Sunday, April 03, 2011
Rats and Mice, Begone!
ExorcismCf. Geoponica 13.5 (tr. James George Frazer):
I cast out you noxious vermin, by God the Father almighty, by Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, and by the Holy Spirit. May you speedily be banished from our land and fields, lingering here no longer, but passing on to places where you can do no harm. In the name of the almighty God and the entire heavenly court, as well as in the name of the holy Church of God, we pronounce a curse on you, that wherever you go you may be cursed, decreasing from day to day until you are obliterated. Let no remnant of you remain anywhere, except what might be necessary for the welfare and use of mankind. Be pleased to grant our request, you who are coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire.
The places infested are sprinkled with holy water.
Take a sheet of paper and write on it as follows:—"I adjure you, ye mice here present, that ye neither injure me, nor suffer another mouse to do so. I give you yonder field" (here you specify the field, perhaps a neighbour's) "but if I ever catch you here again, by the mother of the gods, I will rend you in seven pieces"; write this and stick the paper on an unhewn stone in the field before sunrise, taking care to keep the written side uppermost.Otto Weinreich discusses this "Mäuseexorzismus der Geoponika" in his Ausgewählte Schriften III (Amsterdam: B.R. Grüner, 1979), pp. 43-45.
Both it and the exorcism from the Rituale Romanum (at least the part about "lingering here no longer, but passing on to places where you can do no harm") are examples of epipompē, a method of getting rid of evil not by destroying it but by sending it somewhere else.
Hat tip: Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf.