Learning Center – Magickal Beings – Earth Spirits – Starting with the Letter “J” – Saint Jude Thaddeus

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Feastday: October 28
Patron: of Desperate causes, desperate situations, lost causes

Also known as Saint Judas Thaddeus.

EPITHET: The Miraculous Saint.

CLASSIFICATION: venerated as a saint by most branches of Christianity. Are you desperate? Does your cause or quest seem utterly lost and bereft of hope? Does whatever you require to remedy your situation or make you happy seem like an impossibility? If you don’t know where to turn and you have doubts that anyone or anything can help, it may be time to invoke Saint Jude, the patron of hopeless causes and desperate people. Jude is an abbreviated form of Judas. Jesus had two Apostles named Judas:

• Judas Iscariot

• Judas Thaddeus

In the early days of Christianity, there was so much confusion as to which apostle was which that their identities began to merge and intertwine. Eventually, the Church began consistently referring to Judas Thaddeus as Jude to minimize confusion and emphasize his distinct identity. It wasn’t enough. Although the Apostles were among the most venerated of all saints, devotees avoided Saint Jude because he reminded them of Judas, who was vilified by the Church as the betrayer of Christ. This may have been a sincere desire on the part of devotees to distance themselves, or because Judas Iscariot was identified with the devil and, during a time when witches accused of consorting with Satan were regularly burned at the stake, it was considered wisest to stay as far as possible from anyone with even tenuous associations with Satan. Poor Saint Jude was reputedly extremely despondent over this lack of veneration and frustrated as well. He was eager to work with people, eager to take his place among the miracle-producing saints, and so he vowed to fulfill any sincere request directed to him, provided it wasn’t harmful or illicit. That’s the legend anyway. Perhaps over the centuries, Saint Jude has bent his rule about not responding to illicit requests. The drug traffickers of Medellín, Colombia, have historically demonstrated deep devotion to Saint Jude. Thieves and drug users, finding themselves in impossible situations, also call on him, reputedly with some success. Be that as it may, that Saint Jude was able to rehabilitate himself, salvage his reputation, and emerge as one of the most popular of all saints is testament to his ability to work miracles.

Judas Thaddeus was the brother of James the Just, so, depending on your interpretation of James’ true identity, Jude may be the cousin of Jesus, his full brother, his stepbrother, or his half-brother. According to legend—and iconography—Saint Jude bore a strong physical resemblance to Jesus. Jude was reputedly a powerful healer and exorcist while he was alive.

Ask Saint Jude for whatever you need. He is traditionally invoked to heal illness, break addictions, provide release from imprisonment, and grant safety from danger. He reunites families, locates missing persons, and rescues from financial disaster. To request Saint Jude’s assistance:

1. Place a fresh bunch of basil in water before his image every day for nine days. Use a fresh bunch of basil each day (a total of nine bunches). Basil wilts quickly, so you can’t pick or purchase it all at the same time.

2. Light a small green candle each day for nine days, for a total of nine small candles—or you can use one large nine-day (novena) candle.

3. Pray, petition, and invoke Saint Jude’s aid.

MANIFESTATION: Saint Jude is robed in green and bears a sacred medal on his chest.

ICONOGRAPHY: The flame of enlightenment shoots from Saint Jude’s brow.

ATTRIBUTES: an anchor, oar, and boat hook because he was a fisherman, but also because they are signs of hope and help; a club because he was bludgeoned to death; axe; sword.

SACRED DAY: Sunday. Some venerate Jude on the twenty-eighth day of each month.

FEASTS: 19 June (Eastern Church); 28 October (Roman Catholic).

COLOR: green.

GEMSTONE: chrysoprase.


BOTANICALS: basil; mint; patchouli; scattered starwort (Aster passiflora).

RITUAL: The traditional vow in exchange for favors granted is to testify publicly of miracles received. Standard fulfillment involves placing an ad in a newspaper’s classified section, although larger or more artistic testimonials may also be offered. It is crucial that the testimonial be public. You need not sign your full name or identify yourself, but you must testify on behalf of Saint Jude and spread the word about his miraculous powers. It is sufficient to write something like: “Thank you, Saint Jude, for the favors given.”

SACRED SITES: Jude’s body was reputedly brought to Rome and placed in the crypt of Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. A statue of Saint Jude renowned for producing miracles stands in Mexico City’s Church of San Hipolito. Many shrines and churches are dedicated to him and most will offer novenas (nine-day prayer rituals) on your behalf in exchange for minimal donations. Among the most historically significant are:

• the Saint Jude Thaddeus Shrine in Chicago

• the International Shrine of Saint Jude in Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, the oldest church building in New Orleans

OFFERINGS: candles; incense; charitable donations and good deeds in his name; pilgrimage to one of his shrines; public testimonials.