Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yes, Hypatia, There is a Santa Claus

This fellow -- Santa Claus, Father Christmas -- has joined the lineup of graven images on our polytheistic/animistic mantel. That's Hermes' foot at the far left, followed by an ossuary jar of sharp-shinned hawk bones, and Hekate on the right.

We all know that Santa's name derives from the Dutch form of St. Nicholas, but what need have we Pagans of a saint whose titles include "Defender of Orthodoxy" (versus the Arian Christians) and whose biographers proudly proclaim that he destroyed Pagan temples. So forget that part.

The connection with Odin is fascinating but fragile. Others go off on different tangents.

As the scripture states, "He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus."

On the other hand, I really have no problem with calling this time of year "Christmas" in casual conversation. When I was in my twenties, I rigorously drew a line and would only say "Yule." Now I am more casual.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel compelled, as I often do in this season, to point you at Why Santa Claus is a Kachina.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Jamie Goodwin said...

Growing up protestant I never associated Santa with St. Nicholas, although I of course heard the name throughout my life.

I really view the modern Santa as a wholy modern invention. What he was to other cultures really bears no resemblance as to what the image of him means to me today.

Which is, all the good parts about Christmas. Sharing, family, joy, love, and kids getting gifts.

We could all use a little more Santa in our lives.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Jamie Goodwin said...

Beautiful Anonymous, thanks for sharing!

12:14 AM  
Blogger Shava said...

lol! One of my joys of the season is seeing that post pop up various places on the net. I wrote it over a decade ago -- glad you enjoyed it!


3:52 PM  
Blogger Yewtree said...

Like the Kachina article.

I used to scrupulously say Yule all the time, but I'm a bit more relaxed now.

Just seen the rather marvellous coinage "Hanukwanzmas" by Evn (see 2nd comment).

9:14 AM  

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