July 28th, 2011

stabat mater dolorosa

from the mailbag

In addition to the hundred emails I get every day wanting free spell advice, I usually get a few of these as well, but they are rarely this polite:

Dear karmazain,

As I was searching for items pertaining to St. Clare of Assisi, I came across a St. Clare rosary bracelet. The description is misleading - neither St. Clare nor any other saint is associated with "hoodoo" or psychic visions or any like practices. In fact, these are against the First Commandment of God, & have been condemned in the New Testament. I also noticed a picture of Our Lady of Sorrows on your header - this image depicted with "Magic charms, amulets", etc. greatly dishonors the Mother of God , the Mother of our Savior Jesus Christ, although I don't believe this is your intent I just think you didn't realize this. My intention by this e-mail is not to start a religious debate, but rather, to advise as to the sacred teaching regarding Holy Mary and the saints.

Thanks for reading and have a good one.

Sandra [last name redacted]

Dear Sandra,

Just because it isn't your practice doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  Millions of Americans, Europeans, and Haitians, among others, of all kinds of backgrounds and denominations, work with her and other saints in folk magic, and she's been petitioned as an ally in hoodoo for hundreds of years - long, long before I was born, never mind had a shop on ebay. I didn't invent folk religious practices, I just grew up with them and have studied them my whole life (and wrote my doctoral dissertation on them).  It is a fact that St. Clare has been petitioned in hoodoo and associated with psychic vision for longer than either of us have been alive.  I can back up every claim I make on my blog, my website, or in my researched academic articles.  Not everybody interprets Scripture the same way you do, and not everybody interprets the first commandment the same way you do, so arguments based on an appeal to scripture are not likely to have much effect on those who don't share the same basis for the argument. But I do appreciate your being reasonably polite and well-meaning, instead of sending the hellfire and brimstone sort of message that I usually get about twelve of every week and don't bother to reply to. 

Best,

Karma