“Whatever the acknowledged intention of the compilers, [the Prayer Book] can and does add up to an ascetical system of brilliant simplicity. A good deal is said and written about the ambiguity of rubric and the omission of clear ceremonial direction; what is overlooked is the significance of a far greater omission than this. About one-sixth of the Prayer Book deals with sacraments and rites for the occasional necessities of life, including, of course, the initiatory sacraments. All the rest — five-sixths — is concerned with Holy Communion and the Office; and nothing else whatsoever. It is more rigidly ascetical than the Rule of St Benedict!”— Martin Thornton, Feed My Lambs (1960), VI. (via johnthelutheran)
Held at Guildhall Library, a copy of Le catechisme des Jesuites; ou examen de leur doctrine showing a fore-edge portrait of Samuel Pepys. The Vine doesn’t completely catch it, but the colours and detail are remarkable. You can even read his motto, and the official position held by Samuel Pepys as Secretary to the Admiralty.
Full record here.
Reading the Chain of Saint Michael
The Chain of Saint Michael is a divination tool that is believed to have originated in Italy, and is probably derived from geomancy practices utilizing four coins. Geomancy itself originated in Islamic North Africa and was introduced to Europe during the Middle Ages. The actual chain of St. Michael is most likely fairly recent, and mostly associated with the Benedicaria tradition.
It’s comprised of four St. Michael medallions and a Sword charm, with four equal spaces of chain linking them together:
There are two basic ways to read the chain, which can be mingled as you see fit. The more “general” reading only takes into account which way the medallions are facing and is meant for yes or no questions. The more complicated method takes into account the way the medallions are facing as well as the pattern they form. Each pattern has a direct correspondence to a specific Saint.
Both methods typically begin with prayer and the sign of the cross, you ask your question then throw the chain. The guide to the more general reading is as follows, with the front (F) of the medallion representing a positive, and the backside (B) a negative:
FFFF= A Yes, but an unexpected one.
FFFB= A Maybe.
FFBB= A definite Yes.
BBBF= A definite No.
BBBB= A No that requires further divination.
For the more complex method there are sixteen total outcomes with each one referencing a specific Saint meant to guide you in your inquiry. It does require some knowledge on the lives of the Saints and their associations, but I’ll try to break it down a bit.
Guide below the cut!
Holocausto de Corazones al Sagrado Corazon de Jesus; Museo Soumaya, Mexico City, D.F., Mexico; 17th century
Clockwise from top: the Immaculate Heart of Mary; the Transverberated Heart of Sta. Teresa; the Charitable Heart of Sn. Lorenzo; the Ardent Heart of Sn. Cayetano; the Inflamed Heart of Sn. Ignacio; and the Most Chaste Heart of Sn. Jose
La Mano Poderosa— the Powerful Hand, also known as Las Cinco Personas. No doubt this is an image familiar to many of my followers, but it is always so striking to look at. The work of an anonymous artist of the 19th century, on display at the Brooklyn Museum.
A friendly reminder to all that this is what real, traditional Catholicism looks like, in all its raw, atavistic, terrifying splendor. The bland, cardboard-cutout, de-ethnicized magical republicanism of your average convert Catholic “RadTrad” parish is really but a pale and unworthy usurpation of what it means to be steeped in Tradition, IMO.
If we balk at the thought of death and dying, then we have forgotten what it means to be properly self-centered.
Nocera Terinese, a small town in the Calabria region – Southern Italy – is the scenario of a millenary ritual that represents the expression of a people’s identity, which struggles to keep its tradition unaltered through time.
During the Holy Week previous the Easter celebrations, the village goes through an intense spiritual and practical preparation for the big event that takes place in the weekend. The statue of the Madonna is taken out from its enshrine to be venerated and prepared for the procession in which it will encounter the Vattienti. These figures, who beat their legs with the Cardo and the Rosa (two pieces of cork, one of which has 13 fragments of glass in it), represent the sufferings of Jesus at the column, and are attached to the Ecce Homo, or the representation of Jesus wearing red while on trial.
Italian Folk Sigils
In the region of Puglia, in the south of Italy, there exists a structure called ‘trulii’. These white conical homes are native solely to that region and are believed to be the result of an Arabic/ Byzantine influence, however there exists one feature of these houses that remains solely in the realm of southern Italian folk religion.
Upon each roof of the trulli are large sigils, painted in white and placed there for protection. The subject matter of these unique sigils come from the realms of Catholic symbolism, ancient nature religion, and planetary symbols. Each year these symbols are renewed and repainted, all for the purpose of protecting the home’s inhabitants from curses, witchcraft, and evil spirits.
The picture above shows the door to my “cunning room”, where I do most of my workings, I have also outfitted the door jams to the rest of the bedrooms as well as the front door of my home with sigils and blessed them properly. In keeping with tradition these symbols should be drawn in white, such as paint or chalk (blessed chalk from the Feast of the Epiphany works nicely) and blessed for the protection of the home or space. These sigils are ancient and though not Sicilian in origin still lie within the Southern Italian folk religion, what many now call Stregoneria or Benedicaria.