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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in St. Patricks 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
Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, March 23

A Pagan tackles one of the most popular ideas about St. Patrick's Day. A heathen talks about Loki's "roads." And we take a look at modern Greek polytheism. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Seven or eight years ago, I shocked a large group of my Pagan friends.  I was at a small festival in Oklahoma that happened to take place during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  I was vending and teaching at this festival (as well as performing my first song) and knew most of the attendees very well.  As we were cleaning the dining hall after dinner, I invited everyone down to my vendor table to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a drink of Irish whiskey.  The look of horror on some of their faces was priceless.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Wonderful. I'll remember it and use it perhaps next year.
  • James Taylor
    James Taylor says #
    I literally laughed out loud at this. Thanks Carl, great post.

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

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
As March 17 approaches--green or orange?

For years I’ve struggled with St. Patrick’s Day.  No, not the drinking and eating--no struggle there.  But I learned years ago that you wear green on St. Patrick’s day if you’re Catholic and orange (for William of Orange--see the Battle of the Boyne for more info) if you’re Protestant.

I wear a lot of green (and black, to be honest), most of the time.  But I am hardly Catholic.  And though I’ve threatened to pre-order an orange jumpsuit for Gitmo, I wouldn’t do the Prod thing either.

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