Those who are new to practising magick are often surprised to find that the Saint Lazarus most venerated is not the Lazarus that Jesus raised from the dead but is instead the leper that he spoke of in one of his parables.
According to the parable Lazarus spent his life laying outside the doors of a wealthy man’s home. Out of the fear that he or she might also contract his skin rotting disease, no person would go anywhere near Lazarus. His only friend was a dog that compassionately licked his wounds. Though the rich man had both the power and influence to improve Lazarus’ situation, he chose not to. Eventually, both Lazarus and the rich man died. Lazarus went straight to Abraham’s bosom (a place of rest similar to heaven), whilst the rich man went to a place of punishment for his complete selfishness.
Though Lazarus’ position is an excellent one to intercede from, it is no more so than the position that any enlightened soul has after emerging from its earthly body. Why then is this obscure, seemingly typical, diseased man venerated as a powerful healing saint who specialises in giving or taking away infectious diseases and why can you easily find images of him at a spiritual supply store?
There are actually two answers that explain. The first is that the Templar knights created the order of Saint Lazarus so that any knights of their order who contracted leprosy could be transferred into it. In this manner they insured that their afflicted comrades would not become outcasts and that they could continue to serve in the military. The second is that practitioners of Santeria, in order to escape persecution and death at the hands of zealots, began to use the image of Saint Lazarus to represent one of the most powerful and beloved of their spirits, Babalou Aye.
Babalou Aye at one time had the ability to give and take away small pox. Naturally he was seen as a great healer. Unlike Saint Lazarus, Babalou Aye had many friends. However, he was also accompanied by a dog that licked his wounds.