Friday, March 17, 2006

40 Days of Lent - Day Seventeen

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Guess what? Catholics in the New York Metropolitan area have gotten special dispensation to eat meat today, even though it's Friday. The New York Post didn't mention if there was special dispensation to indulge in whatever you gave up for Lent, so it's looks like it will be a curse-free St. Patty's Day. I will probably celebrate by going to see V for Vendetta, about a vigillante inspired by Guy Fawkes, the Catholic who tried to blow up the British Parliament in 1605.

St. Patrick is famous for introducing Christianity to Ireland, using a clover to explain the Holy Trinity and driving the snakes from the island. Had St. Patrick been luckier he would have picked a four-leaf clover and forever altered Christian theology. It seems doubtful that there were ever any snakes in Ireland. The story may actually be a reference to Christianity's triumph over paganism on the Emerald Isle, the snake being a symbol of many druid cults.

Something interesting I found online:
Now it's not just out of a whim that St. Patricks Day is on the 17th of March. The festival was designed to coincide, and it was hoped to replace, the pagan holiday known as Ostara (pagan holidays are called sabbats). This is the 2nd spring festival for pagans and occurs each year at the Spring Equinox. This year, that's March 20th. Ostara is a celebration of the rebirth of nature, the balance of the universe when the day and night are equal in length. For pagans, it is the time to honor the God who comes to join the Goddess in her Maiden form and bring new life and fertility to the growing season. Pagans then and now, use this day for not only spiritual preparation by balancing the energies of the self, family and home for the coming season, but also to prepare for the working of the divine in their daily lives. Reconsecrating tools used in planting, blessing seeds and garden areas are common practices today.

"Join the Goddess in her Maiden form" made me think of the Goddess in a bra.

Mormons and the Salamander
Thought I would post an email I received from Heather Hunter to illuminate yesterday's salamander discussion.


I did a little blog-skimming today. I didn't have time search for the comment about Mormonism and a salamander... but having been raised Mormon, and faithfully practiced until I was 22, I gotta say, I never heard such a thing!

I can answer your question about Mormonism in other countries -- yes, they've been doin' alright (like, fastest growing world religion I read recently). They do best in Latin American countries where people already dig religion and place high priorities on family, etc.

Anyway, just thought I'd offer up some info,


Thanks, Heather. Much appreciated.

Today's reading from the Faithful Words Promise Box:

But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us...And he went in to tarry with them.
- Luke 24:29

I have no idea what this means. I know what the words mean individually, but together as a significant piece of scripture, they mean nothing to me. It reminds me of the Alan Bennett skit about a minister who spins an entire meaningless sermon from the quote "but my brother Esau is an hairy man, but I am a smooth man."


Mom said...

I get to make the first comment...great!
It is not a clover, John, it is a shamrock! Call it a clover to an Irishman and you'll get a smack upside the head. I don't know if there are four leaf shamrocks...never heard of any such thing myself. But I would say it is possible.

k.c. said...

one of the mormon children who, as we played in their sandbox, would muse to me of my mother's future in hell, was named heather. a common mormon sobriquet?

erin said...

Mom . . . I'm Looking over a four-leaf clover? That's not Irish? Or am I just a bad Irishperson?

John, let me know how V for Vendetta is. I hear it's pretty good.

the hanged man said...

Oops - sorry. Shamrock. I always assumed that they were the same thing, but having just done a quick online search, I've discovered that no, they are not.

Kate - I love the name Heather. But it is a common Mormon name or just a coincidence, I don't know.

Erin - I liked V For Vendetta. I think I'm so feed up that anything that criticizes/parodies the Bush administration resonates a great deal with me. I found it more emotionally affecting than I expected. Not surprisingly, the good things in it come straight from Alan Moore's writing. The not-as-good things are obvious Hollywood compromises.