Musings on Christmas’ St. Nicholas – Santa Claus
St Nicholas of Myra is considered the ‘original Santa Claus’. Of him, surprisingly little is known: even his very existence being often brought into question by Church Scholars. He is reputed to have lived sometime around the 4th Century, and was believed to have been a bishop. His feast day (banned since 1969) was traditionally the 6th December.
One of the earliest legends, giving rise to his association as a bearer of gifts, recounts that St Nicholas heard that a man of his parish couldn’t afford dowries for his three daughters. His intention, then was to send them to the brothel to work. St Nicholas, passing their window at night, throws a bag of gold for each daughter into their room – thus saving them from their fate.
As his legend developed and spread throughout the medieval period, St Nicholas took on many of the qualities which were originally associated with pagan deities: in particular he can be seen to reflect the roles previously taken by Artemis and Poseidon. In this way, St Nicholas may simply be another example of the assimilation of the more popular pagan practices into a form acceptable by the early church.
After the theft of his relics in 1087, which saw his remains moved to Bari in southern Italy, the Cult of St Nicholas spread so widely that in many regions devotion to him rivalled the Cult of the Virgin Mary. In the process, he was adopted as the patron of sailors, as well as, due to a tale in which he rescues three children who had been pickled for eating by an innkeeper, the patron of children.
Combined with his reputation as a giver of gifts, this latter, important development ensured that all the key elements were in place for his transformation into his modern role.
Most significantly, from the perspective of Santa Claus, is his Dutch manifestation as Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas shares much in common with St Nicholas, including his feast day. In one important respect he differs: Sinterklaas has a flying white horse. The differences are usually attributed to the legend of St Nicholas becoming fused with those of the pagan god Wodan (the Norse Odin who also possessed a flying horse).
The American Santa Claus is believed to have been invented by Washington Irving in the early 19th century. Irving wanted to see a calming of apparently riotous Christmas celebrations by introducing a benign fatherly figure, with the intention of refocussing the seasonal celebrations on the family. His creation, Santa Claus, appears to be inspired mainly by the traditions of the Dutch settlers and their benevolent Sinterklaas.
Over the course of the intervening centuries, Santa Claus and Sinterklaas have diverged greatly: Santa is a secular visitor arriving at Christmas rather than the 6th December; he prefers furs to bishop’s robes; is predisposed towards jolly rotundity, rather than gaunt thinness; and he arrives with the aid of a team of flying reindeer instead of a flying horse.
Initially, his image was rather variable, until Thomas Nast produced an illustration in Harper’s Illustrated Weekly (1863-6) to accompany Clement Clark Moore’s, ‘The Visit of Saint Nicholas’ (1822) (more usually called ‘The Night Before Christmas’ today) which looks fairly close to the modern Santa.
Nast’s figure was adopted by various advertisers, including Coca-Cola, who gave us the widely accepted version.
Indeed, as a Christmas visitor, Santa Claus has largely replaced the traditional Father Christmas in the UK. Father Christmas appears to have a completely separate origin. He was regarded as a personification of Christmas and was a Yule tide visitor (who brought no gifts!), and as such was much more of a ‘Green Man’ type figure: ‘The Winter King’.
Despite strenuous efforts in the 17th Century, by the puritans, to eliminate him, he survived to become a central figure in the Victorian revival of Christmas and references are found in much of the popular literature of the time/ From the 1870s onwards, however, Father Christmas increasingly became more like the American Santa Claus: he started giving gifts, and his appearance slowly changed to match that of the American figure.
Images: Various online sources. Text: 45years of being in the Cult… 😉
by Haruth. Member of the Symbolic Living Forum.
Musings on Christmas’ St. Nicholas – Santa Claus
Fun. To be young again:
Worshiping a Jolly Fat man in a red suit for all his gifts he bestows to the kids across the planet giving to Christian children, and stuffing rotten potatoes down those bad kids socks, or a lump of coal! What fun.
It’s interesting how Myth develops, and how it ingrains itself in our society. Part of the myth that has also developed is the Coca-Cola association. Was it a clever marketing campaign by this mega company that brought Santa to the forefront of our shopping desires?
I remember when I was young my parents would always put a little tea out with shortbread cookies and in the morning they’d be mostly gone with crumbs and pieces left and most of the tea gone. “Santa was here last night and had a cup of tea and cookies.” Well, how on earth did he fit down that chimney I’d wonder. “He’s magic.”
I remember looking out to the moon at night hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer passing by going to his next destination. Well why would he be flying past the moon I wonder, he’s got to go to the house next door doesn’t he?
Was Santa Scary? Sure I think so. I’m not sure if I really wanted to see him up close, and those guys at the shopping mall were “Santa’s Helpers” so the rumor goes.
I remember punching Santa in the face once, but I knew it wasn’t Santa. Was I bad kid? No. I was just scared.
Then there was the girl in grade 4 who still believed and tried to convince us he really was real. She brought a letter from Santa in showing it to all of us ensuring that it wasn’t her parents or grandparents writing. We were half convinced. Well, by that time we had the “bad” kids bringing in dirty magazines, so we were getting a bit jaded about the reality of Santa thing. We were growing up fast. There was hope though, that the magic would continue and our parents weren’t just making it all up for fun.
Sure it was fun. It was the spirit of Christmas. Now as an adult, realizing commercialism is what Christmas really seems to be all about, getting socks and sweaters seems to be enough. Those simple necessities. Christmas has shifted from caring about getting and giving Stuff, to being around people you care about, eating good food, having some nice wine and enjoying the season. Reflecting on the year that has past and looking forward to the next while sitting around the fire having hot toddies and the Christmas music in the background while the snow falls from the sky. What Fun!
A few clips from a favorite holiday movie I watch nearly every year during the holidays.
by Celtaur. Member of the Symbolic Living Forum
Musings on Christmas’ St. Nicholas – Santa Claus
Cookies, Ghosts, Sinterklaas and Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Around December is considered Water or Kidney time of year. Kidneys relate to North, so acknowledging the North as in the Northpole is a healthy thing to do at this time of year. Leaving cookies and etc out at night for St Nicholas, is obviously a version of something everyone does around the world. Ancestor worship and also an attempt summoning blessing from a long passed saint or godform spiritual level person.
Your parents leave the cookies and when you leave cookies for your own kids, you are reminded of your own parents leaving cookies for you. This is a form of ancestor worship and it works. Also, by initiating the kid into summoning the spiritual aura of Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, you have memories and blessing in your spiritual memory, so this along with magical association creates a valuable spiritual effect and thus blessing.
The reason for cookies, is some cookies can properly be impregnated with or feed a summoned spirit. It has to do with the structure, the oil content, and minerals, I imagine ORMUS content. I’ll leave the details for another thread.
12-2 AM is said to be a time when ghosts will come out. In TCM it is also the time when the body is the most susceptible to ghosts because it is Wood cycle, and Metal ghosts control Wood. But anyway so the parents honor their parents and subconsciously ask for St Nicholas’s blessing and then they walk up some time after in the night and eat the cookies so that the child thinks it was Santa Claus.
Eating food after spirits eat it, I don’t believe is unhealthy, I think every religious does that, it’s just you give the spirit mana and earthly energy from the food. The only time it wouldn’t be good to eat food is if you summoned hungry ghosts or malicious spirits that might eat from your reserves without permission. The parents will probably eat it around 3-7AM which is Metal full tide, so probably safe from any sort of bad energies being implanted in them. Oh wait this reminds me of eucharist.
3-7 PM is time of Water, so usually the kid will put the cookies out around that time and think of the North and think of a Saint to guide them to be a better person and to judge them, thus affecting their life by interaction with their spirit.
7-11AM is Earth or Stomach being content. To be honest being overly content is unhealthy for us, it is actually taking energy out of the stomach, so since it is full tide here it isn’t harmful to have discontent or having any emotion positive or negative, because our body can handle it.
11AM-3PM is Fire so we can be happy and merry enjoying the gifts and spending time together, without risking being too happy, because at this time it is full tide, it’s the time to purge all our fire energy and clean it, by letting that energy out. Be happy and laugh a lot, hahaha. Laughing too much is damaging to the body because it disperses energy, but by doing it at full tide it is manageable.
December 6, Sinterklaas’s body went still. Many times ghosts or spirits can be astrologically confined to certain times of the year, things have to be in proper alignment. When we leave the body, is pertinent to high spiritual level beings. December 24, is important for some reason.
Winter solstice is important for cultures all over world. Amaterasu is the Sun goddess of Japan, and she is depicted as being dressed in white, red, and gold. Also the festivities at this time celebrate her coming out of a cave. This is also a time where they worship their ancestors or dead. Romans celebrate Bacchus, who is the God of fertility, and by having festivities with their kids or being reminded of family, this may have a similar effect. He also correlates to wine, the vine, grapes, and is often depicted in a chariot being drawn by panthers. Kalash people of Pakistan do ritual cleansing, and men have water poured over their head while holding up bread. In Korea, they use “patjook” to repel sinister spirits at this time. In Scotland they practice firstfooting where the first person to cross into someone else will be rewarded with a gift such as salt, coal, shortbread, whisky, or black bun it is supposed to award luck to the household somehow. Slavic people say the Black God or evil spirits are most potent at this time; Hors symbolizing the old sun dies on Dec 22; Dec 23 Hors is resurrected as Koleda. They burn fires to keep departed love one’s warm, organized dining so they would not hunger, etc. In Russia, children would dress up and go to homes to sing good wish songs to the host, then would be rewarded with gifts. (Christmas Caroles) Ancient Greek would seal juice or water in room overnight then next say it turned to wine, and then thank their god Dionysus(Bacchus) for the miracle. In Sweden if children did not complete their chores a demon named Lussi(Lucy) will come and punish them! Don’t want to be on the naughty list. Russian Slavs offer bloodless sacrifice such as honey or bread, they also acknowledge an antlered goddess by gifting deer shaped cookies.
Claas means “Victory of the People”. It is said the myrrh or mana like substance comes out of the corpse of Sinterclass and this is collected and used. Saint Nicholas’s body was stolen by sailors(pirates) and moved. I believe skulls contain the resonance for certain types of spirits. That is why many cultures like reserving the body rather than burning, mainly so they can enjoy the blessing of the corpse’s more earthly bodies. Maybe people need some extra help to avoid negative spiritual entities making them suffer at this time.
Also by being happy and joyous at this time it creates heat and heart energy to control the grief Metal energy associated with negative spirits. Santa Claus is probably the result of social engineers understanding the importance or culture and psychology or spirituality, and America being the residence of the most competent social engineers along with Russia and China did that.
The left hand is his taiji pole, his kundalini staff, his auspicious channeling, and see how many centers he is able to tap into after the pole? This is symbolic of levels or realms, the 7th chakra is not the only thing to explore there are much higher things than the 7th chakra. The chariot might represent his merkaba, his method of manifesting on our planes, by using his energetic thread to the reindeer with antlers, antlers symbolize bone, and the antenna of bone(on their head), he is using his bones to manifest on this plane. There are said to be 7 Po in Chinese or lower spirits used to manifest on earth and they reside in the body after death, the 8 reindeer are pretty close . I could imagine there could be some sacrifice ritual also attached to this, not certain. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Red nosed, he had a bright nose. The nose relates to the 3rd eye probably. Also in picture notice 3 sephirot over his heart.
by EyeCanBlackStars. Member of the Symbolic Living Forum