St Georges Day and Its Meaning
In order to make the Act of Union a success in 1707, Westminster has waged a silent war on anything English, with a faux romanticised political Britishness identity supplanted in its stead. You can still see the effects of this today in the political system whereby the Welsh, Scottish and Irish identity (and Nationalism) is promoted and even funded by English tax payers, whereas those who deem themselves English are made to feel guilty about their existence. We see examples of this in the media condemning us even flying the English flag, and in Politics with politicians trying their utmost to suppress an awakening of English identity.
Today, the United Kingdom seems to be increasingly fractured (due mostly to the ridiculous Barnett formula which was never meant to be used as a long-term solution, as said by Lord Barnett himself.) As Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland seem to move in different directions and driven by their own aspirations and needs, Englishness it seems is once again beginning to bubble up at the surface. Westminster politicians are petrified of it because of the inherent constitutional issues a self-aware England would create. For Britain to exist, there needs to be a complicit England that does not think of itself as a nation in its own right. This is very likely why they are so eager to break England up into regions with talk of regional assemblies, instead of just creating an English Parliament.
However with all this been said, as those who identify as being English are keen to get behind the calls for St George's day to be reinstated as a National Holiday, I have some reservations.
The Real English Saint
England's original national saint was Edmund the Martyr. As King of East Anglia he fought and lost a battle with marauding Vikings where, as the legend states, he was captured and brutally tortured. The story goes that the Northmen tried to get him to renounce his faith, and as he continued to renounce was tied to a tree and shot with multiple arrows. Eventually the Vikings got bored, decapitated him, and launched his head into a forest.
At this point however the legend gets a little bit un-Christian though, as it is said that a band of local Englishmen later found the head of King Edmund being guarded by a Wolf who was howling “here". Bare in mind that this was in 869, and although many of the Saxon people in high society had officially converted to Christianity, there were many common folk who would have not have taken the Christian faith entirely by this point. My personal opinion is that Christianity was not taken up in any serious endeavour until much later, and that dual-faith observance likely existed for hundreds of years. The church to a great extent was more of a way of ensuring access to trade and good to curry good favour with the continent at this point. There will be some who reject this idea, and who are emotionally invested in the idea of a Christian Anglo-Saxon society, but the truth is a little more complicated. Many Saxon Kings, even as late as Alfred the Great, still traced their linage back to the God Woden, (the Anglo Saxon name for Odin.)
Those who know their folklore will know that to the Germanic people before Christian conversion, the Wolf was considered a majestic animal encapsulating all that society should strive for. Courageous, brave but also loving, tribal and hierarchical. Not only that, but Woden is said to have had two pet wolves named Geri and Freki. In fact it is likely this association that produced the “big bad wolf” fairy tales, perhaps a hangover from Christian indoctrination.
St Edmund in any case was held in such high regard by the English public that his remains were considered to be of a cult-like importance. St Edmund's body was placed in a shrine at Bury St Edmund, and received such a pilgrimage to the town that it became a lucrative business. For two hundred years in fact, the town made so much money from pilgrims that there were multiple cases of civil unrest from locals due to the Abbey's financial power. In the end, the saint's body was said to have been stolen and taken to France. The act of touching Edmund's bones sounds pretty grim, and in many ways certainly seems to hark back to far more ancient traditions than Christianity. Ironically many of these Christians visiting the bones of Edmund much later probably didn't understand that they were touching the bones of a man who likely claimed linage back to a Pagan God.
|Wolf and Crown statue in Bury St Edmund today.|
Quasi-Religious Political Symbols
At this point, you're probably wondering why I'm talking about St Edmund when the original topic was St George's day. Well my point is that we already did have a saint, but St George was foisted upon us by a political class which is ironically now the same force which seeks to deny us the St George it had given to us earlier!
Following the Norman invasion of 1066 and the subsequent genocide that affected large parts of England, (other parts of the British Isles were also affected a few years down the line) the cultural make-up of England was changed over night. All the checks and balances of power in Saxon society were swept away by William the Conqueror, and a Charlemagnesque feudal system was imposed on the population. The effects of Hastings has had an echo on the rest of British society ever since. In fact, most of those at the top of their game in politics or business in Britain today can still in many cases trace their root back to the Norman landed elite.
In any case, the returning crusaders led by an alliance of Norman and French aristocracy told fantastic tales of a mystical army coming to the crusader's assistance out of thin air, apparently led by this George guy - although of course the account is totally lacking in any credible evidence. As a result, the flag of St George was essentially given to us by our warmongering Norman overlords during the Crusade, but the saint himself was not appointed to us until the mid-thirteen hundreds, and it wasn't until Tudor times that he became our 'official' Saint.
So lets stop for a moment then and just consider the situation. Since 1066, England has been and still is under control by people who sought to control not for the sake of the English people, but for their own colonial ambitions. The Norman's were crucial in creating the psyche of Imperialist ambition that spanned a thousand years; not because it ever benefited farm labouring peasants, but because the landed elite were greedy sociopaths. The Scots today still go on about being subjugated by the English, which is true to an extent; but what many fail to realise is that the English themselves have also been subjugated by a elitist cabal that now make up the Westminster Government. Granted the power system today may have evolved and obviously not everybody working in the city can claim Norman ancestry, but the hierarchical attitude still seems very much apparent.
So what does St George represent? It seems a bit odd that Christendom, allegedly based upon the peaceful and loving teachings of Jesus, would grant sainthood to a warmongering Crusader. Thing is, whether or not he was a real Byzantine who went to war is a moot point. The character today is purely symbology, a pseudo-mythological fable.
Many know him as the dragon slayer. I should hope that most are intelligent enough to know that dragons never existed a thousand years ago, but alongside serpents, dragons have for a long time been associated with heathens or “satan". It is thought that the real St George went for the low hanging fruit and spilled the blood of pagan villagers around his homeland, and similarly with St Patrick in Ireland who removed the 'snakes' from that land, the symbology behind reptile and pagan is pretty much indisputable.
The Wessex "Wyvern" Dragon flag is still
the county flag to this day.
Whilst you have to concede that the general consensus on its meaning has changed considerably by this point in time, I do think we would be much better off in the hands of a real English Saint, and not some genocidal Turk with a prejudice against reptiles. As a pagan myself, I'm conflicted as I both identity with Edmund being Saxon, and the heathens who allegedly murdered him for belonging to a foreign faith - but despite this, perhaps with Woden's lineage through Edmund is enough to satisfy both the modern day English Heathen and Christian simultaneously.