots and all, and carried it off with Rona still clinging to the trunk.

According to legend, when the moon is full, Rona, the tree, and her water pitcher are visible on the surface of the moon. Look closely and you will see the Moon Woman of New Zealand still lamenting her fate.

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: How’s it Going, Mate?

Take a hop with me down under, to the lovely enchanted land of New Zealand. My Lyrical Press sister, Joanne Wadsworth, is interviewing me on her blog today. She came up with some great questions that I had a blast answering.

So grab a cuppa, embrace your inner kiwi, and rattle your dags (that’s hurry up . . . I think) and hop over to Joanne’s blog.

Wow!  You’re packed already?

I guess rattling the dags did the trick, huh?  Well before you nick away (like my kiwi slang?) I want to share a Mythical Monday meandering in honor of my New Zealand blog destination. Take a peek at what I’ve dug up:

The city of Wellington is the home of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop. It’s also home to St. James Theatre, a reputedly haunted destination, inhabited by several resident ghosts.

Yuri appears to be the most popular. According to legend, this ill-fated Russian performer either fell to his death from several meters above the stage or was pushed by a female performer. Hmm . . . a slighted lover perhaps?   However his untimely demise, Yuri seems to be more mischievous than harmful. He’s been known to turn lights on and off and, on another occasion, even saved a theater worker from harm when he nearly fell into the orchestra pit. That’s the kind of spirit you want to have around!

The ‘Wailing Woman’ is an actress, who had the traumatic experience of being booed from the stage. Devastated by the audience’s reaction to her performance, she took her life by slitting her wrists. Her ghost now roams the theater sobbing and wailing over her tragic fate.

If that isn’t enough, there is an entire boys’ choir often heard singing. The choir gave its last performance during World War II before sailing off on tour. Sadly, their ship was never heard from again and all are believed to have drowned. Many stage workers have reported hearing the choir sing, only to have that sound move further away when they approach.

Although it has never been proven, some believe St. James Theatre was constructed on a burial ground, hence the reason so many departed spirits roam its halls and passages. Initially, a church, it was purchased by entertainer John Fuller in December 1899. I always experience a small shiver whenever I see a significant event occur near the turn of a century. St. James had its share of fame, fell into neglect, was demolished, and rebuilt.

And still the ghosts remain.

In 2005, paranormal investigators from the New Zealand television show, Ghost Hunt, ventured into St. James Theatre and captured numerous orbs on photographs.

So, if you happen to find yourself in Wellington enjoying the scenery of Middle Earth, remember it may not just be hobbits and orcs wandering the countryside!  I’d rather run into Frodo Baggins than the Wailing Woman any day.  What about you?