Wednesday, 17 March 2010

St. Patrick and the Snakes....a little pagan history

I don't usually celebrate St.Patricks day
and only just found out that Patrick's chasing out the snakes is actually in reference to chasing out the Druid's, Ireland's indigenous religion.

I felt I needed to share this interesting piece of history with you all
and then if you wished you could-

celebrate a
'druid memorial day'

17th March

Making a wreath to place upon your door with flowers of spring and shreds of white musilin/ribbon

St. Patrick's legend
Reputed with bringing Christianity to Ireland in a time when pagan High Kings ruled.

It has been stated that St. Patrick rid Ireland of all of its snakes.
Science tells us that Ireland had no snakes since icebergs surrounded the island.

What could then can be meant by the old legend?

Before Christianity began to spread into Ireland, the Druids were the leading religious figures in Ireland.

One of the symbols of the Druids was a snake.

In Christianity, the snake symbolized the devil - due to Adam & Eves temptation.

According to the legend, St. Patrick stamped his staff on the ground to rid the snakes out of Ireland.

The snakes that were sent from the island were the Druids.
After they were murdered, all their records were destroyed.

These were people who lived in harmony with nature.

Sadly during the seventh century, the Christian Church taught its missionaries that if they could not convert any natives, they were to use any means necessary to convert the non-believers.

The Druids were not interested in giving up their old ways and converting to Christianity. St. Patrick is said to have lead to the murders of almost eight hundred Druid priests and priestesses.

Symbolic act of Patrick overtaking Ireland's Druid heritage involves his use of the Shamrock (three-leaf clover).

It is said that Patrick used the clover to explain the Trinity of God:
Father, Son and Holy Sprit.

However, the shamrock (Persian word for three-leaf clover),
known as a "Seamroy" to Ireland,
was a symbol used in Druidism to explain the

three faces of the Goddess found in the Moon:

Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

A place of many in Ireland named after this Patron Saint

Probably one of the most famous sites is the Hill of Slane in Co. Meath.

Situated within the line of vision of Tara - the seat of the High Kings of Meath -

St. Patrick choose this place to burn the light of Christianity in 433 AD.

It was the eve of Easter and coincidentally the pagan Feast of Beltane and the Spring Equinox.

St. Patrick knew that King Laeghaire would be at Tara to celebrate Beltane.

In direct defiance to the law that no fire should be lit in the vicinity of the great festival fire at Tara, St. Patrick lit a bonfire on the Hill of Slane to welcome the light of Christianity.

King Laeghaire drove his chariot in anger to the Hill of Slane to arrest this rebel but it is said
St. Patrick was so eloquent in his preaching, the King was soon pacified and St. Patrick was allowed to preach Christianity to the pagan army.


The Leprechaun is the face figure of the Faeries known in Ireland.

The legend of the Leprechauns is that they know all the secrets of hidden treasures.
Their affiliation with shoe-making, rainbows, and pots of gold is really symbolic of them being earth elemental spirits.
They are the spirits that take raw material, work and shape it into something useful for humans.
Trolls are the raw materials, found in its raw state, in its original location.
Leprechauns are one of the many tribes belonging to the Faerie gods known to pagan Ireland.

They live in the Land of Faeries known as "Tir Non Og" which lies in the West. The Irish originally called all faeries the Tuatha de' Danann, a pantheon of gods from which Lugh and Danaan were a part.

There are variety of others including:

Lhiannon Sidhes - the faerie sweethearts, Phookas, Fir Darrig, Merrows - faerie mermaids, Roanes - the Seal People, and the Glaistigs - female water spirits.

Each family has his/her own protective Faerie spirit according to ancient Ireland and Druid tradition.

These family spirits are cared for, fed, and given gifts. to do this strengthens the sprit and in time one can actually communicate with his/her spirit faerie.

Among other things, one can learn the dame of his/her family spirit faerie and acquire favors.

Food for thought:

A quintessential symbol of fertility and renewal, the snake has long been associated with Goddess worship.

The tale of the "snake" leaving Ireland illustrates a Christian longing for the eradication of the ancient and benevolent goddess worship that once dominated Ireland.

Also, as the snake was a symbol associated with the Druid caste, its departure could also apply to the gradual dilution of Druidic beliefs into the early Christian church. .

Love & light
Trace xoxo


julietk said...

Thank you for this educational post :-)

Angela said...

So awesome that you posted this. I always hated this holiday.

jasmoon-butterfly said...

Hi ladies x
I am pleased you found it as interesting as I did :-)
Love & light to you both
Trace x

Ps: Thank you Angela for email and forgiving me for lateness of owoh xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

None of this is true, though. The ancient Irish did not use the shamrock as any kind of "triple goddess" metaphor. Where is the evidence for this assertion?

And the reference to snakes being pagans/druids in St. Patrick's myth cycle is false, too.

Patrick's followers stole that story from St. Hilary, who lived before him and drove the snakes from one French island. The snakes don't symbolize anything; only modern people have equated them with pagans.

jasmoon-butterfly said...

Blessings Anonymous ...x
Thank you for sharing your opinion too x
I will not enter into a debate, I am sharing information in an unbiased form - everyone is more than welcome to research further, happy hunting :-)
Love & light
Trace x

Kathy said...

Wow...I did not know all that, very interesting...thanks!