Who is this old guy with a white beard living in the North Pole imparting gifts once a year in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer? How did this belief transpire? Whence came the notion of flying reindeer? And dwarfs who seem to have no other purpose then to help make the gifts and toys. And why the North Pole? And why are gods such as Krishna, Mithra and Jesus said to have been born on the same day as this annual gift giving?
The name Santa Claus is derived from Nicholas of Myra who was a very popular bishop living in what is now Turkey during the time of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. A.D. 245-313 if you believe current day time tables. Nicholas was persecuted and even tortured for his Christian beliefs and eventually thrown in jail. When Constantine converted to the Christian faith he released the imprisoned Christians.
After his death he was honored by the Greeks and Romans at an annual feast on December 6. On the Eve of this feast day, December 5, they would give gifts secretly to each other because Nicholas secretly bestowed the dowry of 3 daughters of a poor citizen so that they could obtain a decent marriage partner and not be given over to a house of prostitution by the father.
When Christian Catholicism spread North the Dutch started to celebrate the event. The Dutch pronunciation of Saint Nicholas is Sinter Klaas. When the Dutch colonized America – New York City was formerly called New Amsterdam – the tradition was introduced to America and the English version of Sinter Klaas became Santa Claus.
But Saint Nicholas never lived in the North Pole. So how did that belief originate? And how did the December 25 date come about? And what is the connection with the Christmas Tree?
To embrace the sympathies of everyone the Romans moved the date from December 6 to December 25 which was the birthday and thus the feast and festival of Mithra. The religion of Mithra and the newer Jesus religion had much in common. Both gods were born of a virgin. Both died and rose again after 3 days. Both had a sacred foundation stone – Mithra had Petra and Jesus had Peter. The religions of Mithra and Jesus had become competitive and so this was a way to bring them together.
The celebration of Sol Invictus (the victory or coming forth of Saturn) on December 25 had been already amalgamated with the Mithra feast. And so had the traditions of Apollo and Helios. All these beliefs had much in common. They were just different versions of the same thing. These gods were pictured on mosaics being surrounded by a ring with the 12 constellations of the zodiac on them. Mithra had 12 satellites. Jesus had 12 “disciples”. Mithra is depicted as a sun disc drawn by a white horse as was Jesus and who according to the book of Revelation is supposed to return on a white horse.
The original festival of Saturnalia celebrating the Birth of Saturn was also December 25. The Greek version was The Kronia dedicated to Kronos/Saturn and took place on the same date. This festival commemorated the reign of Saturn – Saturnia Regna. Saturnia Dei was Saturday – the holy day and no work was to be done because Saturn rested after his birth and creation. In the book of Exodus a person was stoned to death because he was picking up sticks on the Sabbath – the day of rest for Elohim (Saturn).
So the festivals and/or birthdays of Saint Nicholas, Saturn, Kronos, Mithra, Jesus, Apollo, Helios and Sol Invictus have been amalgamated. But what really was this birthday? Jesus is known not to have been born on this date and this birthdate for him was not celebrated until around 354 A.D.
The tradition of a former polar god or polar sun has been chronicled by many. And the recognition that this former polar sun god was Saturn has also been demonstrated. But the next step is not taken. They just wonder what possible relationship Saturn could actually have with the North Pole and remain perplexed.
The traditions of an immovable Saturn as the North Star positioned in the North Pole made little sense after the age of Kronos/Saturn had come to an end.
Early traditions of Christmas has Saturn as the old man at the North Pole bringing sprigs of evergreen to children. In myth Saturn resides on top of his Holy Mountain which was also portrayed as a Holy Tree. This Tree of Life or Evergreen Sprig of Saturn was actually a plasma discharge. It was a brilliant white and thus was called the Milky Way. (Our galaxy was named after this mytho-historical belief). Sometimes the swirling helical currents were visible and seen as a serpent such as in Genesis. And the befuddled account of Moses’ staff turning into serpents illustrates this point. The scepter or cane of Kings frequently had serpents carved on them. I have in my possession a cane from Mali in Africa with a serpent carved in it.
At times sparkles of light were observable on this cosmic tree – the mythical axis mundi. These were concentrated areas of energy or plasmoids. This is the origin of the Christmas tree. In the Old Testament and elsewhere they are depicted as angels or departed souls coming and going on a ladder to heaven. Saturn as well as Santa is depicted with a long flowing white beard which is also reminiscent of the white plasma discharge.
And what about Santa’s red apparel? Red and purple is associated with Saturn. Saturn casted a primordial red glow and is responsible for the purple dawn of creation. Eventually turning into a more yellow radiance. This is the reason for red to be the color of royalty. Kings and popes wore robes of purple or red. So did bishops such as Nicholas of Myra. They also wore the crown of Venus who along with Mars was positioned in front of Saturn making up the Holy Trinity. Mars – the Son of God would periodically come down the Northern Axis to ‘save the world’. He is the one who drove his Father’s chariot – which was depicted as a sleigh in northern regions.
Saturn is the God whose birth heralded creation. Saturn flared-up and became a bright star in the Northern Hemisphere. He is frequently pictured riding his flying steeds or flying dragons or flying reindeer depending on the location of the people describing it. These were high energy plasma emanations that took place when Saturn was first born. Actually this flare-up or eruption was the last in a series of turbulent outpourings as Saturn adjusted to it’s new environment dominated by the much bigger sun. And this is why the Maya believe there were many ‘creations’.
The Norse Saturn God Odin also had dwarves as helpers. He is pictured flying in his chariot pulled by goats. The dwarfs were master craftsman and forged gifts for the gods (planets). They are personifications of Saturn’s moons. Saturn’s moons were also depicted as his children.
Being at relatively close proximity to the Earth the family of Saturn was also referred to as the circumpolar stars. In the pyramid texts Atum-Ra (Saturn) has a northern location and surrounds himself with the circumpolar stars. As does the Babylonian Anu and the Persian Kevan. Brahma has an epithet of Dhruva which in Sanskrit means Pole Star. Shang-Ti is the Chinese Saturn called the Genie of the Pivot. And in the Book of Ezekiel, Elohim (Saturn) appears to Ezekiel from the North.
And that is why Saturn Gods such as Mithra, Helios, Apollo etc. are pictured in ancient mosaics with constellations. The constellations of the zodiac were originally the positions or groupings of Saturn’s 62 or more moons.
Saturn is the star on top of the Christmas Tree! And the original Santa Claus! And the God whose birthday is December 25!