Many Christians freely acknowledge that holidays comparable to Christmas are largely derived from historic “pagan” customs. For that reason, some conservative Christian church buildings, such because the Jehovah’s Witnesses and at one time the Worldwide Church of God, have shunned Christmas due to its affiliation with paganism.
Others, nonetheless, have argued simply the other: that it’s the very “pagan” components inside Christmas that makes the season particular. Some have gone as far as to try to recapture the unique pagan or heathen meanings of Christmas or “Xmas-Tide” season, because it was known as in Germanic nations.
One such particular person is Dr. Stephen Flowers, who has been instrumental in makes an attempt to revive the previous Germanic tradition and faith. Flowers is among the world’s foremost specialists within the historic “magical” writing of the German and Norse peoples, the runes. Flowers, of Smithville, Texas, holds his Ph.D. in Germanic Research and has revealed quite a few scholarly articles on the Germanic revival motion in addition to a number of books on the runes which have turn into classics of the runic revival. Amongst his books are Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology, Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, and The 9 Doorways of Midgard. I interviewed Flowers with reference to efforts to revive the unique which means of the Xmas-Tide season.
[C.W.] A whole lot of Christian fundamentalists understand that there’s a lot of “paganism” in Christmas (to not point out commercialization) , and they also give you slogans like, “let’s put Christ again in Christmas.” However would not it’s extra correct to say, “let’s put Odin again in Xmas?”
[S.F.] Christians who’ve educated themselves on the historical past of this stuff know in addition to anybody that there’s nothing initially Christian in regards to the late December vacation. Jesus was born within the spring and the entire particulars of the “Christmas season” are pagan in origin. To place Odin again in place could be an act of cultural restoration.
[C.W.] When and why did the Christian church start to undertake the customs of Xmas Tide and incorporate them into Christmas (in addition to customs associated to Mithraism and the Sol Invictus mysteries)?
[S.F.] Most individuals are sluggish and reluctant to alter, particularly when their tradition is working nicely for them. Usually the Germanic tradition was working nicely because it encountered Christianity. It took nearly a thousand years earlier than the entire of the Germanic world from Germany to England to Scandinavia could possibly be Christianized.
This course of began within the 300s among the many Goths and led to 1100 in Sweden. The church didn’t need to settle for pagan practices; it merely had to take action with the intention to achieve success. Their “prime directive” was to achieve success – in any respect prices. In the long run it was extra a matter of Christianity being paganized than it was a query of pagans being Christianized.
[C.W.] Have you ever seen any effort in most people to reclaim the “pagan” roots of holidays, comparable to Christmas?
[S.F.] Not within the “common public.” Solely a comparatively few educated and devoted people to my information have tried to revive our cultural authenticity and thereby radically heal our tradition of its deep-seated illness.
[C.W.] Can a real Xmas celebration ever occur once more? How a lot of the unique meanings may be reconstructed versus how a lot was misplaced?
[S.F.] Definitely it could possibly. The true spirit of the time by no means left. It isn’t a matter of reviving one thing that has died, merely reawakening a sleeping cultural large from inside. The precise varieties and customs, though many have survived albeit in typically “Christianized” varieties, will not be as vital because the spirit and information with which the celebration is approached.
[C.W.] What’s a number of the Germanic symbolism in Xmas that you simply nonetheless see right now in Christmas decorations and customs and whatnot?
[S.F.] A very powerful symbols of Christmas time, such because the “Christmas tree” and Santa Claus each have pagan origins. The tree was initially one within the forest, an ancestral tree, which obtained sacrificial presents in the course of the Xmas-Tide and was illuminated and embellished with symbolic indicators and tokens to draw the ancestral spirits. When the church banned such practices the tree, or an emblem of it, was merely introduced inside, away from the prying eyes of the churchmen. Santa Claus is a “jolly previous elf,” as everyone knows. Within the Germanic world, elves are ancestral spirits.
Santa clothes in crimson, which is the standard shade of the clothes of the elves. He’s additionally associated to the previous gods Thor and Odin he lives within the North Pole, he flies via the air distributing blessings and his sled is drawn by reindeer known as Donner and Blitzen, German for “thunder’ and “lightning.”
One of the vital facets of the Xmas-Tide is financial. In historic instances all the perfect issues had been saved for Xmas-Tide celebrations after which splurged throughout these celebrations. This has translated to our entire worldwide economic system, the place an enormous portion of enterprise is completed in and for the so-called “vacation season.”
[C.W.] What’s the esoteric (secret) which means that Xmas had for the German and Norse peoples?
[S.F.] That is the top of the yr, and the rebirth of the solar and of the brand new cycle of the approaching yr. That is why it was historically celebrated over twelve days, to represent the twelve coming months, in addition to to mirror over the previous twelve.
It was a time when the interior seeds of motion had been planted for the approaching yr, and reconnection with the ancestors was firmly established. The Xmas-Tide is a time to recollect ancestors, and to have fun their rebirth within the small offspring. The previous perception in rebirth, or “reincarnation” if you’ll, is behind the hidden reality that every one holidays initially celebrating the ancestors was additionally a “kids’s competition.” This may be favorably in comparison with the impact of Halloween within the Celtic world.
[C.W.] What sort of impact wouldn’t it have on society to reclaim or keep in mind a number of the unique meanings of the Xmas-Tide Season?
[S.F.] As I’ve mentioned, our tradition is sick. Most individuals acknowledge this on some stage however do not know the way it received this fashion. Most blame “permissiveness” or “ungodliness, ” however the issues have a lot deeper roots. The issues started with the approaching of Christianity as a result of it demanded that we abandon our traditions, our ancestral authenticity and lots of different priceless facets of tradition. (This was traditionally finished primarily to realize financial profit from commerce and relations with the richer Christian nations of the early Center Ages.
To treatment our radical, elementary cultural illness it’s required for us to find it trigger and deal with the sickness at its root trigger. This necessitates the restoration of cultural authenticity and conventional mythic values, that are our personal, and never these imposed on us from the skin. Restoring the Xmas-Tide is only one step within the nice act of cultural therapeutic.
By Corey Wicks