A Pagan on St. Patrick’s Day

This is going to sound terrible, but it’s honest. I love drinking. I saw that look– let me explain. It’s not necessarily the drinking that I love, but more so the experience of being out with my friends, sharing stories, laughing, and just having a good time. With that being said, I love any occasion where it is socially acceptable to go out and have a good time in bar. That now includes St. Patrick Day.

For many pagans, St. Patrick’s Day has extremely negative connotations. St. Patrick is revered for being an amazing missionary and driving the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes are, of course, a metaphor for the pagans of Ireland. Some say that the Irish pagans fled, others say that pagans were killed. For me, even if they were simply converted, beautiful traditions were lost as Christianity spread throughout Europe and that saddens me deeply.

When I was a baby Witch, I detested St. Patrick’s Day. I equated celebrating St. Patrick’s day to celebrating the Holocaust. I chose not to wear green, but to wear black as an outward symbol of my protest. I even draped a rubber snake over my shoulders. When someone asked, I recounted the evils that the Christian church had perpetrated over the years and explained how St. Patrick was revered for destroying a rich tradition of Paganism. It would have been cute, if it wasn’t for the fury I felt.

As I’ve gotten older and more laid back (yes, I am much more laid back now…despite what this blogs otherwise indicates). I traded in my black clothes for my normal business casual attire at work, although I still didn’t wear green. My rubber snake replaced with a simple snake lapel pin. If anyone would ask, I would simply say that it “wasn’t my thing.” I also would avoid the bars, but would light a candle on my altar in remembrance of the spiritual practices that were lost.

This year was a bit different. On Friday morning, I got dressed for work and put on the hideous mint green sweater that I bought on sale a few months ago. I made a fruit tray of all green fruits for our company potluck an even left the snake pin at home. When I got off work, I made my way to my favorite bar to have a few pints with my friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think revering a Saint who was dedicated to spreading his faith even if it meant wiping out the faith of others is perverse. However, as I looked around my office and the bar, none of these people were doing that. They were wearing green and silly hats and having fun with their friends.

I didn’t light a candle on my altar on Friday. Instead, I took a shot of Jameson and dedicated it to those who lost their way in ancient Ireland and reveled in the fact that not only have the snakes returned, but that we’re sitting in plain sight.

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