Thursday, July 23, 2009

Watering St. Joseph

In the past month, three people recommended that I "plant" a statue of St. Joseph to expedite the sale of the condo. I had heard of the practice, but not seriously considered it. After all, I was already working closely with Ganesh, the Indian god who specializes in removing obstacles, and I had contacted Sekhmet (the lion-headed Egyptian goddess) for extra courage.

Still, three is a magic number. Some years ago when during a 10-day period three people invited me to go to Egypt (no one had ever asked before, ever) I forgot all the reasons why I could not go and booked a trip. The tour was remarkable; memorable in so many ways.

So after a third friend spoke in favor of seeking help from St. Joseph, I looked on line for guidance. Talk about your cottage industries -- many web sites sell the statues, ranging from $2 to $14. Some sites hawk whole kits for would-be home sellers that include official "burial bags" and copies of special prayers, available in several languages.

Moving to San Francisco will be expensive. Instead of shelling out any money for a statue, I dug around in the boxes of Christmas decorations until I found the manger from my childhood. The set came from Woolworth's, and the prices --stamped on the bottoms of the figures -- were quite reasonable. A kneeling angel cost 19 cents. A tall shepherd with a sheep draped over his shoulders went for 29 cents. The camel was pricey, 39 cents.

None of the figures is in good shape. Joseph used to hold a thin metal cane, but his fingers broke off decades ago. From the look of it, his other hand has been glued on repeatedly. He does have his head. One wise man has lost his -- literally. A standing angel that I used to "fly" above the manger (I used a bit of kitchen string and some tape affixed to the grate over a fireplace that no longer worked) looks terrific, but apparently angels don't have the same home-selling powers as St. Joseph.

With great care, I placed the four-inch statue of St. Joseph in a Ziploc bag. With a spoon, I dug a hole in the biggest of the three geranium pots on my deck. I stuck him in, covered him over and patted down the soil. "Do your thing, Joe," I said, and headed back inside. A day later, I watered him, right along with the flowers.

"Did you bury him upside down and facing east?" asked my friend Susan.

I did bury him upside down, but I regularly turn the geranium pots so all the leaves get equal access to the sun. Sometimes, he will face east. Other days, he'll face in other directions, perhaps inadvertently coming to the aid of other would-be sellers in my neighborhood.

Susan also counseled this: “When the property sells, you must dig up the statue, clean it, and carry it with you to your new home, where it should be kept in a place of honor. Failure to do this will lead to trouble with the sale or trouble with the new home or property.”

Susan read that on the Internet. She also reported that one web site admits that burial methods may vary. Here are some of the options:

* Right-side up pointing towards the front of the house
* Upside down facing the street
* In the backyard near the rear property line
* Close to the For Sale sign
* Face up, looking toward the heavens

The person responsible for interment also may opt to say a prayer or sprinkle holy water on the spot.

Another web site warns that if you do not follow the right protocol (never mind that “right” is clearly relative), bad things may happen to good people who mess with St. Joseph. For instance:

* If your statue faces the wrong way, your neighbor across the street may suddenly get a buyer, even if the house is not for sale.
* If you lose patience (and maybe a little faith), dig up your statue and throw it in the trash can, you may be responsible for the sale of the city dump.
* If you neglect to dig up your statue before you move, your home may go on and off the market for years.

One practical site gives the nod to burying a statue but also recommends a good realtor, aggressive marketing tactics, appropriate preparation so your property shows well and a price that reflects the true value of your home.

When I planted St. Joseph, no one had looked at the condo for 12 days. Three days after I made room in the pot for the statue, my realtor brought by a couple who really like my place. Maybe if I water St. Joseph again tomorrow, the couple's intention to buy will grow.

1 comment:

  1. My fingers are crossed hoping St. Joe works.