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Petitions- Saint Dymphna   Leave a comment

Simple altar to Saint Dymphna

Simple altar to Saint Dymphna

Petitions: Working with the Saints

A lot of witches tell the uninitiated that spells are really like prayer.  I often say, “it’s like prayer, but with something to keep your hands busy.”  This is sometimes a very oversimplified explanation.   There is a kind of work, though, that truly is all about prayer, and it only works if you believe in and honor the being that you are making your petition to.

This simple altar is for the little son of a dear friend of mine who is suffering with mental health and emotional disturbances right now.  He is hospitalized, where I have every belief that he will recover.  However, it’s terribly hard on the child and maybe even worse on his mother, who is like a sister to me.

Saint Dymphna is an Irish saint whose shrines boast miracle cures for the mentally ill.  She is the patroness of people with emotional health issues, children and victims of abuse.  Her story can be found anywhere on the internet.  By all accounts she was an innocent girl caught in the crossfire of her father’s very troubling madness.  She was martyred at age 15 for refusing the crazed advances of her father.

This altar has a picture of the Saint, which I simply printed off the internet.  It’s not fancy, but it is a way to represent her.  I also placed a statue of the Blessed Mother on the altar, on behalf of my friend who suffers with her son’s pain; something the Blessed Mother can relate to.  In the dish is a mixture of lavender (healing), blessed thistle (blessing, sanctity and healing), rose buds and petals (love and healing) and even some Lady’s Mantle, to honor the Saint and the Blessed Mother.  Some of these were sprinkled on the candle after I anointed it with an oil I often use to bless things.  On the altar you also see some prayer beads, created by the beautiful and talented Kristy, another sister friend.  I have been using these beads to pray the chaplet to Saint Dymphna for my little friend.  A chaplet is a set of prayers, and yes they include Christian prayers, for those who are curious.

This is what some witches call “Petition Magic”, which if you ask me, is a fancy name for prayer, but I do like the term. (We will discuss again at some point why a lot of religious traditions are not all that different and why people on both sides of the religious aisle are going to disagree with me when I just said that.)   What I’m doing is asking the Saint to pray with us for my little friend, for his healing.  I am offering things on the altar that honor her and symbolize her to me.  When my little friend is healed, I will make a gift to one of her shrines or a charity that bears her name.  I know that this healing will occur, because I believe in this Saint, and know that her compassion is real.  I know that she is in heaven, and that she extends the graces given to her by her creator (God) to the rest of creation, especially favoring the innocent and those that suffer from emotional health problems.

Whether you work with Saints, angels, spirits, totems or any other being, if you are calling upon them for help, it is a kind of petition work.  If you are just bringing them in for support or to witness a different kind of working, that may be different, but when you are calling upon another being to work a miracle for you or on behalf of someone else, it is a petition.
My altar isn’t fancy or exciting but it is simple and heartfelt, like my request.  Heal my little friend.


Posted March 9, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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