Snakes, Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?

Legend has it that St. Patrick arrived in Ireland in the fifth century. Shortly thereafter, he was fasting and preaching from the top of a hill when he was attacked by a large group of snakes. A battle ensued, St. Patrick kicked all their little snake asses and thus, snakes were banished from Ireland forever.

For real, there are no snakes in Ireland. That is, reptilian ones, anyway. (We’ll get to that in a minute.) But were there really ever snakes in Ireland to begin with? Could there be any truth to the legend of St. Patrick? To answer that we have to go way back to the Ice Age, when animals first began to arrive there.

As the earth began to thaw, its enormous glaciers began to melt, separating land from sea. As a result, plant life and animals began to colonize the different landmasses across Europe. Over time, seeds were taken by the winds to far-off lands and animals began migrating in search of new food sources. Those that could swim found new homes in places like Ireland, when other animals (like snakes) couldn’t.

Although many snakes are able to swim, they’re cold-blooded creatures. That means Ireland’s cool climate is far too cool for them. They’d either die along the way or turn around and go back in search of warmer temperatures.

One could argue that humans brought snakes to Ireland and surely there are today some folks who have snakes for pets, but again, they wouldn’t survive outside. Back in St. Patrick’s Day, however, snakes were the embodiment of paganism and evil.

The Bible famously depicts the Devil as a snake. Perhaps the most memorable depiction is the serpent in the Garden of Eden. For St. Patrick, the “snakes” in his legend are likely not snakes at all but rather symbolic of the many pagan beliefs widely held in Ireland at the time. St. Patrick’s epic “battle” therefore, was more likely spreading the word of God to banish paganism and replace it with Christianity.

Today, the only snakes you’ll find in Ireland are people like Donald Trump. With his fancy golf courses in both Ireland and Scotland already causing local controversies — particularly environmental ones — it’s only a matter of time before he fucks their countries up, too. Perhaps, St. Patrick will come back and banish him as well. And while he’s at it, maybe he can make his way across the Atlantic and do the same here in time for November.

Let us pray.

This week’s featured art is entitled “Ouroboros GMO” (2018), acrylic on canvas by artist Hayley Bowen of the UK. According to the artist, this work is a warning to the future of Genetically Modified Crops, which may see the end of our foodstuffs that have naturally evolved to adapt with us, for our perfect sustenance, health and well-being.

The ouroboros here is depicting an endless circle of life, where she may devour herself, but as she is no mythical dragon, or a snake lizard who can re-grow her tail, she may perish if the food available to her has to be bought at great expense, or is contaminated with substances that may even control her, and whereby she cannot propagate anything herself as everything is barren and seedless, with those at the top of the new food industry holding the seeds to everything, for a price.

When someone controls your basic needs, they control you. She wears Bee earrings, as a reminder of the devastating effect that futuristic farming has on wildlife. Will chemical and genetically engineered farming get the balance right, to secure a healthy and prosperous future for mankind? The trees have an insidious snake, is it or is it not poisonous? The roots of the apple trees are watching — and waiting…

Ouroboros GMO is available at Saatchi Art, original and prints.
Click here for the artist’s profile.


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