I love holidays... and how we keep them, in small ways, and big ways. I usually keep mine is small simple ways.
I celebrate in large part with making art. For me the act of creating art and using symbols in that art is a magickal process. In fact, this is a time honoured tradition, many Renaissance and other artists were also occultists and philosophers. The action of focusing on the meanings and symbols and committing them to imagery and the sharing of that. It also is a time honoured tradition since elementary school had us making holiday related art out of things like construction paper and macaroni noodles. In fact, I went to a St. Patrick's School, but I can't for the life of me remember what we did on St. Patrick's Day... perhaps it was traumatic. ;)
In the process of making art is almost a ritual for me, and involves re-acquainting myself with traditions, symbols, and reconnecting with them.
I'm also committed to drinking a nice big tall green tea frappe in honour of St. Patty's Day.. not that I don't have one most everyday. *blush* I swear I would snort that green matcha powder up my nose if I could I love it so much!
Anyways, enough about my heathen ways.
Tell me about yours!
These are articles the authors have said can be shared freely:From: SeekingWolf
ST. PATRICK and THE DRUIDS OF IRELAND
By Flame RavenHawk
Patrick was a Christian priest whose job it was to convert the population of Ireland to Christianity. The Druids, however, stood in his way. The Druids were very important people in Ireland at that time, and their symbol was the Snake of Wisdom. Druids could be priests of the old religion of Ireland, but there were also much more.
One part of the Druid class were the "Bards", whose job it was to remember all of the history of the people, as well as to record current events. Because the Irish Celts did not rely on a written language, everything had to be memorized. Bards were poets and musicians, and used music and poetry to help them remember their history exactly. Because of this, Bards were highly respected members of the Irish society. The Irish believed that history was very important, for if you didn't remember what had happened in the past, you couldn't safely plan for the future. Bards, therefore, held the future of the people in safekeeping.
Another important part of the Druidic class were the "Brehons". Brehons were the Judges and the Keepers of the Laws. The Celtic people had a highly complicated society, and with it, a highly developed set of laws. Brehons trained for many years to learn the laws of the people, so that whenever there was a dispute, the Brehon could Fairly decide the matter and make peace. The laws were there to make sure that everyone; man, woman, and child, were treated fairly and with respect. Because of the wisdom that the Brehons held, and the knowledge of the laws of the society, they too, like the Bards, were held with much respect.
And, of course, there were the Druid Priests. This branch of the Druid set were the keepers of the knowledge of Earth and Spirits. It was their responsibility to learn the Spirit World, in order to keep people and Earth in harmony. Priests performed marriages and "baptisms", they were healers, and psychiatrists. The Priests were The wise grandparents to whom you could go with a problem. They were there to help you solve them, with the help of the Earth and the Spirit World.
Into this world of the Irish Celts entered a highly energetic and devoted Christian Priest named Patrick. Because he believed so strongly in the tenets of Christianity, he thought that anyone who was not Christian had to become one in order to be "saved". He came to Ireland to convert the Irish people to Christianity.
The Irish people at that time were happy and doing quite well without Patrick and his ideas, but he was persistent. He noticed that the Druids were really the important people of the society. He thought that if he could convert the Druids to Christianity, the rest of the people would follow. Patrick's main problem was that the Druids were very comfortable with what they had already learned, and were not willing to change. Druids had spent their entire lives learning the ways of the people, and were the last people who were willing to change.
Although Patrick was not willing to abandon his vision of a Christian Ireland, he was getting desperate. He knew that because the strength of the people rested with the Druids, he had to get rid of them in order to get the people to listen to him.
Patrick was not alone in his efforts. He had brought many people with him from Britain to establish the new religion. Patrick began to destroy the influence of the Druids by destroying the sacred sites of the people and building churches and monasteries where the Druids used to live and teach. Gradually, the might of the Druidic class was broken by a bitter campaign of attrition. Instead of hearing the teachings and advice of the Druids, the people began to hear the teachings of Rome. Because the Druids were the only ones who were taught to remember the history, with the Druids dead and their influence broken, the history was forgotten.
Patrick won. By killing off the teachers and the wise ones, his own religion could be taught. For this mass conversion of a culture to Christianity, and for the killing of thousands of innocent people, Patrick was made a Saint by his church.
Today the story is told that Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland because he "drove the snakes out". We now know that the "snakes" were the Druids. So although I love the Irish people and celebrate their Celtic heritage, I don't "celebrate" a day dedicated to the man called Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland.
There are some chai powders that I wouldn’t mind sorting if they’d clear me out. That’s a neat idea. :D I like the Druid’s Day side of March 17th and for me it’s a time of reflection and the love for Celtic history.
I’d recommend checking out Druidcast episodes 16 & 17 on Prof. Ronald Hutton’s ‘A History of Modern Druidry’ which is a very excellent talk on the Druids in general. The new Druidcast 47 sure has some green themed music worth a listen. http://www.druidcast.libsyn.com/
I’m putting the green tea to brew, as I’m home today and there may be time for a few drinks near the weekend. I’ve got enough green things to wear; interestingly some lime stripped socks I got on a random day at the mall. With those, there’s a feminine skull and crossbones design up the knee side (suits me well :D) which inspires some thoughts of Ceridwen.
Ceridwen may not be particularly recognized on this day, but one Mabinogion story ‘Tale of Taliesin’ comes to mind about Ceridwen’s potion of wisdom. The mixture was boiled for a year and a day, and three drops of it would grant wisdom while any more or less became a fatal poison. The young boy Gwion who was helping stir the cauldron ended up spilling three drops that burned his hand, and sure enough he gained knowledge and wisdom by sucking his thumb.
I’m taking the time to read different articles around, and very love the ones shared here. Bacchanalia may be something I’m a bit new to (going more by Welsh than Greek mythos personally) and would like to hear from those who may celebrate. I’d view this day as an overall celebration of snake’s wisdom.
The ball python in my profile pic is a snake of my sisters that is now in the care of a good friend of ours looking after him. She named the snake Snuggles, and though some friends suggested changing to Mayhem, Snuggles still seemed best. He’s a friendly one.
I’m a bardic keeper of the Druid tales, though with no dislike for St. Patrick. Some friends of mine often take Celtic Christianity to be my interests and get a bit confused when I mention other things, but it’s all good. I grew up in the Christian lifestyle and honour the best of both sides.
The meditation group I meet with (that is mostly Native and Pagan) may share brief thoughts on St. Patrick before chatting more on the Elven / Faerie Realms as a day of leprechauns and time for early spring gardening, maybe with a few tales of things going missing as the tricks they might play.
Some of my thoughts and traditions there. :) I’d sure like to hear more on this post. /|\
~ Dan / Aloe