All Snakes’ Day: The Hidden History of St. Patrick

St. Patrick is perhaps the most well-known Catholic saint in human history. He is celebrated internationally in the United States, Brazil, Australia, Britain, and of course, Ireland, where he has been honored as the patron saint of the country for centuries.

Among the many miracles he supposedly performed, Patrick is said to have driven all the snakes from Ireland’s shores in the 5th century AD. However, all is not as it seems—for Ireland never had these reptiles to begin with!

So how did Patrick come to be credited with such an impossible task?

Ireland was cut off from snakes by the last Ice Age more than 7,000 years ago!

What we know of St. Patrick’s history comes from 2 historical documents written by Patrick himself. Born a Christian in Rome and sold into slavery, Patrick broke free from his owners and escaped to France. Ten years later, he returned to Ireland help others who he saw as enslaved. He “peacefully” converted Ireland to Christianity, saving lives by destroying traditional beliefs, erasing thousands of years of wisdom from Ireland’s Native peoples who connected to their land.

Patrick wrote of converting tribes by battling and defeating their Druids: men and women who were healers, teachers, spiritual leaders and tribal elders. Nowhere in his writings does he ever mention snakes.

Ireland has never had snake species, so Patrick could never have driven them out.

So, what really happened?

Long story short—the symbol of the Druids was the snake.

Today many scholars (including within the Catholic church) believe the story refers to St. Patrick’s elimination of the pagan Druids—the Snakes, keepers of the sacred knowledge and wisdom of Ireland, and the Destroyer of Eden in Christianity. While the truth remains a mystery shrouded in time, St. Patrick “driving out the snakes” has represented Catholicism’s conquest over paganism in Ireland to this day.

Ever wonder why St. Patrick is associated with shamrocks? Ireland’s native peoples had venerated shamrocks for years as living symbols of the triskele—the Goddess’ triple spiral representing Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Early Christian colonists, including St. Patrick, used this existing symbol to explain the Holy Trinity of God.

Today, Serpent Sanctum celebrates this long-honored holiday as All Snakes’ Day—we step into the drunken, green-dyed fray bedecked in our sacred snakes. We honor the fallen elders and wisdom-keepers. We remember and explore the shadows of hidden history to transform it.

We reclaim the lost medicine of the Serpent. 


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