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Patrick And The Fairies

Updated on March 17, 2015

what do people think of on St. Patrick's Day?

On another lens I wrote about the possible snakes that St. Patrick drove out of Ireland. However, I think Snakes are the last thing that anyone thinks about on St. Patricks Day. Looking at some survey results online it seems most people around the world regard this day as a time to go drinking and get drunk.

The world symbol of Irish nationalism seems to still be the harp on the glass or bottle more than the harps of the founding nation bards. Liverdance is still more popular than Riverdance. Quite remarkable really, considering that Arthur Guinness, and maybe Patrick too, were Englishmen and Arthur Guinness being Protestant too.

to celebrate a drop of Irish Blood

For most people around the world who celebrate St. Patrick's Day, St. Patrick has very little to do with it.

This is the day that people light the Erin fire within themselves celebrate, enjoy each other, play with and within Irish tradition whether their ancestors were physically Irish or their psyche's respond to the Irish spirit.

In Ireland this is truly the time when the buds turn to leaves on the trees, not at Imbolc and not at Easter. This is really a celebration of Spring here and truly winter is over.

The trees to be planted have been planted, the seeds from the seed catalogues ordered and arrived, the seed potatoes ready to be put into the ground.

The Erin flame is something that has a hearth deep within souls of millions of people around the world and for many of these people this is a fun day of connection to their deepest roots. On the surface many folks will say this is a national day of Ireland, a day of Ireland pride.

Deep down this is a connection to that point where this world joins to the other world.

Fairies of the Erin Nation

In the parades, on the clothes of the people watching, and in the pubs will be the symbols of shamrocks, leprechauns and fairies.

Shamrocks, I think I have covered well enough through my Patrick and The Snakes feature as the three coiled snakes forming the birth, life and passing trinity.

We are all told of how Patrick re-invented the trinity as father, son and holy spirit and some say King Laoghaire really told him on Tara Hill "Oh yes, we have one of those, the universe, the earth and its people and the great spirit that feeds us".

Leprechauns are worn everywhere, especially the hats, but their stories are very thin and not much beyond the tapping hammers and the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow stuff.

Fairies, the spirit of fairies, though, are a very deep rooted in the Erin psyche. Even today, the most deeply passionate Catholic and Protestant Christian farmers will not enter a fairy ring to catch a cow or sheep believing the fairies called it there. They will not disturb a hawthorn or rowan growing in the middle of the field in case fairies are protecting and caring for a spirit there.

the Guardians of Erin

Around Erin, especially where I live, when I talk to people by firesides, in the kitchen with a cup of tea, or in our labyrinth, everyone is closely connected to a spiritual guardian.

Visitors, friends, neighbours, in these quiet contemplative moments, will talk about their Christ, their guardian angel, their spiritual guide, the embrace of Brighid, an ancestor

in spirit protecting them and respect for the fairies that care for them as well as the spirits of their ancestors.

Some even speak of these spiritual guides being the cause of calling people of Ireland to travel and spread its spirit around the world during the the past 3000 years or so.

Around four million Irish people are in Ireland, and well over eighty million worldwide connected to Irish born parents, grandparents or great grandparents.

Irish around the world

Through the drinking melancholy through St. Patrick's Day, stories may arise relating to how the brutal famine, the brutal clearances, and lack of jobs thst forced the emigration of Irish to many places around the world.

Through a much wider time there has also been the calling of harper bards, teachers and priests on ministeries to travel overseas to share with others the saints and scholars traditions and wisdom that started in Erin.

Anywhere around the world where Irish people have gone they have seemed to have thrived, enjoyed success and accomplish amazing things.

In many ways it has been the Irish that have evolved human culture into different levels.

The monks from the monastic cilles travelled overseas to introduce the same.

The harper bards travelled overseas to teach their unique skills

The shepherds that were driven out of Ireland created huge sheep farms that sold mutton and wool around the world at good prices and put the people who cleared them from the land out of business.

Their labour built the canals, railways, bridges then roads all over the world, often designed by Irish engineers.

They built ships that sailed the world.

Teams travelled and installed a lot of the internet and infranet systems around the world

Today it is largely Irish people introducing and installing the world with solar, wind, wave and natural methane power, the green energies, even though Ireland itself is being a bit slow with this.

is Patrick important on St. Patrick's Day?

There are a lot of people in Ireland who hold reverence with Patrick as a symbol of clearing spiritual confusion.

Much bigger than this is how St Patrick's Day has becomea huge day of fun packed celebration all over the world. It's a day to re-kindle the Gaelic or Celtic flame within people's hearts, with or without any drop of Irish blood in them.

Its a celebration of roots and clariry of roots or, for many, merely a day off to have fun in spring rather than raise a toast to Patrick.

St Patrick is said to have come to Erin as a slave, a land he discovered had intense spirituality but was confused. Stories are told of Patrick finding a land of people who were searching for something that would identify their true roots.

Many believe that he was the first to achieve this through a synthesis of the old earth connected ways with the teachings of the scriptures from the middle east, now formed into what we call and many revere as The Bible today.

Somehow this does not sound like driving out the snakes to me.

I think those tales were adopted later after the Normans arrived with their Cisterians, Benedictines and Franciscan monks.

The snakes, the spirits, the fairies, the angels of Erin seem to all join us in our hearts though any way we celebrate St Patrick's Day. They all help to keep alight or re-ignite that flame of gaelic gceilteach light within us.

so off to the Parade

The St Patrick's Day Parade around Ireland, around the world, is the joy of so many children and the joy and fun of many, many parents and grandparents who accompany them. It is joy and joined spirit for the people who take part in them, build the floats, make the costumes, make the signs.

Celtic Crosses are always among these signs, a symbol of a marriage of the spirits, faiths, four cilles of instruction, the cycles of the year and all things that root us and make us proud simultaneously. Though laughing, smiling, joking, being colourful, its as if everyone in these parades are kind of warriors of the Celtic Cross, warriors of the Trinity of Snakes too.

They are also there in the parade to please the fairies too, and I suspect more will be thinking about the pint or two after the parade than having any time to reflect on Patrick the Man.

what say ye about Patrick and the Fairies?

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    • WoodlandBard profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Its a mixed bag here in Ireland. Parades are loved, and that tradition does increase each year. Interestingly, it was the USA that got this country started on this :-) . On the other side there are the religious and spiritual considerations so there are many who are offended by today's traditions. After its all done the memories are really for the floats of the local businesses in the parades celebrating what they have done and are doing with the community, and I rate that as a very good thing.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Happy St. Patty's Day. Interesting hub. Where I'm from we just like to celebrate our Irish-American heritage in small ways... it's not really about Patrick but it's a fun time.

    • DeniseDurham2011 profile image


      6 years ago

      Your lenses are well thought out, concise, interesting...I am enjoying them!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks, again, John, for tie-ing it all together with your grounded logic and whimsical thoughts. Are you writing a book on the myths and legends of your area arounc Co. Sligo? You should!


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