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Re: fishing in the callows?


Helen McKay <[log in to unmask]>


Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>


Thu, 22 Sep 2011 11:29:17 +0100





text/plain (39 lines)

On Thu, 22 Sep 2011 10:05:26 +0000, Catherine Swift
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> (well that didnt work did it!)
To paraphrase, Cathy asked what the symbolism might be...

Patrick is coming to Mel with the accusation of having sex with Patrick's

The motif of the ploughed furrow, plus the rain/water placed therein, is
a euphemism as old as the hills, for the role the man plays in the act of
sexual intercourse.
The fish occurs in a number of saint's tales, usually with a similar role,
where the sanctity or innocence of someone is under question (often as
in this case probably with good cause), and the sacred fish (symbol of
Christ) performs a miracle to indicate either innocence or God's
The fish was the main symbol of Christ used in the early centuries of
the church and remains high on the list even today. Its said to have
originated because of a reading of the greek letter ICTHYS on the cross,
but I rather suspect its because at the time of Christ the world moved
into the age of Pisces, a new age dawned, when the sun (also now
Christ) arose in Pisces at Easter.

So, what Mel is doing is symbolically saying to Patrick, you are accusing
me of fornication, and I am representing that situtation by the furrows
full of water by presenting it to God, but look, God still likes me, he
gives me his sacred fish symbol, so you've got no call to do otherwise.

Am I right in thinking this same 'affair' in an earlier version ends with
Patrick driving his chariot three times over his pregnant sister to kill
her? if so, its interesting to see how things werent 'acceptable' to later
scribes. I suppose that's a good thing...



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