This coming Saturday, July 29th marks the feast of Saint Martha. Inspired by Briana Saussy’s Feast Days For The Radically Reverent, we will be holding a free candle service to honor her.
Who is Saint Martha?
Saint Martha is a Catholic Saint, believed to be the sister of Mary Magdalene and Lazarus. Because she is said to have attended to Jesus in her home, she is considered to be the patron of housewives, housekeepers, and those who work in the service industry. She is often depicted holding a torch, and with a dragon at her feet, due to the following tale featured in The Golden Legend:
There was that time upon the river of Rhone, in a certain wood between Arles and Avignon, a great dragon, half beast and half fish, greater than an ox, longer than an horse, having teeth sharp as a sword, and horned on either side, head like a lion, tail like a serpent, and defended him with two wings on either side, and could not be beaten with cast of stones ne with other armour, and was as strong as twelve lions or bears; which dragon lay hiding and lurking in the river, and perished them that passed by and drowned ships. He came thither by sea from Galicia, and was engendered of Leviathan, which is a serpent of the water and is much wood, and of a beast called Bonacho, that is engendered in Galicia. And when he is pursued he casts out of his belly behind, his ordure, the space of an acre of land on them that follow him, and it is bright as glass, and what it toucheth it burneth as fire. To whom Martha, at the prayer of the people, came into the wood, and found him eating a man. And she cast on him holy water, and showed to him the cross, which anon was overcome, and standing still as a sheep, she bound him with her own girdle, and then was slain with spears and glaives of the people.
As a result of this folklore, within the hoodoo tradition she is known as Saint Martha the Dominator, and is often called upon to tame more metaphorical dragons such as bad or abusive bosses or lovers. Saint Martha is known as a fierce protector of women and can be called upon when one seeks justice or wishes to gain the upper hand in a situation.
If you are interested in learning more about Saint Martha and how to work with her, we recommend this chapbook from Hadean Press, although there is also a wealth of information to be found on this beloved Saint on the web as well.
If you do not wish to participate in the service, but would like to honor Saint Martha on her feast day, traditional offerings include red or green candles, coffee, dark chocolate, and red flowers. Donations can also be made to a church or charity in her name. There are many ways of honoring this wonderful saint and these are just a few suggestions.
The Candle Service
Petitions are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted!