Tag Archives: angel

Miracle During Birth and Visit from an Angel (Memorate)

Text

Informant (talking to daughter): “When you were born, they took you away to check you. They did a scan and they said there were calcifications in your brain. I was really sad and really worried, plus you were premature— you were born early— so you were really tiny, you needed oxygen and all different things. But anyway, when I was in my bed in the hospital, I was crying because I was just sad and I had been worried about you and I was sleeping. In the middle of the night, I felt a smooth whisper of wind go across the side of my left cheek and a Voice said, “Trust and believe.” It woke me up out of my sleep and I was like, ‘Oh my god, oh my god,’ so I rang for the nurse and I said ‘Was somebody here in my room?’ The nurse said ‘No, nobody came into your room we’ve been sitting out here.’ And I said, ’But I heard somebody I heard a voice, I felt them.’ The nurse said this was the cancer ward prior and you’re not the first person who has felt things on this floor. So somebody was there and somebody wanted me to be okay. The next day, they took you in for scans again and the calcifications were gone.”

Context

The Informant is a 48-year-old Black-American woman who is having a conversation with her daughter about the girl’s birth. This story is from the Informant’s personal experience. Informant believes this was an interaction with an angel, rather than a “ghost” or “spirit.”

Analysis

Similar to other memorates I collected, this spiritual experience took place when the Informant was sleeping. The dream space seems to be a common realm for spiritual contact and connection. The Informant’s experience also took place during a significant life event (birth) and time of uncertainty (medical complication). During emotional turmoil, the words “trust and believe” communicate faith and signify guidance. This may be a reason why the Informant classifies the Voice as an “angel” rather than a “ghost “or “spirit.” The reversal of fortune shortly after, when the baby’s medical complications magically resolve, could be another reason why the Informant perceives this as a divine interaction. 

Posada Parade-The Inns: Mexican Festival/Holiday

Text: 

Me: “Do you have any festivals that you participate in?”

CC: “Yes, this is like a mix between a festival and a holiday, it’s called Las Posadas. In my Mexican culture, we celebrate from December 16 through Christmas Eve. Every day, a different household hosts and we usually eat tamales and hot chocolate. This 9 day celebration is seen as a traditional religious celebration that honors the birth of baby Jesus. My family dresses up in costumes that signify Jesus, Mother Mary, and Joseph. We parade around the neighborhood while singing Catholic songs, saying prayers, and basically re-telling the story of how Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay.”

Me: “Can you explain the costumes you guys wear?”

CC: “Sure, since there are only three main characters, the younger kids in my family are usually the ones that portray Mary, Jesus, and Joseph. The rest of us dress up as angels or simply just carry a candle as we walk during night time. My grandma actually hand sewed these costumes and they are used every year, I actually don’t know how old these costumes are. As we parade around the neighborhood, it’s a good reminder of what Mary went through and it’s a time where my family and I can appreciate the comfort of a warm home to go to at night.”

Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):

-CC’s relationship with this festival/holiday stems from her traditional Catholic Mexican household and childhood. Given that this 9 day long festival is celebrated every year, CC has been able to appreciate this practice differently all her life considering it is uniquely performed by her family; as seen within the custom made costumes and the comfort of each household. CC heard about this festival/holiday from her dad’s side of the family, considering they are the only ones that celebrate these daily festivities despite the fact that CC’s mom is also of Mexican descent. CC grew up being exposed to Las Posadas only from her dad’s side of the family as they tend to be more religious and are adamant about continuing the festival/holiday. CC interprets this holiday/festival as a religious experience that can bring one’s community closer together as it’s a reminder of the importance of family, stability, having a roof over your head, and faith during the holiday season.

Analysis(what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:

-The cultural values within Las Posadas stems from a sense of community and lifestyle values that are implemented within a typical Catholic Mexican household. Not to mention, this festival/holiday can also be seen celebrated in Honduras, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and other Latin American countries. The personal values that are expressed within this 9 day long festival celebration is exemplified by the religious and spiritual beliefs of an individual and within one’s household. Considering this holiday is slowly disappearing as it is not celebrated as much, it takes a strong religious household to carry on this tradition and to evoke the importance of re-telling the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. I interpret this festival/holiday as a unique story-telling practice that evokes awareness, community, and faith. I see the concept of Las Posadas as a way to teach the younger generation about the story of the birth of Jesus and as a way to increase spiritual faith within a family. Considering I only celebrate this holiday/festival with my great-grandmother (from my dad’s side of the family), I have learned to appreciate the idea that older, more religious individuals are trying to carry on such a unique festivity that is filled with love, food, family, and valuable life stories. The concept of a potloch can be seen within Las Posadas since it is typical to see each family cater to the community/household by bringing different food items and drinks to enjoy throughout the parade. A similar holiday that can be seen in correlation to Las Posadas is Easter Sunday within American culture. The idea of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus during a storytelling church service indicates the similar qualities of Los Posadas given the religious, community, and spiritual values that are evident within both holidays. 

Active Angels

This friend of mine has always mentioned that his family is very Christian, while he himself is more secular. He believes in God, and prays regularly, however he is a bit skeptical in terms of miracles happening here on Earth. Having grown up in San Diego in close proximity to his grandparents, who are even more religious than his parents, he often shares stories from his childhood, many of which involve church or some other religious attribute. Though he attends Mass somewhat regularly here at USC, college has made him even more of a skeptic than before.

The following was recorded during a group interview with 4 other of our friends in the common area of a 6-person USC Village apartment.

“Is it okay, if this is like, religious? Alright so, it was like evening. It wasn’t dark, it was almost dark. That time between five and six pm. You know what I’m talking about. So I’m at Torrey Pines Cove. Er, no that’s not a thing. La Jolla Cove. But it’s near Torrey Pines, anyways so. I’m there, and I’m climbing on the cliffs. I started off on just little ones, but then I got to bigger ones, and it was sort of like, more dangerous. My mom was talking to my dad, and like, just, they were walking around and stuff. And they didn’t see that I had moved on to more dangerous areas. And, I am afraid of heights, I don’t know if you know about this. But I don’t like being up high ever. I can’t look down if I’m higher than like a story. A third floor freaks me out. So anyways, I’m at a cliff – I can’t remember how far it was, but when I was a kid it felt like really really really far. You know? Like a giant gap. So I look down and I’m like way high up. And I look down and am like, holy shit? How am I gonna get down? And I didn’t know. My mom saw me at this point, and she couldn’t climb that high up, she was freaking out. She wouldn’t climb that. She was like, ‘oh my God, he’s up there, you know, he’s gotta climb down or something’. I was just frozen, I was there the whole time, and then. This guy was at the top of the cliff, and went and like helped me down. Like, I don’t – he didn’t, okay. This is hard to envision, but he went and like walked down and helped guide me down the rock face. And then, like. And then he was like, ‘there you go’, and then walked away. And then my mom was like, ‘that was an angel. A guardian angel’. Because we didn’t see any guys up there, like – it didn’t look like. She didn’t recall anyone being up there, and he just showed up. And then got me down. And then left. And my mom was like, ‘that’s a guardian angel up there’.

“My grandmother used to tell me stories about what my guardian angels looked like. And it was really like, it was a way for me to bond with my grandmother on a deeper level. Sort of supernatural, like, are there really angels out there that are everyday people? She would make up the stories. She was like – this was like what guardian angels would do. Like if I had a big test coming up, she was like, ‘the guardian angel is watching. He’ll help you with the answers,’ or I don’t know what it was. Help you study – that’s more ethical. So, but yeah. She was a big believer in angels, like active angels. Not ones that were just up there. She was like, ‘nah, they’re out there. They’re helping people’. And I always thought that was just good Samaritans. People that were like, ‘yo, this kid’s on a cliff face. I need to help him out.’ You know? And we just didn’t see him. That’s what I think happened. But my mom has a different take that that was my guardian angel like stepping in. Like, ‘this kid’s about to die’.”

This story fascinates me, as I never really think of angels as walking among us. While I, myself, believe in a higher power with a sort of spiritual-hierarchy of subservient deities (aka God with His angels, a Creation God with Nature Spirits, something along those lines), I’ve never really pictured them as being physical incarnates that interact with us one-on-one. Though my friend claims to have interacted with one face to face, he still is a skeptic that it was, in fact, an angel. It beautifully illustrates the sharp generational divide in beliefs, even if those beliefs share a common root.

The Parking Lot Angel

This friend of mine has always mentioned that his family is very Christian, while he himself is more secular. He believes in God, and prays regularly, however he is a bit skeptical in terms of miracles happening here on Earth. Having grown up in San Diego in close proximity to his grandparents, who are even more religious than his parents, he often shares stories from his childhood, many of which involve church or some other religious attribute. Though he attends Mass somewhat regularly here at USC, college has made him even more of a skeptic than before.

The following was recorded during a group interview with 4 other of our friends in the common area of a 6-person USC Village apartment.

“Another angel story, my grandmother says there’s a parking-lot angel that she has that follows her car around. And every time she’s gone to places to park she just always manages to find a spot. And she would tell me that every time. She went to like parking lots and stuff, and she used to tell me stories.”

This story is just so innocent and sweet. A little old grandma who has come to the conclusion that the reason for her exceptionally good luck when it comes to finding parking spaces is her very own guardian angel. Everyone I’ve told it to since I’ve heard it has smiled and said, “hey, that’s not such a bad explanation”. Perhaps the parking lot angel is busier than we know.

 

Woodcutter and Angel

Main Piece:

 

나무꾼이 나무를 하다가 숲 속에서 도망치는 사슴을 만나게 된다. 사슴은 사냥꾼이 쫓아오고 있으니 자신을 숨겨달라고 말한다. 말하는 사슴을 신기하게 여긴 나무꾼은 사슴을 숨겨주고 뒤쫓아 온 사냥꾼은 다른 곳으로 보내서 구해준다.

 

사슴은 은혜를 갚겠다고 하면서, 나무꾼에게 선녀들이 하늘에서 내려와서 목욕하는 선녀탕이라는 샘을 가르쳐준 다음 선녀를 아내로 삼는 법을 나무꾼에게 알려준다. 나무꾼은 사슴이 가르쳐준 때에 선녀들이 목욕을 하고 있는 샘으로 갔더니 과연, 선녀들이 하늘에서 내려와 날개옷을 벗고 선녀탕에서 목욕을 하자 나무꾼은 사슴이 가르쳐준 대로 날개옷을 하나 훔쳤다.

 

날개옷이 없어진 탓에 한 명의 선녀는 하늘로 올라가지 못했으며 다른 선녀들은 날개옷이 없는 선녀를 내버려두고 간다. 나무꾼이 선녀에게 자신의 부인이 되어달라고 하자 하늘나라로 올라가지 못하게 된 선녀는 할 수 없이 나무꾼의 아내가 된다.

 

사슴이 ‘아이 셋 낳을 때까지는 결코 날개옷을 돌려주면 안 된다’고 경고했었는데 아이가 둘 뿐인 상황에서 애원을 못 이기고 날개옷을 돌려줬다가 선녀가 아이 둘을 양팔에 한 명씩 끼고 그대로 하늘로 날아올라가 버렸다

 

A woodcutter meets a deer who runs away in the woods. The deer tells that a hunter is chasing him. The woodcutter who wondered about the talking deer hides the deer, and tells the hunter who comes after him that the deer has gone to another place.

 

The deer tells the woodcutter that the female angels come down from heaven and bathe in the spring, and how to make one of them his wife. The woodcutter went to the spring and when the women from heaven were having a bath, he hid clothes of one of the women.

 

One woman could not go up to heaven because her wing clothes were gone, and the other women left. She marries the woodcutter.

 

The deer warned, ‘You should never give the wings back until you have 3 children’ When he had only two children, the wife begged for the wing clothes and he gave them to her and she went away with children to heaven leaving the woodcutter.

Background Information:

This story is widespread throughout East Asia. There are different versions with a similar structure. Unlike other stories, it is hard to find any special lessons from this story.

 

Context:

This story is performed as many different forms like puppet animation, song or TV comedy.

 

Personal Analysis:

This is a tragic love story. It’s told to kids but it’s not really about romance. The woodcutter was deceiving to be lying to his wife about the clothes for a long time, but it is sad that she leaves him so suddenly. Her eagerness to leave makes it seem like there was no love to begin with. It might teach a lesson to follow instructions to live a good life, because the woodcutter didn’t listen to the deer.