GNOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Like it or not the Christmas celebrations are well rooted in pagan ritual and while Christians celebrates the birth of Christ and demand that he is the reason for the season, the truth is that the Christmas we celebrate now is a result of the civil war. The traditions of Christmas were very much part of a spiritual movement to remember the humble birth of Jesus it is also well known that many of the traditional celebrations center around ghosts, monsters and demons that would show at the year’s most darkest times.
In Boston, the Puritans outlawed Christmas in 1659. Although the ban was lifted in 1681
it once again fell out of favor in 1689. It wouldn’t even be considered a religious holiday
until 1750’s and even then there would be no parties and no mention of the European
traditions of the woodland demons and gnomes, especially Krampus and Belsnickel.
It was still illegal to observe Christmas, as a holiday in the United States and in parts of
By the early 1800’s legends brought from Europe of Santa Claus and his protective
nature of children and families were emphasized along with the celebration of Christ’s
good deeds and events in his life. Alabama was the first state to legalize Christmas
in 1836. Boston Massachusetts legalized Christmas in 1856. It was illegal to recognize
Christmas in the state of Oklahoma until a law was passed lifting the ban in 1907, which
was 103 years ago.
Christmas in its present state has managed to keep the evil gnomes and woodland
demons at bay. However, there seems to be a hole in the veil that is allowing these
Creatures to make a return to the present.
Old traditions of the winter entities have evolved into something benign. The winter solstice had often been met with fear and the celebration of Jesus birth was necessary to try and brighten the season and hopefully exorcise the holiday from entities that are still lurking in the darkness.
One of the first components of the darkest Christmas tales comes from the legends of the Gnomes and the woodland demons.
The tale of gnomes goes back to pagan times, when there were widespread beliefs in house gnomes who supposedly lived under the stairs, in the fire place and in barns with the livestock. The gnomes would become nasty adversaries if they were not treated properly.
Many of the Gnomes were considered to be shape shifters and would change their bodies in order to meet their needs. The Tontut or tomte/nisse was often imagined as a small, elderly, often with a full white beard; dressed in the everyday clothing of a farmer. The word Tomte actually means home dweller. However, there are also folktales where he is believed to have a single eye. In modern Denmark, Tontut /nisses are often seen as beardless, wearing grey and red woolens with a red cap. Since nisses are thought to be skilled in illusions and sometimes able to make themselves invisible, one was unlikely to get more than brief glimpses of him no matter what he looked like. Norwegian folklore states that he has four fingers, and is hairy all over, sometimes with pointed ears. His eyes glow in the dark.
The Tomte was also known to stand and peek in on little children through the window; he would watch their various behaviors and would judge them on their good deeds. I never really had an interest in Gnomes because our imagination has been limited with them showing up in gardens as decorative and fairy likes statues.
However the more you dig through the tales of folklore you find yourself in a very dark place as gnomes have been associated with all kinds of paranormal activity including ghoulish behavior which includes caring for and eating the dead.
In “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the Prince was in love with a beautiful maiden whose skin was snow white and whose lips were bright red. He would look upon her face through glass as her corpse lay in a crystal coffin. The story is literally a tale of carnal lust for a corpse. It also seems to be tale of vampirism, as the prince is able to revive his dead love with sexual intercourse.
An Italian story known as “The Crystal Casket” tells of a young maiden named Ermellina who is guarded by gnomes , similar to the dwarfs of the traditional story. A witch comes and poisons the girl because of her beauty. The gnomes place the young girl in a crystal casket that is placed on the back of a horse. The horse rides from town to town with the body of the young girl on it.
A lonely King happens to see the body of the girl and falls in love with her and tells everyone that she will be his wife. The Kings family does not want to tell the king that his girlfriend is dead, and so they play along and tell the others that the girl is a large doll.
The King’s family is a little concerned because the girl does not seem to be normal. The King tells his family that he will lead a an army to war, and that when he returns in victory he shall marry his girl. Unfortunately, when the king returns, the body of his young maiden has decomposed a bit. Her skin is dusty and there are flies and maggots that cover her gray flesh.
The gnomes were known to feed on the body of the girl.and gave to the chambermaids what was lefy In order to understand how putrid the body was; the chambermaids would complain about how rotten the “doll” would smell and so they neglected the body until the King returned. Ermellina recovered and lived again, and the King and his new bride lived happily ever after.
In Switzerland the tale of the gnomes becomes even darker as the seven little men had taken a girl into their home for work. There were only seven beds in the house and so the oldest of the gnomes would sleep with the young girl.
An old woman comes to the house and realizes that the young girl was having sex with the dwarves. She flies out in a rage realzing that the young girl is having sex with demons.
She returned with two men, whom she had brought up from the bank of the Rhine. They immediately broke into the house and killed the seven gnomes. They buried the bodies outside in the garden and burned the house to the ground. No one knows what became of the girl. Some claim that devil came for her body and she had to be buried in a golden coffin to ward
off the spells of the gnomes.
Keep in mind that this tale is often told in the winter time. The story deals with the dead, shape shifting and vanity. The gnomes in the old stories are involved with mischief and are known to be in cahoots with the devil.
Another great story which places the gnome in the employ of the devil is Rumplestiltskin. The gnome is most certainly a male witch figure who is quite capable of magical alchemy.
The story of Rumpelstiltskin opens with a conversation between a poor miller and a king. The miller wants to impress the king, and appear more powerful in the king’s eyes. He boasts, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold.” The king, who understands the link between wealth and power, invites the daughter to the castle to put this skill to the test.
The first two nights, the king demonstrates ultimate power over the girl when he threatens to kill her if she fails to spin all the straw in the rooms into gold. On the third night, he informs her that if she again succeeds in spinning the straw to gold, she shall become his wife.
The king’s greed for more gold keeps the miller’s daughter in the castle for three nights under threat of death. When he takes her as a wife, he thinks to himself, “Even if she is only a miller’s daughter, I will not find a richer wife in the entire world.”
The gnome who comes to the girl’s aid each night and spins the straw into gold is very greedy. He takes no pity on the girl and her plight, but asks each time what she will give him if he helps her. He takes the only two possessions she owns, her necklace and her ring. When she has nothing more of value to give him, he makes her promise to give him her first born child.
Many German fairy tales, like Rumpelstiltskin, include the challenge of finding out the antagonist’s name. It may be that superstitious people felt unnamed evil was more powerful or dangerous than evil you could put a name to; as if knowing the name gave the evil definition, bringing it out of the darkness and into the light where it wasn’t as scary as before.
When the Queen reveals that she has figured out Rumpelstiltskin’s name, he screams, “The devil told you that!” He stomps his right foot so hard that the ground swallows him up to his waist. His demise comes when he takes hold of his left foot and rips himself up the middle in two.
The moral of the story is that when the evil is named – it has no choice but to destroy itself. The gnome has been the agent of evil in most folktales and has been watered down as the friend of humans, when they should never be crossed and should never be trusted.
Gnome are universally seen as evil in many countries. Once such creature is known as the Duende. Duende is derived from the Spanish word Dueno meaning the owner of the home.
The Duende actually date back to Mayans as it was reported anciently that little humans would be seen near burial grounds and in various village homes.
In Hispanic folklore of Mexico and the American Southwest, duendes are known as gnome like creatures who live inside the walls of homes, especially in the bedroom walls of young children. They attempt to clip the toenails of unkempt children, often leading to the mistaken removal of entire toes. They are also known for taking items from young children. They have also been able to barter with the mother of young children so that they can take the child and have them to eat. They appear at night when children are at play with a ball, and watch the children and later make their appearance and confront the children.
All of the gnomes in folklore have never been kind. They have always been two faced and willing to take children for ransom and eat their flesh. Many of these stories have come from the old tales of people who would accuse the Jews of using the blood of a Christian child to make bread or cookies. The idea of children being used for bread and the gnome as the eaters of the flesh connected to Blood Libel of the past creates this carnal evil of the little creatures and what the legend illustrated.
The season of the solstice is the season of the Witch, and the season of the bloodletting. All of the creatures of twilight in the times of the dark winter’s chill were always represented as flesh eating demons.
This is why Christmas has evolved and reminds of how a child who was pure of heart grew to be the last sacrifice – a sacrifice that do away with the rituals of the Gnomes.