Most of us are now familiar with the character of Krampus, Santa’s enforcer. Half man, half goat, male goat at that, since he’s got those two big curvy horns, and he carries a bundle of birch switches with which to beat the naughty children. Sometimes he’s got a leather whip, instead. Sometimes he has an iron chain to beat them with. He rarely has all three, after all, he’s only got two hands. Sometimes he’s got a sack over his shoulder, into which go the particularly naughty, particularly unsalvageable children. These he drowns, eats, or sends straight to Hell.
Krampus is a common companion of St. Nick in Germany, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, South Tyrol and parts of Northern Italy, although he has become popular in much of Europe.
Now me, being essentially a pagan, a Hindu pagan, I get suspicious when I see a Christian tradition that looks like it has pagan underpinnings, but has a sort of nastiness to it.
After all, I demonstrated last January that the image we have of Santa Claus is not based on the presumably historical St. Nicholas, but is directly swiped from the old nordo-germanic god Odin. You’ll have to go watch, or read, my dissertation, “Santa is the King of the Gods”, for details on that.
So, who’s turn was it in the Christian barrel this time? Well, there are many depictions of a horned pagan god, a god of nature. The god has many names, but the main one is the god Pan, a form of Bacchus-Dionysos, the Greco-Roman god of wine and bread. Pan was the form of Bacchus that ruled over the fertility of nature, and was one with the natural world.
The Celtic equivalent was probably Cernunnos, who ruled over nature, and was depicted as a man with horns, usually deer antlers, but still a horned god.
The Egyptians also worshiped a horned god, at the city of Mendes. Mendes was the Greek name for the city. The Egyptian name for their god was Banebdjed, which meant “the soul of Osiris”. Osiris was considered by all the ancient world to be essentially the same god as Bacchus. Banebdjed was also know as the Goat of Mendes, who later Christians associated with Satan, but then the Christians say the everybody else’s depictions of God and the gods are manifestations of the devil.
So, when you go to, or watch on TV, one of the many Krampus festivals in Europe, or one of a dozen or so in the U.S. of A., or watch one of the two or three movies that Krampus stars in, remember that he didn’t start out as a bad guy. It was the Christians that put a cramp on Krampus’ style.
First shared on the Squatcher’s Lounge Podcast:
For the reading impaired, an audio version of this quasi theory may be found here: