Sunday, July 6, 2008
Now, I don't practice any particular religion, but I do go to church. I am fascinated by people's faith which compels me to wander into any old church whose doors are open. I love to feel their story and to poke around and see what their devotees have been up to over the years.
In Mexico I fell in love with "milagros", tiny tin, or brass painted to look like tin, offerings that you can buy outside all major churches. The idea is that you take your purchase representing your particular woe inside and you pin it to the saint you are asking for a milagro, or miracle from. They come in a vast array of forms representing the myriad of things that can go wrong in the average Mexican person's life. I have seen everything from body parts to insects.
Well, imagine my delight when, while wandering through a museum of Greek antiquities, my eye spies the very same thing, only much bigger, much, much older and chiselled in marble (and with a particular leaning towards reproductive parts). Of course it's a very ancient pagan ritual! Gods and saints really like tokens, either that, or they have bad memories and need the token as a reminder for where to put their focus, but it seems to me, that the modern day miracle makers have much humbler taste. I mean, I love the tin milagros, but let's face it, marble is much nicer than tin. The greek orthodox folks also have their own larger version of the mexican milagros, you can see them pinned under the painting in the final photo.