So, a group of us were talking over breakfast this morning.
"Anyone doing anything for St. Patrick's Day?" asked Nora.
"Why?" asked Kit. "Why would I celebrate a Catholic bishop?"
"You know," said Xavier, turning to a yearling named Tommi, "he didn't really drive the snakes out of Ireland. He drove out the pagans. Snakes symbolize the Druids. That's what the holiday really celebrates, the exile of the Celts."
"Well, sort of," put in one of the Ravens. "St. Patrick didn't exile any Celts. They're still in Ireland. And there were Christian communities in Ireland before St. Patrick got there. Don't you think the snake story is one of those explanation-myths? I mean, there never have been any snakes in Ireland. Don't you think the Irish ever wondered why?"
"The story has an anti-pagan subtext," insisted Xavier.
"I feel...disloyal or something if I don't celebrate it," said the other Raven. "I mean, I'm Irish. For me, it's about solidarity among Irish people. That's why we wear green."
"Everybody wears green on St. Patrick's Day," put in Nora.
"Well, maybe everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day?" said Tommi.
"I feel like I'm Irish," asserted the first Raven. "I guess I'm a cardiac Celt."
"How does Irish feel?" asked Allen. Raven blushed. She knew perfectly well he was about to take apart her reasoning. She didn't answer and Allen went back to eating his eggs.
"Ok, what do you think of Eamon De Valera?" asked the second Raven.
"Who?" said the first Raven.
"Eamon De Valera. Modern Irish history 101. Haven't you seen Michael Collins?" The second Raven rolled her eyes. "You can't be Irish just by drinking green beer. Drunkenness and food dye are not ethnic characteristics."
"I didn't say they were!" complained the first Raven, sounding hurt.
"Raven, do you think Irish heritage is important?" asked Kit, swirling her coffee.
"It's important to me," said the second Raven. "I mean, it's not like I learned anything about paganism from my parents, but being Irish is what got me interested in Irish paganism."
"Which has a debatable relationship to any modern form of Wicca," put in in Nora.
"Granted," said Raven, "but I didn't say I practice historical Irish paganism. I said I got interested in it. And one thing led to another. What about you, Kit? Are you part Irish?"
"Not as far as I know. I'm Greek." And indeed, Kit's version of Wicca contains both Celtic and Greek Classical elements, along with a lot of modern components.
"I'm part Irish," volunteered Allen, "but I'm mostly English and German. It doesn't inform my spirituality at all."
And me? I said nothing. I only listened and ate my eggs on toast.