Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Vedast, Gastyn and Gaston

Have to get heavily into the Medieval Saints to truly appreciate the soothing benefits they offer a mind tossed by storm, tempest and an increasingly visceral aversion to consumerism. Saint Winifred, Saint Chad, a whole bunch of them, a regular sunny bouquet and I had so many notes, not the scribbled down kind, but the neatly typed well labeled kind. It's true potlatch has its benefits, but the actual details, the names, how they might be spelled, where they came from and so on are all fairly constant. Take Saint Gastyn for example. He might have been a Frenchman, why I remember that I have no idea and the question "Was Saint Gastyn a Frenchman?" draws something of a blank from a search engine. Not remotely interested in Gaston Street, and oddly enough search engines are more interested in whether or not Charlie Chaplain was a Frenchman. MI5, the UK domestic counter intelligence service, still thinks he might have been. Saint Gastyn himself doesn't seem to figure. So I'm just going to have to assume that young Gastyn was a devout man from Gaul who arrived in the pagan Land of the Silures which is where The Rabbit of Usk is currently in a most painful exile.

The other thing about Saint Gastyn is that there's a Bishop called Saint Vedast who was a Breton which is a language group associated with Brittany, and Brittany is if you like Celtic, but Saint Vedast is called Saint Gaston by French speakers. Worth noting that Saint Vedast is a great deal better represented in the literature than Saint Gastyn. Saint Vedast baptized and advised the French King Clovis, which certainly gets a person noticed to the point of having churches named after them, but miracle-wise Saint Vedast was pretty feeble. He healed a beggar of blindness, which certainly lacks imagination and in my mind as a miracle, returning sight to beggars has always contained a "now you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of political density and is definitely an anti-blind people miracle. When he died Saint Vedast was carried aloft in a luminous cloud, which means basically that he probably died at sunset and there's no way it was a miracle and anyone who might have witnessed it was obviously desperate to find something good to say about Bishop Vedast. Of course Saint Gastyn's miracles are all of them absolutely amazing, all very novel and imagination filled, so I'm looking forward to remembering each one of them.

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