Feb 16, 2009

The Star of the Sea

Var and I spent the weekend (Eros Day) out at the beach cabin on Hood Canal. No internet, no TV. Really great. We had some wonderfully clear nights - Venus was stunningly bright while Orion was stunningly obvious.

We decided to make a day trip up to Port Townsend, so we passed the Trident (Shiva the Destroyer) submarine base in Bremerton on our way north. Once there, we decided to drive around a bit and get a feeling for the place, and we came upon an amazing temple: a Catholic Church called St. Mary Star of the Sea! I've never seen Mary officially referred to in such deliberately maritime fashion, though it makes sense, Port Townsend's seafaring heritage runs deep.

UPDATE: Todd Campbell reminds me through his excellent post: "I Can't Get it Out of My Head": The Maritime Signals Revisited, that 'Stella Maris' and 'Star of the Sea' are in common usage for maritime churches.

The Star of the Sea

We walked some docks, looking at boats, and I spied a trimaran (trident spear) so I wandered down to take a better look. This boat was a Corsair brand (which leads us to tales of France and Piracy that I must take up at a later date), but what caught my eye were the tourists on the dock - Destroyer's dock.

They were pointing out the underwater fauna to their kids, which happened to be giant Sea Stars. In the Pacific NW, sea stars come in the common five limbed variety, but also as giant, orange and purple hued monsters with dozens of tentacles! They are called Sunflower Sea Stars, natch.

Sea stars eat crab. In fact, they are the sworn enemy of crabbers. I've seen crabbers take sea stars and cut them up into pieces in order to help remove the threat from their prized fisheries, but I think sea stars always grow back their legs.

The crab represents the Catholic Church (see You're Invited to an Exclusive Preview Night), while the Sea Star represents Mary. Synch logic dictates: Mary will devour the church!? Perhaps she never got over Paul defiling her temple in Ephesus - hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. How clever of The Queen of Heaven to 'shyly' make her way into the church as the servant of Christ.

Curiously, the Sunflower Sea Star is eaten by the King Crab.


FilmNoir23 said...

YES!!! Recall...


Michael said...

Thanks Todd. I added an update to the post.

Anadæ Effro said...

Again, the mythology of archetypal resonance between the ancient Hellenes & what later became Churchianity never ceases to amaze me, Michael. Within the Episcopalian denomination under whose aegis I was baptised, Sunday schooled, and confirmed, there is the Lady Chapel, a church within the Church, abloom with Goddess imagery.

Hera sent Cancer the Crab to distract Heraklés from his assignment of vanquishing the Lernean Hydra, the second of his twelve labours. After having crushed it to death before slaying the aforesaid seven-headed (some say nine-headed) beast, the Queen Olympian set its crustacean form up into the heavely vault to commemorate its task.

Those born under its sign, as am I, are also called Moonchildren, since that planetary body is our ruler. Intriguingly enough, teratogenic births were anciently refered to as Partus Lunaris, or tose Born of the Moon.

My paternal grandfather, speaking of The Star of the Sea, was a Free & Accepted Mason, as was his father, in the Lodge of the Shrine of the Sea, for initiates whose businesses were all in the maritime field. His? Why, an antique shoppe named The Sea Chest.

Back to Marian beliefs, there's a recent movement within the Holy City to co-empower Her Highness with the same saviour status as Her Son, but, I'm afraid the technical name for that distinction eludes me at the moment.

I like your analogy of the Mother consuming the Church whose foundation is built upon the Rock with that of the crab & the crustacean-eating, multi-tentacled Star of the Sea. See new blogger Christopher Michael's (!) Transformer.blogspot.com a few dayze past. You'll find an editorial photo of a humongously mutated cephalopod with more limbs than you can count AAAND what appears to be a human-like hand in that tangle, too. Yikes!

Going for a dip soon,
Anadæ Effro ( :-)}

Anadæ Effro said...

Erm, uhm, excuse me, Mr Frost's highly recommended cosmically geared "Transformer" blog's address is slow-emanations.blogspot.com

Michael said...

Anadae - I'm glad you mentioned the little crab sent to distract Herc. Quit an odd little tale that must have occulted meaning. It would appear that the Catholic Church, always tilting toward Babylon, is finally dropping the veil, which brings us right back around to full-on Goddess worship, and I gotta admit, I am more than a little uneasy about the whole program.

Nice Temple of Artemis, BTW.

Devin said...

Very interesting-will have to check out the other info-I think it is crtical (altho I am no one to talk for others) but I know it has helped me to have a no net and no tech day on weds-really helps to get my thinking 'straight'no pun intended:-) Venus was the brightest I have ever seen it from the PHX area the other night-really gorgeous! "Cant get it out of my head" is one of my all time fave songs by ELO or anyone -best as always to you and Varen! word veri =hotiess couldnt resist this one! fascinating info also Anadae!

ViølatoR said...

Star of the Sea - perfect! It reminds me of a Catholic church in Guam, where I used to live, which had this myth: "In the southern Guam village of Merizo stands a distinct monument to Mariolatry and superstition. In the early 1700's a Spanish ship reportedly sank somewhere of the coast of Guam. As the legend goes, a large wooden image of the Virgin Mary washed ashore from the shipwreck onto Guam's southern coast. This supposed event was interpreted by the Roman priests as a sign of the Virgin's blessing upon the island."

Interesting interplay between the King Crab and the Sunflower sea star, as well as the crab constellation and the sun's passing into days of less sunlight.

Your description of the crabbers attacking sea stars makes me think of the Hydra, growing two heads in place of the one cut off. I can just imagine all these sea stars multiplying like the broom splinters in Disney's Fantasia when Mickey chops up the enchanted broom!

Which brings me to Anadæ Effro's excellent comments which connected the crab to the task of slaying the hyrda! I'm gonna have to add this stuff to my latest post, thanks for linking me here in your comments. :D

Michael said...

Thanks for coming by V, glad you found a bite of seafood. Interesting about you living in Guam - the former home of the Flying Proa, which was the Pacific's finest sailing craft. I have way too many Pacific island synchs in my life not to notice another one. :-)

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