Wearyin' O' The Green
And in my opinion he was the worst thing that has ever happened to Ireland and the Irish.
I myself was supposed to have been actually born on SPD, but even in the womb I realized how very, very wrong this would be, and arranged things otherwise by showing up on March 4 instead. So my parents fought back (for the first time, certainly not the last) by baptizing my helpless and protesting infant self on the 17th, and naming me Patricia. (For my immigrant Ui Cinnfhaolidh great-great-grandfather, I prefer to think, NOT for the dubious saint.)
You have to give “Patrick” (real name Sucellos, who was born a Brit and was later a slave) some grudging credit, though, for being possessed of both passion and low cunning. He ruthlessly and enthusiastically carried out his popish master’s decree to suborn and co-opt the native Pagan religion by (oooh, what would Jesus think?) lying to the populace.
Sure, you’ll still worship the Goddess, he said, but now there’ll be only one, combining all the rest, and oh by the way you’ll be calling her Mary. Oh, and Lugh of the Shining Spear? Yeah, him. Well, he’ll be St. Michael the Archangel. The holy wells and springs and high places? Hand ’em over and we’ll build churches on them.
And many of the Irish, being a courteous and easy-going people, said okay, sure, fine, whatever, it’s all the same thing anyway. (Not to “Patrick” it wasn’t, oh nooooo!) The others, obviously smarter and more ornery, stayed resolutely Pagan, and good for them!
But that was the nose of the Christian camel poking into the Irish tents. They acquiesced to their eternal and ultimate doom. The people ended up saddled and bridled and yoked with Christianity, and signed their souls over to be ruled by meddlesome priestlings forevermore. (And letting in the limey incomers, in the person of Henry II, but that’s a whole other rant.)
Though also the Irish kept the Old Way alive, running under the groansome edifice of the Church like a clean, clear, bubbling underground stream. The cherished inborn and primeval observances were still kept, but now in secret, masked as humble, harmless “folk magic”, though “Patrick” ’s later suck-up hagiographers would boast of his having driven the snakes out of Ireland—by which was meant the ancient Serpent Wisdom of the goddess Brighid and the rest of her bright clan of deities, the knowledge that was destroyed by the stormtrooper monks who came after, who lied and dismissed and distorted the tales and histories and bardic treasuries that had been preserved so long.
Here is a Druidic rann that prophesied the coming of “Patrick”:
From across the sea will come Adze-head
crazed in the head
his cloak with a hole for the head
his stick bent in the head.
He will chant impieties from a table in the front of his house;
all his people will answer: “So be it, so be it. [= Amen.]”
I’d say the Draoicht got it just about right.
So on March 17, I wear black in mourning for the destruction of my ancestral homeland’s native religious and social culture by thrice-damned invaders, and I adorn myself with much of my considerable collection of Celtic jewelry (including the silver-and-cairngorm necklace from Hebridean Jewellers that MDF Kathleen wore as a headband in the wedding scene of That Damn Movie) and a Dress Morrison tartan silk sash, in celebration of the Celtic Revival.
It’s my way of making this atrabilious date into a Celtic fiesta, Pan-Celtic Day (Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, Manx, Breton). Works for me, and for a lot of other Celtic Pagans and fellow travelers as well.
And I stay well away from the public, not caring to endure the efforts (or evade the bodily effluvia) of underage drinkers, or be subjected to the sort of high-on-Lucky- Charms vermin who think that the diabetic-coma-inducing “Toora Loora Loora” is genuine Irish culture, and who are wont to spout off ersatz and unspeakably corny “Irish” quotes and wear/buy wretchedly cutesy-poo little trinkets, usually with tacky mottoes on. Demeaning shamrockery, presenting our ancient and yes, noble, race as the Stepin Fetchits of Europe, in full-on shuckin’ and jivin’ greenface.
Amateurs. Kiddies shouldn’t be drinking in the first place, and even grownups only if they can handle themselves alcohol-wise in public; and people who are Irish only one day a year (and superficially stage-Irish at that) are an insult and an outrage to the race.
So I stay home, where I can avoid all this and read genuine Irish legends (and my own books, one of the few occasions when I do) and play real Celtic music: Alan Stivell, Breton harp wonder; the original Clannad, when they sang gloriously in Irish, before they went all “world music” and boring on us; Altan, also Irish, also terrific; Plethyn, Torth o Fara and Ar Log, of Wales; Scotland’s Tannahill Weavers and Kentigern; bunch more, much of which I must listen to on cassette or even VINYL (which is of course fine). Good Stuff.
And where I also contemplate what I could only do for the cause of Celtic independence and a union of the Six Nations with a judicious application of the Death Star; or, failing that, some nice Keltic (from my Keltiad) force, er, persuasion. Yeah. That’s the ticket.