Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day - Both Sides of the Coin

It's St. Patrick's Day and it's definitely Irish Pride Day here in the US today. And we are certainly proud Irish (you don't see the other ethnic groups celebrating their heritage with such a hullabaloo.)

We pagans or non-Christians are well aware of the struggles between those who follow a Christian path and those of us who follow the “old religions”. So, here’s both sides of the coin with St. Patrick.

To make a long story short, Patrick, a Catholic Bishop, was sent to Ireland to help convert the people to Christianity. He was a devote man who held a firm belief in HIS God and HIS church. This man was passionate about what he was doing as his life’s work. There are many different stories about the works of Patrick during his life, and stories of the miracles he performed (for more, check the internet). After his death he was given the status of saint-hood.

Now, one of the rumors is St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland and this is where the issue with the pagan community comes up. Legend has it that St. Patrick stood on a hilltop and waved his staff to herd all the snakes into the sea, expelling them from the Emerald Isle forever. And low and behold, there hasn’t been a snake seen in Ireland since 461 AD (expect for the odd household pet and zoo creature).

Okay, this is a fun legend, so what’s the deal? Now realize, there is no record, fossil or otherwise, that snakes have lived in Ireland since the last ice age ended over 10,000 years ago. But, in religious lore the snake (or serpent) represented evil, godlessness and the devil's will (e.g., offering the apple to Adam). So from a Christian point of view, Patrick driving the "snakes" out of Ireland is driving away evil. Good job.

Now, on the other side of the coin…

To the pagans, the serpent or snake is a symbol of wisdom, strength, fertility and transformation. Because the Christians viewed the old ways as evil and Patrick was sent to drive out the old ways, the Pagans view the serpents Patrick eradicated as a metaphor for the early Pagan faiths of Ireland…THEIR religion. In fact, 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 religions for many hundreds of years. Not so good.
Of course, there is always more to the stories that we will never know. The written stories that have been passed down were written by the Christian monks and we know everyone writes down what they see through their own filters. The Druids didn’t keep written histories. Their stories were passed down through the Bards from generation to generation, and we’ve all played that game where we see how a story changes after a couple of tellings.

So, today when everyone’s Irish for the day, raise a pint and celebrate. Whether you raise the pint to being Irish, to St. Patrick, to wake your ancestors, or just raise a pint, you now know… “The rest of the story.”

Here's a wonderful sounding desert to enjoy with your corned beef tonight...Guinness and Baileys Irish cupcakes

Enjoy and until next time...
Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer reminding us we are all related),

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rules For Being Human

I have been working on digitizing our years of client files. It's been a slow process that began before we moved to Oregon a couple years ago. I only got 1 file cabinet done, so we had to move the other. As I have been doing the scanning, I ran across these "Rules For Being Human" from the book "If Life is a Game, These are the Rules" by Cherie Carter-Scott, that we sent out to some of our clients.

Gary and I are off galavanting, facilitating a 6 day retreat. Enjoy these and we'll have more fun stuff when we get back.

Until Next Time -

Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer reminding us we are all related)

The Rules for being Human

When you were born, you didn't come with an owner's manual; these guidelines make life work better.

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's the only thing you are sure to keep for the rest of your life.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called "Life on Planet Earth". Every person or incident is the Universal Teacher.
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation. "Failures" are as much a part of the process as "success."
4. A lesson is repeated until learned. It is presented to you in various forms until you learn it -- then you can go on to the next lesson.
5. If you don't learn easy lessons, they get harder. External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state. When you clear inner obstructions, your outside world changes. Pain is how the universe gets your attention.
6. You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions change. Wisdom is practice. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.
7. "There" is no better than "here". When your "there" becomes a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that again looks better than "here."
8. Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another unless it reflects something you love or hate in yourself.
9. Your life is up to you. Life provides the canvas; you do the painting. Take charge of your life -- or someone else will.
10. You always get what you want. Your subconscious rightfully determines what energies, experiences, and people you attract -- therefore, the only foolproof way to know what you want is to see what you have. There are no victims, only students.
11. There is no right or wrong, but there are consequences. Moralizing doesn't help. Judgments only hold the patterns in place. Just do your best.
12. Your answers lie inside you. Children need guidance from others; as we mature, we trust our hearts, where the Laws of Spirit are written. You know more than you have heard or read or been told. All you need to do is to look, listen, and trust.
13. You will forget all this.
14. You can remember any time you wish.