The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Patrick's Day - The truth about St. Patrick

 Good Evening,

We are coming up to a fun feast holiday, St. Patrick's Day.  Although many pagans and Wiccans tend to either choose not to celebrate this day or , like me, celebrate the wonderful culture of the Irish, of which I am very fond.  I will keep the green in the border of this discussion for the next week or so just to bring in the luck of the Irish as color magick is a magickal system in and of itself. 

 The reason is because St. Patrick is credited with being responsible for the elimination of the Druid's and the ancient Goddess religion of the Celts, who still followed the old ways in ancient Ireland.  It's not terribly long or complex so let me tell you the story now.

St. Patrick as a youth of 16 was abducted by Irish Raiders from Britain where he was born and raised in the Roman fashion. Rome had left Britain by this time,after 400 years of occupation and introduction of the Roman Catholic beliefs and it seems probable that the Roman Christian ways were followed by Patrick's family as his parents were known by the Roman names of Calphurnius and Conchessa.

Patrick was enslaved and brought to Ireland where he worked as a Shepard for six years before leaving his master and traveling back to Britain.  He left Ireland but with a burning sense of revenge for the pagans that enslaved him and he came back years later with the power and authority of the church and systematically continued what the popes had put in motion. The unification of the Catholic church throughout Europe at the expense and elimination of the Goddess worshiping pagans and the Druid's who were their religious leaders.

 The mythos that St. Patrick drove the snakes or serpents from Ireland is false yet true. It is a false story because snakes or serpents are not native to Ireland.  According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park Ireland has never had any snakes simply because they originated in warmer Southern climes and no snake has ever successfully migrated across open ocean to a new terrestrial home.  The same holds true for snake free New Zealand, Greenland, Iceland and Antarctica. So it was not a miracle of St. Patrick to have driven the snakes from Ireland.

But, metaphorically, the story is true.  In ancient times the serpent was a metaphor for ancient feminine knowledge and wisdom, or Goddess wisdom and worship. This is the basis for the Serpent in the Garden of Eden  found in the Book of Genesis parable. The Serpent represented the Goddess religion which later became demonized and vilified in the new Christian religion and thus became a symbol of the devil or Satan. The Garden of Eden parable was truly a story about Christianity overcoming the ancient beliefs of paganism. 

So it is true the snake is a representative image of the ancient Goddess worship of the Druid's and the Celtic people still practiced in the mid to late fifth century when Patrick was to have returned back to Ireland.  He was a missionary and he returned at a time when the people were in need of a religious system, after many brutal and bloody massacres of Celtic Druids.  Men, women and children were slaughtered by the Romans in the proceeding centuries.  After four hundred years of massacres and a systematic cleansing of the Pagan government, as the Romans considered the Druid's not as spiritual leaders but as terrorists, they had all but eliminated the Druid's as an organized force leaving the Celtic people with no religious leaders to rely on.
                                             Massacre of the Druids

People in these ancient days were religious and superstitious to a person. It was significant that the people have a religion to believe in and St. Patrick came at a time when there was a void to be filled.  Although a nature worshiping culture, the Celts nonetheless had an organized system of religion and without their Priests and Priestesses they were without religious instruction and direction.

Patrick did the work of a missionary and converted and taught the people of the new Christian religion, taught them the stories from the far east, regarding Jesus of Nazareth and the disciples and he introduced the bible to their culture.  With the wide spread conversion of the Celts Patrick was able to report back to the Catholic Church in Rome, for whom he was working for, that he was able to turn Ireland into a Christian Isle, thereby, ridding the entire country of the serpents, the teachers of wisdom that taught the old ways and worship of the feminine.  He was credited with eliminating the snakes from Ireland.  The few Druids that remained became wandering magicians and the image of Merlin from the Arthurian legends, mysterious, magickal and wandering alone throughout the countryside is what remained of a once noble and proud leadership of the Celtic people.

The reason I do not celebrate St. Patrick is simply because I am not Christian.  But having said that, I do celebrate the Irish. Even with a decidedly sounding Irish name, I am not Irish by heritage but my husband is and I have enjoyed the culture for many decades.  I cook a wicked Corned Beef with cabbage and this year I'm making gluten free Irish Soda bread for a family member and look forward to trying it myself!

I don't think one has to be Irish, a Christian or anything specific  to celebrate a feast day.  Actually the pagans may disagree about many things but across the board pagans love to feast and make merry.  We use all our opportunities to celebrate life and love, and the Goddess and God gave us food and drink to do just this, in my personal philosophy.  So use the opportunity of St. Patrick's Day, which  is still the official name of the holiday, to celebrate,  feast and make merry with the people closest to you.  Enjoy!

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website.

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