All Snakes Day, St. Paddy’s and Modern Mythos

Are you as tired of the St Paddy’s debunkers as I am? While I support good history and scholarship, it seems like every holiday we have a parade of folks telling us to not be silly. Don’t celebrate All Snakes Day because there is no historical basis. Don’t enjoy turkey with your loved ones too much because of centuries old genocide. Don’t whoop it up on the 21st because the shortest night of the year comes two weeks earlier.

I’m not saying there isn’t good and valuable information here. I live in the town that created the impetus for the Trail of Tears, and I think about First Nations issues all year. But it’s nice to cut loose and eat some turkey too.

I like St. Paddy’s Day and the idea of All Snakes Day because we need some time in our lives to act foolish and silly. And it’s fun way to raise awareness that we exist, against the assumption that the word “pagan” is always past tense.

Plus I love the idea that the story of St. Patrick and the snakes is modern mythology. Those of us who in reverence stories about virgin births and Goddesses descending into the underworld shouldn’t get too high and mighty with modern mythos. Modern mythology is proof positive that our culture and religion is alive and evolving. That’s a good thing.

So I will likely dig into some art supplies and create a temporary snake tattoo on my arm, with it’s head winding around my wrist and resting on the back of my hand. Yay for All Snakes Day!

All that said, The Wild Hunt has really good info on the historical truth behind St. Paddy’s. Go check it out, but dance if you still want to.

Don’t forget that it’s spelled Paddy’s, not Patty’s. Respect the Irish culture, or you’ll give this guy/gal a coronary.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kargach Rob Henderson

    I once wrote an article suggesting that a “Reclaim the Fire” form of Pagan celebration would be more appropriate than anything involving snakes – and then contradicted myself when I realized what groups of drunk Pagans playing with fire would lead to.

    • Thefirstdark

      #dead *chuckles*

  • http://twitter.com/sisterkrissy Sister Krissy

    Yeah, I guess the difference for me, as one who holds in reverence “stories about virgin births and Goddesses descending into the underworld” is that I don’t try to claim those stories as literal factual history.  Whereas the meme that the myth of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland = St. Patrick driving the Druids/Pagans out of Ireland is often presented as history, which it isn’t.  I’m all for modern myths and creating new myths.  I just don’t see how this myth of St. Patrick driving the Pagans out of Ireland serves any purpose other than to demonize the Roman Catholic Church and make us feel like victims.  I really like P. Sufenas Virius Lupus’ suggestion that was in The Wild Hunt article you linked to about putting a positive spin on things and actually celebrating something Celtic, like honoring  Cu Chulainn.

  • Dreaa81

    Thank you! I celebrated Ostara that night with a serpent drawn on my wrist with waterproof eyeliner, then donned a green wig and met up with my friends afterwards. I felt a bit … torn… but also likened it to Thanksgiving in my head. I’m glad to know I wasn’t doing something wrong… :)


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