The Invisible Web

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Archive for December, 2008

YuleTide: The Twelve Deities of Solstice #11 – BALUMAIN, Protector of the Kalash

Posted by invizweb on December 31, 2008

In the Chitral district of Pakistan, overshadowed by the Hindu Kush mountain range, live the Kalash. Kalash’s polytheistic indigenous religion is the one of the last of the original Indo-European religions. Although it is related to the other two survivors, Hinduism (which some would call a misnomer as its various branches traditionally thought themselves to be separate from the rest) and Zoroastrianism, this religion has its distinct Gods, tales, rites, and rituals.  The Kalasha religion has only approximately3,000 adherents left in the world .

(C) Rosetta Kureshi on Flickr

(C) Rosetta Kureshi on Flickr

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YuleTide: The Twelve Deities of Solstice #10 – HERU (HORUS)

Posted by invizweb on December 29, 2008

falcon1

A falcon in Queens

WARNING: The following story is explicit for real. Some communities may consider it lascivious.   Do not blame me; blame the Egyptian scribes who originally transcribed the story in the Papyrus Chester-Beatty, and the two translators (alright Chester-Beatty was one guy; seriously, why was the hyphen used when it was both surnames of one man who did not use it officially)?

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YuleTide: The Twelve Deities of Solstice #9 – BERTHA (PERCHTA)

Posted by invizweb on December 28, 2008

(C) Wikimedia Commons

(C) Wikimedia Commons

” There were beautiful Perchten with colorful clothes and glittering ornaments, and the Schiachperchten – bold forms, ghostly apparitions with masks of wood or bark, enveloped in furs, moss, lichen…demons represented by the inhabitants. ” (Michael Moynihan and Kadmon, Lords of Chaos New Edition, “Oskoriei,” 382)

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YuleTide: The Twelve Deities of Solstice #8 – SATURNUS

Posted by invizweb on December 27, 2008

WikiMedia Commons

Courtesy: WikiMedia Commons

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YuleTide One Shot: Of SANTA and ODIN (KNIGHT RUPERT and BELSNICKEL too)

Posted by invizweb on December 25, 2008

With 86% of Americans having a belief in Santa Klaus until age 8 (AP-AOL, 2006), Jolly Saint Nick is perhaps one of the most recognizable figures in the USA. The story goes that from the North Pole, Santa emerges from his House each year to dispense gifts to children who are obedient to their parents each year. His house according to North American lore is located in the North Pole, where he lives with his wife “Mrs. Klaus.” In workshop hidden from the world, meek elves in his employ make toys and other presents to the believing, which are delivered to Jolly Old Sat Nick some time before Christmas. When Christmas Eve arrives, Santa and his team of eight reindeer fly across the world. Santa enters home through chimneys and eats cookies left by children.

As written in the past few days, this tradition is not universal; i.e. reindeer do not live in the North Pole, factually, so many European traditions locate the Reindeer of Santa in Lapland, Finland. Originally, the figure celebrated for bringing holiday cheer for the British whom would colonize the US, was traditionally Father Christmas, whose origin was the 17th Century when The Protestant ban on Christmas feasts was lifted. He was a man draped regally as if he was royalty. The modern interpretation of Santa Klaus, a large jolly man full of spirit was only popularized in the mid 19th Century, but was iconized by the drawings of former Playboy illustrator Haddon “Sunny” Sundblom as ads for the Coca Cola Company in the 1930s. This was after Father Christmas and the legendary Bishop of Lycia, Turkey, Saint Nicholas of Myra were syncretized. Nicholas was a holy man reputed to have resurrected three children butchered and paid for the dowry of three women, thus preventing them from entering a life of slavery.

Knight Rupert, or Knecht Ruprecht, as he was named originally in German folklore, protects Santa Klaus with staves. He also uses his rod to discipline “misbehaving children.” Contrasting with Santa, Rupert wars dark colored clothes and has generally uncouth hair and facial hair. Due to his strong resemblance to Odin, he is believed to be a modernization of the Highfather so much to the extent that the NAZIs attempted to replace Santa with Rupert believing him to be a corrupted form of the ancient deity. In some traditions, Rupert and Santa have been merged (something like the fusions in Dragon Ball Z and the combining in Transformers I guess) into one entity: Ru Klaus (Eng: Rough Nicholas), who is both the giver of gifts and the dispenser of punishment. Knight Rupert is also linked with Saint Rupert in Switzerland.

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YuleTide: Santa Klaus and His Companions #6 – La BEFANA (and STRENUA?)

Posted by invizweb on December 25, 2008

There is a story about a woman.  On one night each year she goes searching for her lost child. Sounds like La Llarona? It isn’t. It is the tradition gift giver of rural Italian winter holiday celebrations: La Befana. La Befana is described as a frightening crone whom “is as kind as she is ugly.” She wears a scarf and has a large mole on her nose. On Epiphany, January 6th, in Urbania (of Central Italy) and other towns in Southern Italy, she flies into homes on her broom stick (through keyholes where there are no chimneys) giving “good” children a “bag of goodies,” which include but is not limited to candy. She also gives children coal (and perhaps a bop with her broom). In return, families leave her a stocking filled with fruit (oranges, again?) and a glass of vino.

The name La Befana first appeared in a poem in 1594.  Legends of La Befana place the woman to the Biblical Era. In one tale, the three magi who were searching for the soon-to-be born Jesus receive shelter and food from her when she cannot provide directions to Bethlehem, or her accompaniment on the journey due to the need of sweeping. She realizes her mistake too late, and thus wanders the world searching for Jesus to this day. In another variation she continually searches for Jesus due to sadness in losing her own child. Yet in another version, she is a widowed Princess who retreats to the wilderness and becomes a witch. In this telling, Jesus searches and finds her and offers her the role of “the Mother of All Children,” which she accepts.

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YuleTide: Santa Klaus and His Companions #5 – REINDEER(and the YULE GOAT)

Posted by invizweb on December 24, 2008

The Santa Klaus’ most renowned companions are the reindeer who make up his team. This was not always the case as the official animal mascot of the Winter Solstice in most of the Euro-Western world was the Yule Goat. Originally two goat whom were named Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjostr were the mounts of Thunder God, Thor and his hammer Mjonir. It is theorized that these two are the origins of the Yule Goat (note I do not claim Santa is Thor). The function of the goat is to signify the coming feast when a goat (suprise~!) would be sacrificed to diners via roasting. The iconography of the goat lost its prominence since supposedly the tradition of men dressed as a goat for the Yule celebration, knocking on doors to sing carols, spooked small children. Thus the goat is mostly an ornament or a straw effigy to be burned nowadays.

And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;
“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

excerpt from “A Visit from Santa Klaus (aka, Twas the Night Before Christmas),” Anonymous (1823)

The above poem marked the rise in the reindeer as Santa’s steed of choice in popular culture. As stated yesterday, as there are no reindeer to be found in the North Pole, in Europe, many traditions hold that Santa’s reindeer reside in Lapland, Finland.  In Australia, the traditional story is that Santa unreins the reindeer for  a team of kangaroo as reindeer would overheat in sub equatorial running.

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YuleTide: Santa Klaus and His Companions #4 – FATHER WHIP (PERE FOUETTARD)

Posted by invizweb on December 23, 2008

There are legends of a man long ago who lead lost children into his meat shop in France. Even though it is not explicitly stated in all versions of the tale, it needn’t be said of how these kids ended up the Christmas dinner of Pere Fouettard.

In one modern version of the story, Fouettard and his wife lead three children they believed to be rich enrollments to the local seminary into their shop where the boys were drugged, had their throats slit, stripped naked, put in the camel clutch (OK I made that part up), seasoned, and stewed. The wife would soon answer a knocking on the door which revealed itself to be the workings of Father Christmas. Enraged, he resurrected the three lads whole, and chained the Butcher. Hence that day Pere Fouettard was a servant to Papa Noel, and became analogous to the Boogeyman in France.

In a Medieval variation to the story the three kids were hungry, poverty-stricken, and lost in a field until they were attracted by the single Pere’s house lights. In this version, he cooked them because pork meat was scarce and in demand (whereas he and his wife were cannibals in the other version). Apparently this version took place recently after Saint Nicholas’ death as he was scared shitless when the old man forced his way into his home shortly after the kids were salted and thrown into the brine. After resurrecting the three whole in this version, Pere Fouettard throws himself at Santa for repentance, which the Jolly One offered as “God allows all to redeem themselves.” From that point on, he assisted Santa in dispensing spankings to the “weak of spirit.”

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YuleTide: Santa Klaus and His Companions #3 – ELVES (and their Kin)

Posted by invizweb on December 22, 2008

Since the 19th Century, there has been a tradition that elves are little people that work for Santa Klaus (or some mass production food companies) who live inside trees.  Those who are familiar with folklore and fantasy know that is not the always case; in fact, when Lord Dunsany  wrote his celebrated, The King of Elfland’s Daughter, the first modern tale which elves appear, they still live in the legendary Alfheim (of Norse Heathenism, albeit with an Anglicized name), and they are tall enough and capable of mating with humans.    Tolkien, however, would be the one to bring elves into their current level of popularity with The Hobbit (1937), followed by his Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

One of the antecedents of pint sized elfs was the short story, “The Elf of the Rose,” of fabled storyteller Hans Christian Andersen.  In this tale, the namesake elf was in fact the size of a blooming rose and had wings.   In 1933, Snap, Crackle, and Pop made their debuts for Kellog’s Rice Crispies ads.  They were however, originally identified as gnomes.   Note the spellings used in this paragraph; elf aficionados have made a case that the original regular sized are elves, whereas the smaller ones are the “elfish” of the “Elfen race.” The guys clad in green who assist Santa in  making (or in some stories, importing)  are Elfen.  In some traditions, they also works on logistics year round for the Saint’s one-day journey circumnavigating the globe.  According to some folklorists including noted archivist of Scandanavian stories, Viktor Rydberg, they are headquartered somewhere between the Arctic and Lapland, as their are no reindeer for Santa to ride at the Pole itself (more on this at another date), in a secret, may be even camouflaged, village.

The first mention of elves historically is in Norse tales perhaps dating back before the Aesir and Vanir House of Norse Gods.  The Light Elves were said to be tall, eternally youthful, and fairer than even Nordic peoples.  They lived in heavenly Alfheim.  Their cousins, the Dark Elves, however, live in the bowels of the Earth similar to Dwarves.  The last known monarch of the elves was Gandalf, who like his counterpart in Middle Earth, wielded a magic wand to protect his kin.  Humans and Elves can have kids together with the most famous being the Half-Elf sorceress princess of Norse legends, Skuld, being the most notable.  Elves  similar to other preChristian entities were later demonized and thus the term “Little People” today.  They were believed to cause mischief such as replacing human children with their own (though Changelings were more famous for this) to improve their bloodlines.  Modern day philosophers of the metaphysics such as Robert Anton Wilson, note the similarities between alien abductions and the “spiriting away” attributed to “fairy mounds.”  Wilson in fact, classified Mr. Spock, “the little green man” of Star Trek as being of the same archetype as Elves.

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YuleTide: Santa Klaus and His Companions #2 – KRAMPUS

Posted by invizweb on December 21, 2008

The picture below was found by Jacob Sloan, blogger on Disinfo.

Krampus

Krampus

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Posted in Anamolous Phenomena/ Forteana, Current Events, Philosophy & Religion & Spirituality | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

YuleTide: Santa Klaus and His Companions #1 – BLACK PETE(s)

Posted by invizweb on December 20, 2008

For the next 6 days the Invisible Web will unveil the cast of characters, some of which are very abstract, who play different roles on Christmas (companions for the Jolly Old Saint and then Klaus himself, flanked by his Knight), and then 13 more for Winter holiday celebrations of varying cultures worldwide. Together they tell a story like no other. Today’s player…

Centuries ago in the Germanic lands, Sinterklaus (Santa Klaus) was a originally a bishop based in Turkey who traveled the world delivering goods to well-behaved children on Christmas day.  He was originally accompanied either by a Devil he conquered and chained to his side or the character from tomorrow’s story Krampus.  However, in the 19th Century, Saint Nicholas’ story was retconned in Holland and the region of Flanders so that he saved a Moorish “slave” from Spanish servitude and thus in gratitude he is under the bishop’s employ as “Zwarte Piet” (Black Pete).  There has been theories throughout history that Santa Klaus is actually a new incarnation of Odin –  if this was so then Pete is actually one of his ravens, either Hugin or Munin, whom are the constant companions of the one-eyed Highfather of the Aesir House of Norse Gods.

(C) Detroit Metro Times

(C) Detroit Metro Times

Pete’s function was to help the Saint distribute candy and goods to amiable children (Santa Klaus is not as healthy anymore due to his old age supposedly; he is actually rather gaunt in his Germanic incarnations) .  However, little hooligans were warned that misbehavior may earn them a lashing from a birch switch or a kidnapping to Spain via Santa and Pete’s mystic burlap sack.  Nowadays, he just feigns to kick kids (I wonder if IWA MidSouth wrestler Chuck Taylor will disguise as Pete or Krampus just to have an excuse to beat up kids).

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The Invisible Web Episode 22 (0303) – The Winter Solstice-Perchtenlauf-Christmas-Yule-Etc Espectacular

Posted by invizweb on December 20, 2008

Happy Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Perchtenlauf, Requiem of the Dead, Tongzhi, Christmas, Yule or Winter Solstice.

KARL~!

KARL~!

On this episode of the  Invisible Web Cast, I interview the only court certified historian of the combat sports, Karl Stern once again for the first half of the show.  We  discuss DC vs Marvel Comics continuity, 52, Annihilation, and some good recent reads.  We also touch on some Wrestling history.  As a bonus he reads part of his novel, Absence of Absalom, now available for the Amazon Kindle and all compatible readers.  Approximately 46 minutes of whackiness~!

AUSTIN~!

AUSTIN~!

And on  the second half of the show, the Out There Trilogy comes full circle as “Stunning” Austin Gandy of Disinfo World News and formerly Out There Radio, joins us for more than 45 more minutes of hijinks~!  We reveal the origins of young Austin.  The discussion is had of popul;ar holiday customs of traditions including but not limited to reindeer.  Then SUMOM is brought up.  What is SUMOM?  Find out the answer to that question and others on this episode.  Plus we try to sort out our colleague, the Popo Bawa‘s career as a childrens’ television star.

And a bonus surprise appears.

Download it now.

And thanks once again to Wendy Rule for her song, “La Femme de la Mer.”  How can an epic show end without an epic song of timeless proportions?

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