Mary Mary Quite Contrary
How does your garden grow
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row
This nursery rhyme is all about trying to make something dastardly look beautiful and appealing. Usually, gardens draw attention to themselves because of the beauty of the blossoms that sprout from the fertile earth. In this case, Mary would be all smiles to be recognized for the socially beneficial blossoms coming from her garden. Instead, the recognition Mary received was in stark contrast to the beauty she tried to achieve in her garden, and she was quite contrary and not happy at all. Contrary is a word defining the relationship between two ideas when they cannot both be true. We know a beautiful garden when we see one, but Mary’s garden was growing with silver bells, cockle shells, and pretty maids. Cockle shells can be pretty because they have a one of a kind round shell, and are bilaterally symmetrical, but they are found in sandy and sheltered beaches. The presence of cockle shells is not a sign of fertile soil. The silver bells would sound nice in a garden while drawing attention to the blossoming growth, but what growth? The silver bells were drawing attention to the pretty maids standing in a row, anyone want to pick a pretty maid? Even with the cockle shells, silver bells, and pretty maids to make the garden look appealing, there is no fertile soil, no budding blossoms, and no picks that you could place in your basket to make your own. Mary’s garden was not a garden at all, but a place of entrapment into a hostile environment of cravings for pretty things, money, and fleshy beauty. How does our spiritual garden grow? Are our claims of spiritual attractiveness contrary to the genuine blossoms of spiritual fruit?
Basically, Mary’s garden is advertising something that doesn’t exist inwardly. It’s called fraud in the business sector and is sinister in the spiritual realm. I envision Mary becoming contrary as the relationship between her internal garden and external appearance was exposed. After all, to maintain a proper image, there were pretty girls, silver bells, and attractive shells adorning the territory. However, all those external ornaments misrepresented the desolation, ugliness, and out of tune condition of internal affairs. In essence, the fraudulent advertising marketed the idea that love can be had in sexuality, materialism, and a plausible tune. The contrary part manifests from the hatred of those who expose spiritual desolation, inner ugliness, and a lack of music in the soul. The impostors’ cruel intentions are unmasked by, and directed at, those who have genuine acts of goodwill and kindness. The misrepresentation advertises tranquility as being a result of material fulfillment, monetary sufficiency, and sexual pleasure. However, their inner garden is desolate of the fruit of peace as meekness and gentleness wilts within them. In fact, exposure of their fraudulent message would reveal their propensity for violence, aggression, and harsh dictates. While they promise a joyful life full of goodness by having faith in their external attractions, buying what they market leaves you in despair, with sadness, and urges of evil intent. The “cockle shells” makes you spiritually desolate, the silver bell lures you into materialistic desires, and the pretty girls leave you ugly inside. Eventually, a person becomes filled with impatience towards fruitful attitudes, out of control with genuine beauty, and infested with fatal intent to those outside Mary’s garden. Patience, self-control, and perseverance is sold for a price that bankrupts the inward garden, and nothing remains except a strong desire for what the silver bell calls you to.
Within us is our own personal garden that blossoms with the fruit of everything we feel, think, and do. If we show signs of being contrary, then it stems from something that is troubling to us in comparison to fruitful attitudes coming from the spiritual fruit blossoming in us. We can be open to the idea that beauty really does come from inside, or be entrapped to the belief that external appearances are most important. The entrapment is to own attractive “ornaments,” money, and sexually attractive relationships, but having no interest in spiritual fruit. In fact, to criticize or otherwise mar the appealing appearances is to suggest it is not true to the barren and sandy soil that lies within. The exposure would cause impatience with your insight and incite out of control behaviors towards your genuine concern. Their intent is to put an end to the awareness that comes from a spiritually fruitful garden. Our response is to maintain patience with their pretentions, and to keep self-control when being seduced with things, money, and pleasures. In addition, persevere in the spiritual fruit that blossom in fertile soil while avoiding the “cockle shells” that lie on top of the “sandy beaches.”
Remembering that contrary refers to the relationship between two ideas when they both cannot be true, we have an idea of what Mary is quite contrary about relating to a safe and secure environment. The image of her garden was all about the attractiveness of a made stability as conveyed by the “cockle shells.” There was also the advertisement of order and accountability as seen by the pretty girls all in a row. Then there was the added reassurance of the silver bell to draw attention to the benefits of austerity. However, what was presented as a safe and secure environment is different from the contrary sentiments of Mary, therefore it’s evident that the publicized tranquility was a fraud. A true tranquility comes about from the inner qualities of a meek and gentle spirit of peace, not from external attractiveness, not from sexual comfort, and not from a silver bell that might suggest an “elite” community membership. Mary’s contrary attitude would come about from the physical violence manifesting from a “garden” publicized as being crime free. Then there would be the issue of in-house betrayal relating to accountability for the disorder and abuse to their image of being soothing and beautiful. The chaotic instability would continue as long as people’s attention was drawn to something that sends a fraudulent message of peace and prosperity. The difference between the truth of the inner garden that brings a safe and secure environment, and the fraud perpetrated through attractive appearances is the cause of Mary’s contrary attitude. If an attractive garden is truly a safe and secure place, then the fruit of a meek and gentle spirit will be there.
Water is essential to make a garden grow, but when Mary was asked how her garden grows the reply was that it grows with silver bells, cockle shells, and pretty girls all in a row. This is not the type of growth that water assists with, and not the type of growth we would expect in a garden. Spiritual waters represent the internal soft, moist, and nourishing qualities of love, goodwill, and kindness which are much different than the external attractions found in Mary’s garden. Mary would be quite contrary to having her image looking hateful, cruel, and ill-intended compared to the tolerance, sensual intimacy, acceptance, and loving place of belonging found outside her social reach. Because of the lack of spiritual waters, her community would be filled with intolerance for the wet spiritual qualities in others. That intolerance would nestle with sensual abuses, exclusion, non-acceptance, and hatred of those who welcomed spiritual fruitfulness. This is like having cockle shells in a sandy shelter when there should be moist and fertile earth to give blossoms to social graces. To ring a bell to draw attention to a social ideology that will never blossom has an attitude of cruel intentions; especially when pretty girls are used to advertise the social beauty that they never intend to realize.
How does a contrary Mary, cockle shells, silver bells, and pretty girls relate to the “5th Element,” or by another name, the universal deity? She was contrary because she was trying to bury the living divinity beneath the sands where the cockle shells lie. Then she utilized pretty girls to suggest all is well and in order, while ringing the silver bells in opposition to the supernatural realm. Human nature attempts to rationalize, or otherwise regulate the source of infinite power, intelligence, and presence to a minimal role in their quest to conquer. From this, we see a relationship between the desire to achieve through external elements, and the source of all achievement existing internal to us. Mary’s quite contrary attitude was evidence of the declining image of a beautiful social order. Attempting to bury the internal deity beneath external appearances resulted in the desolation of spiritual fruitfulness. There were no blossoms to signify a harmonious and cohesive society, just contrary sentiments. From the culture of Mary’s garden would flow inner turmoil, social fragmentation, irreverence towards divine goodness, and infestation of negativity. In contrast, welcoming the internal nature of the “5th Element” would turn the sandy beaches into fertile soil to give life to spiritual fruit. The universal deity would enhance the silver bell to orchestrate beautiful music, and the beauty of the girls would go beyond advertisement and be a way of life. In that scenario, internal peace would blossom, there would be a respect for the living deity, and positive energy would permeate humanity.
Mary was quite contrary about something, and we can be sure it relates to the wilting image that became her identity, which impeded the ability of her culture to self-actualize. There was the relationship between the external elements in her words, deeds, and beliefs, and the nature of words, deeds, and beliefs that come from internal spiritual qualities. It began to become apparent that both could not be true. The beauty of the social order through austerity that she talked about did not set right with the despair, sadness, and evilness that was beginning to manifest. Mary was quite contrary because the image of faith, joy, and goodness she wanted her culture to be identified with was buried beneath fraud and misrepresentation. In this light, we realize that as we identify with internal spiritual beauty we can self-actualize as a positively charged society. Our words, deeds, and beliefs express faith in the internal deity, and we convey joy for the divine goodness of the soul.
We can assess that social order, beauty, and appeal comes from internal spiritual qualities that blossom from our reverence for the universal deity. The diagnosis is that misrepresentation of the internal divinity, to focus on external attractiveness, is short-lived and will eventually manifest with contrary attitudes. In this light, we plan to give reverence to the “5th Element” to welcome the eternal nature of spiritual fruit. We implement that plan by welcoming the goodness in us where the waters of love, peace, faith, and perseverance flow. Our success is measured when our internal desires blossom with fruit that develops qualities for and enduring society of order, beauty, cohesion, and harmony.