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A horcrux of St. Francis?!

puddleshark has pictures of the church where Thomas Hardy's heart is buried**, over here.

Just his heart, because his body, so she tells us, was cremated and his ashes buried, against his will, at Westminster Abby.

Is it just me, or is there something horcrux-y about divvying up a person's body and burying bits and pieces of it in different places? And if it is horcrux-y, then does it follow that saints' relics are horcruxes? Our church here in B-town has a relic of St. Francis in it .... could our church be in possession of a St. Francis horcrux?

I know I know. A person has to have divided up their soul *before* dying to make a horcrux. The whole before-dying part is key and is the whole reason for making the horcrux. But can't you imagine black magic designed to rend and imprison fragments of soul after death?

**puddleshark also says that legend has it that a cat ate Hardy's heart before it could be buried. After which, the cat was known to look upon darkling thrushes with much more appreciative eyes.


( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
As a rule, "relics" of the saints today mean things the saints have used - clothes, dishes, etc. IN the middle ages the sort of thing you refer to was common, but today the habit is to let the Saint rest where s/he has lived and possibly chosen to die.
Dec. 8th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
That's good to know--I like that idea much better.
Dec. 8th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
I recall my first reaction on learning this was rather voldemortian, in that I figured this way you could anchor your spectral presence in multiple places, thus being a He-who-must-be-reckoned with in the beyond. I was about ten at the time; perhaps I had already given up on this-worldly domination of any sort.</p>

Now though it makes me think of stories like rebel Taira no Masakado's head, and how it flew across the realm to rejoin its body (and of course now Mononoke hime's crowding in saying "Me too!"

Back to classes.

Dec. 8th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
Along with Mononke hime, in the realm of recent film, there's The Iron Giant. Remember its body reconstructing itself at the very end?
Dec. 9th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)

Dec. 9th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
I didn't KNOW that!

I loved that movie.
Dec. 9th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
That movie was when I first became aware of Mr. Diesel!
Dec. 9th, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I had a name to place with a face and filmography until I met cafenowhere!
Dec. 8th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
That cat needs to be a character in a story.
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:22 pm (UTC)
Yes. I wonder if he ate Hardy's heart deliberately or by accident.
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
I would have done it on purpose.
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
To gain his strength or cancel him out?
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
A little of both, I think. I never really liked any of his stories that I tried reading, but he had some good language. Also, possibly for cat bragging rights.
Dec. 9th, 2011 11:12 am (UTC)
With garlic, as a character in one of Eddison's Memison books threatened to do to someone?

Actually I've re-read a couple of Hardy's, MADDING CROWD and CASTORBRIDGE, and rather liked them. After fortifying myself with COLD COMFORT FARM first.

Especially the line where the Mayor began to feel like he was in the hands of a malevolent deity. D'oh!
Dec. 9th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
in the hands of a malevolent deity --hello, fourth wall!
Dec. 9th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC)
(actually, I do like Hardy, though)
Dec. 9th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
I kind of liked these two. I haven't had the nerve to read JUDE or TESS again.

He got bad reviews from contemporaries for choosing such sad cruel events; wasn't he sort of a mystery to them? But it's a mystery above my pay grade. I'm still fuming over why Miss Pym didn't write to Mary Innes and apologize.
Dec. 9th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
The other day my dad was telling me he was planning to slip a note under someone's door.
Dec. 10th, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
Never plant a flowerbed under a waterspout, either.
Dec. 8th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
I had to go and google horcrux. I need to catch up with Harry Potter ...

Anyway, according to wikipedia, a horcrux "an object used to store part of a person's soul so that in the event that the body of the user who creates the Horcrux is destroyed, the user still has a means of surviving".

Using that as a definition: scattering doesn't seem to be essential, it is just one bit that needs to be in a Secure Deposit Box. Although having a bit in the Bank of England, a bit in Geneva, a bit in Curacao, a bit in Tibet and a bit in Melbourne does seem like a good idea...

I find my attitude to my own body rather muddled. I am attracted to the idea of cremation, and scatterings in various places, but realise that I will not be there, so what I am envisioning is building memories of me associated with various places: I do not think where the bits of me are will have any effect on my ability to engage with those places after I am or dead.

I love Marina Warner's description of what the bits of saints _do_. They are, she says, like the soap used by a great-aunt. You open a drawer, and smell, and recollect in a profound way. Relicts are not part of the saint (or their soul), they are part of the memory.
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
Hiding the horcruxes hither and yon does make it that more difficult to kill the person, yes.

That's beautiful, Marina Warner's description of how the relic evokes the saint.

One time when I was in our church's chapel, there was a sudden, intense fragrance of roses. It was so real, and so mundane in its reality, that I couldn't credit it as a miracle, and yet it was so unexplained--and so associated with miracles--that I was mightily confused. It turned out to be the rose-scented rosary beads that another person in the chapel had just taken out.

... Which I mention just because scent is such an intense conveyer of memories and experience.
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Before Marina Warner, Cardinal Newman had said something pretty much along the same lines. But it is also accepted that the places where a holy person has lived are somehow made closer to holiness by the lingering effect of his/her presence. To reflect on St.Therese of Lisieux at home is not the same as to go to her church in Lisieux (if, of course, you are familiar with St.Therese in the first place). Of course, the maximum instance of this is the permanent relationship of the Holy Land and the city of Jerusalem with the life and death of Jesus.
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
I am familiar with St. Therese--she was the patron saint of the nursery school my older daughter went to, and at that time I read up on her.
Dec. 8th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Is Therese the same as Theresa, the one who lends her name to a Baroque sculpture and a Czech band?
Dec. 8th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
No, that's a different one. This one is actually Thérèse. She's known as the Little Flower. The one who's the baroque sculpture is Teresa of Avila.
Dec. 8th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
They are both among the greatest saints in the Catholic Church, and both Doctors of the Church (that is, writers whose work is both classic and central), but they could not possibly have been more different as women. Therese of the Child Jesus died young and lived a quiet little life in a provincial monastery. Teresa of Avila was a mighty reformer, a public personality and a powerful figure in the Church. The variety of Saints in general is amazing.
Dec. 15th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
I am afraid I was only recollecting MW, and she may well have cited her sources ...

I should read more Newman!

I am wondering ... do you think there is a difference between the difference in quality of reflecting on the works of (say) a creative person in a place that they worked/inspired them and doing that at home (with texts, or in a gallery with art, or in a theatre with drama, etc.), and the association of place with a spiritual person?

Personally, I do find that there is a difference in the at home / place of creation reflection, but don't know about the religious difference.

Dec. 15th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
I do think it makes a difference, though it can't be easily defined.
Dec. 16th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)
Thanks, fpb!
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
I have no idea what a horcrux is. But it's certainly morbid.

I'm reminded of this post on Barbelith:

Apparently a church in Dublin is host to St. Valentine's actual heart (although another in Europe also lays claim to this). Might go see it on the weekend. I'm sure the relic itself will be decayed, atrophied and gradually rotting.... just






Bah VAlentine's SheepLe etc!!!!
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
LOL, and this in turn makes me think of Strindberg and Helium, specifically, this one.
Dec. 9th, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was perfection. "Hell!"
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
Because of course it's all about you you you. What YOU feel is the ultimate measure of value. No bloody wonder you can't find any.
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Please, no personal attacks here.
Dec. 8th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
That wasn't even my post.
Dec. 8th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
puddleshark also says that legend has it that a cat ate Hardy's heart before it could be buried.

Dec. 8th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)

by the way, Sovay, if you've never looked at any Strindberg and Helium, you should. (Link is two clicks up.) (Irrelevant remark)
(actually, slightly more than two clicks now...)

Edited at 2011-12-08 09:59 pm (UTC)
Dec. 8th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
I don't buy the cat story. I can never get my cat to eat anything I tell him to. I'm not even sure he eats. He just exists to be smug and fluffy. And to murder small creatures.

At most, I believe a cat would bat someone's heart around, maybe leave it in someone's slipper. A dog, sure, but not a cat.
Dec. 9th, 2011 12:40 am (UTC)
LOL, speaking of leaving it in someone's slipper, I just uploaded a video of our cat killing a slipper. (I may post it next...)
Dec. 9th, 2011 11:20 am (UTC)
Human hearts are too big to bat around. Even Hardy's.

But once my partner was waked by an important business call, started to put on his boots while talking, and squawked. "Er, no problem, sir, it's nothing. Now about the cost--"

I went to see if he was hurt or what. Pantomiming silence, he waved a dead mouse at me. I screamed.

I THINK he got the job anyway.
Dec. 9th, 2011 12:50 pm (UTC)
He deserves to have gotten it for pure aplomb!
Dec. 9th, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC)
I'd suspect William Buckland was the real culprit, but he died in 1856.
Dec. 9th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
Eccentricity: Mr. Buckland is absolutely doing it right.

Dec. 9th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)

I kind of love you for providing this link.
Dec. 9th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the guy who takes "eat your heart out" literally :D

Dec. 9th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
Did I just tune in to the Twilight Zone ?
Dec. 9th, 2011 04:21 am (UTC)
It's always the Twilight Zone at Asakiyume Mita.

(I love your icon!)
Dec. 9th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
last verse of Thomas Hardy poem good for funerals -- maybe his own?
"So little cause for carolings
"Of such ecstatic sound
"Was written on terrestrial things
"Afar or nigh around,
"That I could think there trembled through
"His happy good-night air
"Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
"And I was unaware."
Dec. 9th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
(Iove that poem)
( 49 comments — Leave a comment )

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