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Christianity Indo-European Norse

Regarding Santa Claus and Paganism.


It seems there is a video from Prof. Jackson Crawford regarding Santa not being representative of Odin.

In some ways he is correct. Because Santa Claus and the many myths that surround the Christmas time aren’t just about Odin, instead they are amalgamation of various Norse and other Indo-European culture. (Along with some original Christian and near east concepts.) Especially given the Germanic Northern and Western influence on the Santa myth, which is the primary influence in the North American concept, one can begin to understand how Santa is both various Christian Saints and Pagan concepts merged together.
So, in this post I am going to list a few of the rather Pagan connections to Christianity.
First I will address some of Prof. Crawford’s points.

1. Sleipnir has 8 Legs and Santa has 8 reindeer: First he debunks this arbitrarily. Obviously 8 Legs don’t equal to 8 different beings. But I suppose he hasn’t heard of allegory before. Also when two of the Reindeer are called Donner and Blitzen (Thunder and Lightning) it is a connection to Thor (Donar = Thunor). Yes the eight reindeer are a newer addition as he used to have 1 and sometimes more than one that pulled his sleigh. What he doesn’t do is delve into the various connections to the Wild Hunt. Jacob Grimm popularized the term Wilde Jagd (“Wild Hunt”) and wrote about it in his Deutsche Mythologie (1835) as proof of surviving Germanic Pagan beliefs. The Wild hunt is thought to ride through the clouds or mist, in the night sky and claim lost souls. Often they would be appeased by offerings. Much like leaving offerings for Santa and his reindeers. Other figures aside from Odin that were euhemerized into the tradition were Theodoric the Great, Angel Gabriel, the Devil, Charlemagne, or the welsh Gwyn ap Nudd. Those who were associated as hunters accompanying their leader were usually the spirits of the dead, who either returned or arose with his passing by, the Fae, or Elves and sometimes Valkyries or Psychopomps. If you haven’t noticed the theme is that of death and passing as well as one’s ancestors as Fae or Elves (Alf) are ancestral spirits. Often the Death of the year or the sun is seen in Winter (Baldr’s death for example). No this isn’t inherently an Odinic concept but one can see that it is connected to the Old world and both Paganism and folklore in general.

2. Santa wears Red but Odin wears Blue, Grey, or spotted clothing: Yes, but he also is said to take various disguises. Santa also doesn’t always wear read. He has been depicted wearing blue or white in many cases especially in Slavic regions. It is true that Santa is depicted often more akin to his Saintly / religious priest clothing in various European countries, especially down south. No one will say for sure where the Red suit and a rather Phrygian cap as well as the Holly and pipe come from originally. However, I will state that they are rather Scythian in design. The cap, the buttoned-up suite, and pipe are very akin to various groups in the Steppe lands and Persian cultural influences. Artwork of Odin has often included a smoking pip as well and one can see within Tolkien’s Odinic figure of Gandalf (Wand Elf) that pipe smoking fits the motif. As for the Holly there are a lot of Euhemerized concepts of Holly which can imply a Christian allegory but also the concept of the Greenman of folklore or the Mistletoe of Baldr’s death.

3. Odin is not a figure associated with gifts: This is accurate as long as one is speaking of gifts in the method of Santa, however, to say providing offering to the Gods or Odin for blessings or a boon in return is very much within Pagan belief. Being naughty or nice could be implying being pious and serving the Gods. This may be a much more Christian aspect of Santa but one implying that Odin or the Sky father does not provide blessing or providence over mankind would be a gross misunderstanding. Yes, in the Saga’s and Eddas Odin isn’t overtly kind or selflessly giving, but that shouldn’t be interpreted as “evil” or a lack of any empathy for mankind as Odin is concerned primarily with the balance of Order and Chaos. Also Santa’s helpers such as Black Pete, or his counter part such as Krampus haven’t been always been represented as the most kind and benevolent beings.

4. Odin is associated with winter solstice holiday of Jól or Yule which is the Proto-Germanic word *jehwlą meaning Joke or to play (Joy) but has also been considered to possibly be connected to a word for wheel like the turning of the year. Odin is called the Jólnir (the Yuler) as Prof. Crawford points out. Also, often you hear the word Yule Father from time to time. This is, in my opinion, in direct correlation to where the association of Father Christmas would come into play.

In addition to the point he mentions I’ll go into a few other points. The three “Kings” of Christianity are Magi (Singular Magus) or Magoi of Persian religion. Their seeking of Christ and divining his arrival via the stars is a direct attempt to merge Indo-European faith and divine son / God-King worship with that of the Hebraic Messiah. Meanwhile, there is plenty of scholarly speculation of Mithraic connections to this worship as well. The Magi had their own cultic following within Christian mysticism and in the esoteric alchemical practices. You will sometimes still see an adoration of the tree Magi almost as much as one would of the Christ child. Though it is not needed to be mentioned here, as I have mentioned ad nauseum, The Sky Father, divine or holy mother, and God or Demi-God son is a pan-Indo-European and even near eastern motif. The tale of the Angel coming to the pasture to inform the Shepard’s of Christ’s arrival is very similar to the visit of the Goddess to the Shepard in Hesiod’s Theogony where they tell him of the lineage of the Gods as well as the creation story. On a sidenote many of the Christian intepretation of myths or understanding of the cosmos is directly comparable to that of the Theogony.

These aren’t the only connection that Christianity has to Pagan religions, especially regarding Holy Days (Holidays) as a whole article could be written about Saturnalia alone. Nor is this even a full encompassing article on all of the various details and local folklore that is associated with Yule (the Yule Goat for instance).

In Regards to Mr. Crawford. He is a linguist and historian. His translations are good. However, too many Pagans who follow him like he knows everything because he knows more about language and history than they do so They flock to him regarding religion, which he isn’t an authority on. This is not an insult to a man who understands Indo-European languages rather well and should be learned from for Old Norse information. It is a statement that one should not look towards one linguistic “Scholar” as a bastion of all knowledge of on their own heritage or on Indo-European spirituality. Authorities are good to refer to, but should be cross examined. Do not let one person’s conclusions rule what you believe without doing more digging as well.

It can be easily mentioned here that Euhemerism, attempts at conversation, the Germanization of Christianity, and merging of faiths it was results in this Odinic and general Pagan+Christian appeal that Christmas and Yule have. While much of the modern additions, such as Misses Claus, Elves, Candy, Coca-Cola, and various other elements are often added for product placement or joyous myth creation from the Americas, it doesn’t change the source of these myths being that of a predominately Germanic origin.

In conclusion we can say, Odin is as much Santa as Santa is Saint Nicholas, and that Christmas is as Pagan as Yule is Christian.

I hope you found this article enjoyable and enlightening regardless of the faith you practice.
In this current climate where all holidays are being threatened, it is good for us to enjoy the practice of our heritage and embrace a sense of spirituality and joy during the holidays.
Hammer and Vajra

Written by Zachary Gill 23 December 2020

P.S This of course isn’t even delving into the Slavic beliefs or Orthodoxy Christianity’s intepretation of Santa Claus.
Link to Crawford’s original video if you are interested in the points I am mentioning.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o5ih9WuCxQ

Categories
Christianity Indo-European

Zeitgeist fallacies

In regards to famous “Zeitgeist” video that has been used to debunk Christianity…and, in turn, Christians have been able to use some of these falsehoods to try and disprove “all paganism” Zeitgeist getting a few things wrong doesn’t take away from other similarities or the similarities that are true. In this post, I will address two of the many Gods that Zeitgeist mentions and compares to Christ.

Dionysus

Zeitgeist claims.
1. Dionysus was born of a virgin on December 25th
2. He was a traveling teacher who performs miracles
3. He was called “holy child” and placed in a manger
4. He turned water into wine
5.Was known as God of the Vine
6. He rode in the triumphant procession on a donkey
7. He was a king that was ritually killed and eaten in a Eucharistic ritual
8. He rose from the dead on March 25th
9. He was depicted as being hung on a tree crucified
10. He was called King of Kings, God of Gods, God’s begotten son, savior, redeemer, anointed one, and the Alpha and Omega
11.Has the same trial is Jesus

Dionysus
1. Born on the 25th is irrelevant as even Jesus wasn’t born then. It was an established date to synch a lot of different religious practices around the solstices at that time. He also wasn’t born of a virgin, but it was a divine birth. His father was Zeus and his mother was Semele. The “virgin” thing is primarily a Christian concept to make it seem like their God didn’t have relations with Mary. God (Sky father figure) having relations with a human/mortal is very common in Indo-European Faiths. Hera targeting Dionysus and Zeus saving him (by sewing his body / remains to his leg until he was reborn….kind of like being rejoined to God…which is similar to Christ) is similar in many aspects to Heracles. Both are heroic savior figures (literally rescuing and aiding people) that predate Jesus. The divine savior being sacrificed and reborn or coming again is an Indo-European concept not particularly a Christian one. Virgin births aren’t uncommon for leaders of Rome when you take for example that Romulus and Remus were virgin births.
2. Him being a wondering teacher is a universal truth primarily for Indo-European and Aryan faiths. Many of which were well established before Christianity and could have been seen as competing faiths during the rise of the Christian cult.
3. Facts regarding his being born in a manger are indeed false. But the manger concept in Christianity is just a political ploy to cuck Zoroastrianism and Mithraism by making Magi bow to another god. This is another way to have control by merging other similar concepts under your new concept. Any miraculously born Child or Demi-God could be called a “Holy Chile”. This applies to the Buddha as well as many Indo-European figures. Therefore Irrelevant.
4~5. Yes, Dionysus is considered the God of the vine and the God of wine. Turning water into wine is referenced here. https://tinyurl.com/y88p8pmy. He and his Roman equivalent Bacchus are worshiped as Gods of the winery and wine.
6. Yes, riding a horse is a way to symbolize a king or general returning victoriously to the people. If the bible is taken a myth then it follows this concept primarily as a device to meet that motif. I personally couldn’t find any references myself to Dionysus riding a horse. Though riding a Panther in various paintings. Paintings of Bacchus have depicted being drawn in on a horse. Both with a hero’s victorious return style procession. Technically these Gods are the same. This is known often as The Triumph of Bacchus.
7~8. He did rise from the dead. Most of his ascension into heaven is something focused on by Orphism and Mystery religions. No, the crucifixion on a tree appears to be a fabrication. Though he is obviously sacrificial as being sacrificed by Hera in this aspect. Though being the God of wine, an offering of wine to him, similar to the Eucharistic and many other offering rituals, wouldn’t be uncommon.
9. “His rebirth is the primary reason for the worship of Dionysus in several mystery religions. Variants of the narrative are found in Callimachus and Nonnus, who refer to this Dionysus with the title Zagreus, and also in several fragmentary poems attributed to Orpheus.” –Wikipedia. The Title of Zagreus is one that denotes the highest God or the Most high. Dates on these are after Christ at around 200-300 CE. But also around the time of the council of Nicaea 325. Meaning both could have been competing conceptually and doesn’t give any credence to Christianity either. The other titles are not apparent in reference.
10. Truth Dionysus trial is something more akin to Heracles trials in proving himself as divine per The Bacchae. A better argument would be the comparison to Jesus’ trial and the Buddha’s which is almost identical.

Zeitgeist claims regarding Mithras
1. Mithras was born of a virgin on December 25th
2. Mithras was a traveling teacher and performed miracles
3. He had 12 disciples
4. He sacrificed himself for World Peace
5.Was buried in a tomb and resurrected three days later on Easter morning
6. His followers were promised immortality
7. He was called me Good Shepherd, Savior, Redeemer, The Way, The Truth, and The Light
8. His holy day was Sunday and his followers partook in the Lord’s supper every week

Mithras is an Indo Aryan / Vedic deity. Studies have shown that Mithra, Mithras, Mitra, are all referenced from the same deity and predate Christianity, as does the cult established in the west. Mithras / Mitra being a solar deity is also more akin to how Christianity took to the Sol Invictus concept which ended up lumping a lot of various faiths together, all of the Solar deities of various faiths in the area.

1. Mithras was born of a rock. Can this be seen a virgin birth as per the Christian definition? No that is a stretch. But it is obviously a divine birth. Being born from a rock is more akin to the primordial egg or cosmic egg idea. Mithra being worship on the 25th during the solstice is a common concept even in Zoroastrians who worship Mithra. Being a Solar deity this can be inferred as the birth of the sun as is paralleled in many solar faiths. In truth this allies with Sol Invictus. Celebrated on Natalis Invicti which is the 25th of December.
2. Mithraeum paintings do depict Mithras traveling, teaching and blessing people. This includes farming and livestock.
3. Mithras having 12 disciples is the 12 signs of the Zodiac. If Mithras is the sun then the 12 signs of the Zodiac would move with him. However, 12 primary Gods in a pantheon is a very common motif in many religions. So, in this, the myth of Jesus would be considered just following suit/par for the course.
4. As far as I can see there is no evidence of Mithras dying. Except that he represents the sun. The sun dying during winter and being reborn as spring approaches a pan Indo-European / Solar cultural concept. Mithras slaying the bull some may consider savior like. However, it is more akin to the creation of the world in many beliefs (Slaying of Ymir, Cronus, etc). Though it is an act of blood sacrifice which is exactly what Jesus represents. Also slaying the bull has been theorized to be the slaying of the Era of Taurus which would represent the coming of a new Zodiac (for the time) which would be similar to what many theologians have said regarding Christ and fish imagery.
5. Mithras wasn’t buried in a tomb. This may be a reference to his worshippers gathering in a tomb-like cave. A resurrection of the Sun after the Solstice is, as stated previously, a common motif. Nothing particularly in this address Mithras himself.
6. Not exactly. Enlightenment is what all Indo-European Solar deities, teachers and sky figures promise. If you apply these to a better rebirth (reincarnation) or an improved standing with the Gods (better afterlife) then technically this is no different than Christianity of which claims of immortality don’t really apply as one still dies and transverse to another state of being.
7. Most of these don’t apply but are basically concepts regarding the sun. However, he was called the Savior in the recital of a catechism found in Egypt. The depictions in the Mithraeum will also make it easy to infer that he was a savior figure bringing aid to the people. Primarily being worshiped by the military it could be inferred that he would be looked to for guidance and protection.
8. Yes according to this book, Antonía Tripolitis (2002). Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman age. He was worshiped on Sunday and was prayed to three times a day. While I cannot vouch for this validity, worshiping a solar deity on the day of the sun makes sense. Worshiping the Hebrew Gods or his incarnation (Jesus) on any other day than the Sabbath (Saturday) seems off. Which points to this being a possible influence for Christians. Studies have shown that those who gathered in the Shrines to Mithras did have a ritual meal together. However, having a meal at a gathering, even a religious one, was common during that time in Rome.

Regardless no myth or spirituality will match up exactly.
However, this does go to show that there are a lot of mythic motifs that were in religions of the time, especially Indo-European ones, of which predate Christianity or were being practiced during the official creation of Christianity.

In my personal belief, Christ isn’t original. Instead, whatever might have been associable with a historical figure is dwarfed by Romanized religion. The church that was established mixed many elements from European Paganism and, as it spread, folk religions. I will present the question to any Pagans reading. Are there not some representations of perennial truth and paganism that is found within the Christianity that can be respected or reclaimed? I challenge you to find what is hidden Paganism within Christianity and reclaim it. That doesn’t mean converting, or expecting them to not still consider you to be in cahoots with “Satan” but to understand where their faith came from and that yours never truly “died” as they say it did. For any Christians that may be reading, I challenge you to analyze the concepts within your own religion and realize how much of it is actually Indo-European Paganism and folk religion.
Hammer and Vajra!
—Zachary Gill