This year, as every year, Christian fundamentalists are beginning to preach at us about “the reason for the season” or the “true meaning of Christmas”. They claim it’s the birth of their demigod Jesus, but then, there was a season long before the alleged birth of Jesus. There was the celebration of what some now call Christmas long before the alleged birth of Christ.
One alternative reason for the Yule season that we celebrate with Solstice Eve tomorrow is the Horned God – a motif that appears with an especially high frequency in native European traditions.
“I’m the Horned God,
I’m the face in the trees,
I’m the breath of the wind that rustles the leaves,
I’m the Green Man
in the wildwood I roam,
Cernunnos, I’m Pan and I’m Herne.”
The Horned God, huh? One particularly pigeonholed manifestation of this character is Krampus, whose role in winter holidays is enjoying a particularly strong resurgence.
Postscript: If the mood strikes you, I particularly recommend a listen to Damh the Bard’s Selkie of Sules Skerry – though I have to admit I’m a sucker for all things selkie.