Many people are aware that when Africans were brought to America, the Lucumí tradition came with them. Slave owners wanted to “civilize” slaves with Christianity, so slaves syncretized certain African Orishas (or Gods) with certain Christian Saints.
This was something I learned in my twenties, and while getting my store Curio, Craft & Conjure ready, I have gone down an amazing rabbit hole of learning…
See, I knew that Chango is an Orisha (god) of fire, thunder and power, but just recently learned the (true) story of St. Barbara – which I found so fascinating I wanted to share it with you…’cuz you won’t believe this shit!
Her story has made her a tragic figure who is invoked for protection against fires, lightning, healing and love.
Barbara was born in (what is now) Lebanon, to a family that followed the tradition of Greco-Roman pantheon – meaning they worshipped many deities…not just one. When you look at history, you’ll learn this is normal around the world.
As Christianity became popular, her father wanted to protect her from what he deemed dangerous, and quite frankly, disrespectful to the Gods. So, he put her in a 2 window tower, controlled who she could see, and sent her food via a basket attached to a rope.
One day, someone hid a book of Christian writings in the basket. Bored, Barbara read them, and eventually wanted to learn more (like I said, she was bored!)
Also around this time, she became very ill. Her father sent for a doctor, but a priest arrived instead. Without realizing this, he sent him to heal his daughter.
When she became well, she requested a third window be placed in her tower.
Her father questioned her and learned she wanted it as a reminder of the Holy Trinity. Hearing this, he demanded she renounce her faith. And she refused, even after torture, humiliation, and threats of death (Some father!)
Her father frustrated with her stubbornness – in a fit of anger, grabbed her by her hair and cut off her head.
Just as he did, lightning struck him, killing him instantly. Yup. True story.
Invoking Saint Barbara
Saint Barbara was deprived of company, except for the suitors her father presented to her. For this reason, she is sometimes called upon to help with matters of love.
Because of her illness, she is also petitioned for healing.
Due to her father’s death by lightning, she is called upon to protect from lightning and fires, and is the patron saint of all those who work with explosives or firearms.
Whether you chose to work with St. Barbara or Chango, petitioning them in your candle magick is a great way to get support – because as you may have noticed, both work via the element of fire… making them a perfect partner for your candle rituals.
Save the date: Curio, Craft & Conjure is opening Friday July 13th in NoDa – If you are local, put the date in your calendar! We’ll give you the address soon!