Pagan Saints

“The Black Virgin” by Thalia Took

For well over a decade now, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of Pagan Gods masquerading as Christian saints. At one point, I even decided to write a blog post on the feast day of each of these saints, which would eventually coalesce into a publishing contract and a best-selling NeoPagan book.

But then I realized this is me we’re talking about, and I never finish any project I start. So instead, I slapped together a calendar of Pagan-spawned Catholic and Orthodox memorials, complete with the Gods who are either lurking behind a veneer of legendary canonization, or who, over time, have become associated with particular historical personages.

Some of the connections listed on the following calendar are well-established, while others I cooked up on my own, looking at symbology, patronage, and regional veneration. And sometimes I just read a book and believed the author.

A few entries are marked FHH, which stands for Fourteen Holy Helpers. This group of saints was petitioned extensively during the Middle Ages for protection against the Black Plague–since about half of them trace back to earlier Pagan worship, I went ahead and listed all of them, even if I don’t yet know exactly Who they represent.

Finally, please note that this list is largely theoretical, involving quite a few not-entirely-sound leaps of pseudo-logic. But it’s a fascinating subject nonetheless, and I stand by what passes for reasoning.

Shall we?

Nothing Pagan happens in January.

01 – Feast of St. Brigit (Brigid)
03 – Feast of St. Blaise (Veles, FHH)
14 – Feast of St. Valentine (Faunus)
23 – Feast of St. Milburga (Grain Mother, “Old Bessey”)

17 – Feast of St. Gertrude of Nivelles (Diana)
25 – Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos (Rhea)

19 – Feast of St. Expedite (Hermes)
23 – Feast of St. George (Al-Khidir, Sabazios, FHH)

01 – Beltaine; Feast of St. Walburga (Ceres)
07 – Feast of St. Achatius (FHH)
30 – Feast of St. Joan of Arc (Margaret Murray’s poster child)
31 – Feast of Our Lady of Grace (Artemis at Ephesus)

02 – Feast of St. Erasmus/St. Elmo (the Dioscuri, Poseidon, FHH)
15 – Feast of St. Vitus (FHH)
29 – Feast of St. Peter the Apostle (Janus)

08 – Feast of St. Sunniva (Sol)
13 – Feast of St. Mildred (Holda)
20 – Feast of St. Margaret of Antioch (Juno, FHH)
22 – Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (Persephone)
25 – Feast of St. Christopher (Anubis, Guinefort, FHH)
26 – Feast of St. Anne (Annis, Danu)
27 – Feast of St. Pantaleon (FHH)
29 – Feast of St. Olaf (Thor)

08 – Feast of St. Cyriacus (FHH)
15 – Feast of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary (Aradia, Diana)
26 – Feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa (Matka Ziema, “Moist Mother Earth”)

01 – Feast of St. Giles (FHH)
16 – Feast of St. Cornely (Cernunnos)
18 – Feast of St. Ariadna (Ariadne)
20 – Feast of St. Eustathius (Herne, FHH)
26 – Feast of St. Cyprian (not a God per se, but patron of occultists)
29 – Feast of St. Michael (Apollo, Lucifer, Lugh)

04 – Feast of St. Francis (not Pagan, but who doesn’t love the guy?)
08 – Feast of St. Pelagia (Aphrodite)
09 – Feast of St. Denis (Dionysius, FHH)
21 – Feast of St. Ursula (Artio, Freya)

03 – Feast of St. Hubert (Herne)
11 – St. Martin (not Pagan, but patron of alcoholics, so I couldn’t leave him out)
25 – Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria (Cerridwen, the scholar/philosopher Hypatia, FHH)
30 – Feast of St. Andrew (Apollo, Belanos)

04 – Feast of St. Barbara (Athena, FHH)
13 – Feast of St. Lucy (Lucina)
26 – Feast of St. Stephen (Frey)

If you see anything that needs correcting, or if you’re aware of a saint who should be included, drop me a line (amalthean dot horn at gmail dot com) and let me know!