20 December 2011

20 December - St. Thomas Eve

Tomorrow being the feast of Saint Thomas (in the Old Calendar), today is Saint Thomas Eve.

It was once believed that St. Thomas himself rode around the streets tonight at midnight in a fiery chariot.  When he reached the churchyard, all of the dead men who had been christened ‘Thomas’ rose from their graves and joined him as he moved towards the glowing churchyard cross.  Here the saint knelt and prayed, blessed his namesakes, and disappeared.  The other Thomases went back to their graves for another year.

To avoid scarcity in the coming year, eat and drink well tonight [this should not be hard, especially if you have yet another Christmas party to attend].

If you and a bunch of your friends wish to know if you will be married within the year, take off your right shoe and toss it over your left shoulder.  Look to see which way it falls.  If the toe of the shoe points towards the door, the thrower will be leaving the house during the year; if the toe points away from the door, oh well, better luck next year.

To see a vision of your loved one, peel a large red onion (a St. Thomas onion), and stick nine pins into it – one in the center and the other eight in a circle around it.  Then say:

"Good Saint Thomas, do me right
Send me my true love this night,
In his clothes and his array,
Which he weareth every day."

Then place the onion under your pillow.  You should dream of your true love.  [If your mom wants to know who has been getting into her sewing basket, or what happened to the onion that was slated for tonight's hamburgers, tell her they were used in a Good Cause]  Good luck.

An older charm says to "take an onion, pare it, and lay it in a clean handkerchief under thy pillow [make it a sweet onion, if you want to sleep].  Put on a clean smock [or in our day, a nightgown], and as ye lie down, lay thy arms abroad, and say these words:

"Good Saint Thomas, do me right
And bring to me my love this night,
That I may view him in the face,
And in my arms may him embrace."

"Then lying on thy back with thy arms abroad, go to sleep as soon as possible, and in thy first sleep, thou shalt dream of him who is to be thy husband, and he will come and offer to kiss thee."  [And that better be all he dost offer, at least until thou gettest to the altar!  Of course, if he findest out that thou sleepest with onions under thy pillow, ye might not get that far.]

(remove the pine-cone first)
A possibly more comfortable and better smelling charm uses a sprig of evergreen.  Place it under your pillow before going to bed and say:

"Good Saint Thomas, stand by my bed,
And tell me when I shall be wed."

Then sleep soundly.  Pleasant dreams.