Category: Pagan Blog Project


J is for Judicial

Judicial in Paganism … well there are many ‘Laws’ we feel we must follow, but only one that has been passed down from generation to generation … “and it harm none, do what thy will”

Of course there is another side to Judiciary and Paganism, in particular the witch hunts

Wikipedia

A witch-hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials. The classical period of witchhunts in Europe and North America falls into the Early Modern period or about 1480 to 1750, spanning the upheavals of the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War, resulting in an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 executions.[1]

The last executions of people convicted as witches in Europe took place in the 18th century. In the Kingdom of Great Britain, witchcraft ceased to be an act punishable by law with the Witchcraft Act of 1735. In Germany, sorcery remained punishable by law into the late 18th century. Contemporary witch-hunts are reported from Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Papua New Guinea. Official legislation against witchcraft is still found in Saudi Arabia and Cameroon. The term "witch-hunt" since the 1930s has also been in use as a metaphor to refer to moral panics in general (frantic persecution of perceived enemies). This usage is especially associated with the Second Red Scare of the 1950s (the McCarthyist persecution of communists in the United States).

Witch hunts still occur today in societies where belief in magic is predominant. In most cases, these are instances of lynching, reported with some regularity from much of Sub-Saharan Africa, from rural North India and from Papua New Guinea. In addition, there are some countries that have legislation against the practice of sorcery. The only country where witchcraft remains legally punishable by death is Saudi Arabia.

I guess the one we all identify with is the Salem Witch Trials of 1962

The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft—the Devil’s magic—and 20 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted. Since then, the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice, and it continues to beguile the popular imagination more than 300 years later.

Salem Struggling
Several centuries ago, many practicing Christians, and those of other religions, had a strong belief that the Devil could give certain people known as witches the power to harm others in return for their loyalty. A "witchcraft craze" rippled through Europe from the 1300s to the end of the 1600s. Tens of thousands of supposed witches—mostly women—were executed. Though the Salem trials came on just as the European craze was winding down, local circumstances explain their onset.

In 1689, English rulers William and Mary started a war with France in the American colonies. Known as King William’s War to colonists, it ravaged regions of upstate New York, Nova Scotia and Quebec, sending refugees into the county of Essex and, specifically, Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (Salem Village is present-day Danvers, Massachusetts; colonial Salem Town became what’s now Salem.)

The displaced people created a strain on Salem’s resources. This aggravated the existing rivalry between families with ties to the wealth of the port of Salem and those who still depended on agriculture. Controversy also brewed over Reverend Samuel Parris, who became Salem Village’s first ordained minister in 1689, and was disliked because of his rigid ways and greedy nature. The Puritan villagers believed all the quarreling was the work of the Devil.

In January of 1692, Reverend Parris’ daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11, started having "fits." They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural. Another girl, Ann Putnam, age 11, experienced similar episodes. On February 29, under pressure from magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, the girls blamed three women for afflicting them: Tituba, the Parris’ Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman.

Witch Hunt
All three women were brought before the local magistrates and interrogated for several days, starting on March 1, 1692. Osborne claimed innocence, as did Good. But Tituba confessed, "The Devil came to me and bid me serve him." She described elaborate images of black dogs, red cats, yellow birds and a "black man" who wanted her to sign his book. She admitted that she signed the book and said there were several other witches looking to destroy the Puritans. All three women were put in jail.

With the seed of paranoia planted, a stream of accusations followed for the next few months. Charges against Martha Corey, a loyal member of the Church in Salem Village, greatly concerned the community; if she could be a witch, then anyone could. Magistrates even questioned Sarah Good’s 4-year-old daughter, Dorothy, and her timid answers were construed as a confession. The questioning got more serious in April when Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth and his assistants attended the hearings. Dozens of people from Salem and other Massachusetts villages were brought in for questioning.

On May 27, 1692, Governor William Phipps ordered the establishment of a Special Court of Oyer (to hear) and Terminer (to decide) for Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties. The first case brought to the special court was Bridget Bishop, an older woman known for her gossipy habits and promiscuity. When asked if she committed witchcraft, Bishop responded, "I am as innocent as the child unborn." The defense must not have been convincing, because she was found guilty and, on June 10, became the first person hanged on what was later called Gallows Hill.

Five days later, respected minister Cotton Mather wrote a letter imploring the court not to allow spectral evidence—testimony about dreams and visions. The court largely ignored this request and five people were sentenced and hanged in July, five more in August and eight in September. On October 3, following in his son’s footsteps, Increase Mather, then president of Harvard, denounced the use of spectral evidence: "It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person be condemned."

Governor Phipps, in response to Mather’s plea and his own wife being questioned for witchcraft, prohibited further arrests, released many accused witches and dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer on October 29. Phipps replaced it with a Superior Court of Judicature, which disallowed spectral evidence and only condemned 3 out of 56 defendants. Phipps eventually pardoned all who were in prison on witchcraft charges by May 1693. But the damage had been done: 19 were hanged on Gallows Hill, a 71-year-old man was pressed to death with heavy stones, several people died in jail and nearly 200 people, overall, had been accused of practicing "the Devil’s magic."

Restoring Good Names
Following the trials and executions, many involved, like judge Samuel Sewall, publicly confessed error and guilt. On January 14, 1697, the General Court ordered a day of fasting and soul-searching for the tragedy of Salem. In 1702, the court declared the trials unlawful. And in 1711, the colony passed a bill restoring the rights and good names of those accused and granted £600 restitution to their heirs. However, it was not until 1957—more than 250 years later—that Massachusetts formally apologized for the events of 1692.

In the 20th century, artists and scientists alike continued to be fascinated by the Salem witch trials. Playwright Arthur Miller resurrected the tale with his 1953 play The Crucible, using the trials as an allegory for the McCarthyism paranoia in the 1950s. Additionally, numerous hypotheses have been devised to explain the strange behavior that occurred in Salem in 1692. One of the most concrete studies, published in Science in 1976 by psychologist Linnda Caporael, blamed the abnormal habits of the accused on the fungus ergot, which can be found in rye, wheat and other cereal grasses. Toxicologists say that eating ergot-contaminated foods can lead to muscle spasms, vomiting, delusions and hallucinations. Also, the fungus thrives in warm and damp climates—not too unlike the swampy meadows in Salem Village, where rye was the staple grain during the spring and summer months.

In August 1992, to mark the 300th anniversary of the trials, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel dedicated the Witch Trials Memorial in Salem. Also in Salem, the Peabody Essex Museum houses the original court documents, and the town’s most-visited attraction, the Salem Witch Museum, attests to the public’s enthrallment with the 1692 hysteria.

Editor’s note – October 27, 2011: Thanks to Professor Darin Hayton for pointing out an error in this article. While the exact number of supposed witches killed in Europe isn’t known, the best estimate is closer to tens of thousands of victims, not hundreds of thousands. We have fixed the text to address this issue.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/brief-salem.html#ixzz1vXfnv400

There are many great websites to visit, this one being terrific

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/salem.htm

J is for Jealousy

Wow what an emotion Jealousy is … and what bearing does it have on Paganism … well it impacts our lives everyday, either with ourselves or others being jealous and behaving out of jealousy.

The Jolly Green Giant, or Green eyed monster according to Shakespeare, despite being an age old emotion, a package deal that often encompasses anger, fear, rage, humiliation, Jealousy is the most common emotion felt – and despite usually knowing better, we have all felt it at one time or another.

Never confuse Jealousy with Envy, while they do go together and are often felt in harmony with each other, they are different emotional packages.

How does your jealousy affect your life and does it ever affect your Magick? … how do you combat your jealousy, keep it under control, and what usually triggers it for you? Why do we feel jealousy? Therapists often regard the demon as a scar of childhood trauma or a symptom of a psychological problem. And it’s true that people who feel inadequate, insecure, or overly dependent tend to be more jealous than others. But the "monster" actually evolved for positive reasons. Throughout our primordial past it discouraged desertion by a mate, bolstering the family unit and enabling the survival of the young. At the same time, it has pushed us to abandon philanderers—and many a futile match—in favor of more stable and rewarding partnerships. Jealousy can even be good for love. One partner may feel secretly flattered when the other is mildly jealous. And catching someone flirting with your beloved can spark the kind of lust and romance that reignites a relationship.

But jealousy can go seriously awry. Some people, for no apparent reason, become consumed by it, undermining their self-esteem, and even driving their partner into another’s arms—the very outcome they had feared. In the worst cases, they become violent. (Jealousy is indeed a leading cause of spousal homicide worldwide.)

Long-surviving tales of jealousy include David, the second king of Israel, who until he triumphed against the Philistines and the legendary Goliath, was well liked by King Saul. Following these substantial successes, however, Saul forced him out of the country, due to a ripe case of jealousy. David had the last laugh, though — he eventually became king of Israel and built quite an empire for himself.

The Greek goddess Hera, wife to the philandering Zeus, may not have been jealous without cause, but she certainly expressed her displeasure in unflattering ways, choosing to harass her husband’s lovers and children, rather than dealing with his infidelity directly.

In a nutshell Jealousy and Magick do not go together, and can only produce disastrous results. I implore you to examine yourselves and what causes you to fly with the Green eyed monster. Explore your feelings, your short comings and try to deal with what you discover.

Life is about choices, you can choose not to be jealous, if you understand the triggers … What choice will you make?

Instinct

How many of us use Instinct with our work? … Instinct should be our guide, it should enhance and intensify our spells, our wishes and our circle work. Do you use it? …

Does anyone think our instincts are bad for our work? I’d be very interested to know other opinions.

Instinct is the inherent inclination towards certain behaviours, we instinctually know who is ringing before answering, instinct and intuition go hand in hand.

Paganism is the oldest form of lifestyle we know, so it would be fair to say that instinctually we should all know how and why we are part of this lifestyle. Not only is tradition and bloodline an important part of this lifestyle, Instinct plays a huge part as well.

We use our instincts in every part of our lives, without even knowing most times, why should paganism be any different. I believe it enhances my work, makes me a better person and much better at helping people. Sometimes the line between intuition and instinct are blurred, but when we use them together and combine them with empathy we can become some very powerful people.

Instinct is the very core of our lifestyle, I think we should use it more to enhance our work.

I always trust my instincts, do you trust yours?

Indigo children are those who are believed to represent a higher state of human evolution. The term itself is a reference to the belief that such children have an indigo colored aura. The color indigo represents the chakra of the third eye, which is associated with intuition, and paranormal abilities such as seeing angels, spirits or deceased loved ones. They are highly empathic, possessing the ability to discern what others are thinking and feeling. Thus they have the ability to know when someone is being authentic, honest and truthful.

Indigo children are highly sensitive beings with a clear sense of self-definition and a strong feeling that they need to make a significant difference in the world. They are strong-willed, independent thinkers who prefer to be self-guided rather than directed by others.

They are unique in the way they see things and will not conform in order to fit into society. Indigo’s possess wisdom and a high level of awareness "beyond their years." When you look into their eyes you can see that they are old souls, and wise ones. They can be very outspoken, speaking to an Indigo is like talking to a miniature adult of sorts!

They are often diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Dyslexia, and Learning Disabilities, they have a tendency to become unsociable when not around others of like mind.

They are also prone to depression and sleep disorders such as insomnia and persistent nightmares. Indigo’s tend to be more visual, kinesthetic learners so remember best what they can picture in their brain and create with their hands. They are highly energetic people so movement is required to keep them better focused. They love to talk and explain things. They tend to be very animated and dramatic.They have a very difficult time sitting still unless they are doing something they find valuable.

The Indigo’s life purpose is to bring awareness that the old systems no longer work and rally for change. They possess a low tolerance for people and systems that are not authentic and authority without a good cause or reason. They become very angry, frustrated and will act out if they sense injustice.

Because they are so highly sensitive they tend to a have lot of allergies to foods, and environmental toxins, and this can cause them to become off balanced easily. Indigo’s need to learn how to maintain balance in their lives.

When surrounded by a lot of negativity, anger, loud, noisy places and things of this sort, they will become imbalanced and will absorb the negativity and begin to act out in an angry way or become very introverted and have difficulty coming out of their shell.

The characteristics and attributes of the Indigo and Crystal Child may apply to any age range . There were souls that elected to come to the planet early on to feel things out. An example would be in the 60’s when the flower children and hippies were prevalent. To a large part many of these individuals eventually chose to conform to societies standards, however, the Indigo’s of this generation aren’t as willing to comply. The challenge today is for parents, teachers, and society to rethink how things are done.

Thankyou to Stefanie Miller http://www.amagicalworld.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=5

H is for Hydromoirai

Now you had to know this was coming :)

Let me first explain where the name came from for this ancient Divination method that is “Exclusive” to Divination by Sharmonia :D

Hydro obviously refers to Water, and Moirai is the Greek word for “The Fates”, these are the white robed incarnation of destiny so very apt for this kind of divination method.

“Wikipedia describes them as such: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moirai)

In Greek mythology, the Moirai (Greek: Μοῖραι, "apportioners", Latinized as Moerae)—often known in English as The Fates—were the white-robed incarnations of destiny (Roman equivalent: Parcae, euphemistically the "sparing ones", or Fata; also equivalent to the Germanic Norns). Their number became fixed at three: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (alloter) and Atropos (unturnable).

They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death. They were independent, at the helm of necessity, directed fate, and watched that the fate assigned to every being by eternal laws might take its course without obstruction. The gods and men had to submit to them, but in the case of Zeus he is portrayed in two ways: as the only one who can command them (the Zeus Moiragetes) or as the one who is also bound to the Moiras as incarnation of the fates.[1] In the Homeric poems Moira or Aisa, is related with the limit and end of life, and Zeus appears as the guider of destiny. In the Theogony of Hesiod, the three Moirai are personified, and are acting over the gods.[2] Later they are daughters of Zeus and Themis, who was the embodiment of divine order and law. In Plato’s Republic the Three Fates are daughters of Ananke (necessity).[3]

It seems that Moira is related with Tekmor (proof, ordinance) and with Ananke, who were primeval goddesses in mythical cosmogonies. The ancient Greek writers might call this power Moira or Ananke, and even the gods could not alter what was ordained.[4] The concept of a universal principle of natural order, has been compared with similar concepts in other cultures like the Vedic Rta, the Avestan Asha (Arta) and the Egyptian Maat.

In earliest Greek philosophy, the cosmogony of Anaximander is based on these mythical beliefs. The goddess Dike (justice, divine retribution), keeps the order and sets a limit to any actions.”

Therefore putting them together was simply destined. Hydromoirai is a reading that I offer, that uses water to divine your future. The water is distributed on paper (at this point I’m not at liberty to divulge how :p) and it is then read much like tasseography readings. It is incredibly accurate and was given to me by the ancients during a period of meditation one night. It has taken quite a while to perfect, and to understand and learn but with the guidance of my guides and the help of my own gifts and prior divination experience along with the help of my Mum who is “the wise one” and Crone in my life I think I have finally understood and perfected the method that dates back some millions of years.

Hydromancy has been around since the 1500’s and certain elements of this form of Divination have been incorporated in my Hydromoirai readings, drawing on the vast experience of the ancient ones. The symbols used in tasseography are also incorporated to help with the reading and divine the true meaning of this unique reading.

I am currently offering the reading on my website and would love to share this method with others who can be passionate about bringing this ancient form of divination into the modern day world. Anyone interested in learning more about this reading please let me know, I would love to hear from you. I will also be offering specials for the PBP members on having one of these unique readings so keep a look out J

H is for Hydromoirai … watch this space for more :D

Short blog this week, not alot to say and less is more I feel today.

H is for Hope

How does this translate to Paganism, well we all need hope, hope is what gets us through each day, Hope is how we cope with Life, it’s what gives us the ability to go on.

Hope … just think about it, embrace it and spread it around …. because Hope is our Future, our Past and our Present!

G is for Grounding

So what is Grounding, and why is it important?

Grounding is clearing and releasing the excess energy we create when we do Magickal or Spiritual work. It is making sure we are healthy and grounded in our approach to daily life.

It is important because we need to release that energy somewhere or it will affect our future workings and our state of being.

Being grounded brings life in to matter, and it helps to bring healing abilities into the physical. It will increase our balance and stability for both the physical and emotional state and brings acceptance that we are fulfilling a purpose. We gain strength and create a bridge between the spirit and matter and gives us an outlet to release the energy. Grounding will also help us attain a higher spiritual level.

When we are ungrounded in our work we can often experience Dizziness, daydreaming or the feeling of being spaced out. Feeling sick, even heart palpitations, weight gain, clumsiness, forgetfulness and a host of other ailments can also be a sign we are ungrounded.

So how do we stay grounded? Well that is easy. Lead a more balanced healthy life for starters, eat well, drink lots of water and walk – Especially in surroundings that make you feel at peace. Sometimes gardening or having a purpose will also help and working with Crystals. For more information on which crystals would be great for helping us stay grounded check out Lara Harrigan’s blog at http://laralunara.wordpress.com/

Another great tool for staying grounded is visualisation and breathing exercises. I love visualising that I am standing on the ground drawing energy from the moon and letting it fill my body with each breath, and with each exhale I am pushing negativity out through my feet into the earth.

Grounding after circle work is essential in my view, the energy you create in that circle needs to go somewhere and I will send it to the people most in need, for healing, or help especially when there is a natural tragedy somewhere.

So do you ground yourself before and or after each Magical working? Do you notice a difference when you don’t? Where do you send your energy?

G is for Grounding …

G is for Grimore

So the Grimore is a book containing information on rituals, spells, magickal information and general information regarding Coven formalities. Often referred to as a “Book of shadows” the Grimore is considered to some as secret, special and not for public viewing. The use of the word Grimore is the subject of theory and speculation. Most believe that men and women in the middle ages and the upper and middle class who were involved in ceremonial magick wrote journals called Grimores. The old French meaning is “the changing of one substance to another” but there will forever be conflict over the true meaning. The Grimore dates as far back as the Mesopotamians and possibly further. One of the most famous is the Key of Solomon, which contained detailed knowledge for ceremonial magick.

How do you view your Grimore? … Is it a collection of spells, rituals or other things? … mine contains my spells, some Wiccan rituals and of course things like the Wiccan Rede etc. I do consider mine to be something personal. It is not for public viewing or consumption, and I will only share what I want of it. I do not belong to a coven however my mother who is also Wiccan also has a Grimore and it contains some of the most fantastic stuff. To see what they went through when Wicca was still so secretive, so frowned upon in public is invaluable and the old spells, the tradition is just very inspiring.

Whatever your thoughts on your Grimore, it is a personal journey, containing what you want, and should never be subject to criticism by others.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on your Grimore …. J

F is for Facebook

So this week I have chosen Facebook as my subject. What has Facebook to do with Pagan’s? I hear you ask … Well in this time of electronic media dominating our lives Facebook is now a tool of the 21st Century not just a timewaster.

My views on Facebook and what it is doing to society is this:

I believe Facebook is turning society into a very antisocial, secluded, non committal place. The founder of Facebook has pulled off one of the biggest coup in the history of man. Mark Zuckerberg lived in a world where he wasn’t accepted by the vast majority of peers, as an opportunistic enterprising young mind, he latched onto an idea that would change the world, change society as we know it. He was fully aware of the attraction his world would have, preyed on the insecurities of man and pulled off the biggest challenge imaginable. Instead of trying to fit in with the world, he bought the world to him. He created this little place where people could gather, share their thoughts and dreams, their lows where they could extract support from ‘friends’. A place where they could ‘Like’ ‘friend’ ‘share’ ‘form exclusive groups’ and have a whole life. In a society where instant gratification is paramount Mark knew Facebook would satisfy this, albeit on a superficial level and for a fleeting moment thereby drawing people back into the facebook world, I say he played on man’s insecurities because he knows, most people just want to be accepted, seek approval, liked and obviously loved, people want to feel like they are worthy and validated and Facebook for all intents and purposes does this. BUT … and its a big but, Facebook also creates a place where people can have relationships at arm’s length, where people can fein approval, like and even love with the click of a button, where people can keep in touch without actually being in touch, where people feel in control of who they speak to, when and most importantly just how much they will give their fellow human being in ways of support. It is a very superficial place, filled with false validity, false friends. Of course Facebook when used for ‘Good’ can be wonderful, and in the beginning we all believe how great it is, what a wonderful little world Mark has created, how brilliant is his mind, when all the while, underneath that what he has created is really a sleeping monster that claws at our dreams, undermines our society at its very core, changes our reality without us even knowing what is happening. It is the Boiling Frog Syndrome … for those unaware of what that is, if you were to place a frog in boiling water, of course it would understand that the water is hot and jump out immediately, however if you place a frog in cold water and slowly bring it to the boil on the stove top, by the time the frog realises the water is hot and he is being cooked it is too late for him to jump out, and that my friends is what Facebook is all about, slowly cooking society as we know it, changing it, while we embrace the change and integrate it into our lives and before we know it we are all antisocial beings, sitting behind a computer screen with no real attachments to other people except for our Facebook ‘Likes’. Bullying and stalkers are worshiping Facebook, what a great tool for them to use to prey on their victims, how easy for them to find victims, and supporters. People can be such sheep when it comes to being accepted, and often will indulge in negative behaviours that they would never do face to face, Peer group pressure on Facebook is unbelievable for our Youth of today. It is a very delicate balance to not overstep the mark and err on the side of antisocial, unfortunately for most, Facebook pushes that boundary and deceitfully, underhandedly, boiling frog’ly we follow.

With all this negativity you might be wondering why I am on Facebook at all … well I also believe there is good out there in Facebook World and of course when used for ‘Good’ Facebook can be a fantastic networking tool, and to get to the point of how Facebook relates to Pagans, I believe that the benefit we get from having Facebook and being able to network, share information, beliefs, rituals, opinions etc all make for better people. A greater understanding of the path we have chosen.

This … The Pagan Blog Project … this is very much a ‘Good’ side of Facebook, in fact I would go as far as to say it is a fantastic use of facebook, and I believe that it will only enhance the Path I have chosen, as it will for everyone, and I can’t thank Rowan enough for creating this project, I would just like to believe that we could all be aware of the traps that Facebook holds …

Once just once everyday, have a real conversation with a real person, face to face and remember Society will fall apart, crumble, be destroyed if we lose the art of being social, personable and having genuine interactive real live relationships.

F is for Falsebook, errr sorry Facebook …. don’t be a boiling frog!

Courtesy of http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/ostarathespringequinox/p/StPatSnakes.htm

St. Patrick and the Pagan Snakes of Ireland:

St. Patrick is known as a symbol of Ireland, particularly around every March. One of the reasons he’s so famous is because he supposedly drove the snakes out of Ireland, and was even credited with a miracle for this. What many people don’t realize is that the serpent was actually a metaphor for the early Pagan faiths of Ireland. It’s important to note that he did not physically drive the Pagans from Ireland, but instead St. Patrick brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle. He did such a good job of it that he began the conversion of the entire country to the new religious beliefs, thus paving the way for the elimination of the old systems. And while it’s true that snakes are hard to find in Ireland, this may well be due to the fact that it’s an island, and so snakes aren’t exactly migrating there in packs.

The real St. Patrick was believed by historians to have been born around 370 c.e., probably in Wales or Scotland. Most likely, his birth name was Maewyn, and he was probably the son of a Roman Briton named Calpurnius. As a teen, Maewyn was captured during a raid and sold to an Irish landowner as a slave. During his time in Ireland, where he worked as a shepherd, Maewyn began to have religious visions and dreams — including one in which showed him how to escape captivity. Once back in Britain, Maewyn moved on to France, where he studied in a monastery. Eventually, he returned to Ireland to "care and labour for the salvation of others", according to The Confession of St. Patrick, and changed his name to Patrick, which means "father of the people."

Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many places on March 17, typically with a parade (an oddly American invention) and lots of other festivities. However, some modern Pagans refuse to observe a day which honors the elimination of the old religion in favor of a new one. It’s not uncommon to see Pagans wearing some sort of snake symbol on St. Patrick’s Day, instead of those green "Kiss Me I’m Irish" badges. If you’re not sure about wearing a snake on your lapel, you can always jazz up your front door with a Spring Snake Wreath instead!