I don't celebrate St.Patricks day and only just last year, I found out that Patrick's chasing out the snakes is actually in reference to chasing out the Druid's, Ireland's indigenous religion. (I wonder if I was one of those that he slaughtered? I have a terrible fear of snakes... we have some deadly snakes here in Australia and they put a shiver up my spine. I wonder if this is a past life link..) ..so I put my supersleuth hat on and went searching......
Another symbolic act of Patrick overtaking Ireland's Druid heritage involves his use of the Shamrock (three-leaf clover). It is said that Patrick used the clover to explain the Trinity of God: Father, Son and Holy Sprit. However, the shamrock (Persian word for three-leaf clover), known as a "Seamroy" to Ireland, was a symbol used in Druidism to explain the three faces of the Goddess found in the Moon: Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
the Leprechaun is the face figure of the Faeries known in Ireland. The legend of the Leprechauns is that they know all the secrets of hidden treasures. Their affiliation with shoe-making, rainbows, and pots of gold is really symbolic of them being earth elemental spirits. They are the spirits that take raw material, work and shape it into something useful for humans. Trolls are the raw materials, found in its raw state, in its original location.
Leprechauns are one of the many tribes belonging to the Faerie gods known to pagan Ireland. They live in the Land of Faeries known as "Tir Non Og" which lies in the West. The Irish originally called all faeries the Tuatha de' Danann, a pantheon of gods from which Lugh and Danaan were a part. Other such faerie gods include the high king "Fin Bheara". He is known to be skilled a the game of chess and running the hunt.
There are also the Banshee, angels of death. They are beautiful women in white or sometimes seen as old hags. They can be heard before seen because they are mournful. Their responsibilities are actually like guardian angles in that they help the deceased reach their designation. There are variety of others including: Lhiannon Sidhes - the faerie sweethearts, Phookas, Fir Darrig, Merrows - faerie mermaids, Roanes - the Seal People, and the Glaistigs - female water spirits.
Each family has his/her own protective Faerie spirit according to ancient Ireland and Druid tradition. These family spirits are cared for, fed, and given gifts. to do this strengthens th sprit and in time one can actually communicate with his/her spirit faerie. Among other things, one can learn the dame of his/her family spirit faerie and acquire favors.
Donna M Pinkton MA
It has been stated that St. Patrick rid Ireland of all of its snakes. Scientists have found that Ireland had not had snakes since icebergs surrounded the island. What could then be meant by the old legend?
Before Christianity began to spread into Ireland, the Druids were the leading religious figures in Ireland. One of the symbols of the Druids was a snake. In Christianity, the snake symbolized the devil.
According to the legend, St. Patrick stamped his staff on the ground to rid the snakes out of Ireland. The snakes that were sent from the island were the Druids. After they were murdered, he destroyed all of their records. These were people who lived in harmony with nature.
During the seventh century, the Christian Church taught its missionaries that if they could not convert any natives, they were to use any means necessary to convert the nonbelievers.
The Druids were not interested in giving up their old ways and converting to Christianity. St. Patrick is said to have lead to the murders of almost eight hundred Druid priests and priestesses.
and I also found this:
A quintessential symbol of fertility and renewal, the snake has long been associated with Goddess worship. The tale of the "snake" leaving Ireland illustrates a Christian longing for the eradication of the ancient and benevolent goddess worship that once dominated Ireland. Also, as the snake was a symbol associated with the Druid caste, its departure could also apply to the gradual dilution of Druidic beliefs into the early Christian church. .
so there you go... a little food for thought & still no sign of Harry!