Holidays

Lincoln Day, Feb. 12

AbrahamLincolnAbraham Lincoln’s birthday is a legal, public holiday in some U.S. states, observed on February the 12th. The earliest known observance of Lincoln’s birthday occurred in Buffalo, New York, in 1874. Julius Francis (d. 1881), a Buffalo druggist, made it his life’s mission to honor the slain president. He repeatedly petitioned Congress to establish Lincoln’s birthday as a legal holiday.

The day is marked by traditional wreath-laying ceremonies at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Kentucky, and at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.. The latter has been the site of a ceremony ever since the Memorial was dedicated. Since that event in 1922, observances continue to be organized by the Lincoln Birthday National Commemorative Committee. Lincoln’s tomb is in Springfield, Illinois – and is also the site of annual rituals.

Lincoln’s Birthday was never a U.S. Federal Government holiday. The third Monday in February remains only “Washington‘s Birthday” in Federal Law. However, many state governments have officially renamed their Washington’s Birthday state holiday as “Presidents’ Day”, “Washington and Lincoln Day”, or other such designations which explicitly or implicitly celebrate Lincoln’s birthday. Regardless of the official name and purpose, celebrations and commemorations on or about the third Monday often include honoring Lincoln.

As Satanists we seek to expand this holiday to the whole white race in order to raise consciousness as to the true history of this national-socialist revolutionary. As professor and scholar Revilo P. Oliver noted:

Lincoln [was] right in regarding [slavery] as a system that was pernicious, for quite rational reasons, of which the most important were: first, that it maintained on our soil millions of persons of a race radically different from our own, and by our standards inferior; and second, that it resulted in some production of mongrels, pitiable creatures torn apart by the incompatible instincts they had inherited. As you know, it was the firm purpose of Abraham Lincoln to have all the Negroes either returned to Africa, or, in the interests of economy, to Central America. But the abolitionists were not rational. … For after the assassination of Lincoln, which they certainly contrived, our hate-crazed “do-gooders” had their way.

In his debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Ottawa, Illinois, August 21, 1858, Abraham Lincoln himself stated:

I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgement, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.

As President of the United States, Lincoln used swift action in order to combat Jewish slave-traders and financier capitalists. He never promoted racial integration. And in fact, Abraham Lincoln was engaged in the largest, most successful struggle against the forces of Judaism, Freemasonry, Christianity, and racial integration (all at once) that had ever existed up until that point in time. Ezra Pound regarded the Nazis as “the first serious attack on usurocracy since the time of Lincoln.”

As scholar William Dudley Pelley pointed out:

Lincoln was a Nazi because his issue of greenbacks smashed the control of Jewish financiers. Lincoln, who hated the international bankers, began issuing paper money to break their power and, therefore, had to be killed (by the Jewish John Wilkes Booth).

And:

According to Bismarck, the awful Civil War in America was fomented by a Jewish conspiracy, and Abraham Lincoln, the hero and national saint of the United States, was killed by the same Hidden Hand which killed six Romanov czars, ten kings, and scores of ministers only to bleed nations.

Ēostre, Mar. 21-25

Eostre is a Germanic holiday celebrating spring fecundity, and love and carnal pleasure that leads to fecundity. Old English Ēostre continues into modern English as Easter and derives from Proto-Germanic ‘austrōn’.

Pagan Anglo-Saxons had held feasts on Ēostre. Bonfires were lighted. Water drawn on the Ēostre morning was, according to popular belief, holy and healing. The heathen Easter had much in common with May-feast and the reception of Spring. Then, through long ages there seem to have lingered among the people Easter-games so-called, which the church itself had to tolerate: especially the custom of Easter eggs and the Easter tale which preachers told from the pulpit for the people’s amusement, connecting it with Christian reminiscences.

Around 1000 AD, in festivals celebrating Ēostre, bunnies were killed and consumed during orgiastic pagan festivals that involved cannabis. Such are the findings of Dr. Christian Ratsch, after studying libraries of ancient German texts. “[Ēostre’s] sacred animals, the hares, would be sacrificed and eaten in a communal meal. It [was] best washed down with a good hemp beer. The old Germans were really fond of their beer,” says Ratsch. “But it was brewed by women [that] used all kinds of herbs in the brewing process including hemp and henbane, and these beers were always related to pagan ritual and to fertility and of course to sex and so on. And this whole thing was suppressed by the Catholic Church in the time of the witch hunts, and the Germans passed a law against brewing beer with any other herbs but hops.”

Hitler Day, Apr. 20

In April 1939, the government of Nazi Germany declared their Führer Adolf Hitler’s birthday (20 April) to be a national holiday. Festivities began in the afternoon on the day before his birthday. Because of his indigestion, Hitler did not drink alcohol, so a Munich brewery created a special batch of low alcohol beer for his birthday. The brew became a regular order for him.

Summer Solstice, June 21

The turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest.

Lucifer Day, July 20

ALexanderTheGreat

Alexander the Great was born on July 20, 356 BC. The King of Babylon which Isaiah referred to as ‘Lucifer’ was Alexander the Great. William Luther Pierce, in Who We Are, explains Alexander the Great as such:

Alexander used his power base to launch a new and vastly greater wave of Nordic conquest. In 336, at the age of 20, he succeeded his father as king of Macedonia. Within a decade he had conquered most of the ancient world.

Alexander’s principal conquests lay in the Middle East: Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Aryan realm of northwest India. By bringing it under common rule with Greece and Macedonia, Alexander created the greatest empire the world had yet seen.

And it was Babylon which he chose as the capital of his empire.

On June 13, 323 B.C., at Babylon, Alexander, not yet 33 years ears old, died of a fever– and with him died the empire. The various plans he had set in motion for homogenizing the culture and government of his vast realm became sidetracked.

Elements of Alexander’s empire survived long after his death. In Egypt, for example, the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty lasted three centuries; Queen Cleopatra was not an Egyptian by blood, but a Macedonian. And in the east, after the breakup of the empire, local rulers claimed descent from Alexander, even as late as modern times.

Acccording to PhD Gary Homer Gutchess: “Alexander’s adventures grew to super-hero proportions in the imagination of medieval Europeans. They saw him as the prototype of the successful crusader in the east.”

In Daniel 8:20-22 we read:

{20} “The empire of Babylon will soon fall. The two-horned ram you saw represents the coming kingdom of the Medes and Persians. The horn on the ram that came up last and reached out farther than the first horn represents the Persian side of this empire. The Persians will dominate the Medes.

{21} Later, the Medes and Persians will be overrun by the Greeks. The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Grecia. The large horn you saw between the eyes of the goat represents a man, its first king, Alexander the Great. Alexander will die an untimely death at the peak of his power.

{22} The four horns on the goat represent four generals who will replace Alexander. These generals will be Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus. None of these generals will be as powerful as Alexander. They will divide Grecia into four sectors and each will rule over his sector.”

This all seems to imply that Semites assassinated Alexander the Great.

The Egyptian city of Alexandria, home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was built to align with the rising sun on the day of Alexander the Great’s birth.

Alexander founded the city of Alexandria in 331 B.C. The town would later become hugely prosperous, home to Cleopatra, the magnificent Royal Library of Alexandria and the 450-foot-tall (140 meters) Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Ancient Alexandria was planned around a main east-west thoroughfare called Canopic Road. A study of the ancient route reveals it is not laid out according to topography; for example, it doesn’t run quite parallel to the coastline. But on the birthday of Alexander the Great, the rising sun of the fourth century rose perfect alignment with the road. With a slight displacement of the day, the phenomenon is still enjoyable in our times.

Autumnal Equinox, Sept. 21-24

The holiday of the autumnal equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair, or Alban Elfed, is a Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them amongst our kinfolk.

In the very first issue of the Odinist, Else and Alex Christensen provided these insights about the pagan roots of Thanksgiving:

The Spring; and Fall Equinox mark the two points where the path of the sun crosses the celestial equator. When this happens day and night are of equal length.
The Fall Equinox always occurs on or about Sept. 21., – in the English speaking countries also called the “First Day of Fall”.
Our ancestors looked upon Nature’s special phenomena as occasions for celebrations, and the people gathered for services and a feast. Particularly in the Northern countries this festival was closely connected with the Harvest Thanksgiving, where thanks were offered for a good food supply for the winter. The Autumn Equinox ceremonies were in some areas also connected with the ancient sacrifices held in the beginning of the month of Goi, which roughly corresponds to the end of September and the beginning of October.
This year the Fall Equinox should be celebrated on Sept. 18, which is the Saturday closest to the actual day. Odinists, singly or in smaller or larger groups will commemorate this special day with a simple ceremony, candle light, speeches or readings, in the company of good friends; and may we propose a toast of mead in honour of our forefathers’ Gods, invoking them to bestow upon us the Wisdom of ODIN and the Spirit of THOR.

Leif Erikson Day, Oct. 9

leif-erikson-4Leif Erikson Day is an annual observance which honors the Norse explorer who re-discovered North America (Vinland) around the year 1000 AD. Long before this re-discovery, the original white native Americans (who covered the entire continent over 7,000 years ago) were exterminated by Asiatic skraelings who today falsely claim North America as their indigenous territory. The truth is that Asiatic skraelings exterminated the real white native Americans. And it wasn’t until Leif Erikson’s journeys that the white race finally started to reconquer its ancient homeland. (Christopher Columbus – a Spanish Jew – is often credited with this accomplishment in the public education system, but this notion is entirely false.)

In 1930, Wisconsin became the first U.S. state to officially adopt Leif Erikson Day as a state holiday, thanks in large part to efforts by Rasmus Anderson. A year later, the state of Minnesota followed suit. By 1956, Leif Erikson Day had been made an official observance in seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California) and one Canadian province (Saskatchewan). In 2012, the day was also made official in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Leif Erikson Day is not a Federal holiday – only Christopher Columbus Day.

National Martyrs Day, Dec. 8

National Martyr’s Day is the recognition of white heros who have given their lives on behalf of their folk-community.

The murder of Robert Jay Mathews by Federal forces on Whidbey Island, Washington, on December 8, 1984, after a 36 hour stand-off, led to the yearly vigil on that same Island, to honour the memory of this slain revolutionary white nationalist leader.

Up until very recently, those who visited the place of his death at Smugglers Cove, a small area on the west side of the island, ranged from a few dozen, to one hundred participants; at the same time, around the nation, various associations and groups would celebrate by learning about all the aspects of this man’s life, and what he and his Silent Brothers attempted to create in the upper-northwest: a territorial imperative which would house and extend a fledgling ethno-State.

The martyrs of our race who proved by their actions that the life of their racial ethny was paramount, and thereby drew the ultimate sacrifice, death, for these beliefs would include – but are not limited to: LaVoy Finicum, Edgar J. Steele, Bruce Pierce, David Lane, Michael Lenz, Timothy McVeigh, Eric D. Hanson, Sammy and Vicki Weaver, Brian Kozel, Robert Jay Mathews, Gordon Kahl, John Singer, Joseph Tommasi, George Lincoln Rockwell, Francis Parker Yockey, Giordano Bruno, and Christopher Marlowe.

Yule, Dec. 21-Jan. 1

Why Santa Winks (or A Satanist’s Guide to Christmas):

The phenomenon today called “Christmas” is an elaborate amalgamation of old Odinist beliefs, primitive winter survival tactics, and newer Judeo-Christian White Magical ceremony that has slowly evolved over time to become the celebration we now know it as today. To be perfectly blunt, Christmas is basically just Yule plus Jews.

220px-georg_von_rosen_-_oden_som_vandringsman_1886_odin_the_wandererOdin, with his long pointy hat, one eye, long beard, riding his horse from house to house with presents for stockings, is where our modern day story of Santa with his hat, winking eye, beard, and reindeer originated. Odin rode an eight-legged horse with a red nose and Santa has eight reindeer lead by one with a red nose. The full transformation of Yule into Christmas only happened after the Church came up with a holiday on Dec. 6th to honor Saint Nicholas instead of Odin and fabricated some non-sense story about Jesus being born around Yule time.

The best part about Yule is that it let us express our natural inclination, as white people, toward pathological altruism (untainted by Jewish interference). It is very important that we keep our altruistic behavior to ourselves among those of our own race. If you want to give generously to the poor, give to a young white person. Don’t mindlessly throw your money at multi-racial charities (like the “Salvation Army”) or the church. And we must be careful to avoid Jew-run businesses for gifts to our racial kinsmen.

Instead of going through the dry old rituals of praising “The King of Israel” and singing songs to Saint Nick, we honor our own racial heritage and teach our children about Odin and kin-loyalty.

The Bible outlaws Yule (Christmas) trees

Jeremiah 10:1-5:

10:1 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O House of Israel:

10:2 Thus says the Lord, learn not the way of the heathen and be not dismayed at signs in the heavens; for the heathens are dismayed at them.

10:3 For the customs of the people are worthless: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

Although it is addressed to the “House of Israel”, this is a clear Biblical indictment of Yule customs and it also insults the character of white people.

Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

For raving maniacal Jews to call indigenous Nordic people incapable of doing any good is a slapstick joke and a slap in the face to white people everywhere.

be not dismayed at signs in the heavens; for the heathens are dismayed at them

The white race used to be the undisputed champions of astronomy and made accurate maps of the solar system in ancient times before rockets were even invented. Much of this knowledge was destroyed by Jews in their ransacking of the library of Alexandria and other pagan pre-Christian temples, libraries, and philosophy schools.

In the fourth century CE, the Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great (347–395) forbade pagan rituals, and, most important of all, the custom of decorating holy trees:

If someone worships idolatrous images by decorating a tree with ribbons, or if he sets up an altar outside—he is guilty of blasphemy and of a sacrilege—even if he is making religious observance (quoted in Fillipetti 1979, 30).

The plants, spirits, and rituals at the origins of Yuletide

Excerpts from Pagan Christmas: The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide, 2003, by Christian Ratsch and Claudia Muller-Ebeling:

It is the moment of quietness, of contemplation. The cosmic tree (shamanic tree, ladder to heaven) sparkles in the starry brightness under which the child of light is born, reveals itself in an inner vision. Fir greens decorate the rooms. They are smudged with mugwort, juniper, and other aromatic, cleansing herbs (Storl 1996a, 73f).

Human beings acknowledge the wonder of this sacred night in their meditations: They light candles, they burn oak or birch and let it smoke, they let the burning Julblock bonfire smolder; and they hang up the wintermaien—the original Christmas tree. The British Celts decorated their house with holly, mistletoe, and ivy; and on the continent, fir or spruce was used. The ashes of the Julfire were believed to be healing and were put on the fields to bring fertility (Storl 2000b, 150).

Our ancestors recognized four “smudging nights” during which the people smudged their homes and stables with herbs to protect against evil influences.  In these dark times, ruled by elemental powers, the spectral army of Wotan’s wild hunt hurried through the clouds, uncanny spirit beings fighting the battle between light and darkness.

At nightfall, “house and stable were smudged with healing herbs: mugwort, juniper, milk thistle, fir resin” (Storl 2000b, 150). Because of these smudging rituals (originally pagan and later performed by Catholic priests), these nights were known as “smudging nights.” People burned juniper and many other aromatic substances. The smoke transformed the aromatic woods and herbs into scent that was supposed to keep away all evil. They also placed various combinations of magical herbs (called “nine herbs”) in their beds for protection and mixed them into their animals’ food. The smudging nights are still taken seriously in Scandinavia.

Wotan is the god who is driven to amass knowledge. He wants to know everything; he craves knowledge. For this, he travels all the lands over and—wounded by a spear—hangs himself upside down, for nine nights, on the shamanic world tree, to get to know all nine shamanic worlds and absorb all their knowledge. Then he breaks branches off of the world tree and throws them onto the Earth, where they arrange themselves into runes of beech slivers, forming letters that carry secret knowledge. Because of Wotan’s self-sacrificial shedding of blood, the runes become magic. They give away their own knowledge. Wotan sacrifices one eye so that he can look into both the inner and the outer worlds. He drinks from the well of wisdom to suck up all the knowledge it contains. Every year, during the time of the smudging nights, Wotan’s wild army is on the lookout for the sun, under the leadership of Wotan himself. In honor of his impetuous search in the middle of the darkest time of the year comes the folkloric name of Wotan’s herb (Heliotropium europaeum), as well as the Latin name of a plant known variously as storm hat, Odin’s hat, troll hat, and, in North America, monkshood (Aconitum napellus). Wotan, a rider on a white horse, was the ghostly rider who led the ghostly army in the storm during the twelve days around New Year’s Day.

RubezahlSouth Tirolean legends describe a so-called “wild man” (Fink 1983, 144) as a huge and awesome woodsman with a great white beard, a wide hat, and a voice as deep as thunder. This is a legendary character of the Riesengebirge region, the Silesian mountain ghost Rübezahl, who counts beetroots in his mountain home and is often pictured smoking a pipe, just like Father Christmas. Anyone familiar with Germanic mythology can easily see that Wotan lives on in Rübezahl.

Rübezahl, ancestor of the smoking Father Christmas. (Woodcut from the Riesengebirge region, photograph by Widmann, before 1942, from Peuckert 1978, 97)

Up to the present day, human beings have had a special and nearly magical relationship with trees. In all times, we have realized that there is a very meaningful and multilayered symbolism in the growth of the tree—their tops look toward the heavens and their roots are anchored tightly into the Earth. Trees embody the connection between sky and Earth, especially when they grow high above all other things. There are family trees and life trees, a tree of knowledge, and world trees. World trees are symbolic of the unfolding of creation; they are shamanic staircases to other worlds. They not only provide raw materials for building and food, but in some cases they are also sources of entheogens, aphrodisiacs, and healing medicines. “I am the tree that gives human beings everything that they need for their life” (Anisimov 1991, 57). This is what defines the shamanic world tree of the Evenken, in Siberia. The world tree grows in the cosmic swamp. The sun and moon hang on its branches, and forest people live in it. Later on, the original shamanic world trees became holy trees of pagan religious worship (Caldecott 1993; Cook 1988).

Anyone who looks closely at the threshing floors of old Black Forest houses can often see magic numbers scratched upon them and may also see a tree of life, in the form of a fir or spruce branch. The same symbol can be found in some old churches. Beneath an abstract image of a Christmas tree, there are three horizontal steps, representing a shamanic staircase to the sky and the world tree, that reveal the pagan past (Schilli 1968, 34). This detail from the farming culture can easily be overlooked, yet it shows that the symbolic meaning of the fir tree has its roots deep in the past as a world tree and life tree, and only in recent history as the popular Christmas tree.

Today, depending on family tradition, the tree that is taken into the house is festively decorated and is called the jultree, the light tree, the Christmas tree, or the Christ tree. How many are aware that this custom was for a long time reviled by the church? In the folk literature, numerous sources refer to the fact that the custom of cutting and putting up fir or spruce branches or even whole trees—maien or meyen—was despised as a heathen practice, and was explicitly forbidden by the church, and specifically because of its shamanic-pagan past: “Because of the pagan origin, and the depletion of the forest, there were numerous regulations that forbid, or put restrictions on, the cutting down of fir greens throughout the Christmas season” (Vossen 1985, 86). The record ledgers of Schlettstadt indicated that since 1521, the unauthorized cutting of maien had been forbidden, and emphasized the protection of the forest in the face of this “forest damage.” The cutting down of Christmas meyen was forbidden in Freiburg, in the Breisgau, and was punishable by a fine of 10 rappen (Spamer 1937, 71). It was only at the beginning of the eighteenth century (one hundred years after the Strasbourg reference from 1604) that Johan David Gehard suggested tolerating the fir tree “to the degree that there was less idolatry connected with it” (Spamer 1937, 72).

Taking all of this into account, the name “Christmas tree” seems ironic. The worship of decorated May branches and May trees is still considered pagan nature-worship—and, from the Christian perspective, idolatry. In the Bible, no connection is drawn between Jesus Christ and the fir tree or any other needle-bearing tree. And it is easy to see why. Except for the pine tree, there are no needlebearing trees in the Holy Land.

Big and tall, the great evergreen trees have always been considered holy. They are helga, “holied.” Tree branches were taken into the hall during feasts. According to the Poetic Edda, an ancient compilation of Norse and Germanic verse and mythology, the ash tree was Yggdrasil, the world tree (Poetic Edda V , sp. 19).

Some people in Iceland, Scandinavia, and other regions of the world still worship fir trees as the symbolic embodiment of the mythological world tree and wondrous, everfertile nature. In this sense, the neglect and desecration of holy trees is the manifestation of a global cultural catastrophe.

The mythical Germanic Donaroak—a tree considered sacred to the pagan gods —was the center of life and the focal point of the Chatten, the pagan Germanic ancestors of the Hessians. When this tree was torn from their consciousness, their culture broke down, no longer having roots or a trunk. Understanding exactly how significant this was, the converted Aurelius Augustinus (354–430 CE), also known as the Neoplatonic Church father Augustine, came to a new conclusion about the cutting of the holy trees of the heathens. He declared: “Do not kill the heathens—just convert them; do not cut their holy trees—consecrate them to Jesus Christ” (de civitate Dei). When the church could not drive the tree cult out of the people, it dedicated the trees to the Christ Child.

In the forests of Europe, the fir has always been a holy tree. “Tacitus (I, 51) describes the holy feast Tasana, where people carried fir branches in their hands; and our Christmas tree also originates in this feast” (von Perger 1864, 340). Holy firs have always been worshipped in alpine countries and were considered the dwelling place, or seat, of the gods.

Whoever disregarded a holy tree was punished with illness or death. The perfume of fir resin and drying fir needles gives Advent and the whole Christmas season a characteristic, irresistible aroma.  Most firs produce a resin that is uniform in smell, consistency, and character, which explains why they have been called “resin trees.” Because of its resin content, the fresh or dried wood catches fire easily and was used as kindling to start fires. This is why firs have also been called kynholz, meaning “firewood.” In Europe, fir resin might well be the oldest incense substance of all. The use of fir for incense started long before trade in exotic resins began. In early modern times, fir resin was well known and often used as ersatz frankincense (olibanum).

Dried fir needles burn loudly and quickly. They produce a white smoke that is full of resin and smells like fir but disperses in a short time. The white or noble fir contains 0.5 percent essential oils in its needles and cones, consisting of bornyl acetate, pinene, limonene, and more. Turpentine, including so-called Strasbourg turpentine, is another product of fir. It consists of 34 percent essential oils, 72 percent resin, and some succinic acid. When turpentine is reduced to essential oil, the residue left behind is rosin.

Like many other plants with a longstanding symbolic association with Christmas, fir branches are believed to serve a guardian function and are used to ward off harmful influences. “In some places the fir branches are in front of doors and animal stalls on Christmas Eve, to prevent illnesses and epidemics. The servants are not to be paid for collecting these branches; and are therefore given cakes and clothes as a gift” (von Perger 1864, 343).

As mother tree and tree of life, the spruce is symbolic of the female’s nurturing and liferenewing power. Pagan German tribes venerated the Irmin pillar as a tree sanctuary (or holy tree). The sacred Irmin pillar was a spruce and later became the May tree.

STRASSMANN 1994, 135

Many of the qualities mentioned above for the fir tree may also be attributed to the spruce. By using spruce, one called upon its ability to ward off evil forces: “Bringing the spruce into the room had originally to do with the worshipping of the spirits that guarded the forest” (Schöpf 1986, 86). The calming effects of spruce needle essential oil in tonic bath cures made it useful for revitalizing the nerves. “A spruce smudging has a calming effect on the body, and allows it to center itself again” (Strassmann 1994, 138).

The spruce is identified not only with the fir, but also with the pine. Thus the Gallic Rhine Celts made offerings of pine and spruce cones to the gods associated with the sources of springs and fountains (Höfler 1911, 20). Nature-oriented people in some regions still believe that witches dance near spruces (Fink 1983, 46).

Witches also, yes, even the devil, are hiding in the old pine wood (föhren). In the branches of a pine wood tree in Villanders the witches played enchanting music. This is the last reminder that a human being should not come near a sacred tree!

FINK 1983, 50

Because of its shrublike growth habit, the pine was less suitable for use as a Christmas tree than the fir or spruce. Nevertheless, because of its ritual significance, it was considered a sacred tree, which can be seen easily in the name heiligföhre (sacred pine wood).

Pines are a symbol of immortality and resurrection. The idea that lucky children could find treasure hidden under Föhren (pine wood) may come from the tree’s long history as an object of pagan worship (Fink 1983, 50). Like fir and spruce, the perfume of pine needles and pine resin was considered “forest incense.”

Unlike other evergreen, needle-bearing trees, the larch turns gold in autumn and loses its needles in winter. Even though the larch is different in this respect from classic evergreen needle trees, one can find larches in the Alps (for example, in Tirol or Switzerland) that are worshipped as “holy larch” or “Mother of God tree.” People put offerings or votive gifts in the hollow wood of their stems, including items such as teeth, coins, and small, hollowed-out balls of turf.

In Kaserackern, near Wolfsgruben (south Tirolia) there was a “holy” larch. In some nights it was on fire, burning to the skies; yet it was never consumed, and in its branches a human voice was sighing. The tree was considered enchanted and was worshipped. The folk belief had it that the tree was from an age, long ago, when the pagan world still reigned (Fink 1983, 48f).

Folk legends hold that angels and devils fought in the branches of larch trees. Larches were also considered dancing and resting places for forest and mountain fairies. This is why they are dedicated to the säligen, the forest women.

There is evidence that the larch fungi was used as medicine in the time of Ötzi—the 5,300-year-old “iceman” mummy found in an Alpine glacier.

Yews grow in temperate forests in Europe, North and Central America, and parts of Asia and the South Pacific. This dark tree, with its slimy, bright red berries, can grow as tall as 18 meters (about 60 feet) and may live as long as 750 years. With a trunk diameter of 1 meter (about 3 feet), the oldest yew in Germany—the so-called Hintersteiner yew in the Allgäu, near Bärgündele—is estimated to be around two thousand years old (Hecker 1995, 168). If we could only decipher the rustle of the wind in the soft needles of its tangled branches, this veteran yew might be able to tell us much about the great changes of history.

The yew gets its name from the Gothic aiw, meaning “always, eternal, evergreen” (Prahn 1922, 142). This etymological root reveals several layers of meaning: knowledge of the great old age yews can reach; the Germanic interpretation of the tree as a symbol of eternity; and the use of the yew as a cemetery planting, meant to give eternal life to the dead and instill memory of the dead in the minds of the living.

Its evergreen needles secure the yew a place in the ethnobotany of Christmas. It is a symbol of immortality—a plant of death and resurrection and a world tree. Carrying a piece of yew wood is supposed to ward off evil spells and fear of darkness. Its needles impart a cleansing scent.

The mountain ash is a shrub that can grow to a height of 15 meters (about 50 feet). It has red berries in autumn and a meaning in Christmas ethnobotany as a sacred tree. Thus country people once practiced the following custom on Christmas Eve: “All the bird berry bushes are supposed to have burning candles for the midnight hour that do not go out, even in the icy wind and in harsh snowing” (Riemerschmidt 1962, 14).

The origin of the German name eberesche is not clear. It may derive from aber in the sense that this word expresses objection. Thus, the name may indicate that this is a false ash—in other words, not a member of the genus Fraxinus (true ash trees). The botanist Heinrich Marzell calls it “a lively, living tree” because it is often the only deciduous tree living in the rocky desolation of the Alpine region. This observation of its nature—along with the typical color combination of white and red shown by the berries of some species—may explain its symbolic meaning in the winter Advent time.

In old Germanic times the bird berry was holy to the God Thor (=Donar) and was associated with the holy ash tree or world tree, Yggdrasil. “Our ancestors took the red berries as a sign of thunder (Donar was the god of thunder and lightning. The feathered leaves symbolized for them the clouds)” (Abraham and Thinnes 1995, 68). This explains why mountain ash branches were woven into wreaths and hung as a protection against thunder and lightning. The branches also served as divining rods. To keep animals healthy, it was customary to cut a branch from the mountain ash tree on St. Martin’s Day (November 11)—this is the so-called “Martin’s rod.” The strength and endurance of the mountain ash tree was also a symbol for being able to find one’s way in the dark, not only in the darkness of wintertime, but also at night. This is the origin of a specific folk belief: “Whoever was traveling at night and had a piece of bird berry wood in their mouth could never get lost” (Abraham and Thinnes 1995, 69).

According to a legend from Brandenburg, Germany, the mountain ash tree grew from the bones of Judas (Abraham and Thinnes 1995, 69). This Christian interpretation is based on the plant’s role in pagan mythology. The bitterness of its fruit, which becomes edible only after the influence of frost, made the mountain ash a symbol of evil later on:

Rooted in folk custom and folk healing art is the belief that the mountain ash is the tree of the druids, the Celts, the heathens, the witches. There is no question about it: Eating the fruits must lead to evil. And this is why the bird berry—unlike its close relatives, the rose hip and the sloe—plays only a minor part in diet and recipes. . . . The name of the bird berry is contaminated by the stain of a plant associated with witches and heathens (Pfyl and Knieriemen 1986, 6, 7).

How Rudolf got his red nose

The tale of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer was technically created in 1939 as a product of American capitalism. But the origin of the tale of reindeer pulling Santa on a sleigh are much older and relate to the tale of the eight-legged Sleipnir pulling Odin / Wotan’s sleigh. The association of the colors red and white with Santa’s reindeer and with Wotan’s Sleipnir take us back to the farthest reaches of our pre-Christian history.

Pagan Christmas (continued…):

The characteristic red mushroom with its white dots is the Nordic shamanic drug par excellence. Most shamans of the Northern Hemisphere ate it ritually. Its shamanic use can be traced to the Lapps, the Siberian nomadic peoples (for example, the Samojeden, Ostjaken, Tungusen, and Jakuten), and the North Americans.

The ethnic cultures that live in the north of Kamchatka, especially the Tschuktschen and Korjaken, live as reindeer nomads and wander with their flocks in the vast plains of that country. They and other north Siberian shamans ritually ingest the fly agaric mushroom, especially for divination and to heal the sick.

Even Homer considered mushrooms “a connection between heaven and Earth.” Porphyrius called mushrooms “children of the gods,” and poets of ancient times called them “children of the Earth” (Lonicerus 1679, 160). Their Greek godfather, Zeus, the lightningthrower, was considered father of the mushrooms. His most important symbol was the thunderbolt, which fertilized the Earth and made the mushrooms grow (Wasson 1986). The same image can be found in Germanic mythology.

Siberian mythology describes a “heavenly hunt” similar to the Germanic wild hunt. The Siberian shamans ride on reindeer sleighs through the air, up to the clouds.

In Europe, fly agaric mushrooms are considered a symbol of good luck. This is why they are so popular for New Year’s and other holiday greeting cards. Fly agaric mushroom spirits appear in glossy pictures and on Christmas decorations during the Christmas season. One can find all kinds of items decorated in a fly agaric motif, from plastic figurines of “smurfs” holding fly agaric mushrooms to “lucky mushroom” fireworks for New Year’s Eve parties.

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“God Wotan was riding his horse at Christmastime, and suddenly he was followed by devils. The horse started galloping, and red-dotted foam was running down from its mouth. Wherever the foam fell, the next year the well-known white-dotted red hats of the fly agaric mushroom started to come up” (Pursey 1977, 80).

It has often been observed that reindeer get “high” on fly agaric mushrooms and even search for them in the snow. Many travelers have observed that reindeer are even keen on the urine of people who have taken fly agarics.

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