St. Martha Altar Service: Steady Work, Fair Pay, Balance of Power, Peaceful Home, Domination — with Pay What You Can options

Sorry for getting this set up so late – my internet has basically been useless for about a month now, but they finally came to fix it, so I can finally connect via my computer again.

There’s currently a double rewards points bonus at the Seraphin Station shop good now until midnight August 5th.

This work begins the night of July 29th, the feast day of St. Martha, but there are several different modes of different lengths running concurrently here, so you absolutely can book late, as long as you see slots still available for the service you’re interested in.

St. Martha in the Bible:

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” – John 11:5

Famously depicted in the Bible as getting stuck with all the cooking and cleaning while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to him teach, St. Martha is the patron saint of servers, cooks, domestic workers, housewives,  and those in the hospitality industry – those who are behind the scenes making important things go even when nobody notices.


Her devotees will call on her for intercession when they need steady work, especially in these fields, or when they are having difficulty with their work, for instance if pay is slow in coming or a boss or manager is being unfair. She’s often called on to help with peace in the home, as well, as an extension of her association with the domestic sphere.

St. Martha the Dominator

Some legends have her leaving Bethany for France after Christ’s death and resurrection. William Caxton’s 1483 English translation of the Golden Legend tells how she tamed an infamous monster through her confidence in the power of God, her faith in the sign of the cross, and her skill in using the domestic tools with which she was familiar and comfortable.


And this was no garden variety baby dragon. It was really more of a sea monster, half beast and half fish, the offspring of the infamous Leviathan and some Galician beast. It was bigger than an ox and had the strength of a dozen lions (or bears, take your pick). It regularly sank ships and ate people.


Martha, being a badass, made short work of the beast by tying it up with her girdle (which can be understood in context as her belt). She didn’t need a sword or armor. 

The Golden Legend explains in detail how the creature defended itself from attack, and boy is it disgusting.
Read more about St. Martha, her history, and working with her in general at this main article.


These extra-scriptural legends account for much of her fame and reputation as a patron saint. She is called on for assistance by those who need to get the upper hand in any kind of relationship in which they find themselves “at the bottom of the totem pole.” In conjure and in the folk traditions of Latin America, she’s earned the title of St. Martha the Dominator, and she’s often called on when women want to dominate a man. 


But in this role as dominatrix, she is also petitioned to help employees get better treatment from their employers, for instance, especially if they are household employees like kitchen servants or nannies. So she is a great ally for all types of situations in which you are the underdog, or you might be taken for granted, or there’s a built-in power imbalance in a situation.


There is a tradition in some circles that she doesn’t like men and won’t work for them, but that’s not always necessarily true. It depends on what they’re asking her for and how they’re approaching her. You can read more about this and about working with Martha more generally at Big Lucky Hoodoo where there’s an entire article with lots of resources devoted just to working with St. Martha.


In orthodox Roman Catholicism, she is also the patron of dietitians, hemophiliacs, housewives, landlords, waitresses, servants, cooks, and women workers. Will she help a man in any of these roles?  I have certainly known her to. And that she assists in situations that don’t have anything to do with “dominating” someone should go without saying at this point.


Under the title of “St. Martha the Dominator,” she has gained a widespread reputation, and there is a ton of info out there on dominating work under her aegis. But just as you might call on St. Joseph under his title “St. Joseph the Worker” for work-related petitions, but you understand it’s the same saint, the same person, not two different people, so you can call on St. Martha for things that don’t involve wayward spouses at all. And you certainly don’t have to be a woman to call on her.


I’ve heard folks say she’s helped them with sibling issues in their family, like jealousy, or manipulative attention-grubbing, or rivalry.  I’ve also heard her called on by folks who are facing difficulties in managing their households because of strife or poverty; along with St. Joseph, she is a wonderful ally if you have a lot of mouths to feed and you are running short of money and resources to take care of them all. 

St. Martha Oil

My St. Martha formula is created from this sort of three-dimensional perspective of St. Martha rather than focusing only on her role as a dominator, and the same is true with this service I’m offering. While it’s suitable to use if you’re asking her help in getting the upper hand with a boss or returning a straying spouse, it’s also suitable to use if you’re setting lights to honor or thank her, if you want to invoke her aid for something specific, or if you’re seeking her help for something more general like patience or pragmatism.

Even when the difficulty is internal rather than interpersonal, St. Martha can help. If, for instance, you need help accepting the fact that right now in your life, you have to be waiting tables if you want to be able to stay in this town and have a shot at an acting career down the road; if you’re struggling with disappointment, envy, or resentment related to your current station in life; or if you need help accepting the things you cannot change while you’re figuring out how to change the things you can, then St. Martha can be a great ally for you.

Learn more about the service and the available options, including Pay What You Can if you’re facing financial difficulties and want to petition her for help, at the Seraphin Station shop.

St. Martha, from Gospel Figure to Medieval Legend to La Dominadora: Sources, Resources, and FAQs

St. Martha in Scripture

st martha woodcut
Woodcut by Jacobus de Man, haven’t tracked down the specific publication yet, but it’s late 1600s, early 1700s and public domain. [1]

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
– John 11:5

The Gospel of Luke tells us how Martha invited Jesus to her home in Bethany. She cooked and cleaned and catered while her sister Mary sat at Christ’s feet and listened to him speak. Martha pointed out that Mary wasn’t pitching in.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41, NIV)

Christ’s point is that in the grand scheme of things, your eternal soul is more important than social conventions and what people think about your housekeeping. But we need to understand this in context. It’s not that Martha had no imagination or faith or respect or that she was too small-minded to want to sit at Christ’s feet, too.

In Martha’s mind and in her culture, these were her duties, and her performance of them comprised her reputation, value, and trustworthiness as a member of her culture — in a society that valued hospitality quite highly, that in fact didn’t even work as a society without hospitality as a huge part of the glue that held it together.

She wasn’t saying nobody should value hearing him teach. She also wanted to hear him speak; she was also his disciple and believed in him. She was just pointing out that people needed to eat and wash and sit, and somebody’s efforts had to make that happen. (You can imagine that Jesus was accompanied by an entourage, too, all of whom also needed to eat and wash and sit.) She was determined to do her duties well for such an esteemed guest as Jesus, but she wasn’t a doormat. She was pointing out that she was not the only one who could be doing these things, that she *could* be sitting at Christ’s feet right now, too, if she just gave off doing the less glamorous stuff. But somebody has to do it. Dramatic events are unfolding, but somebody has to make the setting they’re unfolding in happen.

In John 12, Christ is in Bethany again before Passover at a dinner in his honor. Lazarus is reclined at the table with him. Word of his resurrection has spread like wildfire; Jesus’ followers are increasing and so are the machinations against his life. Mary makes a spectacle of herself pouring half of liter of precious perfume on Christ’s feet – worth a year’s wages – and wiping them with her hair. Christ is constantly, increasingly aware of the massive cosmic drama he’s part of and what’s right around the corner, his every action and word heavily symbolic. Every step he takes is under the weight of prophecy and its fulfillment, is part of a massive dramatic ritual. In this play, Christ has simultaneously the perspective of the main character and the omniscience of the author. The drama in John’s portrayal is thick indeed.

Martha during all of this? John writes only, “Martha served” (John 12:2).

Continue reading “St. Martha, from Gospel Figure to Medieval Legend to La Dominadora: Sources, Resources, and FAQs”