Christmas: Is it Christian or Pagan? – Part 8
Santa’s Reindeer: Where did they come from?
Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Jon Watkins Online Ministries November 2015
Cynthia Pawl edited, corrected and added to this!
I guess when you say reindeer, at Christmas time, it conjures up the image of ole Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer in the popular Christmas animation. You know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem, but do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all…… I won’t bore you with the rest.
In traditional lore, Santa Claus’s sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blitzen and Blixen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion. The names of Donder and Blitzen derive from Germanic words for thunder and lightning. Source
Going back to Santa Claus part 6 and referencing 1st Corinthians 13:11, We need to grow up and put of childish non-sense and come into reality “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, (or a woman) I put away childish things.”
While researching what reindeer really are in the Christmas story, I came across this bit of info at Live Science. They have an article entitled ” 8 ways Magic Mushrooms explain Santa Story” I encourage you to read it in the entirety as I am just excerpting the reindeer part here. Remember that all myth is based on some factual history.
According to the article, Reindeer were shaman “spirit animals.” who sought out or were fed the “Magic Mushrooms”
Reindeer are common in Siberia and northern Europe, and seek out these hallucinogenic fungi, as the area’s human inhabitants have also been known to do. Donald Pfister, a Harvard University biologist who studies fungi, suggests that Siberian tribesmen who ingested fly agaric may have hallucinated that the grazing reindeer were flying.
“At first glance, one thinks it’s ridiculous, but it’s not,” said Carl Ruck, a professor of classics at Boston University. “Whoever heard of reindeer flying? I think it’s becoming general knowledge that Santa is taking a ‘trip’ with his reindeer.”
“Amongst the Siberian shamans, you have an animal spirit you can journey with in your vision quest,” Ruck continued. “And reindeer are common and familiar to people in eastern Siberia.” Source
The above account could be related to this about Reindeer in Mythology:
There is early evidence of reindeer (caribou) having a place of honor in prehistory. Rock paintings feature reindeer flying across walls of cave interiors. There’s not just one or two instances of this reindeer rock art…but many are evident throughout Europe and Asia. It’s hard to know exactly what was going on in the prehistoric mind when the paintings were created. However, anthropologists surmise the reindeer was a kind of psychopomp – which means a ‘spirit guide’ or ‘guide of the soul’. Most of these prehistoric paintings showcase the reindeer soaring through the air.
Perhaps early man deemed the reindeer as a messenger – able to fly man’s messages to the heavens. To be sure, the reindeer is fleet-of-foot. Maybe prehistoric humans witnessed their speed and elegant movements and believed the reindeer best equipped to be their liaison between earth and sky. Something to ponder. Certainly a potential for us modern-day humans. Reindeer energy is highly capable of carrying our desires and intent out into the universe. Indeed, the stag (a big male of the deer clan with an impressive rack of antlers) is a powerful spirit guide. Strong, swift, proud…the stag is a fully functional guide into the realm of pure potential. It has no fear of taking you on the other side of the veil of reality.
Speaking of the veil…ancient wisdom of the Tungusic tribe (Eastern Siberia) revered the reindeer as a creature of the night as well as a funerary symbol. In essence, the reindeer was called upon as a light-guide through darkness and death. When a tribal member passed into non-physical, the reindeer carried the soul safely into the realm of spirit. In many cultures, including northern regions of Europe and Asia, the reindeer is a lunar symbol. Source
Obviously, in this article you can see that there is a history of a spiritual aspect to reindeer. We know that “Spirit Guides” are not to be sought by believers. This is a pagan practice of contacting evil spirits. We also know that demons often inhabit animals when they are looking for a physical form for their purposes. If, indeed the demons entered reindeer they would be able to manifest in supernatural ways, even being able to make that reindeer fly. This is not beyond the realm of reality, this is interdimensional and spiritual.
No matter how the modern day version came to be, multiple sources always seem to mention the Yule Goat as the basis of Santa’s reindeer.
The function of the Yule goat has differed throughout the ages. In a Scandinavian tradition similar to wassailing, held at either Christmas or Epiphany, young men in costumes would walk between houses singing songs, enacting plays and performing pranks. This tradition is known from the 17th century and continued in places into the early 20th century. The group of Christmas characters would often include the Yule goat, a rowdy and sometimes scary creature demanding gifts.
Other traditions are possibly related to the sheaf of corn called the Yule goat. In Sweden, people regarded the Yule goat as an invisible spirit that would appear some time before Christmas to make sure that the Yule preparations were done right. Objects made out of straw or roughly-hewn wood could also be called the Yule goat, and in older Scandinavian society a popular Christmas prank was to place this Yule goat in a neighbor’s house without them noticing; the family successfully pranked had to get rid of it in the same way.
During the 19th century the Yule goat’s role all over Scandinavia shifted towards becoming the giver of Christmas gifts, with one of the men in the family dressing up as the Yule goat. In this, there might be a relation to Santa Claus and the Yule goat’s origin in the medieval celebrations of Saint Nicholas. The goat was then replaced by the jultomte (Father Christmas/Santa Claus) or julenisse during the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, although he is still called the Joulupukki (Yule goat) in Finland, and the tradition of the man-sized goat disappeared. Source
If you are like me, you could not help but notice how a lot of the practices stated above sound eerily similar to the Druidic practices related to Samhain/Halloween. Dressing in costumes, traveling through the villages, playing tricks and asking for treats.
What will you do with the facts that have been presented to you? Will you continue as a “Child”, or will you grow up, shed off the lies and deception not only about the Christmas tradition, but all other pagan practices that are woven into Christianity as well?
Continued in Part 9 – Conclusion – Part 9