18 March 2010

Saints and wild animals

Yesterday sort of didn't happen, and so I missed the fact that 17 March commemorates a couple of saints who are known, among other things, for their relationships with dangerous wild animals.

But other bloggers didn't forget them, and two of them had some rather interesting posts, so I point you to them:

On Pilgrimage: Saint Gerasimos of the Jordan:
Among saints remembered for their peaceful relations with dangerous animals, not least is Gerasimos, shown in icons caring for an injured lion.


The Snakes and the Slaves: The Website of Unknowing:
So when Patrick expelled the snakes from Ireland, was this a mythic way of saying he brought about the end of the native, druidic religion? It might be easy to interpret things that way, and I suppose many, both Christian and Pagan, would agree with this way of reading history. But I am not so sure. I think indigenous Irish spirituality did not so much vanish under Christianity as adapt and evolve. The old gods and goddesses may have retreated undergone and became the fairies of myth and lore, but many practices associated with them — from the veneration of holy wells to the Imbolc ceremonies Christianised under devotion to St. Brigid — have lived on, into the present day.

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