St. Patrick’s Day

As March reaches it’s tipping point into April, St. Patrick’s day looms before us.  I have traditionally celebrated this particular holiday with friends the way most people do, imbibing a bit more than is medically necessary.

However, it is important to note that what St. Patrick’s day really celebrates is the ethnic cleansing of ancestral spirituality and Pagan tribes of Ireland.  Those who would not convert to St. Patrick’s Faith were not allowed to practice in the open because those who did were killed.  I am not going to suggest though that we fail to celebrate this day, I suggest that we co-opt the holiday and celebrate the fact that not only are these spiritual paths being rediscovered and explored but also because such Pagan spirituality has enjoyed a nearly unprecedented resurgence in the islands that make up the seat of ancient Druidry (Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and the Isle of Mann).  While Druids or Paganism were certainly not specific to those lands alone, there is much archaeological evidence to support the context of that group of islands being the location of much of the training in Druidry that was inherent to the tribes of our European ancestors.

I’m not going to suggest that we should stop celebrating.  No doubt the cries of anger would hurt the ears of even the most wise person sitting upon a mountain top far from the noise of human beings.  Instead, I intend to celebrate this day as a day of victory for Paganism.  We remain, we are here and we are growing.  There are reports that Druidry and Celtic Paganism are the fastest growing “religions” in the nation of the United Kingdom.  I put “religions” in quotes, primarily because that is how the census reports reflect it.  To me, religion is something that is particularly dogmatic and I find Druidry and many other Pagan spiritual paths to be either free of or mostly free of such dogma.  I am certain that whatever the reasons people are rediscovering the spirituality of their ancestors, they are deeply personal and yet I cannot help but wonder where the commonalities are in these individual decisions across such a large swath of people.

Be that as it may, St. Patrick’s story of driving the “snakes” out of Ireland fails to pass the straight face test any longer.  If anything, Patrick’s attempt at ethnic cleansing failed in the incorporation of many pre-Christian Irish traditions folded into the new dogma, demonstrating a power of sustainable practice and a recognition of wild nature that resonates strongly with newer generations of people rediscovering the spirituality of their ancestral heritage.

The result is that legitimate traditions, like Druidry, re-emerge under new circumstances ready to adapt to new conditions.  To me, this is absolutely the opposite of what Patrick wanted to achieve by suppressing and destroying the ancestral spirituality of Ireland.  Sorry to say Patrick, but I will be drinking to your failure on March 17th, not your success…

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