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Does Anybody Here Believe In Santa?


Green_Witch

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There are A LOT of different perceptions of reality among people, but I think we can all agree that there is energy in the universe - and that an essential component of witchcraft involves somehow invoking/manipulating/controlling/etc. this energy. Being an atheist and a huge Terry Pratchett fan - although I have no belief in any sort of "origin" deity(ies) - I have wondered whether it is possible for the strength of cumulative belief to manifest as some sort of entity that could be perceived as a god or other sort of "supernatural" being. Do humans literally create their own gods? (I will leave this here - the topic is well-covered in the "Universal Energy or God" thread (here: http://www.traditionalwitch.net/forums/topic/62-universal-energy-or-god/)).

 

Given this concept, does anyone have any knowledge/experience of - or any attempt to contact - "Santa"? Of course, I do not mean the jolly, red-nosed modern icon of consumerism - but something older, more primal - representative of the mid-winter trials and celebrations of life. I think of him (if indeed it is a "him") as "Father Christmas" - something older and more steeped in the primal energies of eking life out of a dying winter world. Of course, The Hogfather is the Discworld version of Santa/Father Christmas, and I have often wondered how close he may really be to actuality. Terry Pratchett would also point out - "the very oldest stories about the beginning are, sooner or later, about blood" - seems very logical for this particular entity - thoughts on whether he would be dangerous? I'm thinking of leaving offerings - no requests for anything, just gifts - just because.

 

(Also got me thinking - it was mentioned on another thread (http://www.traditionalwitch.net/forums/topic/7879-etiquette-and-working-with-non-physical-entities/) how someone's xtian friend felt abandoned by God because she had prayed for her cancer-stricken mother's health and her prayers went "unanswered" - but when asked what else (besides pray) she did, the answer was "nothing". Kind of funny that most xtians offer not even a ritual sacrifice to their god in exchange for their wants (excepting maybe churchgoers who tithe), but fork over the milk and cookies every year for the Jolly Fat Man so they can get presents! :laugh: )

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Hogfather is one of my favorite Pratchettt books!

 

Your post is interesting.

 

A little OT or rather a different take on it:  Years ago when my son was very young, my husband's brother came over one xmas morning.  My son was happily showing BIL what Santa had brought him.  Son is an only child and probably at that age had heard from schoolmates that Santa wasn't "really real," but he never indicated that he didn't believe in Santa.  In fact son was so excited in the weeks leading up to Santa that I thought he was going to burst.

 

So BIL, who had no children and being the ass he is said to son, "Aren't you a little old to still be believing in Santa?"  (Son was around 5 at the time.)

 

Husband said, "Why wouldn't he believe in Santa?  I believe in Santa.  I see Santa in my son's eyes all Christmas season.  I see Santa in my son's excitement every Christmas morning.  That's who Santa is and I feel sorry for you that you can't experience that."

 

That shut BIL up!

 

Maybe this was not the response you were looking for, but I will never forget what my husband said.  It sort of put a whole new spin on the magic of Santa for me.

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The origins of the folkloric rites and celebrations of Yule are all tied up with what has become the modern day "Santa" (including the colours and gifts (or no-gifts/coal)).  Just like the "sun rites" were replaced with "son rites" within the Christian religion. Anything folkloric that the people were so attached to that it morhped rather than disappeared implies a very strong and literal belief once held and beloved by the folk. My mother abhors the modern-day Santa and won't even let one in her house, lol. I have not tried to contact the modern-day Santa as he has nothing to do with my religion, but I do recognize and attract to my life/household the Spirit of Yule, including it's personifications and representations. I don't leave out "milk and cookies" but I do leave out cream and bread, which are much the same thing and explain (to me) where the whole milk-and-cookies thing originated. Cream and bread and/or honey were very standard gifts to be left out.

 

Gods can be very difficult for the human to define and relate to as they are not human, so humans will often personify them so they can better relate to and interact with them. Assuming the personifications are correct and not a bunch of fantasy garbage, then the personifications are very much a link to the force of the god itself. Of course, even fantasy if believed in by enough people can become a thought-form and thereby real. I have often thought this is what happened with the Christian devil - he was so well defined and depicted by the church that so many people started believing in him and feeding him through their fear that a thought-form of him was actually created and now he does exist, lol, and the Church's own creation has now become its own worst enemy, lol. 

 

M

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Yeah of course I believe! He leaves me loads of prezzies under the tree.Why? What you saying? .........He's not real!! Pfffft As if

 

On a more mature note.Interesting post

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Hogfather is one of my favorite Pratchettt books!

 

Your post is interesting.

 

A little OT or rather a different take on it:  Years ago when my son was very young, my husband's brother came over one xmas morning.  My son was happily showing BIL what Santa had brought him.  Son is an only child and probably at that age had heard from schoolmates that Santa wasn't "really real," but he never indicated that he didn't believe in Santa.  In fact son was so excited in the weeks leading up to Santa that I thought he was going to burst.

 

So BIL, who had no children and being the ass he is said to son, "Aren't you a little old to still be believing in Santa?"  (Son was around 5 at the time.)

 

Husband said, "Why wouldn't he believe in Santa?  I believe in Santa.  I see Santa in my son's eyes all Christmas season.  I see Santa in my son's excitement every Christmas morning.  That's who Santa is and I feel sorry for you that you can't experience that."

 

That shut BIL up!

 

Maybe this was not the response you were looking for, but I will never forget what my husband said.  It sort of put a whole new spin on the magic of Santa for me.

 

 

 

That's awesome! I have a six (almost 7)-year-old, and a 15-month-old - so far, the older one still believes, but I think this is probably going to be the last year. I have definitely been thinking a lot lately about how to respond to the question when she finally asks - I suppose this is what led me in this direction. May I share your quote with my family and friends?

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 The real Santa Claus is a conglomeration of history and poetic licence. One he is based on is St. Nicholas of Myra, a bishop in the fourth century that visited children and left them gifts in trying to live a life based on the teachings of Jesus. 

 

I found this link http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/origin-of-santa/ It gives a little history of Santa Claus/ St Nicholas. Apparently St. Nicholas started his rounds on Dec 6th..(thats today!) but when he morphed in to Santa Claus he started to get more fantastical and he did it all in one night, on Christmas Eve. 

 

This one explains the customs associated in the past with St Nicholas.  http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/gift-giver/

 

This one is cool too http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/real-face/  It shows what he looked like based on forensic reconstruction and compares it to paintings.  

 

So he was an actual guy that did good things. He was a person that brought the spirit of love, generosity, and hope to the poor and hopeless during a dark season and a dark time in history. 

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The origins of the folkloric rites and celebrations of Yule are all tied up with what has become the modern day "Santa" (including the colours and gifts (or no-gifts/coal)).  Just like the "sun rites" were replaced with "son rites" within the Christian religion. Anything folkloric that the people were so attached to that it morhped rather than disappeared implies a very strong and literal belief once held and beloved by the folk. My mother abhors the modern-day Santa and won't even let one in her house, lol. I have not tried to contact the modern-day Santa as he has nothing to do with my religion, but I do recognize and attract to my life/household the Spirit of Yule, including it's personifications and representations. I don't leave out "milk and cookies" but I do leave out cream and bread, which are much the same thing and explain (to me) where the whole milk-and-cookies thing originated. Cream and bread and/or honey were very standard gifts to be left out.

 

Gods can be very difficult for the human to define and relate to as they are not human, so humans will often personify them so they can better relate to and interact with them. Assuming the personifications are correct and not a bunch of fantasy garbage, then the personifications are very much a link to the force of the god itself. Of course, even fantasy if believed in by enough people can become a thought-form and thereby real. I have often thought this is what happened with the Christian devil - he was so well defined and depicted by the church that so many people started believing in him and feeding him through their fear that a thought-form of him was actually created and now he does exist, lol, and the Church's own creation has now become its own worst enemy, lol. 

 

M

 

 

 

"Spirit of Yule" - I like that! I also thought that "milk & cookies" must have some basis in tradition - I am a nursing mom, so I am starting to pump again (it's been a while - not a whole lot of extra, yet) - thought that might be an appropriate offering.

 

I am an atheist and have always casually dismissed the ideas of not only a xtian-type "God" but any "lesser" historical gods as humankind's imaginative explanations of the natural world when they did not understand the science. Lately, however, I have been wondering if it is, in fact, the case that "even fantasy if believed in by enough people can become a thought-form and thereby real." I cannot say that I believe this - but I do believe that it is possible - and I am feeling that if it is, Father Christmas/Spirit of Yule is likely one that would exist. So, it's kind of a broader experiment, too - not just "Santa", but the idea of a specific, personified energy force defined by belief.

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Yeah of course I believe! He leaves me loads of prezzies under the tree.Why? What you saying? .........He's not real!! Pfffft As if

 

On a more mature note.Interesting post

 

 

 

In my experience, you get more presents if you leave beer instead of milk! :laugh:

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 The real Santa Claus is a conglomeration of history and poetic licence. One he is based on is St. Nicholas of Myra, a bishop in the fourth century that visited children and left them gifts in trying to live a life based on the teachings of Jesus. 

 

I found this link http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/origin-of-santa/ It gives a little history of Santa Claus/ St Nicholas. Apparently St. Nicholas started his rounds on Dec 6th..(thats today!) but when he morphed in to Santa Claus he started to get more fantastical and he did it all in one night, on Christmas Eve. 

 

This one explains the customs associated in the past with St Nicholas.  http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/gift-giver/

 

This one is cool too http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/real-face/  It shows what he looked like based on forensic reconstruction and compares it to paintings.  

 

So he was an actual guy that did good things. He was a person that brought the spirit of love, generosity, and hope to the poor and hopeless during a dark season and a dark time in history. 

 

 

 

Cool - thanks for the links. I really like the facial reconstruction. If there is a Father Christmas/Spirit of Yule Energy Form that exists, perhaps the Energy of the real St. Nicolas is the whole or a part of it.

 

I think that it's funny how, with "St. Nick" being synonymous with "Santa Claus" even in the modern world, many Christians eschew Santa for being secular (you're supposed to worship Jesus, not Santa!) when his true history is as an actual Christian Saint!

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Cool - thanks for the links. I really like the facial reconstruction. If there is a Father Christmas/Spirit of Yule Energy Form that exists, perhaps the Energy of the real St. Nicolas is the whole or a part of it.

 

I think that it's funny how, with "St. Nick" being synonymous with "Santa Claus" even in the modern world, many Christians eschew Santa for being secular (you're supposed to worship Jesus, not Santa!) when his true history is as an actual Christian Saint!

 

That part we can blame on the reformation with all the Christian Sects that were against the whole Catholic Saint thing. Funny though his actions were based on the idea of the real Jesus's life. Religions are weird how they bicker over little things. 

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That part we can blame on the reformation with all the Christian Sects that were against the whole Catholic Saint thing. Funny though his actions were based on the idea of the real Jesus's life. Religions are weird how they bicker over little things. 

 

 

 

Good point.

 

And so true - religions have such a vested interest in being completely right - any tiny inconsistency can prove imperfection.

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I'll probably be leaving out porridge with a dollop of butter on top for the jultomten. He's the Swedish version of a Santa Claus like figure. Based off the protective farm spirits the tomten (plural). It was originally a small elf like creature. It's believed he can now grow in size or something. It's been a while since I read about it and there's so much information but that's what I can remember off the top of my head. Even though it's a Scandinavian folktale, I have no doubt there are similar spirits in America as well and I won't be forgetting to put that dollop of butter, never turns out well.

 

It's believed also that the modern day Santa Claus is based off a mixture of Odin and Thor. With only the name of St. Nick being the only thing relivent to him, everything else about him is based on things MUCH older.

 

In some areas of Scandinavia and Northern Europe the people (like fathers and such) still dress up as the Yule Goat and go to the front door of the house and knock and give out presents. Same with the people that dress up as Jultomten. There is no going down chimneys. Although, apparently Odin used to do that and would bring presents.

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I'll probably be leaving out porridge with a dollop of butter on top for the jultomten. He's the Swedish version of a Santa Claus like figure. Based off the protective farm spirits the tomten (plural). It was originally a small elf like creature. It's believed he can now grow in size or something. It's been a while since I read about it and there's so much information but that's what I can remember off the top of my head. Even though it's a Scandinavian folktale, I have no doubt there are similar spirits in America as well and I won't be forgetting to put that dollop of butter, never turns out well.

 

It's believed also that the modern day Santa Claus is based off a mixture of Odin and Thor. With only the name of St. Nick being the only thing relivent to him, everything else about him is based on things MUCH older.

 

In some areas of Scandinavia and Northern Europe the people (like fathers and such) still dress up as the Yule Goat and go to the front door of the house and knock and give out presents. Same with the people that dress up as Jultomten. There is no going down chimneys. Although, apparently Odin used to do that and would bring presents.

 

 

 

Cool - thanks for the info! It does seem telling that multiple cultures have developed the same archetype - I wonder if every culture that arose in a climate with a winter season has one - I'll have to look that up (in my spare time! :biggrin: ).

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Yeah, it's really interesting to read about all the old folktales and myths that have resulted in what we are now familiar with around Xmas time. A lot, as was already mentioned by Michelle, comes from Yule. A lot of the Xmas time characters (for a lack of a better word) comes from the Norse and a mixture of Celtic lore.

 

I think the idea that you mentioned of Santa Claus being believed into existence, so to speak, is really interesting. I just think that Santa Claus, or at least the American version, is some what of a mutt... Just a huge mixture of Norse gods, folklore, and some xtian characters mixed in. So, personally, I would probably be more likely to leave some carrots and hay in a pair of boots for Odin's horse Sleipner then milk and cookies for the modern day Santa Claus.

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In Italy you have Babbo Natale which is saint nick I guess and then La befana. A little old witch. I believe that they are both christian myths. Funny cos babbo in sicilian means a fool/stupid. So i never kinda got why a fool would bring me my presents when i was very young. Maybe cos he was stupid "shrugs" anyway I always loved my english christmas more.

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Yeah, it's really interesting to read about all the old folktales and myths that have resulted in what we are now familiar with around Xmas time. A lot, as was already mentioned by Michelle, comes from Yule. A lot of the Xmas time characters (for a lack of a better word) comes from the Norse and a mixture of Celtic lore.

 

I think the idea that you mentioned of Santa Claus being believed into existence, so to speak, is really interesting. I just think that Santa Claus, or at least the American version, is some what of a mutt... Just a huge mixture of Norse gods, folklore, and some xtian characters mixed in. So, personally, I would probably be more likely to leave some carrots and hay in a pair of boots for Odin's horse Sleipner then milk and cookies for the modern day Santa Claus.

 

 

 

I guess it only makes sense that America would get a "melting pot" Santa! :smile:

 

This discussion raises another question for me, too: if there is such an entity as a "belief-generated" Yule Spirit, would this be region-specific, or is there something older and more universal - and thus, I would think, more primitive? Or could there be various "extensions" of a single entity? Just thinking here!

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One sometimes hears Christian's speak of the "true spirit of Christmas" (or "the season"). I think there's a clue in that, lol (even if the Christians don't realaize what they're saying). The "season".  Jesus was the birth of being "saved" - new hope, a new chance at life, etc. And most Chirstians agree that he wasn't born in the middle of winter. So why did the Church place him there? To replace what some folks would not give up and could not let go of. Another chance. New life. Hope. In a much colder world than ours, without electricity and grocery stores, the turn of the season when the sunlight hours started to slowly grow longer was a huge relief to some starving, freezing folks who lived off the land. And I don't think it would be unusual that most folk from varied cultures would have recognized this turning of the seasons. Not "way back then" when no culture had electricity, or grocery stores, or hospitals, or a bank account, or a telephone, or TV, or Nyquil, and the average temperature was much colder than it is now... Perhaps this was just a celebration of the hope and joy brought on by the turning of the season. A hope lost to us today, but which meant the difference of life and death to an older peoples.

 

M

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In Italy you have Babbo Natale which is saint nick I guess and then La befana. A little old witch. I believe that they are both christian myths. Funny cos babbo in sicilian means a fool/stupid. So i never kinda got why a fool would bring me my presents when i was very young. Maybe cos he was stupid "shrugs" anyway I always loved my english christmas more.

 

 

 

Interesting - I've never heard of them before. I googled them - I always love learning new folklore!

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One sometimes hears Christian's speak of the "true spirit of Christmas" (or "the season"). I think there's a clue in that, lol (even if the Christians don't realaize what they're saying). The "season".  Jesus was the birth of being "saved" - new hope, a new chance at life, etc. And most Chirstians agree that he wasn't born in the middle of winter. So why did the Church place him there? To replace what some folks would not give up and could not let go of. Another chance. New life. Hope. In a much colder world than ours, without electricity and grocery stores, the turn of the season when the sunlight hours started to slowly grow longer was a huge relief to some starving, freezing folks who lived off the land. And I don't think it would be unusual that most folk from varied cultures would have recognized this turning of the seasons. Not "way back then" when no culture had electricity, or grocery stores, or hospitals, or a bank account, or a telephone, or TV, or Nyquil, and the average temperature was much colder than it is now... Perhaps this was just a celebration of the hope and joy brought on by the turning of the season. A hope lost to us today, but which meant the difference of life and death to an older peoples.

 

M

 

 

 

 

As far as I know, every culture that exists in a climate that has a winter season has some sort of mid-winter celebration - exactly because of this. I don't know whether they all have some sort of personification of that hope and gratitude. Sometimes I really have to bite my tongue when I hear Christians talk about "The True Meaning of Christmas" - if they only knew!

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That's awesome! I have a six (almost 7)-year-old, and a 15-month-old - so far, the older one still believes, but I think this is probably going to be the last year. I have definitely been thinking a lot lately about how to respond to the question when she finally asks - I suppose this is what led me in this direction. May I share your quote with my family and friends?

 

 

Absolutely!

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Well for Greeks Santa Clause is St Bill actually, Great Vasilios was a saint in orthodox church who first raised philanthropy. He died on January 1st in 379, since then the churche dedicated that day to St Vasilios (or Santa Clause), this day is supposed to bring good luck and blessings to people. Also it reminds to people to share and give specially to children who sing the carrols.

 

My fathers name is Vasilios so he was and he's always gonna be my Santa! And his best gift is his love. :wub:

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Well for Greeks Santa Clause is St Bill actually, Great Vasilios was a saint in orthodox church who first raised philanthropy. He died on January 1st in 379, since then the churche dedicated that day to St Vasilios (or Santa Clause), this day is supposed to bring good luck and blessings to people. Also it reminds to people to share and give specially to children who sing the carrols.

 

My fathers name is Vasilios so he was and he's always gonna be my Santa! And his best gift is his love. :wub:

 

 

 

 

Awww! :smile:

 

My family (on my mom's side) is Greek - growing up, Vasilios was my dog's name! :laugh:

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I like the Germanic/Alpine tradition of St Nicholas being accompanied by a horned dark character called Krampus who carted off naughty children. I think today's brats here in the UK could do with a visit from him :-)

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I like the Germanic/Alpine tradition of St Nicholas being accompanied by a horned dark character called Krampus who carted off naughty children. I think today's brats here in the UK could do with a visit from him :-)

 

 

 

Oooh - I can think of a couple that I'd like to leave out for him! :yes:

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This was gifted to me by a local artist last year. I thought he did a wonderful job depicting the Krampus. Right down to the birch branches and chains. Lovely fellow this Krampus.

 

Krampus


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