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Posts Tagged ‘wicca’

English Catholic missionary known as Saint Patrick

In spite of my Irish ancestry, I’ve never paid much attention to Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17), except as a day to stay off the roads if possible. But today, I ran across some interesting comments about the true origins of Saint Patrick’s Day, thanks to Claire Mulkieran, who describes herself as a systems security designer and a pagan descended from a long line of witches.

Given that cultural perspective, Mulkieran has an interesting contrarian take on “Saint” Patrick, a fifth-century English Catholic missionary to Ireland, regarded as the patron saint of Ireland. Mulkieran makes some fascinating claims about Patrick. It would be interesting to look into them further, although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they are historically accurate. In her 17 March 2009 blog post, “Pagans and Saint Patrick’s Day: The Real Meaning of the Holiday,” Mulkieran writes:

If most people know anything about Saint Patrick, it’s that his one claim to fame is that he drove the snakes from Ireland. What most people don’t realize is that the snake is a Pagan symbol, and that the snakes referred to in the Saint Patrick mythos are not meant in the literal sense, but refer to Pagans; i.e., Saint Patrick drove the Pagans (specifically, the Celts) out of Ireland (although it could be said, and has been argued, that much has been done in Saint Patrick’s name, but that the man himself was relatively unimportant). So what is celebrated on Saint Patrick’s Day with drinking and much cavorting is, ironically, the spread of Christianity throughout Ireland and the subjugation and conversion of the Celts.

She also makes a connection between Saint Patrick’s Day and Easter, writing:

It wasn’t arbitrary that the day honoring Saint Patrick was placed on the 17th of March. The festival was designed to coincide, and, it was hoped, to replace the Pagan holiday known as Ostara; the second spring festival which occurs each year, which celebrates the rebirth of nature, the balance of the universe when the day and night are equal in length, and which takes place at the Spring Equinox (March 22nd this year [2009]). In other words, Saint Patrick’s Day is yet another Christian replacement for a much older, ancient Pagan holiday; although generally speaking Ostara was most prominently replaced by the Christian celebration of Easter (the eggs and the bunny come from Ostara traditions, and the name “Easter” comes from the Pagan goddess Eostre).

I’ve already written about the connection between Easter and older pagan practices in my entry “Is Easter named after the pagan goddess Eostre?” Mulkieran also credits Patrick with using the shamrock to teach people about the triune god worshipped in christendom’s religions.

ARK — 9 March 2013

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The 1904 book The Worship of the Dead, or the Origin and Nature of Pagan Idolatry and Its Bearing Upon the Early History of Egypt and Babylonia, by John Garnier (London: Chapman & Hall), makes an interesting connection between the holiday Halloween and the Great Flood of Noah’s day. Follow this link to The Worship of the Dead on Google Books.

In Chapter One of his book, pages 3-11, Garnier maintains that the modern-day celebrations for the dead, around November 1, go all the way back to the flood and are meant to memorialize the people who died in the Deluge brought by God on a wicked world.

Garnier prefaces his reasoning by mentioning the ubiquity of flood accounts from traditions around the world:

[T]here is hardly a nation or tribe in the world which does not possess a tradition of the destruction of the human race by a flood; and the details of these traditions are too exactly in accordance with each other to permit the suggestion, which some have made, that they refer to different local floods in each case.

In prefacing his discussion about the connection between the Deluge and various celebrations for the dead around the world, Garnier says that

[T]he mythologies of all the ancient nations are interwoven with the events of the Deluge and are explained by it, thereby proving that they are all based on a common principle, and must have been derived from a common source.

Interestingly, Garnier reports on the work of another researcher who maintains that in antiquity celebrations were held to commemorate  both the commencement of the Deluge and the landing of the ark on the mountains of Ararat:

It is clear from these remarks that one or other of the two great events in the history of the Deluge, namely, the commencement of the waters and the beginning of their subsidence, were observed throughout the ancient world, some nations observing one event and some the other.

It would also appear probable that the observance of this festival was intimately connected with, and perhaps initiated, that worship of the dead which, as we shall see, was the central principle of the ancient idolatry.

Garnier shows how chronology homes in on late-October/early-November as the anniversary of the start of the Flood:

The force of this argument is illustrated by the fact of the observance of a great festival of the dead in commemoration of the event, not only by nations more or less in communication with each other, but by others widely separated, both by the ocean and by centuries of time.

This festival is, moreover, held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, viz., the seventeenth day of the second month — the month nearly corresponding with our November.

Knowing this historical background, it would make sense that the worldwide holiday coinciding with Halloween would be an important sacred day for modern pagans, wiccans, and Satanists. This observance, along with the emphasis on demonic images, ghosts, monsters, and gruesome themes in general might also appeal to the wicked spirits, for whom the beginning of the flood meant the death of their hybrid children, the Nephilim (see Gen. 6:1-4, 13).

ARK — 31 October 2009

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