When most people think of saints, I think they conjure an image of individuals who have achieved an almost demigod status in Catholicism.
The most basic definition of saint I can find is : An individual who exemplifies virtue and sanctity.
Saints are not exclusive to Christianity. They are found in every religion that I looked up.
Saints are supposed to inspire adherents ..to give them something to aspire towards. Otherwise what’s the point of exemplifying?
There’s also nothing saying that a saint have to be human, such as in the case of St Michael, who is also an archangel or the case a Brigid, a goddess turned saint.
So I have modified the above definition to what I feel is a more open definition: A saint is an entity who has characteristics or abilities that others find admirable and wish to emulate and incorporate into their lives or call upon when needed.
I have always liked the idea of Saints in spirituality. They are kinda like the superheroes of religion. They are reachable and accessible. They are on a closer level with adherents than deity in many religions. Now I know one of the main precepts of most pagan spirituality is that deity IS relatable and accessible to us. So why am I going on about saints?
I’ve been giving a lot of thought for some time now to the notion of personal saints. I think that pagan spirituality is far too varied to try to come up with a list of saints that epitomize paganism, everyone’s got their own opinions However it is possible to grant sainthood to individuals that you have great esteem and respect for. Individuals who have made a mark upon you and, in your opinion, upon the world. Individuals who you could call upon to aid you.
So what’s the difference between calling someone a saint and calling someone a hero?
…. nothing really
But I do think that slapping the label of saint in front of someone’s name, that you hold very important, changes how you think about them a little bit. Sometimes formal titles make all the difference, that can be good or it can be bad. In this instance I think it might add a measure of awe and reverence to an individual you admire. Using that title when talking to others can also reflect and impress upon them exactly how deeply you care about that individual.
A word of caution, a title such as saint can also imply something similar to perfection. In my opinion nothing is “perfect” everything has flaws and quirks even those that you would bestow the title of saint upon. Everyone has done something wrong or bad during their existence. The questions you should ask about a possible saint are: Is the wrong that they have done forgivable? Has the good they have done outweigh the wrong? Your opinion is a perfectly acceptable answer to these questions.
A list of personal Saints can grow and change as your life does. You may devise rituals and specific offerings to your saints. You might even come up with your own specific feast days for them. You also might do nothing at all other than acknowledge them as your saints.
As of right now my list of saints is pretty small.. 2 actually. St Tesla and St Clause. I won’t go into why for either of them right now as I’m planning a post about St Clause very soon.
Just a little somethin’ for y’all to ponder.