Santa?

A place for general chat with Stonewylde friends

Moderator: mrb

Santa?

Postby Seawitch » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:20 am

When this time of year comes around again, with images of Santa/Father Christmas everywhere, I always think its an example of how traditions can be changed over time until their origins are totally lost. It's so sad that the majority of people are ignorant of these origins, and especially their children, who are well and truly brainwashed from the moment they are born.

Many of us on this forum are well aware of the many ancient pagan celebrations and characters which have been changed beyond recognition for various reasons - most of which have been highjacked by the Christian church, but some for financial gain.

For example, one story I have heard is that Father Christmas always wore green (a representation of the Green Man perhaps?) until Coca Cola took him under their corporate wing and changed the colour of his outfit to fit in with their advertising criteria.

Another is that the fir was originally revered as a sacred tree in northern Europe. When the church was unable to drive the tree cult out of people's consciousness, it incorporated the fir tree by dedicating it to the Christ child. This tradition was then introduced to Britain following Prince Albert's introduction of the Christmas Tree to this country when he married Victoria.

And regarding the reindeer -

Is the original green Father Christmas a representation of Herne/the Stag Lord, and the reindeer a connection to this?

It has also been claimed that Father Christmas flying through the sky in a sleigh drawn by reindeer, has mythological roots in the shamanic reindeer-herding tribes of arctic Europe and Siberia, who used hallucinogenic mushrooms to make their soul flights to the other world.

It seems that Good King Wenceslas was in contact with paganism, as his mother in law Drahomira was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief. She wanted to raise Wenceslas after his father was killed, but his grandmother discredited her, and took over the role and raised him as a Christian. Drahomira was then banished from the country after being accused of involvement in the murder of the grandmother.

It's a shame people are so blinkered by commercialism, materialism and the churches' influence, as there are so many interesting pagan tales and traditions behind the overwhelming guff presented to us this time of year ...........

Seawitch
x
As I reeled the fish in and watched him struggle for breath, I realised his life was just as important to him as mine was to me. (Paul McCartney)
User avatar
Seawitch
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:37 am
Location: On the Dorset coast

Postby kit » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:34 am

What a brilliant post, Seawitch! All that you say is stuff I've read too, and I especially agree with the concept that Father Christmas is derived from the Green Man of the forests, and the reindeer from Herne the Hunter, the stag, etc. I too read about the hallucinogenic properties of mushrooms and their use in Northern European shamanism - hence the flying reindeer. I did a lot of research about Fly Agaric in particular for Book Four.

The idea of "Santa" coming from Coca-Cola ads is so true - and how awful that not only were the old traditions subsumed by a new religion, but also by blatant commercialism. I read too somewhere that even the supposed Christian origin of Father Christmas from St Nicholas was derived from Old Nick. And also that the cult of Mithras tells of a baby born at mid-winter in a cave. Mmnn.

Thanks for such an interesting post - especially when you're so busy with your soaps!
Visit the Stonewylde website at www.stonewylde.com and my blog on www.moongazygirl.blogspot.com
User avatar
kit
 
Posts: 642
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:07 pm
Location: Reading, Berks

Postby creature » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:40 am

I too have heard about the pagan origins of xmas.

The commercialism of it all angers me.

It is a beautiful time of year to spend with friends and family ( although not mine). We have decorated our salon window but it has fairies and lights with a woodland theme. Very Narnia!!! We just love seeing the children marvel at it.

The best bit about xmas is eating and sleeping!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
love and light and magic
creature
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:57 am
Location: southsea

Postby Beantighe » Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:24 pm

I have also heard that tree dressing is a very ancient custom, derived from the habit of tying pieces of cloth, or 'clouties' to the branches of a tree that was considered sacred, in return for the granting of blessings. It's a lovely custom that has been revived with gusto by modern day pagans, who often tie clouties to trees which grow near sacred springs or wells, such as Madron's Well in Cornwall.

Evergreen trees have always been revered as a symbol of immortality, because they keep their leaves all year round and do not 'die' in winter. Every tree was said to possess its own tree spirit, or dryad, and evergreen trees were brought into the home to provide a dwelling for the tree spirits, who it was hoped would bless the home for the year to come. The shiny baubles represent little 'suns'. This is very old sympathetic magic to encourage the return of the sun on the shortest day, when it seemed to the ancients as if the sun would die and never return, which would mean the end of all life on Earth.

We still celebrate this theme of the Sun's rebirth at the darkest time of the winter, only now it has become the birth of the Son. There are clear parallels between the story of the birth of Christ and the birth of the Sun Child, the Mabon, the Child of Promise - he has many different names in different cultures. Christmas is three days after the Solstice, when it would have become apparent that the new-born Sun was slowly, steadily beginning to climb once more in the heavens. There still remains an air of great celebration of this event, even though many modern minds are unaware of the deep symbolism in what they are celebrating, but deep in their unconscious minds, they still feel it, the promise that the darkest days are over, and light is returning.
May the Circle be open, but unbroken
Beantighe
 
Posts: 735
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:57 am
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK

Postby solsticedreamer » Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:51 pm

its unfortunately true that other religions, if they could not wipe out pagan traditions, did absorb them into their own ways but luckily there are those of us out here who know otherwise~who choose to know otherwise.

i too hate the mass commercialism but i imagine for those who are not pagan nor overly religious, to them the mass commercialism is their own 'way' in the world, their way of celebrating
The Only Thing Greater Than the Power of the Mind is the Courage of the Heart
Image
http://solsticedreamer.blogspot.com/
User avatar
solsticedreamer
 
Posts: 1126
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: heart of nova foresta

Postby Greymalkin » Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:15 pm

I don't have a problem with commercialism - we all have to eat and buy clothes and if you can find a way to get people to buy something from you then go for it.

All of the 'Christian' holidays never made much sense to me as a child. For years I wondered what eggs, bunnies and lambs had to do with the ressurection of christ, now I know. Nothing!

Even the most hardened christians agree that christ probably wasn't born in December.
User avatar
Greymalkin
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:29 pm
Location: London

Postby Beantighe » Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:18 pm

Well if he was, they must have been some very hardy shepherds, lol! :lol:
May the Circle be open, but unbroken
Beantighe
 
Posts: 735
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:57 am
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK

Postby solsticedreamer » Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:25 pm

just imagine the cold camping out in that stable :D
The Only Thing Greater Than the Power of the Mind is the Courage of the Heart
Image
http://solsticedreamer.blogspot.com/
User avatar
solsticedreamer
 
Posts: 1126
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: heart of nova foresta

Postby Sujee » Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:14 pm

I am spending this Yule with my family who no longer live in the same town as me. Whilst I am revelling in the thought that I don't have to feed the 5000 (scuse the Christian reference but it fits the bill :lol: ) I will feel a bit sad at not being in my little flat with my tree sparkling in the candle light...

I had my first Yule card yesterday! From my sister, a beautiful Hare card from Goddess and the Green man, and she even wrote 'with love at Yule' in it. :D That was doubly special as she is Catholic, but she acknowledges that the old ways were hijacked and I feel that deep down inside herself she celebrates the changing of the seasons and the turn of the year. So, it just goes to show how much more enlightened some Christians are now to their Pagan roots. :D
Love and Light

Sujee
User avatar
Sujee
 
Posts: 1790
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:53 pm
Location: Wiltshire/West Berkshire border

Postby Moongoddess » Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:03 pm

It's amazing how many parallels can be drawn from different myths and legends from the past. Seems each different culture/race all had very similar stories....it really makes you wonder about the true origins of these tales.
User avatar
Moongoddess
 
Posts: 1819
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Conisbrough, South Yorkshire

Postby Beantighe » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:09 pm

That's a point, Moongoddess. And have you noticed that almost every culture in the world has a Great Flood tradition, like we have Noah? I think there really must have been a great inundation that was known world-wide in antiquity, for it to have remained in the human consciousness for so many millennia.

And even the virgin birth story at Christmas is nothing new - there are loads of legends telling exactly the same scenario. There is nothing new under the sun, and the Christians just jumped on the bandwagon and took over what was already there. I think that's a well-known fact nowadays.
May the Circle be open, but unbroken
Beantighe
 
Posts: 735
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:57 am
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK

Postby Sorcha » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:37 pm

Here we do not have Santa, but Sinterklaas. He comes on the 5th of December instead with Christmas.

This gives some reasonably good info on wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas is actually a very old custom that is derived from Wodan and his black helpers, the ravens. I am not sure whether this is true, but I have heard or read somewhere ( I think in the book of Freya Aswynn, Northern Mysteries and Magick) that Wodan on his white horse Sleipnir also brought presents in the beginning of December! I will look it up and let you know!!
User avatar
Sorcha
 
Posts: 1362
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 7:41 pm
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Postby solsticedreamer » Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:11 pm

thats really interesting sorcha~funnily enough i read somewhere about the children putting out their shoes by the chimney.
its made me think that now swampy and i are in our 'forever' home its time to start some traditions of our own :)
The Only Thing Greater Than the Power of the Mind is the Courage of the Heart
Image
http://solsticedreamer.blogspot.com/
User avatar
solsticedreamer
 
Posts: 1126
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: heart of nova foresta

Postby Greymalkin » Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:40 pm

solsticedreamer wrote:funnily enough i read somewhere about the children putting out their shoes by the chimney.


That's an old european tradition. If the children had been good all year they would find their shoes filled with sweets and small toys, if they had been bad they would find them filled with coal.

It's interesting to note that most of the 'christmas' customs we observe in Britain are mostly taken from America rather than Europe. The most noticable being that in Britian (and America) we go to church on Christmas Eve and open our gifts on Christmas morning. In Europe (still to this day) they open their gifts on Christmas Eve and go to church on christmas day.

Because of Britian's physical seperation from the rest of Europe a lot of European customs have never managed to hop across the channel.
User avatar
Greymalkin
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:29 pm
Location: London

Postby kit » Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:09 pm

In our family we always eat our special meal on Christmas Eve by candlelight, followed (after the washing up!) by present opening. It's wonderful, and then Christmas Day is spent chilling out and relaxing. As the chief cook it means I have the whole of the day of Christmas Eve with lots of helpers getting the meal prepared, with time to change into a dress etc before we sit down to eat. Only problem is not overdoing the wine before the meal's actually served! It's so magical opening presents by candlight and Christmas tree lights. I love doing it this way - as GM says, like they do on the continent in many places. Do you Dutchies do this too?
Visit the Stonewylde website at www.stonewylde.com and my blog on www.moongazygirl.blogspot.com
User avatar
kit
 
Posts: 642
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:07 pm
Location: Reading, Berks

Next

Return to The Village Green

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron