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Author Topic: Pagans reaching out to saints  (Read 1281 times)

Wren

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Pagans reaching out to saints
« on: November 09, 2014, 09:02:04 pm »
As a disclaimer, let me mention that I really do not have a background in Christianity.

My mental health has taken about twenty steps backward in recent weeks, and at around this time Saint Dymphna has popped into my mind.  While I do not feel an actual presence, I do find some comfort in the idea of reaching out to her.  However, from what I gather (and please correct me on this since I am probably misunderstanding something) is that one does not actually pray to the saints, but asks the saints to pray on our behalf.  Is this asking them to pray specifically to God or Jesus?  Would this be offensive then, to reach out?
Branch and Bone, stick and stone.

Jack

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2014, 09:12:50 pm »
Quote from: Wren;164898
As a disclaimer, let me mention that I really do not have a background in Christianity.

My mental health has taken about twenty steps backward in recent weeks, and at around this time Saint Dymphna has popped into my mind.  While I do not feel an actual presence, I do find some comfort in the idea of reaching out to her.  However, from what I gather (and please correct me on this since I am probably misunderstanding something) is that one does not actually pray to the saints, but asks the saints to pray on our behalf.  Is this asking them to pray specifically to God or Jesus?  Would this be offensive then, to reach out?

I continued to work with a couple of Saints after leaving Catholicism the second time, St Dymphna among them. Technically from a Catholic POV yes, they're only interceding with God on your behalf, but frankly that's never come up.
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
"The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly." -Madeleine L'Engle

kiarakapow

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2014, 09:59:13 pm »
Quote from: Wren;164898
As a disclaimer, let me mention that I really do not have a background in Christianity.

My mental health has taken about twenty steps backward in recent weeks, and at around this time Saint Dymphna has popped into my mind.  While I do not feel an actual presence, I do find some comfort in the idea of reaching out to her.  However, from what I gather (and please correct me on this since I am probably misunderstanding something) is that one does not actually pray to the saints, but asks the saints to pray on our behalf.  Is this asking them to pray specifically to God or Jesus?  Would this be offensive then, to reach out?

 
In my opinion, if you're okay with it, as well as Saint Dymphna being comfortable with you reaching out to her, its not offensive. You seem like you understand your "spiritual self" pretty well, so if you feel like something feels weird while you're working with your Saint then you should probably back off a bit. Also yes, traditionally the Saints do pray for you to God.

Other than, that good luck with your mental health journey!

Jainarayan

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2014, 09:11:58 am »
Quote from: Wren;164898
As a disclaimer, let me mention that I really do not have a background in Christianity.

My mental health has taken about twenty steps backward in recent weeks, and at around this time Saint Dymphna has popped into my mind.  While I do not feel an actual presence, I do find some comfort in the idea of reaching out to her.  However, from what I gather (and please correct me on this since I am probably misunderstanding something) is that one does not actually pray to the saints, but asks the saints to pray on our behalf.  Is this asking them to pray specifically to God or Jesus?  Would this be offensive then, to reach out?

 
As I mentioned in the thread about venerating the Blessed Virgin, if your heart and gut tell you it's OK to venerate a saint or deity, go for it. There are no worship police, no one can tell you whom to worship or venerate and whom not to worship or venerate. At another site a Pagan/Heathen (Germanic) guy went on a not-unjustified tirade about how it's actually un-Pagan to reject veneration or worship of other deities and beings simply because they are not of your own tradition. Pagans are some of the most open-minded people vis-à-vis worship and adopting deities.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Larix

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2014, 04:28:41 pm »
Quote from: Jack;164899
I continued to work with a couple of Saints after leaving Catholicism the second time, St Dymphna among them. Technically from a Catholic POV yes, they're only interceding with God on your behalf, but frankly that's never come up.

 
I have looked for that Saint:

Quote
Saint Dymphna (also: Dympna, Dimpna, Damhnait, Damnat, from Gaelic. Damh=stag and ait = little, thus her name means fawn.[1] She was the daughter of a pagan Irish king and his Christian wife in the 7th century AD. She was murdered by her father. The story of St. Dymphna was first recorded in the thirteenth century by a canon of the Church of St. Aubert at Cambrai, commissioned by the Bishop of Cambrai, Guy I (1238–1247 AD). The author expressly states that his writings were based upon a longstanding oral tradition and a persuasive history of inexplicable and miraculous healings of the mentally ill




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymphna

Wren

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 08:04:24 pm »
Quote from: Jack;164899
I continued to work with a couple of Saints after leaving Catholicism the second time, St Dymphna among them. Technically from a Catholic POV yes, they're only interceding with God on your behalf, but frankly that's never come up.

 
Quote from: kiarakapow;164902
In my opinion, if you're okay with it, as well as Saint Dymphna being comfortable with you reaching out to her, its not offensive. You seem like you understand your "spiritual self" pretty well, so if you feel like something feels weird while you're working with your Saint then you should probably back off a bit. Also yes, traditionally the Saints do pray for you to God.

Other than, that good luck with your mental health journey!

 
Thank you both.  I'm still mulling this one over!
Branch and Bone, stick and stone.

Jainarayan

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2014, 09:33:12 am »
Quote from: Gunnar Thorbjorn;164931
As I mentioned in the thread about venerating the Blessed Virgin, if your heart and gut tell you it's OK to venerate a saint or deity, go for it. There are no worship police, no one can tell you whom to worship or venerate and whom not to worship or venerate. At another site a Pagan/Heathen (Germanic) guy went on a not-unjustified tirade about how it's actually un-Pagan to reject veneration or worship of other deities and beings simply because they are not of your own tradition. Pagans are some of the most open-minded people vis-à-vis worship and adopting deities.


Instead of starting another thread on this subject I thought I would try to explore it here further. I haven't changed the beliefs I stated above, that you do what feels right to you, but I am curious about something that pertains especially to polytheists who have a defined pantheon, including me. It's something that I may be influenced by from another site. There is a person devoted to one God (Shiva). His contention is "why look elsewhere, is one God not enough?" which he's made known over and over again, almost ad nauseum and ad infinitum. Personally I don't hold with that belief, hence I am a polytheist.

I have given this a lot of thought but haven't come to a conclusion. My pantheon are the Aesir (and Vanir). I am particularly devoted to Thor as my patron. When I practiced Hinduism we used a Sanskrit term: ishta-devata, "cherished/personal deity". I have reverence, respect and liking for deities and saints of other faiths, but I wonder if it is like saying that the deities in my own pantheon are not complete. For example, Thor is strength and protection among many other things, so what could Ganesha and Hanuman offer me that Thor cannot? Yet I respect and revere Ganesha and Hanuman; I think Hanuman is awesome. I hope other people will share their take on it.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Jack

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2014, 11:11:53 am »
Quote from: Gunnar Thorbjorn;165070
There is a person devoted to one God (Shiva). His contention is "why look elsewhere, is one God not enough?" which he's made known over and over again, almost ad nauseum and ad infinitum. Personally I don't hold with that belief, hence I am a polytheist.

I wrote about this once on my blog using an Avengers metaphor. Like, say Phil Coulson is my best friend. Phil Coulson is terrifyingly efficient at many things, but if I need someone shot in the neck with an arrow, I might as well call Clint, and if a need a man's skull crushed like a sparrow egg between someone's thighs it's faster to call Natasha, and if I need furniture moved I should see if Thor's in town first. Not because Phil can't do those things, but because they more closely align with the skillsets of others.

That said, I go to Mara for like 90% of everything so it depends on your relationship and the god in question.
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
"The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly." -Madeleine L'Engle

Jainarayan

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2014, 11:34:29 am »
Quote from: Jack;165076
I wrote about this once on my blog using an Avengers metaphor. Like, say Phil Coulson is my best friend. Phil Coulson is terrifyingly efficient at many things, but if I need someone shot in the neck with an arrow, I might as well call Clint, and if a need a man's skull crushed like a sparrow egg between someone's thighs it's faster to call Natasha, and if I need furniture moved I should see if Thor's in town first. Not because Phil can't do those things, but because they more closely align with the skillsets of others.

That said, I go to Mara for like 90% of everything so it depends on your relationship and the god in question.

That's perfect, I love it! Now I understand. Thanks. :thup:
« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 11:34:46 am by Jainarayan »
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

EclecticWheel

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Re: Pagans reaching out to saints
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2014, 10:40:06 pm »
Quote from: Wren;164898
However, from what I gather (and please correct me on this since I am probably misunderstanding something) is that one does not actually pray to the saints, but asks the saints to pray on our behalf.  Is this asking them to pray specifically to God or Jesus?  Would this be offensive then, to reach out?

To pray in an older sense of the term, but that is still valid today, is simply to ask or plead.  In this sense Catholics, Orthodox, and various other types of Christians pray to saints.  But they may also venerate saints asking for anything in particular, much the way someone may adore a god.  You can ask the saints to pray for you, but in some prayers such as those found in The Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary petitions are addressed directly for the Virgin Mary to carry out, though it is understood that her power to do anything is through her intercessory prayer.

It's not offensive to reach out to the saints from a Christian point of view even if you are not a Christian.  Every Catholic I've ever known and every source I've ever read has said anyone is allowed to pray the Rosary, so that would go for any other saint, too.  From the neo-pagan viewpoint, I suppose it's up to you how you pray and how exactly you interpret the saints' role in your practice.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 10:41:21 pm by EclecticWheel »
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

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