MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
As far back as last week, listeners were writing me emails asking when I was going to do a Krampus show. Well, I figured that since I am busily planning a Krampus party at a local bar, this is something that I have been doing since I first told the story of Krampus at a Christmas party that was thrown by a colleague of mine.
He asked me to say a few words that the party and at the time I was too drunk to even speak. He said that I would be fine and that I could do some stand up routine or do something like sing – or whatever.
It was an impromptu thing. When the mic was handed to me to say a few words. I thought that I would take a moment an make it a Ground Zero story – so I recalled the story my German grandmother and aunt told us about Krampus.
I figured that no one had heard of a Christmas demon so I told the story anyway as I told the story, I noticed that the bar became very quiet—no one said a word as I was telling the story of the cold winter nights that a large hairy beast with horns would break into homes and kidnap bad children and beat them.
I said this this why you better watch out and you better not cry because if Krampus comes, chances are you are going to die.
At the end of the story there was a great silence. Then there was one clap and then two and then the whole bar applauded – in the end I was told that what I had to say was terrifying and that they has never heard of Krampus.
Well the wait is over – time to drag out the Dickens and hear some ghost stories – or we can just go for the throat and tell you about how Krampus is the Christmas egregore we deserve,
Both stories need to be told because they are more relevant now than ever before.
For decades, our Christmas stories from ‘Twas The Night before Christmas, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and A Christmas Carol has reinforced America’s Christmas ethos, depicting the season as a time for generosity, kindness, and joy.
Once you reach a certain age, Christmas pop culture gets predictably repetitive. All the Christmas TV specials you can name off the top of your head are designed to inspire nostalgia and joy; the same can be said for traditional Christmas movies.
If you listen to the radio you hear Christmas music in October– many of the songs are secular and really don’t talk about baby Jesus. Usually, we hear about 5 of the same songs being sung by many artists who want to make a buck off the season.
Business is business –and so radio stations plague us with the same repetitive tripe and people eat it up.
The Cancel Culture has a problem with Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, saying that it is racist and that it promotes the bullying of people who are different — songs like, Baby Its Cold Outside, become objects of scorn as the #metoo movement said the song was a bit rapey and now we are seeing that there needs to be a Black Santa to counter the racist White Santa which is funny because we aren’t seeing Asian Santa or Latino Santa begging for the spotlight — it is because we are told Black children need a Christmas character they can identify with. I don’t know how we have gotten this far — no one has to relate with Santa — he is the big man — the one who watches you to see if you been good or bad.
But does Santa carry out all of the bad stuff when he sees children misbehaving?
No, he leaved that up to the Bad Cop of Christmas — Krampus, the Christmas demon.
It’s that time of year again: Children cower; grown-ups revel. And as night falls, a goat demon named Krampus treads through the snow, tongue lolling, chains jangling, with a basket on his back ready to lug misbehaving kids directly to hell.
At this point, most people know Krampus. The mythical Christmas demon has become part of the mainstream in the United States, no one knows exactly when he traveled from Europe to America — but he was the subject of a major motion picture in 2015.
Krampus is a monster that’s typically portrayed as a hairy demon with black or brown fur, cloven hooves, goat horns, a long, pointed tongue, and fangs. Quite often, he will have one human foot and one cloven hoof, as opposed to two hooves. Krampus punishes naughty children during the Christmas season, often traveling alongside dear old Saint Nick.
The Krampus myth dates back to pre-Germanic paganism, and he was originally the son of Hel, the Norse goddess of the Underworld. Traditionally, he comes on December 5, along with Saint Nicholas. While Saint Nicholas puts candy in the shoes of good children and birch twigs in the shoes of the bad, Krampus will instead beat children with his birch branches. Sometimes he will even make these children disappear, stuffing them into a sack and taking them back to his lair to be tortured or eaten.
If this story sounds familiar it is because I theorize that Krampus is connected to Moloch the horned God of Child Sacrifice which is also connected to Saturn — or Cronos, the Greek god who ate his children.
Moloch represents Saturn, and coincidentally Christmas, a holiday for the children happens to be during the feasts of Saturnalia.
I believe Krampus has more to do with the horned god of child sacrifice than that of Satan.
Krampus traditionally would murder the bad children by throwing them in his sack or hiding them in a basket to drown or beat to death later. Some people believe that the idiom “going to hell in a handbasket” is from the legends of Krampus.
It is important to note that as we prepare for the dark solstice there is the tradition of the return of the dark father known as Saturn who also is connected to Satan in his many functions.
Saturn, is the God of Judgment an the Father of Time.
The Saturnalia festivities are deeply rooted in the festival of the New Year or the new sun. It is the way to take a negative influence and change it into a positive. Saturn was always considered a negative influence and is intrinsically associated with man’s limitations, death, blight, and decay.
Father Time has always been depicted as a white-haired bearded entity that carries an hourglass and scythe. The bearded father time looks like a mirrored version of Santa or Ruebezahl the entity that would gather the children for the Yule sacrifice. Traditional depictions of the Grim Reaper come from the image of father time and are a reminder of man’s mortality.
Charles Dickens, the author of “A Christmas Carol,” always added an element of the paranormal to convey a lesson—his four ghosts that appear to Ebenezer Scrooge are very aggressive and torment him in the nights prior to Christmas day. Marley was a frightening specter that looked hideous and inhuman.
The Ghost of Christmas Present appears and just prior to the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, he lifts his heavy cloak and reveals two emaciated children with hollowed out black eyes. He calls the boy, Ignorance and the girl, Want.
On the forehead of the boy was a mark. The mark meant doom. When Dickens wrote his tale of an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge, it was estimated that nearly half of all funerals in London were for children under the age of ten.
They would be interred in pauper’s cemeteries. In those times there was a story about the graveyard watchers or the L’ankou. The L’ankou was draped and hooded to hide his pale and wiry frame.
The legend comes from the old Celtic legends of Brittany or the lesser “Britain.”
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, legends would persist that the hooded figure would sometimes appear at Christmas Eve mass and if you were touched by his cloak you would die within the year. There were many historians that would write in their journals that the L’ankou would appear after the appearances of comets and fireballs.
If anyone was to see a hooded figure in their town, their town would be cursed with plague and dysentery. Dickens used this figure to represent the future because death was inevitable in times of greed and ignorance.
The hooded figure of Christmas yet to come was a threatening spirit that said nothing but threw Scrooge from shadow after shadow of the future, keeping him in horror and torment until he showed him what he would become – dead and forgotten.
He would be dead carrying the burden and chains of a damned soul, just like his friend, Jacob Marley. Damned souls have a tendency to be angry and full of wrath. They are the aggressive darker spirits that in life may have been troubled, unruly, menacing, violent even murderous.
Carl Jung had expressed that all humans have inherited a set of primordial images that are buried deep in the collective unconscious. These are called archetypes and they tend to remain buried within the unconscious mind. Deep down we respond to them and they are programmed into us through religion, art, literature and films. The shadow archetype is the most dangerous one of all. Shadow archetypes have the tendency to invade thoughts and when those shadowy thoughts become “group think” there is the possibility that through some quantum trick a manifestation can take place.
The shadow archetype becomes a real breathing entity fortified with the groupthink that prolongs its life and its image can be a harbinger to some other event that will eventually cause hardship. Krampus is just one more reminder of what Christmas was.
Krampus represented a balance of light and dark, providing a harmony between good and evil.
It is good to remember that Krampus, while appearing to be a demon, is not the anti-Santa however. Since ancient times he has worked alongside Santa to ensure that people had respect, behaved, and were good to each other in his own unorthodox way.
But this still begs the question of why Krampus resonates so much with so many Americans, and why they have latched on to it now.
Sonia Halback, on a blog entry on The Huffington Post Says : “It’s difficult to say exactly why the intrigue surrounding Krampus has skyrocketed. Perhaps for a generation that grew up with Harry Potter and a pop culture that’s always on the lookout for the next classic fantasy creature to reinvent like vampires, elves, and zombies. The time is finally right for this darker Christmas beast to emerge.”
Krampus has enjoyed a revival in recent years, buoyed by a prevailing cynical ethos that rejects the saccharine celebration of church and family at Christmas time—and a slew of pop culture appearances.
Krampus has become a pop culture figure, featured on greeting cards and gift bags, and represented in chocolate, marzipan, dried fruit, and stuffed-animal form… at any supermarket checkout at this time of year.” But his newfound popularity has some traditionalists worried that Krampus is becoming too commercialized. The demon, meant to strike back at Hallmark’s version of the holiday, has lived to see himself become that which his fans most detest.
But it has its limitations — as we all know we don’t have Krampus suiting up to greet kids like a mall Santa — and he doesn’t seem to be welcome at traditional Christmas parties — we wouldn’t want anything to Krampen your style so to speak.
But if we look at what both Krampus and Dickens ghost stories have to offer we realize just how relevant both are to the times we live in now.
Today we think of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a cozy piece of traditional seasonal story telling , replete with steaming potatoes and roasted goose and comfortably easy lessons about not being stingy at Christmas.
When Dickens wrote his novella in 1843 he was delivering a far more serious – and possibly freshly relevant – warning about the moral bankruptcy of a society that destroys human lives in pursuit of profit. He was delivering a message to the powers that be that they should not exploit the hardships of people to gain control of them,
Dickens story of Scrooge was not simply a personal morality tale. It was a raw and impassioned warning to his fellow Victorians of the collective responsibility human beings have for one another and the potential danger existing in exactly the social forces Marx would soon be dissecting.
Dickens was worried about the rampant injustices in his society, not simply out of a sense of empathy and outrage, but out of fear. He was convinced the grotesque imbalances of wealth and power that endured at the time of his writing might end up tearing the fabric of society apart.
The 1840s, known as the “hungry forties” were years of financial confusion, recession, poverty and unrest throughout much of the developed world. In the USA the boom of 1836 was followed by the “panic of 1837”.
There was the Irish “potato famine” or “Great Hunger”, when people died of starvation.
Social injustice was becoming unhinged and self-defeating in its extremity. In 1834 the Malthusian New Poor Law had dehumanized and institutionalized poverty. The law forced anyone needing welfare to enter a workhouse and refusal to do so meant starvation. The new wave of workhouses produced as a result of the Act were places of nightmare, more closely resembling concentration camps than refuges for the needy.
Families were forcibly separated, parents assumed to have relinquished all rights over and responsibilities for their children. Segregation by age and gender was enforced. Personal belongings and clothing was confiscated until discharge.
People around the world were rioting because of lack of resources.
Children were so numerous in the workplace for one reason only – because they were cheap. On average earning only 20% of an adult’s wage while working the same hours. A child as young as five could work 14 hours a day in conditions of squalor and acute danger. Many such children died of industrial accidents or disease.
The rising toll of human misery was almost beyond measuring. Its social implications clear to anyone with eyes to see.
His book came out on December 19, 1843. It sold out very quickly, but the high costs of production, and legal fees spent on contesting a pirated edition meant he saw only modest profit initially. Readers loved its nostalgic and sentimental celebration of Christmas and warmed to the easy redemption of its protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge. But the wider message did not then and has maybe not since received as much recognition.
Beyond the simple framing Dickens uses Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey through his own life and the world he inhabits as a device to explore the grotesque and dangerous inequalities of contemporary society. Scrooge’s famous dismissal of the poor as ‘useless eaters’:
Scrooges line where he says “What then? If they be like to die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” is very much like what we hear from Malthusian technocrats about the reduction of population due to COVID-19.
Malthusian ideas promulgated to defend unfettered resets as ’natural’ and good for society. We hear the same arguments today from the mouths of super-wealthy social Darwinians like Bill Gates, albeit differently worded and wrapped in his goofy laughs and amounts of faux “environmental” concern. The rebuttal Dickens offers is powerful:
“Man,” said the Ghost, “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child.”
Dickens has a point — does money give Bill Gates and Doctor Fauci the right to decide who lives and who dies? All of the billionaires have benefited from COVID-19.
Those who suffer are the average working class.
They would no sooner see us die or roll over and play dead. They would rather beat us with their rules and mandates than give us sound information about how to better our immune systems.
We are currently dealing with social issues Dickens would find very recognizable.
The very atmosphere that allegedly summons the tales of alpine demons at Christmas time.
Humanity sinks to a new low, where every evil that can be imagined can be formed into a monster — a monster that is welcomed in the cynical and angry world.
Krampus is the egregore that is manifesting in a toxic environment. He targets the children, and he beats them into submission — much like children are being coerced into taking part in things that they don’t truly understand.
Krampus’s frightening presence was suppressed for many years—the Catholic Church forbade the raucous celebrations, and fascists in World War II Europe found Krampus despicable because it was considered a creation of the Social Democrats.
I am sure given the Climate Krampus could easily become a political tool but at the moment, he has been off limits and people who are not to keen in traditional celebrations embrace Krampus with open arms.
Krampus, like Scrooge, is a mascot for what we do not want to invite into our consciousness. Scrooge of course had to go through the alchemical steps of the initiate in order to improve his life but Krampus arrives in times of strife and inner conflict.
His power and legend is becoming more palatable as we move through the 21st century.
As celebrations of Christmas change, it’s not hard to imagine a day when Krampus will be too trendy and widely accepted and he would quite possibly seen as something as cuddly as a dog — chained at the hip to Santa Claus.
Krampus is the dark side of Christmas we so desperately need when it’s the most wonderful (which is code for commercialized) time of the year.