Son Brian had downstairs A Pilgrim’s Journey, the autobiography Ignatius of Loyola dictated to his friend and secretary Luis Goncalves da Camara beginning in 1553. I, along with many others currently and previously Catholic, basically believe that the Jesuits, founded by Ignatius, are the intellectuals of the church – the best and the brightest. So I thought perhaps I’d read it. Paging through, I felt that the jewels were hidden in too many footnotes, and I was not going to be willing to work that hard.
Wiki suddenly came to mind – so I wikied Ignatius, copied out several succinct subheadings of material and read them on my desktop. As you can imagine, snake lover that I am, I was surprised to find the following in the wiki material:
Upon recovery (from a major war wound), he visited the Benedictine monastery, Santa Maria de Montserrat (March 25, 1522), where he hung his military vestments before an image of the Virgin. He then went and spent several months in a cave near the town of Manresa, Catalonia where he practiced the most rigorous asceticism. Ignatius began seeing a series of hallucinations in full daylight in a hospital. This repetitive vision appeared as “a form in the air near him and this form gave him much consolation because it was exceedingly beautiful … it somehow seemed to have the shape of a serpent and had many things that shone like eyes, but were not eyes. He received much delight and consolation from gazing upon this object … but when the object vanished he became disconsolate.”
Ignatius and snakes? Who ever heard of such a thing? I’d heard about his visions of Christ, and of the Virgin – but a heathen animal like a snake, sacred to the Goddess, appearing to a saint? That was certainly great news. I’m surprised the church didn’t remove all references to that long ago.
When I flipped through the book, I found more on this beautiful serpent apparition. For a while it appeared several times a day, and continued to appear for 15 years. Eventually, he decided it was of the devil. Don’t you expect the Inquisition, sniffing around lots of future saints, might have pointed that out to him?
So now I know at least part of the reason I was drawn to the book – to learn about Ignatius and his beautiful snake, with 7 or 8 shining and jewel like eyes. Clearly at one time it was his meditation and his joy. So he was a friend of the Goddess for part of his life. He always stayed an intellectual, not swallowing whole all that he was told, though his writings instructed his followers to obey the church totally. They never did, either.
Hmmm. I’m just remembering a dream I had years ago, with a big beautiful jeweled white snake. She had a jewels all over, but a particularly beautiful huge pink stone on the very top of her head. I liked Her so much I made a sculpey figure of Her, which still lives on the spice shelves in the kitchen. Interesting to know that Ignatius and I have a jeweled serpent in common.