Being that I have Irish blood from both sides of the family, and love anything Celtic, you can bet that pot ‘o gold that this weekend I will be joining with the leprechauns in the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day.
Yes, I am aware that there are many Pagans who do not honor this day, because they see it as an “insult” to the Pagan religion – that Saint Patrick was in fact responsible for driving the Pagans out of Ireland. However, as renowned Celtic scholar John Matthews explains in his well-written book “Drinking From the Sacred Well,” this legendary struggle may not be all it seems. As with much of the legend of Saint Patrick, it has been rewritten to suit the needs and wishes of later generations.
The more likely truth is that Patrick, much like other early Celtic saints, felt a certain affinity with the Druids whom he is usually depicted as fighting. It must be remembered that Patrick was after all a Celt…and the Celts have always been known for following a path of total involvement with the natural world – a love of the earth, the pattern of the seasons, and the magickal presence of animals. The Celtic quest for truth and their sense of wonder in the beauty and power of the landscape – which can still be found in the music, poetry, and literature of today – is deeply rooted in such early spiritual practices.
It was these extraordinary individuals – men and women such as Patrick, Bridget, and Kentigern – who adapted the earthly wisdom of the Druids and blended it with their own faith, creating a rare combination of Christianity and Paganism that has left a powerful legacy which lasts to this very day.
photo by Carl Neufelder
As I am fond of saying…
“An Irish Catholic priest is little more than a Pagan with a collar.”
But regardless of your own personal feelings about Saint Patrick, March 17th is still seen as a day of celebration here in the United States, and a good excuse for drinking green beer. But what if, like myself, you don’t care much for a dyed draft, or a glass of Guinness?
Another option is Irish Cream, and of course the best known is Baileys. But let’s face it… as good as it is, Baileys ain’t cheap. So why not try your hand at making it yourself? The ingredients are fairly cheap and quite obtainable, and while a good Irish whiskey can be expensive, remember that this recipe will make a lot of it, so in the end you actually do end up saving money. In addition, if you scout around at your local liquor store this week, you can probably find a bottle of Irish whiskey on sale.
I’ve had friends tell me this stuff is as good – if not even better – than Baileys. So why not give it a try?
OCEAN’S IRISH CREAM
In a blender, put in the following:
1 cup heavy or whipping cream (you can use half-and-half, but I prefer the cream)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2 raw eggs
1 tablespoon of instant coffee to which you have added just enough hot water to dissolve the coffee – maybe a teaspoon of hot water
2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Blend all of the above for around 30 seconds or so until everything is well blended, and then add
1 and 1/2 cups of Irish Whiskey
A couple of well-known Irish Whiskeys sold here in America are Bushmills, Jamesons, and Tullamore Dew. I personally prefer Bushmills, but use whatever is your preference… just make sure it is IRISH whiskey – accept nothing else!
Blend everything together a second time.
Kept in the refrigerator, this will last for a couple of days (if you don’t drink it all, that is.) You can leave it in the blender, or transfer it to a clean empty wine bottle or pitcher.
It’s great served as a shot, on the rocks, or in your coffee…