saint martha the dominator

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Re: saint martha the dominator

Postby ConjureMan Ali » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:31 am

I am aware of both the history of oil lamps and that curanderismo and voudou are separate traditions. What I was attempting to draw is a two-fold point.

First that there is a reason why certain saints are used as masks and that the similarities should not be overlooked.

Secondly, that though saint and spirit/lwa etc are distinct and separate mistaking one for the other is not a new phenomenon nor unique to the internet as you suggest.

While the use of saints as masks has been argued to be a self-preservation technique this was not always the case as we find that the connection between the two began in Africa. In various instances it was used to preserve traditional religious practice with a vaneer of Catholicism, but there was also an attempt at syncretization quite early on.

In this we find that saints were syncretized with various spirits and in the minds of these people they were seen as the same being. Often this was perpetuated by the very priests of these spirits.

Then there is the distinction between the role of the saint in the Church vs in folk magic. In Umbanda for example St. George rules the third line along with Ogum. To Catholic orthodoxy this is completely wrong. How could St. George possibly have anything to do with these spirits. And yet to the Umbandist there is no question that St. George, Dragon-slaying, Catholic Knight is part of their line of spirits. In this way while you've made a distinction between Catholic Saint Martha and Lubana, what needs to be addressed that in folk-practice Catholic Saint Martha acts in a not-so Catholic way and is more in line with Lubana. Here it is important to distinguish between orthodox religion and folk magical practice. (And yes, the saints are involved in riding mounts though through intermediary spirits).

Similarly in the Congo the saints were nothing more than the spirits they already knew. Not masks, but where the exact same spirits.

Now, while I agree that the saints and those spirits that use their form are two separate entities, what I am emphasizing that their similarities were profound enough that it allowed for syncretization by the very cultures in question. In this way, I would argue that though they are distinct, there is has come to be a connection that cannot be denied, a spiritual ressonance of sorts that leave us with similar functions, attributes, and ways of honoring.
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Re: saint martha the dominator

Postby anonda » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:51 pm

i understand where you're coming from
if we go by what makes them so similar....but

i stand by the following
ive been to 21 divisiones services in the dom.rep.
and attended them in the east coast by dominicans too...
(must say this because the 21 divsiones from puerto rico has its differences)
and some of these services were to santa marta la dominadora/filomena lubana

ive also been able to get the trust of some of her children
and for those reasons,
ill stand by saying that once you get deep into it
the similarities become 'superficial' at best...
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Re: saint martha the dominator

Postby ConjureMan Ali » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:29 pm

I have enjoyed such an honor myself of attending several events and may I say was fortunate enough to ask her why some people called her Sant Marta and she replied, "She is my sister." I was unfortunately not allowed to film her, she would not allow it.

I guess we define superficial differently. I find the similarities profound and for rather clear reasons.

If the similarities were superficial at best then they would no longer be connected to the saints, nor would the saints have developed attributes of the spirits they acted as masks for.

Dismissing the similarities is just as limiting as trying to indicate they are all the same. One must acknowledge the depth of the differences and the profound significance of the similarities. Not only does this shed light on the nature of the spirit but how spirits over time become related to one another. It reveals a fluidity that is not often talked about in regards to spirits. In other words they were not unchanged by the association.

It is my contention, as evidenced by a historial and anthropological examination provided above in addition to personal interaction, that these two beings belong in the same sphere--or vibration to borrow a Spiritualists term--and given that the spirit itself can be said to have a hand in chosing its form we should acknowledge their wisdom and explore the connection. It is not without reason that saint and spirit have come to be connected and an exploration of this leads to amazing insights. Dismissing it, may lead us to miss out on quite a bit.

The same is evidenced in Quimbanda. There are many attempts at syncretization with goetic demons, mostly from the Grimoirium Verum especially in the 70s and 80s. However these are distinct entities. However Exu and Pomba Gira do approve of the demonic masks and a exploration of this has lead to amazing insights on both sides. It through this exploration that we find some of Jake Stratton Kent's wonderful insights into the nature of the goetic spirits as well as the nature of the process outlined in the Grimoirium Verum.

Just as the differences provide distinct personalities for these spirits, the similarities reveal how the spirits grow, adapt, and change over time.
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Re: saint martha the dominator

Postby anonda » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:17 pm

I think its excellently put that these are two separate beings though their attributes are very similar, their function and honoring are nearly identical.


I know what 21 divisions is though not involved with it myself.


im not dismissing the similarities
but as a person who knows of and has seen the worship of catholic santa marta...
and who has bonded and participated in filomena lubana

it is not as identical as it may seem from the perspective of an outsider
one can use all of the academic standards and views, but be wary of having a limited perception due to the written
word and the books
(by the way, i respect academia since ive done enough schooling myself)

the feel, experience and practice is more different than similar...
and also, depends on the region, from san juan, to haina, to villa mella
we are also talking about systems, not just beings that you can take out of their system
and compare vis a vis

out of respect of what ive learned and been told, im not going to to into a diatribe as to the
specifics besides, we'll prolly end up running into circles anyways.. :D

it has been a very interesting conversation, by the way
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Re: saint martha the dominator

Postby ConjureMan Ali » Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:19 pm

It has been interesting. In the end we probably would just be going around in circles. I think our stances are actually not that divergent.

We both agree that these are two separate entities. We just have different emphasis.

Where we differ is in the similarities. This examination is not a mere academic curiosity, but one based off understanding how spirits function. When one spirit uses the form of another there is a wisdom that the spirit is trying to conveny. It is a means by which one can explore the nature of both spirits, seeing where they converge and diverge.

This is especially important since the connection is not made by academics, but by the devotees themselves under the guidance of the spirits.

It is an interesting conversation, but probably a bit beyond the scope of this forum and since you've presented your point and I, mine now we let people experience for themselves.
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