Who is St. Martha aka St. Martha The Dominator
I had a very interesting question put to me, in regards to working with one particular Saint in doing “The Work”. And that is St. Martha who is also known as St. Martha The Dominator.
I have to admit the last title to her almost makes her sound like a wrestler with the WWE. But this is a Saint or energy aspect that does “wrestle” with our problems.
The big question is who is she?
Well this person has three types of backgrounds, The Biblical, The Legendary and The Hoodoo and I thank Tom Major of A Saint A Day for breaking it down, because I was getting her too melded together.
So let’s start with the Biblical:
She is mentioned in the gospels of Luke and John, along with her sister Mary, and brother Lazarus. Her sister, Mary, sits at Jesus’ feet listening to him. Martha, “distracted by her many tasks,” asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her. Jesus replies: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” In a way it’s Jesus’ way of saying not only to Martha but to all who were there to listen to him speak, that we have a habit of being distracted by the material things in the world and not paying any attention to the spiritual. But I’m sure he also said to Mary to help her older sister Martha.
This is something I frequently tell my young nieces and nephews and children to not get caught up with the latest technology or trying to keep up with the neighbors, be clean, keep a clean home, keep things in working, good, usable condition, work well at your job or school but listen for the song of the birds, observe the beauty of the flowers, listen to the wind and hear what is around you, enjoy the beauty and scents of the flowers, be aware of what is around you and be aware of that which is spiritual and uplifts your soul. Enjoy that which is free.
In the Bible Mary and Martha are identified as “loved” by Jesus in John 11:5. Meaning that they and their brother were very close to Jesus, more than just good friends, it is believed that they are the original “apostles to the apostles” and more than likely were in the room with Mother Mary when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. It is also believed that they are the one’s along with Mary Magdalene, who went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body only to be greeted by an angel saying he’s not there. So it was the women folk who were first to be aware of Jesus’ resurrection.
One thing that makes Martha one tough lady is she had the audacity to go to Jesus to ask him to have her sister help her with serving food or what needed to be done to make their guests comfortable, after all she is a hostess. And she also was the first to meet Jesus when he returned to her home after her brother Lazarus had died and rebukes him, “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” That is pretty gutsy to say that. But according to the Bible she did.
One other time was Jesus admonished by a woman and that was his Mother at the Wedding Feast at Canna where she told him “They have no wine”, he was upset but she just turned to the servants and said to them to do what Jesus said, Jesus didn’t mess with strong women.
The key words with the Biblical Martha is “She serves” which makes her a patron saint of Housewives, innkeepers, service workers, those in Hospitality work and a few other occupations such as nurses and medical technicians. However it doesn’t matter what type of work you do or what your religious affiliation, many people pray to her when they need help taking charge of a difficult situation or person.
Now let’s speak of the Legendary St. Martha:
According to medieval legend, Martha, Mary and Lazarus traveled to the south of France after the crucifixion, to preach the Gospel and maybe to also escape being thrown into prison, you have to remember that ancient Rome had legions or outposts all over the known world, as far away as England, so it would not have been unusual for them to take the trade routes to France and most likely they could speak Latin which would have been the language most commonly spoken and also would have learned some of the native languages as well.
According to legend that originated in France, in a nearby village was a horrible flesh eating monster, a sort of dragon, St. Martha found the dragon as it was eating a person and managed to paralyze this monster with the sign of the cross and throwing holy water on it using the herb Hyssop to help toss the water onto the beast, then she bound it with her belt so that it could be dealt with by the villagers. She is the only female saint shown with a dragon at her feet, the two others are St. George and St. Michael, Mother Mary has been and is shown as her stepping upon a serpent and sort of crushing its head.
In prayer cards Martha is shown with the Bible, a torch, a jug of holy water, and the dragon at her feet. Sometimes she is also shown with a broom and ladle.
Her feast Day is July 29 in the Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches and on June 4 in the Orthodox Church, her names comes from the ancient Aramaic Marta, meaning "the Lady, the Mistress" the feminine form of "Master."
Now let’s deal with the “Hoodoo” or “Conjure” version of St. Martha aka St. Martha The Dominator:
In this version she can be shown as the Christian version but there is another image of her as a light skinned African woman with one or two large snakes wrapped around her. It’s possible that the snakes could be a transference of the Dragon legend in France. In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and in some Spanish communities she is referred to as Santa Marta Dominadora due to her ability to make people do one’s will.
But in this aspect both Christian and “Hoodoo” there’s a lot more to that and I’ll get to that in a bit.
It is believed that the energy of the Christian St. Martha reflects that of the loa known as Filomena Lubana. Filomena Lubana is not really the Christian St. Martha, at least not in Dominican vodou, that branch does not associate Lubana with any Catholic Saint. But she is associated with Marta La Dominadora. Marta La Dominadora origins can be traced back to Africa, legend has it she dominated a snake using her powerful flute saving a little boy from harm. That is why many statues of her show a little boy in front of her while she is dealing with the snake, just as St. Martha dominated a dragon while it was eating a man.
The similarity between the two legends could have possibly meld in Conjure as one image especially among those slaves brought over from Africa to the Spanish held islands of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic etc. as well as to French held New Orleans and Spanish held Florida and be blended into one.
James Duvalier http://jamesduvalier.com/ has researched the combined images or manifestations of St. Martha and came to this conclusion:
“There are two versions of Saint Martha found in Voodoo and other Afro-Caribbean religious systems, mainly espiritismo and Las 21 Divisiones from the Dominican Republic. It is important to remember that they are not separate entities, but just different manifestations of the same spiritual being which vary due to people’s culture perceptions…… In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, her devotees believe that she sends her snakes out on your behalf to eat away negativity and obstacles that hold you back in life. She is also invoked quite often in love spells so much so that she has come to be called Santa Marta Dominadora “The Dominator” due to her ability to make people do your will in matters of love. Again, I believe that the European and African Saint Marthas are one in the same, but she has just taken on a different form to endear herself to her devotees who themselves are largely of mixed African and European descent.”
As Marta La Dominadora she is what is referred to as a “Hot” or “Fiery” Loa or Saint and dealing with her different “Paths” in Vodou is too long and complicated for me to explain here, but I have come across a wonderful link: http://sansespiritismo.blogspot.com/2012/08/santa-marta-la-dominadora-saint-martha.html The Sociedad de Sance Rio Rempestuoso http://sansespiritismo.blogspot.com/ Sancista Brujo Luis explains Santa Marta in all her paths far better and in greater depth than I can. So check out that link.
But we are going to deal with St. Martha the blended Saint and how she works and how to petition her.
Many people will petition her when dealing with a difficult situation or boss or even a difficult lover. Those that are in difficult working situations will ask her to help intercede in a situation where a boss is demeaning or cruel to his or her employees. Like the lady boss in the movie “The Devil Loves Prada”.
Some people will petition St. Martha for wealth but if you are asking for a lot of money she will not do it, but she will help by giving enough to get by in temporary difficult situations, like getting burned out or flooded out of your home, or getting laid off of work.
You may call upon St. Martha for any sincere need but you need to approach her with an open heart, and not for a selfish reason. Many find her to be especially effective and responsive in those situations where there is a need to control a difficult personality or situation, either work or family related.
Because Martha is a woman, many people assume that she will not work to dominate women. Although it has been said that Martha prefers helping women, she allegedly does not discriminate and can wield her power over any woman, primarily if the woman is not being a good mother.
This can cause some confusion because there is a tradition that she doesn't like men and won't work for them, but that isn’t necessarily so, it depends on the case or situation. Now most stories I've heard about working with St. Martha, when they involve successful domination, have involved women dominating men, and that’s because men give women the most problems, sometimes when my Hubby decides to get a little stubborn I tell him “Don’t make me call St. Martha down on you because you’re being stubborn like an old Army Mule!” And then he’ll do as I ask. It just takes a little persuasion (or a threat).
But in certain situations the reverse was not unheard of, in fact, according to one of Henry Hyatt's informants (he did an extensive research into Hoodoo in the 1930’s), there was a Madame Lindsey from Algiers, LA, (again in the 1930’s) who tells of a type of honey jar family spell in which a husband invoked St. Martha to keep his wife from straying and do her housewifely duties. This was for use in a situation where the wife was not taking care of the house and children and just wanted to party all night. But I think the husband should have found out why the wife was not happy before he petitioned St. Martha.
However if the home is not happy and a break up is a lot better than staying together, then St. Martha has been known to help easing separations, or make a divorce or break-ups safe and easy. This is because her function is that she wants your home life to be happy.
Yet we cannot ignore the fact that there is that reputation or tradition that St. Martha doesn’t like to work with men and yet in doing some research that there is a type of spell where a man can petition St. Martha for her help with his way-ward wife and yet this is along side with a tradition that Martha doesn't like men. So, as one of my nephews would say, “What’s the Deal”?
Karmazain in her blog http://karmazain.livejournal.com/81771.html said it best:
“ I think one of the key things here becomes a bit more clear if you read about St. Martha in scripture -- see Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-53, and John 12:1-9. She was a woman in a time when managing the household, and being a servant to all guests and visitors, was the proper role of women. I think Martha is called to work on a wayward wife… because of her association with the proper running of a household. I do not think that a man could work this St. Martha rite on a woman who was not his wife or committed partner, and I do not think this rite could be worked to get a woman to do something like commit adultery (or do anything else that didn't have to do with obligations related to the running of a household). I think the key is that it is worked by a husband on a wife, and it's worked in relation to the running of a household and raising of children.
But I would not call on St. Martha to try to force a wife into doing unjust things, and I would not recommend that a husband who is not holding up all his vows with love and respect try to ask Martha to dominate his wife. I imagine he might get the smackdown for his presumption.”
And I most certainly would agree. But I’m sure if a man was working in one of the service business and was dealing with a difficult situation or an unreasonable boss, he could certainly petition St. Martha for help, especially if he is the major breadwinner in the family.
In talking to some of my practitioner friends when we had a discussion of St. Martha’s role in conjure work, a couple of them said that she's helped them with sibling issues in theirs and other families, like jealousy, or with manipulative, attention-seeking, money hungry or fighting for rivalry relatives or siblings.
And she has been called upon by folks who are facing difficulties in managing their homes, because of disasters, strife or poverty not of their own making. We did agreed that along with St. Joseph, she is a wonderful saint to have on your side if you have a number of dependents to feed and you’re running short of money and resources to take care of them all.
One of my practitioner friends told me she called upon St. Martha to help get her grandson away from a dangerous gang and it worked, so using her in spells to break up an unhealthy situation or what some would call an unholy union, it appears it can be done.
I think that St Martha's reputation for "not liking men," is based on her reputation of being effective at returning a wandering man, or making him do what his female partner wants, I think primarily, to have a happy home life, it takes two to do it in a marriage or relationship and St. Martha knows that.
That is why St Martha prefers helping women to learn to be strong, powerful and assertive, perhaps because she feels most men already naturally have those traits. I believe her "Dominator" aspect is set more for helping women in need of achieving or learning that same power.
But I would also say that doesn't mean that St Martha won’t help men, if you’re a man and you approach her with an open, honest heart seeking her help (and that’s the important part), then you can ask her to help you with an issue that does not have to do with dominating a female, unless the female is your boss and is being unreasonable. You’re doing it to make the work place better and because you may be the main bread winner.
So with that hopefully carefully explained, how do you go about petitioning her, what prayers or offerings are used?
Some of my practioner friends who have worked with her and other saints, tell me that not all saints accept everyone's request, but they do recommended that you talk to St. Martha, and listen as best as you can, the answer may not be yes or no, but more likely “Look here I have something that will work better for you, just listen.”
To start your request start with using candles that are specific to her with her name attached to it, I have seen them in Green, Red or White and by lighting a Martha the Dominator (Marta Dominadora) or St. Martha candle, especially in connection with offerings you make, it would make it more likely that Martha will respond. It has been recommended that you can add a few drops of Saint Martha Oil to the candle each time you burn it, doing that, it’s believed helps to complete the link to St. Martha.
There is also evidence that has found that certain items, when offered to St. Martha, can increase chances of a successful intercession by her. These offerings include sweet breads - such as a slice of pound cake or sweet rolls, a small glass of white wine, a bit of perfume put into a small glass, and a glass of spring water or Holy Water , and a vase of white flowers. These items are generally available.
Do not use tap water as that is considered by many practitioners as “dead water” filtered so much with chemicals added to it that the life has been flushed out of it. You can buy bottled spring water at any supermarket.
Some people will buy a St. Martha prayer card that has her image on it and use the prayer and place the image near the candle on their altar. Some folks will go so far as to create an altar covered with a simple white cloth and place a statue of her on the cloth along with the offerings. If you cannot find a candle that is dedicated to St. Martha then you can buy a plain glass enclosed candle in either red, green or white along with a prayer card and the offerings.
Traditionally (and I have seen my Grandmother do it) you start your petition to St. Martha on a Tuesday, by lighting a candle with at least the prayer card and a glass of water next to the candle.
I still have that prayer card that belonged to my Grandmother, it’s old and the prayer on it says:
"Saint Martha, take me into your protection and guide me. I offer myself completely to your mercy and grace.
I offer this candle in your honor for the happiness Our Savior received in your home. I plead with you to intercede for me and my family so that all our daily needs will be provided, and may we always have love of God in our hearts.
I also ask you to obtain the infinite mercy of God in granting me this great favor. (Here ask your favor.)
Help me to overcome my difficulties as you dominated the dragon at your feet. I ask this favor in the Glory of God. Amen."
The problem with prayer cards is that it doesn’t credit the author but it always seemed to work, and you need to follow this prayer with the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary” prayer, both can be found on the internet at Catholic prayer sites.
Now traditionally one is supposed to light a new candle to St. Martha each Tuesday for Nine Tuesday in a row. What Granny would do is she’d light the candle make her offerings and prayers and let the candle burn down and out, then the following Tuesday light another one, place fresh offerings say the prayers and let it burn down and out again, she’d do this for 9 Tuesdays and it has to be consecutive.
And once the petition is granted or even if it’s not granted because St. Martha may come up with something better or you needed to learn a life lesson which is revealed to you during that time, after the 9th Tuesday and the candle burns out, make a donation to a charity or a church, I’ve always donated to a charity that helps abused women. Some folks will print a small ad in the newspaper thanking St. Martha, I have seen that as well as ads thanking St. Jude and St. Joseph.
There are lots of prayers out there to St. Martha besides the one posted above, too many for me to enumerate, but here are two that you may find helpful:
In my copy of “Helping Yourself with Selected Prayers," (revised ed. 1995, Original Publications, ISBN#0-942272-01-3 I recommend getting this book it comes in 2 volumes) there is a prayer that is specifically aimed toward petitioning St Martha by a woman to dominate a man. It reads as follows:
"Holy Virgin Martha, who entered the mountain and tied up the beast with your ribbons, I beg you to tie up and dominate (name of man to be dominated.) Saint Martha, let him not sit in a chair, nor lie in a bed until he is at my feet. Holy Martha, hear me, help me for the love of God. Amen."
Now that prayer is pretty specific, so ladies you have some ammo here. In a way it almost sounds like the petition a friend of mine did when she wanted a Hell Hound to get rid of a dominating, drug dealing boyfriend (by the way that worked as well)
Another prayer from the same book is a very good to use when doing the 9 Tuesdays Novena to St. Martha:
"Holy Martha, I surrender to your guidance and protection, honoring your wishes. To prove my act of contrition, and actions of grace, I shall offer this light in your honor every Tuesday.
Console me in my sorrow. Bring happiness to my home in the name of our Holy Savior, Jesus Christ. Provide me and my family with all our daily needs.
I implore you with your infinite mercy to grant the great favor I ask. (Here ask your favor of St Martha.)
Today I ask you, as you dominated the Dragon at your feet, defeat all my enemies. Amen."
No matter what prayer you use always light the candle on Tuesday and finish the prayers with the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary”.
Now some of my friends offer red flowers, cookies (oatmeal with raisins), cupcakes, pastry, fruits (in season), and even coffee, one friend of mine when she makes her first cup of coffee in the morning, always pours a little of it into a tiny china cup and offers it to St. Marth in the morning, as every home maker/housewife always needs that first cup in the morning to jump start your day.
So there are many ways to honor St. Martha and there are a number of prayers to pray to her but always petition her on a Tuesday and re-new that petition every Tuesday for 9 Tuesdays in a row.
Now after a week each set of offerings get stale, or in the case of flowers wilt, how do you dispose of them?
With reverence I say, with the pound cake or sweet roll etc. take it to a park or woods and place it at the roots of a tree and allow the animals to eat it, but put it where no one will say you are littering. It might be best to crumble it up, feed it to the birds or ducks, with cookies do not give anything with chocolate in it as chocolate is poisonous to animals. With flowers and fruit if you compost then compost it, or put it into a “green recycling bin” for organic waste. Water will evaporate, so just wash the glass out with lemon scented dishwashing liquid. The now empty glass candle put into recycling to be re-made into something else. But do it with reverence.
I want to repeat a recommendation and that is to purchase this book “Helping Yourself with Selected Prayers," revised ed. 1995, Original Publications, ISBN#0-942272-01-3 I recommend getting this book, it comes in 2 separate volumes, Volume one is the most important. It can be purchase at Amazon if you are not near a Metaphysical or Occult Shop. Here is a link to Amazon for it:
There are many prayers in it to help you petition the saints for whatever your cause or situation may be.
I hope my article has been of some help to you.