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⚑ November 1, 2017

Strange and Stranger πŸ‰

The original St. Barbara.

The original St. Barbara.

In continuing with seasonal evocations and in honor of the day-after-Halloween where it is assumed you will be doing the walk of shame after your orgy of sugars, I present to you St. Barbara. I chose her after spending a good hour or so looking at vintage holy cards, looking for a nice saint to highlight on this feast of All Saints or All Souls or basically, All of Us.

I settled on St. Barbara because I’d never heard of her before and because she was holding a weapon not unlike one of these, but don’t let the sword fool you. She’s another one of those saints you won’t want to google if you’re looking for uplift. Beheaded by her own wealthy father because she changed the architect’s design of a bathhouse he’d built especially for her and adjacent to the tower he’d chained her in so that she would remain a virgin prior to her eventual sale. She is often pictured with the triumphant three windows instead of two.

After that kerfluffle, it gets weirder, with endless torture and lightning strikes. She is literally hanging on by a hair in the western Catholic canon, but she is held in high esteem in the Greek Orthodox church. Insanely, she is the patron saint of ammunition and explosives.

St. Barbara for our own time.

St. Barbara for our own time.

Saints were the celebrities Catholic school children grew up with. St. Theresa was often pictured with many yellow roses, which I just love, and St. Sebastian is really hard to look at. I don’t want to know why Mother Church inflicted such horrors on the youngest and softest of us, luring us in with beautiful flowers and flowing fabrics, draped as if by Vionnet, and then slamming us with mental images so gross you push them behind the furniture in your mind where they can fester in peace. It really is a make-your-own-scary-monster-kit in seasonal religious wrapping. Brilliant! πŸ”