Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bring back the Snakes!

Today's post is a quickie about the Irish Heritage Celebration. On The Wild Hunt, which I usually love and is one of the few blogs I have on my blogroll here, has posted a story today about how Pagans shouldn't hate on Patrick. Take a read if you like. I responded there and I will here too:

I usually love the articles on The Wild Hunt but today's relies on bad research and christianized opinions. Do I think Patrick led a slaughter? Literally? No. Do I think he helped cause the destruction of a way of life? Yes. His story, as another poster mentioned, is about the patriarchalization of Ireland (I got to use my word again! \o/)

In response to the article and the random web site it gives as supporting "evidence:"

The idea that "Catholic saints' stories, by and large, do not truck in allegory" is ridiculous. The reassignment of one deity's attributes to another was not uncommon in pre-christian Rome, or in the christian era where saints took on the properties and roles of various deities. Druids = Snakes might not have been the original story but it certainly has come to mean that, and not just in recent times. Surely by the 10th century CE when the snake part of the story was added we can take it as allegory? The church equates snakes with Pagans. Witness the snake iconography of Mary stepping on the serpent (Isis/Apophis origins aside, the church has interpreted the snake to mean sorcery/evil). The article briefly mentions the showdowns between Patrick and the Druids. Christian writings take pride in this, that there were holy magic battles and Patrick was victorious against the Druids because the christian god was on his side. How are we not supposed to see that as Patrick driving out the snakes? Just because "paganism continued for another century" just means it hadn't been stamped out officially. Even the Eleusinian Mysteries carried on into the 4th century CE

This is the week of Bacchinalia the the festival of Liber Pater, both bread and wine/mead festivals. No coincidence here, huh? Enjoy your mead and irish soda bread.

I will celebrate Irish Heritage Day in the same spirit as my Family and other Italians we knew in Brooklyn: I'm wearing Red. The opposite of Green. 

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