Jul 27, 2011

St. Cosmas and Damian

PLEASE NOTE First of all, this article deals with the practical spiritual work with Saints that are not normally petitioned in Hoodoo tradition, meaning; Hoodoo as a system of magick, seems to have , what may be seen as a  “list of Saints” that are used in magickal work, and technically speaking, working with any other Saint  is unofficial. I’d love to “beg the difference”, but I’d rather just suggest that If You see some Saint as familiar, close to You, or potentially kind(red)  and “cooperative”, You should include it in your own, personal devotions and practice. Besides, if enough Hoodoo people would do the  same, would that not make Saint a part of “official Hoodoo pantheon” ? The terms that are between quotation marks, are written so, as  I do not want do mislead anyone, deviating from official practice as some might see that .

St Cosmas and Damian Icon
But should You ask a Santerian, or Obeah practitioner they might tell You they work with Saints which You will not find on “Hoodoo lists”[1] but they might ( and usually will ) call it Hoodoo. This is a large, and debatable issue, but I  just had to mention it here, because otherwise, some self proclaimed know-it-alls, might call me out, and become offensive.

St Cosmas ( or Kosmas as otherwise spelled ) and Damian ( or Damianos ) are Christian martyrs and Saints, also Faith healers that healed many people, of/from various medical and mental conditions.
They are venerated by both those of Catholic and Orthodox Christian faith denomination. And for a good reason too. Their martyrdom had been epic and utmost commendable, as well as was their life and work.
They were raised and lived in Rome ( according to most accepted / acknowledged version ) in the III century.

Cosmas and Damian were brothers, miracle-workers, who were according to the Christian folk able to heal any condition, most often by laying hands over the patients, curing them almost instantaneously. One of their most miraculous achievements was the transplantation of the leg of recently deceased Ethiopian to an patient with ulcerous leg. This very “operation” is a theme of many medieval ( and latter ) paintings and works of art. Perhaps the most famous depiction is from 16th century, though by an unknown author. They are often depicted ( in artwork ) as being helped by Angels in their work, likewise is the case with the mentioned artwork.

     Orthodox iconographers often depict brothers standing one besides another, with Damian often on the right, shown much younger than Cosmas. They are depicted holding
medicine bottles, medicine boxes and spoons for dosing cures. They often hold plants too, one specie in particular.

     Among the Eastern Orthodox folk and Mediterranean people, they enjoy great, almost cult like respect, but more profound and sincere. They are somewhat of  “folk Saints” If they can fit the category, being that Church did acknowledge them as Saints, and  canonized them in first place. Christian people pass on tales of their wisdom, kindness and miracles.

     They were said to have known the most guarded secrets of herbal medicine and faith healing as well as that they were often helped and guided by Angels. People often address to them as “silverless” as they refused to take money for healing, instead they just asked people to believe in Christ the Lord, and according to some myths even the certain emperor himself was cured by them and consequently, acknowledged Christian G’d and Christ his son as his own Lord.

     They died as martyrs. In one version the very teacher of theirs, a pagan physician killed them, by cunningly assuring them he needed their help with herb collecting. After leading them to a certain hill, he stoned them. In another version they were arrested by the order of Perfect , crucified, stoned and tortured, hit with arrows, all in attempt to make them refuse their faith. As splendidly devoted Christians, they firmly declined, stating how their only G’d was not made, but instead he is a Creator, unlike artworks ( sculptures ) Romans worshiped , and were finally decapitated.

     It appears to be most likely that they suffered martyrdom in Syria during the Roman persecution of Diocletian, around 303, meaning the second version.

     They are considered Patron Saints of surgeons, as well as protectors of children in Brasil, where on the 27th of September ( their feast day in Catholics ) children are given candy bags with effigies printed on them. In Orthodox Christian tradition they are considered patron saints of doctors, healers and medicine-men. Folk in Balkan peninsula often refer to them as “Sveti vrachi” ( literally translates to "Holly medicine man", or "Holly witch-doctors" ) . They could be petitioned for healing, protection from evil spirits ( one legend speaks of them defending some poor men from such ), curing unnatural illnesses,  and  expelling  the "live things in You" , as they have saved a men's life to whom snaked had sneaked inside, as he has been sleeping with his mouth open, driving the snake out.

Plants associated with Silverless

     European myths associate three plants with these Saints. According to legends of Eastern European, Italians, and folks of Mediterranean, the Saints particularly praised and used three plants, most of all Sanicule ( Sanicula  europaea ) which they are sometimes depicted holding. Other two plants associated with them are Allheal ( Prunella vulgaris ) and Wood Betony ( Stachys officinalis , syn, Stachys betonica ). Common folk had no precise botany knowledge, yet identified these three plants , as those Saints praised in legends , passed often orally from ancestors to Young people, Incidentally or not Sanicule, is famed in old European tales of magickal herbs and folk fairytales. Like the one about the girl, who goes in woods searching for  the cure for her sick mother, finds a tortoise , and saves her life ( tortoise was on the ground, overturned, laying helplessly on her armor ) , and after falling asleep from fatigue dreams of the amazing mystical plant that is a “cure-all” and can easily heal  even the deadliest diseases. The girl searches the woods yet is unable to fin the plant and eventually the tortoise she previously saved appears holding the plant in her mouths. The girl take s  the plant with her, makes an infusion from it and some Nettles and saves her mother's life, for she was dying.

     The colors that would be associated with them, are usually pale green and pale celestial sky-blue. So I can assume that candles of such colors would be correspondent to them.

     And here is a soothing prayer, as used in Catholic Christian practice, to ask for their intercession, in healing an illness or to help being successful in any endeavor, or deliverance from evil ( according to Orthodox Christian writings, they preformed Miracles even after death, and they have also saved certain man from evil spirit, so they can be petitioned for such problems as well ) :

Oh glorious martyrs of Christ,
Saints Cosmas and Damian,
you gave your lives for the love of God,
benefiting your fellow man,
and crowning your martyrdom with an open and loyal profession of your faith.
You taught us to love God above all things,
and to love our fellow man as ourselves,
professing always,
and without fear,
the religion of Jesus.

Augmenting amongst the faithful populace many miracles,
you are glorious indeed.
Through your intercession,
which brings about deliverance of these miracles,
we pray to you for your aid in all things.
May your patronage never be far from us in the illness of our body and soul.

Oh great protectors,
Saints Cosmas & Damian,
assist us with your love and free us from all evils.


Giving thanks

Simply express Your gratitude and fiath to Lord, as You give donation to the Churh, maybe a church built in their name, or before their icon in the church.

NOTES: This article was composed by myself , and correspondences mentioned ( herbs, colors, giving thanks ) are suggested by myself, meaning being my personal idea based on research of the Saint’s life and folklore associated with them. Therfore should You desire to use any part of this post elsewhere feel free, but do give credits Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post, and If You wish to use it in non-digital ( outside online space ) media like magazine or book, contact me via given e-mail address for approval before You do.
CREDITS: [1] One of such “Hoodoo lists” can be found here
[2] This prayer is from
http://www.catholicdoors.com/prayers/english3/p02159.htm , without any ill will, for educational purposes only
The first image is Orthodox Christian iconography, and is from www.wikipedia.com edited by me, for posting here, all rights to whom due. The second is botanical illustration of Sanicule and same saidth for the first image goes here as well.

If You wish, You can comment on wether or not should Hoodoo Saint's list be expanded
Hope this was informative many Blessings , Shadow

1 comment:

Ty said...

Technically, yes, I believe that the Hoodoo lists SHOULD be expanded as any traditional Rootworker that works with the Saints whole-heartedly is probably going to be Catholic which means that any Saint that is recognized by the Catholic Church or any other legitimate (accepted) branch of Christianity that accepts the saint. In other words, any Saint that is a Christian, believer in God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit should be included as a "workable" Saint even though the Saints should NOT be worked! The practitioner should be their friends, create a friendship instead of just asking for favors etc.

Agape Omega Thelema
Lux et Pax