Jailbreaking St. Benedict

It ain’t always easy being into what I’ve affectionately coined Christianimism as there are few sources worth pulling from that don’t bleed into, or borrow from, traditions that I’ve no business adopting. A lot of magic involving the saints comes from Afro-Caribbean traditions in which there are often other spirits using the forms of the saints and their iconography to interact with the peoples with whom they have relations. This is generally a bad idea for a white midwestern boy that has no authority with those potentially dangerous spirits, nor any idea what their relational protocol might be. 

There aren’t a lot of saints in hoodoo, and the Catholics in North America refuse to admit to their magical acts of devotion so there is a whole lot of trial-and-error, research, and creative magical thinking that has to come into play to adequately explore this most fascinating of Western magical traditions.

After reading up on the saints I was interested in and setting them up on my altar, of course I get contacted very strongly by two I had yet to even research or find interest in. This time in the blogosphere I want to talk about the occulting or jailbreaking of just one of those two pious characters; Saint Benedict.

It seems safe to think of St. Benedict as a Saturnian influence based solely on the nature of his miracles. He took sickness away from people, avoided sinister plots against him that would have resulted in him “dying before his time,” has a special protective nature against poisons and for the home, performed exorcisms, and had authority over whether or not stuff was physically broken. He also had a way of seeing deep down to one’s true motivations and exposing them for what they were. If that isn’t Saturnian, I truly do not know what is.

It is certainly worth mentioning here, however, that the majority of these miracles were performed by him through prayer, and while he believed very strongly that students should rarely speak and casual discourse was a path to sin, this most strict among brothers also built into his order that different prayers should be repeated for specific times of day, and repeated often. 

He believed strongly in the power of oratory prayer and this makes him a wonderful ally to be called upon to join one in a ceremony of prayer. This is also indicative of a Mercurial current that carries forth as a more minor accent, as well as a Jupiterian one in his renovation of monasticism that carries on to this day. 

So if you are trying to build a community and find self-discipline, he just may be the saint you’ve been looking for. Just remember, it was Benedict of Nursia himself who told his would-be underlings when they begged of him his leadership that they would only regret their request of his authority, for he would be too strict for their tastes in short time. To which they replied, “Nay! We will have you as our leader!” Attempting, of course, to kill him via poison not long after his acquiescence.

Turns out he was right.

He also became uncomfortable with being noticed for his miracles and disappeared into solitude a couple times throughout his life. One of which times was spent in a cave, mostly fasting, and could thus be an ally if one needs to spend a lot of time in solitude. Potentially if, say, quarantined.

I’ve saved you the trouble of reading The Life of St. Benedict and made a list of potentially magically relevant miracles and plot-points to consider both in the sense of narrative and apparent metaphysics. 

  • Fixed a broken sieve through prayer.
  • Dramatically threw a glass bottle out a high window to make a point to a monk, and because his cause was just, the bottle did not break – thus preserving the small amount of oil that remained.
  • Raised a boy from the dead.
  • Returned a dead zombie boy to his grave after he arose from it (different boy, probably.)
  • Cured folks of leprosy.
  • Discovered wine hidden by his brothers.
  • Multiplied food.
  • Multiplied Oil.
  • Prayed over a bowl/glass in which poison had been slipped in a conspiracy to kill him. Upon making the sign of the cross the dish cracked in two, spilling the contents and saving his life.
  • Avoided notoriety like the plague, knew when to walk away without shame, and made the most of his alone-time.
  • Patron saint of cavers and probably the influence for Tarot’s the Hermit.
  • Untied the knots of a bound captive with just a will and a glance.
  • Exorcised a monk who had lost his way by hitting him with a “wand.” – That’s so wizard.
  • He seemed to be able to tell when things would end through prophecy and vision, including the monastery he built as well as, down to the day God told him it would happen, his own life.
  • Had visions. And I mean visions. Check this out: “Benedict, being diligent in watching, rose up before the night office and stood at the window making his prayer to Almighty God about midnight, when suddenly, looking forth, he was a light glancing from above, so bright and resplendent that it not only dispersed the darkness of the night, but shined more clear than the day itself. Upon this sight a marvellous strange thing followed, for, as he afterwards related, the whole world, compacted as it were together, was represented to his eyes in one ray of light. As the venerable Father had his eyes fixed upon this glorious lustre, he beheld the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua, carried by angels to Heaven in a fiery globe. Then, for the testimony of so great a miracle, with a loud voice he called upon Servandus the Deacon, twice or thrice by his name, who, troubled at such an unusual crying out of the man of God, came up, looked forth, and saw a little stream of light then disappearing, and wondered greatly at this miracle. Whereupon the man of God told him in order all that he had seen, and sent presently to Theoprobus, a Religious man in the town of Casino, ordering him to go the same night to Capua, and learn what had happened to Germanus the Bishop. It fell out so, that he who was sent found the most reverend Bishop Germanus dead, and on enquiring more exactly, he learned that his departure was the very same moment in which the man of God had seen him ascend.”
  • He was also made psychically aware of a boy getting carried away by a stream, which he then telepathically communicated to brother Maurus, who was so motivated and justified by his psychic hero-mission that he didn’t even notice himself running on the water to save this kid by the scruff. Consider the shape of this, metaphysically. Perhaps he’s the kind of saint that will help you out in an emergency, to exceed your own limits and rise to impossible tasks with single-mindedness. 
  • When one of his monks decided to leave the monastery he began to pray for him. Upon leaving the monastery the monk saw a great dragon which frightened him into remaining with Benedict in the pious life. This sort of manipulation for positive influence is morally tenuous, and truly fascinating tactically. 
  • Consider this story for inspiration on emergency St. Benedict petitions for finance: “So he came to the Monastery, where finding the servant of Almighty God, told him how he was extremely urged by his creditor for the payment of twelve shillings. The venerable father answered him that, in very deed, he had not twelve shillings, but yet he comforted his want with good words, saying: “Go, and after two days return hither again for today I have it not to give thee.” These two days, as his custom was, he spent in prayer, and, on the third day, when the poor debtor came again, thirteen shillings were found upon a chest of the Monastery that as full of corn. These the man of God caused to be brought to him, and gave them to the distressed man, saying that he might pay twelve, and have one to defray his charges.”
  • Or this one if you live off-grid “…went up to the rock and there prayed a long time. Having ended his prayers, he put three stones for a mark in the same place, and so unknown to all he returned to his Monastery. Next day, when the Brethren came again to him for want of water he said: “Go, and on the rock where you shall find three stones one upon another, dig a little, for Almighty God is able to make water spring from the top of that mountain, that you may be eased of this labour.” When they had made a hollow in that place, it was immediately filled with water, which issueth forth so plentifully that to this day it continueth running down to the floor of the mountain.”
  • There is also a known cunning tradition of burying a St. Benedict coin at each of the four corners of a property for protection and fortification.
  • His iconography includes a raven, lending his appearance to sometimes resemble Odin when coupled with his staff and hooded robe. Saturn and Mercury, indeed.
  • Other Benedictine symbols include a broken vessel and book, though anything could be used from these narratives if they resonate with you, in theory.

Bringing up these narrative points as a means to consider potential ways of collaborating with St. Benedict is my sole intention, as I am only beginning to actually get to know him myself. I claim no authority on the matter and should very much like to hear from anyone who has worked with this saint.

One last point to consider:

PETER. I would know whether he obtained these great miracles always by prayer, or did they some times only by the intimation of his will? 

GREGORY. They who are perfectly united with God, when necessity requireth, work miracles both ways, sometimes they do wonders by prayer, sometimes by power. For since St. John saith: “As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become sons of God.” What wonder is it if they have the privilege and power to work miracles who are exalted to the dignity of children of God. And that they work miracles in both ways is manifest in St. Peter, who by prayer, raised Tabitha from death, and punished with death Ananias and Sapphira for their falsehood. For we do not read that he prayed when they fell down dead, but only that he rebuked them for their fault committed. It is evident therefore that these things are done sometimes by power, sometimes by petition; since that by reproof he deprived these of their life, and by prayer revived the other.

Experiment away, wyrdos. ❤

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