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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in all snakes day

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Snake Patrick Day

Happy Celtic Heritage Day!

Many Asatruars and other heathens and pagans don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day because it's a Christian holiday. As practiced in the USA, though, it's more a secular celebration of Irish culture, and of our idea of Irish culture (green beer is an American thing.) At this time of year, many of us are still circulating that story that the legend of Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland was really about driving out the Druids.

This is an interesting example about how mythology changes over time to suit the culture telling the story. For us modern people, we want to see the snakes as a symbol of something else because we don't need a magical explanation for why they are no snakes on that island. Our bedrock belief is in science. When we read a myth that purports to explain why a thing in nature is the way it is, we automatically read it as a metaphor, because we just don't think that way.

For the medieval people who ascribed the snake story to "St. Patrick" it was a story about a miracle, about a man wielding godlike magical powers, which somehow proved he must be channeling the power of a particular god. Who got to be called saint and who was instead called witch for demonstrating the same supernatural magic is a study in sociology.

Image: photo of me in a parade.

Image caption: I and other heathens parade with a Renfaire guild every year. This is about visibility, although I started doing this before I formalized the Heathen Visibility Project. As we march down the street with our hammers on, the message is: "See us. We are here; we are proud; we are part of this community."

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I associate St. Patrick's day with corn beef, cabbage and potatoes. Since reading books on Voodoo I also associate St. Patrick wi
Blessings and Remembrance

     While today is traditionally a day of celebration, a day to toast the Irish and feast on corned beef and colcannon, my family takes a more serious approach. My husband and I are both of Irish descent, and yes, we'll cook our corned beef and pour the beer (not green, though...that's just weird) and play bagpipe music louder than usual, but we will do so not in honor of the venerable Saint Patrick, but instead in honor of the 'snakes' he drove out of Ireland: the Druids, the Priestesses, and the followers of the Old Ways that were murdered or driven from their homes.

     We remember and pay homage to the people who died for their faith, and the survivors who lived in terror, keeping their traditions in secret, so that today Pagans and Wiccans the world over can hold their heads up and proudly claim their places in the world. By all means, celebrate today as you have always done...please don't let me rain on your Saint Patrick's Day parade. (Ouch. That was a terrible pun. I humbly apologize.) In the midst of your celebrating, however, pause for a moment, and light a candle for the ones who came before, for the ones who fell, and the ones that continued on, despite all obstacles, so that we could be here today.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Well said. I'll hoist a glass of Irish beer in remembrance of all the Pagan Irish who died of Christian sins.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Celebrating “All Snakes’ Day” March 17 as a protest against St. Patrick’s Day has become a sort of tradition among many of us Neo-Pagans. “He didn’t drive us all out!” is the sentiment, referring to the assumption that the “snakes” St. Patrick drove out were really symbols for the Druids. However, unlike most religions, Neo-Pagans are a relentlessly self-examining lot; we’re keenly interested in historical and archeological findings that may support or undermine the assumptions we’ve built our beliefs and practices upon. As a response, there’s a growing counter-movement to All Snakes’ Day based on two arguments: 1) St. Patrick wasn’t in fact the cruel, genocidal destroyer of Druids he’s been portrayed as, and 2) the snakes he allegedly drove out didn’t stand for anything; it’s just a fairy tale explaining why there aren’t any real snakes in Ireland.

Let’s start with Patrick’s reputation. Many Neo-Pagans see him as a sort of Hitler figure, responsible for the destruction of ancient temples, groves, and even many people who practiced the Old Ways. This is understandable, given that the mythology of St. Patrick credits him with battling, cursing, and killing non-believers in a heroic (or barbaric) way (depending on your perspective).

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I can't remember the name of the Greek orthodox saint who is supposed to have driven the snakes out of Crete. Yeah, yeah, we've he

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