My 2002 Saints and Demons
Anyone who, like me, had the unfortunate experience of growing up catholic (not capitalized on purpose, thank you), knows you have certain saints attached to the day you were born. I always thought of them like favorite celebrities. According to the "Birthday Book of Saints," by Sean Kelly and Rosemary Rogers, I have three. And these aren't the actual saints they had listed for June 25th, but those were a total snooze so I picked ones I lthought sounded appropriate for me. I didn't have to come out and say that, and because I'm honest I get to pick my own saint celebrities.
These people also wrote a book called "Who in Hell," which lists every conceivable demon and denizen of Hell. But there's no mention of having certain demons for your birthday like you have saints--a MAJOR failing. That's like trying to have yin without yang or bourbon without ginger ale. So I picked my own birthday demons as well.
All the Sean Kelly/Rosemary Rogers books are really good; you should definitely check them out.
The Feast of Saint Christina the Astonishing
High-strung, levitating, insightful virgin, 1224. Patron of psychiatrists (emblem: maiden with disheveled hair sitting on a wheel)
Christina didn't have an easy life, but how many high-strung, levitating virgins do? She was the youngest of three Belgian sisters and became an orphan at 15. When she was 22 she had a cataleptic fit and everyone thought she was dead so they gave her a funeral mass. Imagine their surprise when she flew out of her coffin--literally--and took refuge in the church rafters. All the mourners understandably ran out screaming, except for one sister and a priest, who finally persuaded Christina to come down. She told them she had been skeeved by the "garlicky breath of the congregation," and that's why she flew up to the ceiling.
She then proceeded to tell them about her "death," and the out-of-body experiences she had while catatonic. She stopped by Purgatory and Hell and had seen old friends in both places. Then she looked down and saw her funeral mass, and decided to be a sport and spring the souls she had seen in Purgatory by coming back to pray for them. (Obviously her former friends in Hell were just totally screwed.) From her miraculous "resurrection" on, Christina was tormented by her overly sensitive sense of smell. It's said she found men particularly offensive (join the club, and, PS what a big les) and to avoid those and other bothersome odors she was forced to sit in out-of-the-way places like baptismal fonts, perch up on towers (ow!), balance herself on weathervanes, and crawl into ovens. I'm not making this up; that's what it says in the book. Because of all this, most people were convinced Christina was "full of devils," and often attempts were made to confine her but she always escaped. That's probably why she got the cool tag, "the astonishing," and although there's no mention of it, I wouldn't be surprised if she could also pull a rabbit out of a hat and saw someone in half. However, somehow later in life Christina achieved respectability and many notable people sought her inevitably wise advice. Personally, I wouldn't trust anything said by someone who frequently crawled into ovens and sat on towers, but that's just me.
The Feast of Saint Beuno
Head-transplanting hermit, 5th century. Invoked against diseases of cattle (emblem: with staff in one hand, rabbit's head in the other.)
I had to pick St. Beuno because of my fascination with the concept of interchangable heads. Beuno's most famous miracle, and it's really cool, concerns an odious bridegroom who cut his bride's head off and then skipped town with all her gold and horses. Beuno later restored the bride's head and a fountain sprang up where her body had lain headless. It didn't say how long her head was off her body, but for the sake of good taste we'll assume her nose hadn't rotted off or anything. A while after that the bride's vengeful brother found the odious bridegroom and cut HIS head off and Beuno replaced that as well. I don't know why, since the guy was a total creep, but at least this time he didn't make a fountain appear.
There's a variation of the above head-transplanting legend, and in this version a wicked king, King Caradoc, decapitates Saint Winifred because she rebuffed his crude advances. Not only did Beuno restore her head, he cursed the king and Caradoc dissolved into a puddle. Just like the wicked witch of the west, which is possibly why many of Beuno's friends allegedly called him "Dorothy." Neither of these stories explain why Beuno is the patron of sick cattle, but for centuries earthly representatitve of Beuno toured Wales collecting money in his name to ensure the health of domestic livestock. Just another religious scam? You be the judge.
The Feast of Saint Kevin
Animal-loving, woman-hating hermit, 618. Patron of Ireland (emblem: blackbird)
There weren't any biographies written of Kevin until about 500 years after his death, so we really don't know how much is fact and how much is legend. Of course, with the church it's pretty much ALL hearsay and legend, but if those catholic suckers want to believe in a sexist, racist, homophobic corrupt organization that's their problem.
In the rolling green hills of Wicklow, Ireland, there's a barren cave that's called "Kevin's bed." And if you go on a tour, a guide will probably take you near there and show you a cliff from which Kevin, who was supposed to have been extremely good looking, threw a woman who had come to tempt him from his vows. Woah, harsh--couldn't he just have said "no thank you," or just slapped her? Kevin lived to the ripe old age of 120, and in his later years was fed by a pet otter who'd go out and catch salmon for him. (No one knows if the otter cooked, or just shoved raw fish down the old man's throat.) And once Kevin stood motionless until an egg that a blackbird had laid in the palm of his hand hatched. I have no idea why; I guess he really liked blackbirds or something. I picked Kevin because my goal is to become an animal-loving, woman-hating hermit. So far I have everything perfected except the hermit part.
Frimost is a minor but very particular and somewhat anal demon. You can only invoke him on Tuesday nights, between nine and ten o'clock. And then when he appears, you have to give him a white pebble. The book doesn't say what will happen if you DON'T give Frimost the pebble, but I have a feeling it wouldn't be pretty. I like Frimost because he makes rules for himself and sticks to them, like my tattoo rule, and because he knows what he wants and asks for it. I don't know what he's going to do with all the white pebbles, but that's his business. He gets them--that's what matters.
If you think Lilith is just a character on the old TV show "Cheers," you really don't know what you're missing. Lilith is known by the catchy title, "First Lady of Hell," and her special talent is inspriring impure thoughts in those about to die, and seducing sinners on their deathbeds. The point? When they give in and embrace her, they've made that final step to damnation. (And those poor saps probably figured they'd made a clean getaway. . .NOT!)
According to Jewish legend--generally much more entertaining that what Christians can conjure up--Lilith was the first wife God created for Adam. She resented Adam insisting that they only use the missionary postion when they had sex, and instead wanted to experiment a little more. Not known for his brains, Adam told Lilith to stuff it, the argument escalated and finally Lilith grew wings and flew out of this alleged missionary style-only "paradise." God sent three high-ranking angels to try to persuade her to return, but Lilith told them, "It would be no paradise to be the servant of man." EXCELLENT!!! (And, PS, the first big les.) Lilith went on to bigger and better things, at least in my opinion. She found a more sexually adventurous mate, a fallen angel named Sammael and lived happily every after. Adam got Eve as a replacement, and well, you know the rest.
This cute, semi-furry little guy was one of the original rebel angels, and is now a mighty demon. During Satan's war with God, the ever resourceful yet not very practical Xaphan suggested using arson as a tactic--i.e., burn down Heaven. You know what they say about the best laid plans, and now, appropriately, Xaphan tends the fires of Hell with his trusty smiley face bellows (see picture).
Granted, the name's not as exotic as Xaphan or Lilith, but his story's just as colorful. Sixteenth-century aristocrat Sir Guy LeScoop threw a dinner party one night, and when none of the invited guests showed, in a fit of picque he invoked Black Jim. (I can't tell you how many times I've found myself saying, "Oh crap, nobody showed up--guess I'll just invoke a demon.") Black Jim did indeed accept the invitation, and brought 10,000 of his closest fiends with him. Everyone was having a bitchin' time, except Sir Guy, who by now had grown tired of his boorish demonic guests but couldn't persuade Black Jim and his pals to leave. He pleaded with them to go back to Hell and even said they could take the leftovers. Known for always taking that one step too far, Black Jim not only took the food, but also snatched Sir Guy's son. Sir Guy then called on Saint Cuthbert for help (get the feeling Sir Guy can't pick a team?). The accomodating saint not only fetched the young Sir LeScoop, but told Black Jim and companions to finish eating pronto and berated them for their bad table manners.