I feel compelled to discuss Saints tonight. Many Italians work with Saints, and not just because Catholocism is genetically modified Paganism. The popular deities whose worship couldn't be suppressed, were canonized, or their attributes transferred to another name/saint. Here is a web page with a list of canonized Pagans and Pagan festivals. Here's another! For the moment, here are a few examples: Saint Brigid. Saint Dionysus, Saint Aphrodite, and a favorite example, Saint Dominic. Let's get a bit into Dominic's details...
The miracles for which he was canonized include: raising people from the dead, exorcising demons, multiplying bread and wine, curing fevers and other illnesses, and having visions of Mary and Jesus.
In a little town in Italy, Cocullo, there is a snake charmer/handler festival every May, even now. It's the feast of Saint Dominic. Snakes are collected from mid March till the first Thursday in May and wrapped around Dominic's statue. The statue is paraded through the town with a procession of chanting and singing. There are snake charmer contests, snake handling, and the reading of omens based on the snake's behavior: If the snakes move upwards toward the statue's head, it's a good sign, if they twist around the body, or are restless or move towards the feet, it's a bad sign for the harvest to come and for the town in general.
So what do all of those miracles have to do with snakes and Saint Dominic's feast? He is also credited with saving Cocullo from snakes. Funny, around 700 BCE, Apollo was credited with the very same thing and was the Patron God of the town. Dominic is the patron saint of the town.
Apollo is the Sun God.
Apollo defeated the python terrorizing Delphi (and subsequently built his oracle there)
Apollo is the Greek God most associated with the snake, not just for Delphi- the Caduceus was Apollo's originally. He gave it to Mercury.
Apollo is also known as "the healer" and invoked as such in the Hippocratic Oath.
Asclepius, the famed healer also known as the snake-bearer, was his son. I'll stop here or I'll really get off topic.
The Sun God was venerated on.... Sunday. I know, trick question. How do you say Sunday in Italian? Domenica. Yeah, Dominic. Nice, easy, transparent cover, using a Saint to legitimize and continue an ancient practice.
There are Saints I work with in my practice. Why not? Just because the Catholics like someone doesn't mean that they own them. It doesn't mean that these entities are inaccessible to those who are not Catholic. It just means the Catholics named them and energetically elevated them within their system.
Just because a nun had a vision of the Mother Goddess, with the iconography of Isis, and called Her "Mary" doesn't meant I can't invoke Her too. Again, I don't think they sweat the small stuff, like names. I think deity is beyond name. I only obsess over it on occasion because I want to know if it was the same entity being called upon, or separate ones. I find the story of the Miraculous Medal interesting. The Madonna calls for a medal to be created using specific imagery. Nowhere does the story say anything about a specific prayer or novena. The story of her vision says that those who need something have to ask for it, and wear the medal around their neck.
"Saint Anthony come down, something has to be found! I need to find _________" is a phrase I've heard my whole life. It works, so I'm sticking with it.
Saint Christopher was de-canonized, but that's not going to stop people from carrying St. Christopher medals for safe travel!
It's getting late, so I'm going to pause here and leave you with the most saintly anthem ever: