Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I love St. Patrick’s Day! Growing up Catholic in Wisconsin, there were many Irish people keeping St. Patrick’s Day traditions alive. In fact, one small farming town nearby, New London, is famous for its small parade which includes the local fire trucks, the high school marching band and not much else. LOL. It’s odd that St. Patrick’s Day is such a big holiday when he isn’t a super popular saint the rest of the year…. I looked up some info on St. Patrick:

  • he lived in Medieval times, around 400
  • he was not actually Irish! he was from England, and got sold into slavery, becoming a sheepherder in the Irish countryside
  • he always heard and listened to his spiritual guides – the angels and God – he heard a voice telling him to walk to the sea where he would find a ship and be able to get a free ride back to England which he did, and he returned to Ireland after he dreamed of his Irish friend telling him to come back
  • he had to learn Latin in order to become a Catholic priest, which was hard for him as he hadn’t had much schooling
  • he lived at the same time as St. Brighid (see my blog post about her) and is buried with her in the town of Downpatrick, County Down, in Northern Ireland – this is disputed by some but it’s believed a few relics of each (part of the body but not the whole body = ewww!) plus St. Columba are buried here
  • the imagery of him defeating the snake and driving them out of Ireland is likely a metaphor for the pagan religions (like the Celts practiced) which dwindled after he made Catholicism so popular in Ireland (sorry, pagans!)
  • it’s said his symbol is the 3-leafed clover because he used it to explain the Trinity (God the father, Jesus the son and the Holy Ghost) to new Catholics, however this is also an ancient Celtic symbol

draw Celtic knot shamrock

One of my favorite angel ladies, the Irish Lorna Byrne, says she sees St. Patrick with many Celtic (pronounced “keltic” with a hard “k”) symbols around him, like the shamrock and the famous Celtic knotwork. She thinks he has become a symbol for of all Ireland, including the ancient Celtic beliefs (pagan). She also says the Irish are a very special people, very pure in spirit. She says you will find Irish communities all over the world because God tasked them with bringing their beautiful spirituality to all corners of the globe. How sweet!

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Saint Brighid, the Celtic Fire Goddess

Brighid (bridge-id), also spelled Brigid or Brigit, is both a Celtic fire goddess and a Catholic saint. First, she was a Celtic fire goddess in Ireland. Her pagan holiday is Imbolc (i-molk), February 1st, which celebrates the beginning of spring and the birth of new livestock. In the 5th century, Catholics adopted her story and transferred parts of her legend onto a nun who ran an abbey in Kildare, Ireland. They kept her feast day of February 1st. And they kept her association with the pagan element of fire by having the nuns look after an eternal flame in her honor.

Brighid or Brigid the Celtic goddess

The pagan Brighid has sexy, flaming red hair and is a powerful woman who protects people and is a symbol of fertility. She is also associated with healing (magickal wells are another symbol for her). The Irish people still handweave St. Brighidโ€™s crosses from green reeds/rushes. They are hung over doorways for protection. In the town of Kildare, in central-eastern Ireland, you can visit her original church and abbey called the Church of the Oak (the oak tree being a pagan symbol) and a cathedral built in her honor in 1223.

Saint Brighid prayer card

Her Catholic prayer cards show a more subdued woman, wearing the black outfit of a nun and holding a long staff in her hand which marks her status as an abbess, or headmaster of an abbey where nuns and priests live. She is also shown with white roses and white lilies, the color white being a special color for her.