Wednesday, December 10, 2008


You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I'm telling you why....I wish I knew about Krampus when I started telling my daughter Christmas tales! She could care less if I threaten her with the ol' "Santa will leave coal in your stocking" bit! But Krampus, now that's the kind of folklore we can use to keep naughty girls and boys in line! Did you know that before St. Nick employed elves to help him out, he was accompanied by the Devil? Krampus followed St. Nick around like a shadow. Good little children were rewarded with gifts and the bad ones were punished by Krampus! Sometimes Krampus will just give give you a good scare and a verbal warning! One could only hope...

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In addition to the dreaded coal in the stocking, if you were just a little naughty you might get off with a swat on the ass! Or if you deserve a more severe punishment...Krampus might really rough you up!

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But you know what happens to those really bad children!? He might throw you in his straw sack and steal you away into the forest...never to be heard from again!

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In Austria and Germany, the tradition (which may vary slightly in different parts of the country) is that the boots of good children will be filled with goodies on December 6th by St. Nicholas. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus on the evening of December 5, and roam the streets with St. Nick frightening children (and adults) growling and shaking rusty chains and bells! The present day Krampus costume consists of wooden masks, sheep or goat's skin and horns. The tradition might also include slight spankings with a switch or tree branch by the Krampus, especially of young females! Meanwhile St. Nick hands out children candy, fruit and small toys! During these festivals St. Nick is accompanied by a whole gang!

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Modern day Krampus Festivals are sometimes very dangerous, especially for women. Old tales say Krampus (a horny fertility god) is quite fond of sexually harassing women and slapping them on the behind. This leads to a lot of sexual misconduct on the streets by drunken men dressed as Krampus!

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The Companion of St. Nicholas is associated with the story of Knecht Ruprecht (Saint Rupert), a wild foundling whom St. Nicholas raises from childhood. In some of the Ruprecht traditions, the children would be summoned to the door to perform tricks, such as a dance or singing a song to impress upon St. Nick and Ruprecht that they were indeed good children. Those who performed badly would be beaten soundly by Servant Ruprecht, and those who performed well were given a gift or some treats. Those who performed badly enough or had committed other misdeeds throughout the year were put into Ruprecht's sack and taken away, variously to Ruprecht’s home in the Black Forest. In other versions the children must be asleep, and would awake to find their shoes filled with either sweets, coal, or in some cases a stick. Over time, other customs developed: parents giving kids who misbehaved a stick instead of treats and saying that it was a warning from Nikolaus that "unless you improve by Christmas day, Nikolaus' black servant Ruprecht will come and beat you with the stick and you won't get any Christmas gifts." I read quite a few interesting articles about Krampus while searching the internet for images. However, most of them focused on the notion that Krampus and St. Nick eventually were merged into one character that we now recognize as Santa Claus. Santa now punishes naughty children and rewards the good ones. As you know, he has a list...and checks it twice!

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Only a few articles suggested that Krampus has pre-Christian Pagan origins. One pointed torwards the "Wilde Man" of Germanic and Slavic folklore. These tales spawned stories like the Brothers Grimm tale entitled "De Wilde Mann" and Beauty and the Beast. The Wild Man, Woodwose is connected to devilish woodland spirits like Puck and the Green Man. So I would say that notion is misleading. Others suggest a connection to the mysterious "Horned God". But there are many horned god deities, so that really needs to be defined. When Neopagans refer to the "Horned God", they could be refering to one of several different horned dieties. One such archetype represents the personification of the life force energy in animals and the wilderness, fertility, sexual virility and the Hunt. Gods like Cernunnos, Pan, Faunus are personified as being sex crazed or shown as having a large erect phallus. Fertility and the symbolism of the phallus all denote a connection to the rites rituals, and celebrations of Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. (As does the aforementioned Wilde Man) So none of these references have any synchronicity with Krampus rites.

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In some depictions, Krampus bears an uncanny resemblance to "The Devil". The Devil is still a vague reference as a modern personification of Evil. The Devil usually refers to Lucifer and Satan of the Bible. They are commonly lumped together into one entity. They are two entirely different spiritual beings however. In Hebrew ha-Satan is "the accuser" and Satan itself means "to overcome" — the one who challenged the religious faith of humans in the books of Job and Zechariah. Abrahamic religious belief systems other than Judaism relate this term to a rebellious fallen angel, devil, minor god and idol, or as an allegory for knowledge or the enlightenment of mankind. Another aspect of the Devil points torwards the Serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (i.e., “sexual knowing”) The Serpent in the Garden is more likely rooted in Ancient Sumerian texts and is actually Enlil (Ilu), Lord of the Air and Lord of the Command was said to have created an created an E.DIN, according to Sumerian texts. He was said to have descended from Heaven to Earth. Half brother of Enki, Lord of the Earth and Waters. The philosophy of Enki manifests and explains itself in pre-Christian Mesopotamian and Egyptian thought. Satan doesn't have any synchronicities with Krampus in Occult art or literature, so we're getting off track again here.

Let's talk about Lucifer! In Latin, the word "Lucifer", meaning "Light-Bringer" (from lux, lucis, "light", and ferre, "to bear, bring"), is a name for the "Eastern Star" or "Day Star". This usage stems from a particular interpretation, as a reference to a fallen angel, of a passage in the Bible (Isaiah 14:3-20) that speaks of someone who is given the name of "Day Star" (in Latin, Lucifer) as fallen from heaven. The same Latin word is used of the morning star in 2 Peter 1:19 and elsewhere with no relation to Satan. Lucifer is recognized by Occultists as the Father of Baphomet, and is represented as the Sabbatic Goat, Lucifer. Eliphas Lévi considered Baphomet to be a depiction of the absolute in symbolic form. Below is an illustration of Baphomet by Lévi. His depiction is similar to that of the Devil in early tarot cards.

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Lévi wrote: "The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of hermetism, the one pointing up, one pointing down. This sign expresses the perfect harmony love and peace. His one arm use force, the other receptivity. The flame of shining between his horns is the light of universal balance as bestowed upon him. The image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The beast's head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes when spirit is made flesh. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life. The semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyn arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences." The word Baphomet is said to be an Old French corruption and misspelling of the name Mahomet (Muhammad. Christianity claims that Muhammad is a false Prophet and therefore demonizes him and the followers of Islam (Peace). The name is a combination of two Greek words (baphe and metis) and meant 'absorption into wisdom.' into subtle absolution. I could go on and on about the origins of Baphomet, and synchronicities with other gods throughout different cultures, but I'll spare you the details. I just wanted to establish that Lucifer and Baphomet are not one and the same... one a Lord of the Underworld and heralds from the Kingdom of Heaven.

So what does all this have to do with Christmas and why is Santa hanging out with Lucifer? Let's break it down, shall we? In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs either December 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn. The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest, night of the year. (This is reversed during Summer Solstice) Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.

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Again, in the Tarot the Devil Card is associated with the sign of Capricorn. Capricornus has been recognized as a goat since Babylonian. Below is Occultist Aleister Crowley's version of the Devil, he states: "He is 'The Devil' of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is BAPHOMET, the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection. He is therefore Life and Love. But moreover his letter is ayin, the Eye, so that he is Light; and his Zodiacal image is Capricornus, that leaping goat whose attribute is Liberty."

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Santa Claus/St. Nick/Father Christmas is simply the personification of Winter Solstice accompanied by his servant and messenger Krampus the Horned God! Krampus the "Horned God" represents the movement of the Sun into Capricorn. Check out this image of Santa riding in on a Goat! The Horned God heralds the begining of Winter!

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Winter Solstice is longest night of the year. (Again, after winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.) The Horned God not only heralds the beginning of Winter, but he carries the souls of the dead to the underworld. (Death here is symbolic of repressed sexual energy.) represents the of the "Dark night of the Soul" or the descent of Spirit into light. As the "Bringer of Light" he promises the return of the Sun (Enlightenment). The Horned Fertility God offers the secret of rebirth. Notice in Eliphas Lévi's illustration, Baphomet reveals the the caduceus or magic wand of Hermes (Mercury). His arms reveal the words "Solve" and "Coagula" In alchemy the term in Latin: SOLVE ET COAGULA means separate and join together or dissolve and coagulate (bind together)

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The caduceus is comprised of two serpents coupling on an erected phallus, fertility symbol. The rod is a symbol of transforming alchemical power. The two serpents represent Union of Opposites (Sun/Moon) The snakes together with the sprouted wings depict the caduceus having an alchemical meaning of balance of duality, the alchemical process leading to unity. Even today, the symbol is often associated with medicine. Levi called his image “the Baphomet of Mendes” (Mendes is an ancient Egyptian city) "the Lord of Mendes". The Egyptian god Osris, father of the "DIVINE CHILD", Horus. For Crowley, Baphomet is a potent representative of the spiritual nature of while also being symbolic of the "MAGICAL CHILD" produced as a result of sex magic. The Truth here is Baphomet represents the Union of Opposites, especially as mystically personified in Beast and Babalon but combined and biologically manifested with the sperm and egg united in the zygote as Jupiter incarnate as a flower of Earth. The birth of the Christ Child is a metaphor for Spiritual Rebirth as well as Enlightenment that comes after a period of Darkness (Ignorance) "Out of Darkness, Cometh Light". Satanic Thought. But it also quite literally points torward the return of the Sun in Summer Soltice.

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Winter solstice festivals throughout all cultures in ancient and modern times celebrate the rebirth of the Great God Zofora, the Splendid one who is viewed as the newborn Solstice Sun. Most traditions include "festival of lights", which celebrate the return of Sun or rebirth of the Son! Germanic Tribes lighted trees (Tannenbaum) and celebrated the fest of light called Lichtfest. Around the shortest day of the year, December 21. Yule traditions include decorating of an evergreen tree with candles, burning a Yule log, hanging mistletoe and holly branches, giving gifts, and general celebration and merriment. On Christmas an evergreen tree that is brought into a home is decorated with Christmas lights and colourful ornaments during the days around Christmas. An angel or a star is placed at the top of the tree, representing the Star of Bethlahem, Archangel Auriel. This is the North star that the Three Wise Men followed.

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Remember, Lucifer "Bringer of Light" or "Morning Star"? If you look again at Eliphas Lévi's depiction of the Horned One, he has a 5-pointed Star on his forehead. "The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light" It is the Star of Adam Kadom. In the Qabala, Christ, the Logos, the only begotten son of God as found in Genesis 1: 1, not to be confused with the emanations of Adam Kadom (also called Adam or Eden) as found in Genesis 2 (consciousness) or Genesis 3 (matter and life) or Genesis 4 (humanity). Below you'll notice that the symbol for Lucifer is a 5-pointed star pointing downwards, representing his son Baphomet's dominion in hell. Also shown is the Star of Adam Kadom, a 6-pointed star pointing up, representing Krishna Consciousness). That would indicate that the Devil, Satan, as Jesus Christ's antagonist in the Bible really represents Man struggling within himself, with his own Shadow (Ignorance.) It's through the Union of this Duality that we achieve Spiritual Liberation!

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See also:
Sol Invictus


micha michelle said...

i've read loads of krampus posts lately, but yours is by far the most all encompassing. i truly love finding out about where traditions + customs originate + how they evolve over time.

in your research did you come across any mention/imagery of krampus bread? i know if it's existence, but have found very little background information, or recipes, as of yet.

i'm really interested in traditional baking customs pertaining to festivals + celebrations. i'm especially interesting in sculpted/figurative breads. anything you can pass along would be greatly appreciated.

take care,

Ravens' Wing said...

I remember this image as child - I'm an army brat and when we were stationed in Germany in the early '60's - he was still out and about and used to scare the bejesus outta me - I've also heard this character refered to as "Black Peter"- hmmm kids today- shesh- they have it sooo easy- no real threats of switches and ashes! Thansk for the great info-

nefaeria said...

I absolutely love folklore, so this post was a great read for me. It is obvious that you took the time to do some research.

Thanks for the interesting post!



Anonymous said...

i love this post!! so much information!!!

i have a couple good krampus images favorited on flickr, but i dont know if you can see other peoples?

hm, nope. stupid flickr! well, these are the best:

Lady Lavona said...

Glad you liked this! It took me sooo long to put together! xo Lavona

Janne Martola said...

I was really fascinated reading your text. Thanks for sharing this interesting information. I was thinking of creating a painting of Baphomet earlier. And now im convinced that I must do it.