Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A New Breastplate (And a Message for St. Patrick) Redux

[This post is a slightly updated version of one that I published on 3/17/2009.]

So, Saturday is St. Patrick's Day. Well, I for one will not be putting on the green and celebrating. I do not celebrate the lives (real or imagined) of those who tried to put down my ancestral faith. For those of you who didn't realize, the driving out the snakes thing has been pegged as a likely metaphor for stomping out the ethnic and traditional practices of the Irish people. (However, you should also know that Celtic Reconstructionist Brenda Daverin (Branruadh) indicates that this metaphor is one of three common misconceptions about Patrick). Still, Patrick is the focus of the upcoming holiday as well as the ire of many a Pagan. Hence, this post is directed to "him."

Patrick, if you truly existed (even if only as a composite of several individuals as I suspect), I have a message for you. Neither you nor your brethren drove out the "snakes" -- you merely forced them undergound. Nor did you eliminate their traditions. In fact, your beloved Church is riddled with more of my ancestor's traditions than those of the early Christians, and by this I am referring to practices from the first few decades of Christianity, or "the Way of Yeshua" as it was likely known by its earliest adherents. And in case you missed it, Patrick. The "snakes" are back. We are back, and every year our numbers grow as more people awaken to the old ways -- be they Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Romanic, etc. -- and make them relevant today. For our ways are relevant as they are a means of being in this world, being with it, and not trying to simply control it or ignore it in the hope of achieving some afterlife. Originally written and posted in 2008, "A Heathen's Breastplate" is still appropriate to post now:
The Lorica (or Breastplate) is a prayer written in Irish and Latin that is often attributed to Saint Patrick. There are many variations of it (one can be found here), but I have decided to rewrite it in "honor" of the old saint who is said to have driven out the pagans. Now it has a nice Heathen slant...
A Heathen's Breastplate 
I arise today 
Heir to the strength of Asgard; 
Light of the sun, 
Splendor of fire, 
Swiftness of wind, 
Depth of the sea, 
Stability of earth, 
Firmness of rock. 
I arise today with mine own strength to pilot me; 
Thor's might to uphold me, 
Frigga's wisdom to guide me, 
Odin's hand to guard me, 
Heimdall's watch to shield me, 
Freyr's vitality to sustain me, 
And Freya's love to bless me. 
Afar and anear, 
Alone or in a multitude. 
The ancestors are with me, 
before me, behind me, 
on my right, on my left. 
As sure as 
The Earth beneath me, 
The Sky above me, 
The Holy Powers within me. 
I arise today 
Rooted in the mighty traditions of my past. 
And I walk Midgard, 
Sending forth the blessings of this day's deeds to generations yet unborn. 
copyright 2008 and 2010, BSW

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