Monday, February 28, 2005

February 2005

Now is the time of year, on Roundworld and on worlds of more shall we say flattish persuasions, when the thoughts of many turn to prayer. Of course it has nothing to do with tax collectors, perish the thought! But a good heartfelt prayer never goes amiss - though whether or not they'll be answered is up to the gods, of course. And on that note, did you know that every Sign has its own patron saint? Whether you be Omnian, Djeli, Silicarian or a devotee of Blind Io, Offler, Bel-Shamharoth, Seven-handed Sek or even of the Small Gods, you fall under the capricious protection of some saint or other. Why, some Signs even have more than one patron saint! - in the case of the Small Boring Group of Faint Stars, Cori Celesti knows they're needed! So get out your beads and your incense and your small sacrificial animals and prepare to whip off a good 'un. After all, the squeaking wheel gets the grease, to say nothing of the sausage inna bun.

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

Your patron saint is Saint Nucleous

Saint Nucleous, once the Bishop of Shazza, was known for his generosity. By long tradition, this saint's day is celebrated by the giving and sharing of gifts and diseases. Many a schoolchild's prayer for convenient fevers and stomach-aches has been answered by Saint Nucleous, who is also the patron saint of licenced beggars, wedding planners and pox doctors. According to legend, Nucleous was once walking along a lonely road when he came upon a ragged beggar and immediately whipped his cloak out of his backpack and insisted the unfortunate wight put it on. The fact that this was in the Klatchian desert and the beggar soon perished of heat exhaustion has been the source of lively theological debate for centuries. Suggested useful sacrifices: cloves; bread mould; napkin rings; tinsel.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Your patron saint is Saint Haberdash

Haberdash was a famously virtuous and thrifty man in life, and in death he presides over the hopes and wishes of the inappropriately dressed. The patron saint of hatters, cobblers, weavers and fashion victims, Saint Haberdash's day is marked by the burning of old clothes (except those suitable for giving to your neighbourhood witches) and the wearing of embarrassing heirlooms. Popular wisdom has it that those who offend this saint will find themselves unable to resist the compulsion to turn their caps around back to front, although it is a little hard to believe that the entire teenaged population of Ankh-Morpork has committed such transgression. Saint Haberdash should never be prayed to on royal race days; be assured he won't answer! Suggested useful sacrifices: ribbons; bows; buttons; pressed flowers; surreys with fringe on top.

The Two Fat Cousins 22 May - 21 Jun

Your patron saint is Saint Nadz

Bernheim Nadz the Twice-Blessed was originally a native of Uberwald whose sudden epiphany caused him to set aside his thriving edible socks business and travel the world spreading messages of love. Divine love, brotherly love, neighbourly love, and of course frequent and negotiable affection. Saint Nadz is the patron saint of confectioners, jewellers, romantic poets, confirmed bachelors and makers of hygienic rubber products. It is said that a short, sincere prayer to Saint Nadz will melt the hearts of the stoniest of prospective in-laws; his name is frequently invoked at crossbow weddings and by sweaty-palmed suitors. Suggested useful sacrifices: bonbons; diamonds; false identities; frilly underclothes. A dozen red roses will buy a lot of mileage with this saint.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Your patron saint is Saint Furt

Saint Furt is a divine of long, long standing. Famed for his discretion, diligence and astonishing abilities as a persuader, his name was the source of the old Ankhian word "furtive", meaning "able to get around all sorts of rules and guidelines"; in fact, "furt" is an archaic synonym for "sneak". Saint Furt is the patron saint of investigative journalists, Dark Clerks, insurance salesmen and maiden aunts, and is also known in some quarters as Deep Threat or the Lockbreaker. Definitely a saint to be on the good side of! Suggested useful sacrifices: diaries; old love letters; records of illegal transactions; telescopes; compromising iconographs.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

Your patron saint is Saint Oeno

Oeno Filius, once the wayward son of a Latatian noble, was elevated to sainthood by the Tsortean priests of Smimto when they saw him perform the miracle of turning spoilt olive oil into fortified wine. Despite Oeno's protests that he'd meant to turn it into water in order to dissipate the effects of drinking fortified wine, he soon became one of the best-loved saints, praised and toasted wherever glasses are raised in the spirit of overindulgence. Saint Oeno is the patron saint of alcoholics, distillers, cork growers, grape farmers and makers of patent hangover cures. A successful prayer to Oeno will guarantee you at least one free round at your local tavern. Suggested useful sacrifices: spoilt olive oil; oaken casks; sugar cane; potatoes; yeast; those mysterious little can-holders favoured by natives of the continent of XXXX (and frequently, by the incontinent of XXXX).

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Your patron saint is Saint Barbarous

Woe unto any who cross the protected of Saint Barbarous! For when the Great Wizzard was faced with the vicious armies of Lord Hong, did Barbarous not strike them low? Well no, as a matter of fact he didn't - but he could have. According to ancient sagas, Barbarous ranged across the whole vastness of Old Agatea, spreading his message of brotherly love, quiet contemplation and wholesale mayhem. Saint Barbarous is the patron saint of tavern brawlers, freebooters, human manifestations of anthropomorphic personifications and press barons; his feast day is celebrated with considerable violence. Suggested useful sacrifices: broken swords; mystical rings; loincloths; underarm deodorant; I Am a Personal Friend of Hrun badges; jewelled thrones.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Your patron saints are Saint Bruce and Saint Bazza

Saints Bruce and Bazza were the closest of friends when alive, and remain an inseparable pair in sainthood. They brought to the world the principle of Holy Matehood, and are said to have invented sour beer and football. Any sensible young man who finds himself separated from his best mate by reason of interfering girlfriends would do well to pray to Bruce and Bazza for the speedy return of blessed misogyny. Saints Bruce and Bazza are the patron saints of drovers, horse-cart drag racers, specialist dressmakers, beer canners, large sopranos and pantomime dames; they share the same feast day because, y'know mate, it's not right for a manly man to be separated from his mates, mate. Suggested useful sacrifices: beer; chips; high-heeled stiletto wedges (size 13, for preference); pork scratchings; Village People CDs; sheep.

Okjok, the Salesman 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Your patron saint is Saint Hulberry

On a lonely outcrop above the plains of Quirm, according to oral tradition, Saint Hulberry kept his lonely vigil for forty days and forty nights. What he was keeping vigil for is a matter lost to history, but over the aeons Hulberry has come to represent the causes of patience and graciousness. Hulberry is the patron saint of delayed voyagers, lost sailors, hostage negotiators, futures traders and nannies; never a day goes by when some kindergarten teacher doesn't raise her voice to him in desperate prayer. Devotees of this saint wander far and wide spreading a silent message of Icanwaitism and are popularly known as Travelling Hulberrys. Suggested useful sacrifices: comfortable chairs; gaffer tape; pile ointment; retired masseurs;
crossword puzzles.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Your patron saint is Saint Calcitrant of Viggo

Calcitrant is one of the most venerated saints of the Disc. A humble country priest of Blind Io, Calcitrant was the first theologian to present the case for lesser animals having souls, and was known to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the comfort of the beasts of field and forest, even installing a homeless ass as Dean of the district of Unshorn Viggo. Saint Calcitrant is the patron saint of dragon fanciers and dog groomers and also of worm-farmers and the elephant trainers of the Howondaland plains. His day is celebrated by the giving of steaks to intelligent-looking stray dogs, because you never know when one of them might turn out to be a divine in disguise. Suggested useful sacrifices: wicker baskets; catnip; flea ointment; horse blankets; Laddie.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

Your patron saint is Saint Charismal

In the wild and lawless days of long ago, Charismal the Motivator led his righteous followers in a holy war against the godsless rulers of ancient Brindisi. At the height of the battle, he struck his staff (you could get good staff in those days) and there suddenly sprang forth a full-grown pasta tree, heavy with ripe linguini; the enemy was so amazed by this miracle that they immediately capitulated, renounced their wicked ways and dedicated themselves to the refinement of simple dinners. Charismal is the patron saint of cafe owners, shoemakers, oil pressers, garlic growers, aristonomers and women named Donatella, and is the inspiration behind the traditional Supper Prayer. His feast day is celebrated with feasts. Suggested useful sacrifices: savoury herbs; sun-dried tomatoes; aged cheeses; table linen; wine bottles with dribbly candles stuck in the top; Jamie Oliver.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Your patron saint is Saint Androgyna

The only female saint of the Zodiac, Androgyna (known as Sharon O'Maculate before she took Holy Orders as an acolyte of Petulia and Sessifet) is the patron saint of women, especially of scorned women. In Bhangbhangduc she is worshipped as Helas noh-Furi; in Muntab, she is commonly known as Shiz Gonagetya; even the Nac Mac Feegle pray fearfully to Androgyna as She Who Over-salts the Porridge, and every House of Negotiable Affection in Ankh-Morpork has a small Androgynan shrine - as do most mothers-in-law. Androgyna's feast day is held in secret, and no man has ever dared ask when it is, especially at certain times of each month. Nonetheless, Saint Androgyna is also regarded as the nurturer of the lonely, and is invoked in the prayers of young lovers and hopeful spinsters. There is a rumour that she has now ascended to actual goddesshood and has Dark Powers, so scoff ye not, O foolish men. Suggested useful sacrifices: chocolate; gossip magazines; beard shavings; deadly nightshade; hairspray.

The Flying Moose 19 Feb - 20 Mar

Your patron saint is Saint Particle

Saint Particle, whose feast day is the 17th of March, is most famous for driving the trolls out of Llamedos, thereby paving the way for the spread of Druidism. After all, it's hard to get enthusiastic about quarrying megaliths when one of your best-carved pieces might turn out to be the aged relative of a clan of angry silicaceans! Saint Particle is also the patron saint of turf-cutters, bagpipe makers, folkdancers and strong beer-brewers, though he shares duties with Saint Oeno as the patron saint of incautious drunkards. According to popular superstition, Particle is the fulltime duty bartender on Cori Celesti. Suggested sacrifices: wooden spoons; accordions; pyrites; home-brewed white lightning; anything green.

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