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#1 Solanaceae

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 03:02 PM

Well, today is Saint Patrick's day.

 

For those of you celebrating, I just thought I would remind you what that means for pagans and witches, in case some of you did not know or just thought it was a good excuse to get drunk!

 

 

To start things off here is an excerpt from a version of one of my favorite stories about St. Pat, as told in the intro of the 'Lore' Amazon TV episode 'The Beast Within'

 

 

1 On a cold night in the late fifth century, a man named Patricius walked down a lonely road in Ireland.
Patricius was on a mission to spread the Gospel.
But the road he walked was never easy.
Fifth Century pagans weren't always receptive to the teachings of Christ, especially in the village of Ossory.
That's because the people of Ossory already had a god.
They worshiped the wolf.
I come in the name of Jesus Christ.
Patricius' message held no power for the people of Ossory.
And their leader had no use for his salvation.
It seemed like the end of the road for Patricius.
And then something strange began to happen to one of the villagers an ungodly transformation from man to beast.
Villager by villager, this unnatural metamorphosis continued until they became a savage pack.
But it wasn't Patricius they wanted.
Patricius' success at spreading the word would eventually make him a legend.
Today we refer to him as Saint Patrick.
But on that day, his mission was overwhelmed by the spirit of the wolf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, there is this, from Biography.com;

 

 

https://www.biography.com/news/st-patrick-little-known-facts

 

 

It’s time for Irish heritage to take the spotlight once again with the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day. Partakers in the luckiest day of the year will break out the green face paint and four-leaf clovers to pay tribute to the fabled saint this March 17th. But how many people really know what St. Patrick was all about? Before going out and submerging your body in all-things green, learn some little known facts about the saint you're celebrating and take the sham out of your shamrock!

 

• St. Patrick wasn’t Irish!

 

 The biggest misconception about St. Patrick was that he was Irish. In spite of the fact that everyone dyes their hair red and throws on their best buckled shoes to commemorate the saint, he has nothing to do with Irish culture – at least not until after his childhood. Born in England circa 385, St. Patrick didn’t make his way to Ireland until Irish pirates kidnapped him at age 16. From there, he started his journey to converting the Irish to Christianity and becoming an Irish patron saint.

 

• The original color for St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t green.

 

 There’s enough green seen on St. Patrick’s Day to make even Yoda and the Hulk feel like it’s a bit overdone. The strange thing is that green wasn’t even the original color used to represent St. Patrick; it was blue. After the Order of St. Patrick was established in 1783, the organization's color had to stand out from those that preceded it. And since dark green was already taken, the Order of St. Patrick went with blue.

 

• There were no snakes for St. Pat to banish in Ireland. 

 

St. Patrick was known through folklore for having chased away snakes in Ireland, thus protecting townspeople from the mysterious creatures and sending them to the sea. However, Ireland didn’t have snakes at the time. Surrounded by icy water, Ireland was the last place that these cold-blooded reptiles would want to go. It’s much more reasonable to think that the “snakes” that St. Patrick banished were representative of the Druids and Pagans in Ireland since they were considered evil.

 

• St. Patrick was never canonized by a pope.

 

 With all of this recent talk about popes, it’s worth noting that St. Patrick never got canonized by one, making his saintly status somewhat questionable. Let's just say he’s a saint in the same way that Aretha Franklin is the “Queen of Soul” or Michael Jackson is the “King of Pop.” But in all fairness, St. Patrick wasn’t the only saint that didn’t go through a proper canonization. In the Church’s first millennium, there wasn’t a formal canonization process at all, so most saints from that period were given the title if they were either martyrs or seen as extraordinarily holy.

 

 

 

 

This was interesting as well, from National Geographic;

 

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/090316-st-patricks-day-facts.html

 

 

No Snakes in Ireland

 

The St. Patrick mythology includes the claim that he banished snakes from Ireland.

It's true no snakes exist on the island today, Freeman said. But they never did.

Ireland, after all, is surrounded by icy ocean waters—much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else.

But since snakes often represent evil in literature, "when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland [and] brought in a new age," Freeman said.

The snakes myth and others—such as Patrick using three-leafed shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost)—were likely spread by well-meaning monks centuries after St. Patrick's death, Freeman said.

(Related: "Snakeless in Ireland: Blame Ice Age, Not St. Patrick.

 

 

 

 

In conclusion, when you celebrate St. Pat's day, you are celebrating a man who not only was not even Irish or a 'saint' but who drove out and slaughtered all the pagans he could find in Ireland to advance Xtianity. (Of course, we know some hid deep down in their 'snake holes!)

 

Saying all that, any excuse to drink is a good one,  ;) however, I for one will not be venerating this asshat while I do it!


Edited by Solanaceae, 18 March 2018 - 01:48 PM.

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#2 Khundekling

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 12:12 AM

I've always said the snake banishing was rubbish, but never joined the dots with it meaning paganism. Makes sense now! Perhaps we could raise a glass for them instead of St. P, a Snakebite & Black seems appropriate  ;) 


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#3 IslandBruja

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 06:06 AM

I was joking on Twitter today that I'd much rather celebrate St Gertrude - Patron Saint of Cats & Gardeners - than "some dude who drove away all the snakes" but I never really thought about the fact that the snakes probably represented pagans and druids... which makes a lot of sense and makes me prefer St Gertrude's Day (also on March 17th) all the more.

 

(Art by Carolee Clark)

 

DYhgrC-U0AAeHxz.jpg


Edited by IslandBruja, 18 March 2018 - 06:12 AM.

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#4 Solanaceae

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 01:49 PM

Yes, IB, sounds like a witch's Saint to me!


Edited by Solanaceae, 18 March 2018 - 02:12 PM.

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Some are born to sweet delight,

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(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence") William Blake


#5 StJohn

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 03:00 PM

Hear hear! It feels mighty good to know pagans and druids survived.

 

And St. Gertrude is getting added to my research list...


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#6 IslandBruja

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 05:08 AM

I just read this interesting article which postulates that both the literal snakes and the symbolic snakes were simply part of the myth built up around St Patrick with no basis in reality and that last century's surge in neo-paganism and neo-druidism was what birthed the "snakes as persecution of pagans" mythology:

http://wildhunt.org/...myths-2018.html

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#7 Solanaceae

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 11:48 AM

Could be, but either way, he was no doubt a xtian missionary and therefore no doubt contributed to the spread of xtianity in Ireland, and in that way at the very least to the elimination of paganism there as well. Therefore, still not worthy of celebration and veneration by pagans IMO.


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Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

 

(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence") William Blake


#8 IslandBruja

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 06:07 PM

Oh, I definitely agree. That's why I thought the fact that St Gertrude's Day is the same day was so fabulous because it's a nice opposition to what's being celebrated on St Patrick's Day, and definitely a Saint's Day witches could get behind ;)
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#9 BeanSiFiain

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 12:10 PM

celebrating patricius seems to have been the wrong decision for me this year. everyday since has brought new turmoil. Sunday began with a 12 hour puke-a-thon where my husband and I traded turns for making it to the toilet. Of course wed assumed it was the drinking. but we are drinkers. and this is not something we experience, not often, not sometimes, only rarely. I don't think it was the drink or the food. I'm not sure what it was. Monday brought war. The everyday bickering and complaining in our household turned to physical rage and resulted in us having to move temporarily in with my mother in law while we wait for our new apartment to open its doors to us...... ugh... and today, I woke up with a cold sore with no warning or opportunity to dissuade it from taking respite on my face..... me thinks my gods might be angry, as they are those that patricius turned away. or it really is just a result of over drinking. but I doubt that from the center of my soul.


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#10 Solanaceae

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 01:45 PM

Did you happen to see my post about the solar storms?

 

If you truly think it is your Gods punishing you for celebrating St. Pat,  make your amends and offerings, plus ritual cleansing and see if that makes a difference.


Edited by Solanaceae, 20 March 2018 - 01:50 PM.

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Some are born to sweet delight,

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(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence") William Blake


#11 citoyenne

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 04:07 PM

As Sol pointed out, Patricius would have been an Roman-English, who was captured as a slave to the Irish as a child. He actually left Ireland to return to Britannia when he was a adult having won his freedom but found that the Romans had been driven out. The Britannia he returned to was in absolute turmoil so he went back to Ireland because for all it's pagan ways, at least it was more stable than the anarchy.

 

To his credit, rather than running roughshod over local pagan beliefs, he was able to draw out the parallels between Celtic paganism and Christianity, engaging with people in their places of worship instead of razing them to the ground. Romans were highly adept at synchronizing their beliefs with the locals of their various territories, which is part of the reason their empire lasted so long. Not to mention he had spent so much of his formative time with pagans, that although he remained Christian he likely had a thorough understanding of pagan ways.

 

Although I had always been told the "snakes" St.Patrick drove out were the pagans, I actually believe that he did a great deal to preserve pagan ways and give this particular brand of paganism a wider stage under the cloak of Christianity. In Ireland, paganism had a great deal of impact on the early christian church, in the middle ages Irish monasteries were considered centres of religious scholarship renowned in the christian world which had a great deal of impact on Christianity as a whole. In Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity you have a clearer picture of what Christianity would have looked like without the influence of Celtic paganism but the Catholic church and then all the sects that came after it on either side of Protestantism are deeply influenced by Celtic paganism through St.Patrick and the Irish monasteries; these are the forms/sects that dominate the Christian world.

 

 

That being said, I did not celebrate St.Patrick's day. He was an interesting historical figure but to me, otherwise, meh.


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#12 Solanaceae

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 04:44 PM

True, as with missionaries in much of the world, they did try to appeal to the pagans while attempting to convert them,easier than battle,and there is definitely an awful lot of paganism left in Catholicism.
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Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

 

(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence") William Blake


#13 BeanSiFiain

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 01:03 PM

its that very awful lot of paganism hiding in the catholic pretense that prompts our celebration on patricius' st day. the pieces of the Irish Celtic culture that stubbornly refused to convert in full christian fashion, not entirely abandoning their gods, even indoctrinating some into the catholic faith (i.e. Brigid, Culum Cille, etc)

But I have recently had some experiences leading me to question the mundaneness of celebration. Increasingly it seems to me that some of my bad luck in my past may have been a result of sacrilege. So to speak. Ive always celebrated St Pats but always by way of following my family, and perhaps now that I am raising my own family, we need to follow our own path. Its not like ignoring valentines day has ever done me wrong. My mother stopped celebrating Christmas and started forming her own Yule ritual around the same time I realized I wasn't a christian, and my view of the celebration of the winter solstice has always been an amalgamation of mostly pagan intent. I dunno, but next year will be treated differently.

 

Lets not forget that Patricius was first kidnapped by raiders of the isle before escaping and returning to spread the good word​. His name wasn't Patrick, or Padric, he was not a native to the lands or to the culture, the culture, in my perspective being the more important aspect of spiritual or religious practice, the foundation of the beliefs of a people. It feels like a betrayal to myself now that I've had time to chew on the events that transpired. It is not of my path to celebrate his manipulation of the culture to convince them of Christ in their lives. [Side note: I am not anti-christian or anti-any-religion. I believe that everyone does have their own truth blah blah conversation for another time] 

 

Did you happen to see my post about the solar storms?

 

If you truly think it is your Gods punishing you for celebrating St. Pat,  make your amends and offerings, plus ritual cleansing and see if that makes a difference.

I had checked out your post, actually. But I noticed that more has been contributed there since my last visit. I have every intention of revisiting it. Thank you for drawing another connection for me to consider.


Edited by BeanSiFiain, 21 March 2018 - 01:03 PM.

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#14 citoyenne

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 06:48 AM

If you feel like you have committed sacrilege then atone in whatever way your deities/faith requires. Then celebrate as is laid out in your faith. There's no need to follow the world down whatever rabbit hole they're chasing. You do You.

 

I am not religious at all but I do enjoy religious studies as a part of my general interest in history and culture; how things change, evolve and interact over time.

I like to think that in the "manipulation" of the original customs, they were given a chance to survive instead of being wiped out completely, to let those of use who want to try to untangle the old ways have something (anything) to work from, rather than completely dead culture. If trying to follow a Celtic Pagan faith, it is worthwhile to look at the religious practices of these people in general. The seeds are there, hints and clues to work out. Paganism has lasted through cultural practices, local belief and superstition to this day, it's a part of all of our every day lives in ways we may not even recognize because they are so common we take them for granted. There is an unbroken link in all of us, to the past.

 

It is worthwhile to point out that while we may be saddened today that Christian Missionaries had to Ruin It All; common people of the time often readily and happily adopted Christianity, there was something in it for them at the time (surely not everyone was impressed, particularly not anyone from the religious elite or derived power from it, but it wasn't fight to convert a lot of people). I think that we owe it to these people in the past that they made religious decisions that made sense to them, and fulfilled their needs and who are we to judge? No one made them believe, they held onto their traditions and developed new ones. It wasn't top down power, it was the people synthesizing the faith that they wanted/needed at the time, borrowing from here and there.


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#15 BeanSiFiain

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 01:45 PM

citoyenne, awesome.

 

 

Im really not religious either. and to the best of my understanding, (with exception to the descriptions of the neopagans' gods, who can hardly be pinned down, and often differ from the descriptions in even early christian texts and even between each others', in my opinion) christianity was very easily swallowed by the converts because of the fickle, vengeful, and other human characteristics of the pagan deities, that made them a bit... scary. Christ was kind. sooo much more simple, consistent, reliable. Of course I'm boiling the entire event down to one syrupy answer. If it were entirely true that pagans of the time were scared of all their gods, so many of them would not have survived the tests of christ and time. Im not even going to touch on the difference between christian belief and church rule. Its not really relevant. But to me, the gods survive, and to me, they are not meant to be worshiped as one worships christ (which christ himself warned against....) but to be remembered, and considered, perhaps consulted, when taking some action.

Ok so I said I'm not really religious. Ive been studying the craft for some time as an atheist, but its only recently that I've accepted the pagan gods of my ancestors into my craft. Like, in the past year. I started reading EVERYTHING I could find, what my husband already had (he's a history buff) everything. Then, you know, that intuitive pull, the urge to go in a direction. Then one day, a message? An omen? I am unsure, but a visit nonetheless. To me it was confirmation of the rightness of the direction. From what I can tell, the events of the weekend of St Pats day were the result of a spit in the face of this/these gods, and they don't turn the other cheek like their successor. 

I have been tinkering and concocting and studying and working this week. So far, so good. I could be completely wrong, and the events could just have been fated, as a kick in the ass to move on from where we were. It may not even have anything to do with Patricius. It may just have been shitty way for fate to make good. (substitute fate for whatever it is the individual reading this would consider it to be) Whatever the truth, I'm sure I will find it. But now I know that it is possible that my gods may get jealous or disappointed or something, and that I should be more aware of my celebrations and continue to evolve my family's traditions.


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#16 citoyenne

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 02:17 PM

BeanSiFiain, I feel your pain, sometimes trying to figure out why something happened will be as hard as figuring out what will happen next. Deities are a complicated and moody bunch so hopefully you can get back onto the right side of your ancestors' gods.

I think as far as neopaganism is concerned, that some of the old gods are just happy to be recognized again after languishing so long on so little while others are still butthurt that they were set aside by the masses to begin with that they don't want to accept the change in worship or the number of followers and want the old ways. This is a one on one dance one has to do with their deity to figure out what will best work, especially if you've been claimed.


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#17 BeanSiFiain

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 02:48 PM

Thank you for your compassion and encouragement, citoyenne.

 

I cannot express enough my gratitude for this forum and folk involved. In the short time I've been a seeker here, my craft has evolved and grown faster than it had with only my own thoughts and opinions to guide me. I thank whatever is holy for the many paths that witches take and the lessons we all learn. We do not all walk the same path, but no path is truly isolated.

 

What you say of the neopagans' and their relationships with the gods, I agree. In a kind of Neil Gaiman American Gods sort of way almost. Especially for any pagan gods, be they Celtic or roman or otherwise. These gods were largely human in character, albeit not in power, and it only stands to reason that they would covet any attention.  


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#18 Duchess

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 07:24 PM

 

It is worthwhile to point out that while we may be saddened today that Christian Missionaries had to Ruin It All; common people of the time often readily and happily adopted Christianity, there was something in it for them at the time (surely not everyone was impressed, particularly not anyone from the religious elite or derived power from it, but it wasn't fight to convert a lot of people). I think that we owe it to these people in the past that they made religious decisions that made sense to them, and fulfilled their needs and who are we to judge? No one made them believe, they held onto their traditions and developed new ones. It wasn't top down power, it was the people synthesizing the faith that they wanted/needed at the time, borrowing from here and there.

 

 

I also enjoy religious studies; I went to a Catholic College despite never being Christian (also it was a giant castle), and Bible studies was one of my favorite classes. Seeing what it has evolved into, I think it can be hard to remember that Christianity, at the beginning, was a religion for the oppressed. It elevated the meek and powerless as those who would truly gain happiness in the end; it gave those people hope.  


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#19 witchinplainsight

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 08:53 PM

I am not religious at all but I do enjoy religious studies as a part of my general interest in history and culture; how things change, evolve and interact over time.

I like to think that in the "manipulation" of the original customs, they were given a chance to survive instead of being wiped out completely, to let those of use who want to try to untangle the old ways have something (anything) to work from, rather than completely dead culture. If trying to follow a Celtic Pagan faith, it is worthwhile to look at the religious practices of these people in general. The seeds are there, hints and clues to work out. Paganism has lasted through cultural practices, local belief and superstition to this day, it's a part of all of our every day lives in ways we may not even recognize because they are so common we take them for granted. There is an unbroken link in all of us, to the past.

 

It is worthwhile to point out that while we may be saddened today that Christian Missionaries had to Ruin It All; common people of the time often readily and happily adopted Christianity, there was something in it for them at the time (surely not everyone was impressed, particularly not anyone from the religious elite or derived power from it, but it wasn't fight to convert a lot of people). I think that we owe it to these people in the past that they made religious decisions that made sense to them, and fulfilled their needs and who are we to judge? No one made them believe, they held onto their traditions and developed new ones. It wasn't top down power, it was the people synthesizing the faith that they wanted/needed at the time, borrowing from here and there

 

 

Part of Patrick's appeal at the time was that he emboldened women (some of them noblewomen by the standards of the time) to turn down arranged marriages and gave others a sense of prestige in the home, as the keepers of the new faith to their families. The Brides of Christ idea was popular with Roman noblewomen across the Empire. It's funny that a religion that has been so patriarchal and damaging to women gave some of them the chance to remain free in the early days - even if over time this 'freedom' from marriage became strictly cloistered life in a convent.

 

 

 

I also enjoy religious studies; I went to a Catholic College despite never being Christian (also it was a giant castle), and Bible studies was one of my favorite classes. Seeing what it has evolved into, I think it can be hard to remember that Christianity, at the beginning, was a religion for the oppressed. It elevated the meek and powerless as those who would truly gain happiness in the end; it gave those people hope.  

 

I heart every word of this :wub:  And yes, it's often bizarre and fascinating to see so many 'Christians' living at absolute odds with the teachings of Jesus Christ - this radical who wanted to liberate the poor and oppressed. I'm a big fan of liberation theology but funnily enough it's never gone mainstream <_<


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