This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 5 -- Feast of Saint Dominator

The Devil's Stone, discussed below.
There's not much to say about Dominator but he's the saint of the day anyway.  He was the fourteenth bishop of Brescia, taking over just after the end of the western Roman Empire.  It was an ugly time to try to hold things together -- the Arian heresy was in full bloom and the barbarians were running rampant throughout the peninsula, burning and robbing and raping and kidnapping and murdering.  Bishop Dominator died around AD 495 -- there's nothing in the record to indicate how, but I think we can surmise if we want.

I don't even have a picture of Saint Dominator; a google image search comes up with Saint Martha the Dominator, who is someone else entirely and seems to be misunderstood by many people.  She'll be discussed more on July 29.  For now, it must suffice to say that she is popular in hoodoo, voodoo, and rootwork.  Probably Santeria too, but I don't know.  I don't practice Santeria, I ain't got no crystal ball...
Turning the Stone

Okay, this post feels a little light, so let's talk about the Devil's Stone in Shebbear, Devon (UK).  You probably remember (Remember, remember, the fifth of November) that it is Guy Fawkes Day, when Brits have some fun celebrating the thwarting of a terrorist plot by burning things, including effigies of the said terrorist.  In Shebbear, however, they continue what some of them claim is the oldest folk tradition in Europe: turning the Devil's Stone.

The Stone, turned. 
There's a one ton rock in town that's not similar to any of the local geology.  It was probably carried by a glacier and dumped there, but then again, maybe Druids or giants or even the Devil himself brought it there.  The tradition itself makes little sense. Somehow, the Devil is trapped underneath it, but isn't released when they turn it.  If they fail to turn it, there's back luck in store for the town.  It happened once during the Great War, when all the menfolk were in France fighting Germans, and another time during World War II, when the menfolk had gone back to France to fight Germans.  Of course, the bad luck of the town probably had more to do with Germans than with the Devil, unless you subscribe to Norman Mailer's version of Hitler's life, in which Der Fuhrer was devil-spawn. 

The high point of the ritual, after ringing the bells in St. Lawrence's Church to wake the Devil and then turning the rock, is no doubt going to the Devil's Stone Inn for a pint or two. 

No comments:

Post a Comment