Geeky Science: The Hidden History of Santa Claus

During these dark days and short nights let’s hold to this ancient knowledge that illumination always follows darkness, and that we will re-light our nation and lives


Thom Hartman

It’s Christmas Eve, a connection to some of the most ancient of all known northern European shamanic traditions. Like people living in the north for millennia, we continue to embrace them with regional, national, and religious tweaks.

It occurs during the week of the shortest day and longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, when ancient holy men and women lit “yule logs” to push back the darkness and bring back the light of summer.

As Henry Bourne wrote in 1725:

“For as both December and January were called Guili or Yule, upon Account of the Sun’s Returning, and the Increase of the Days; so, I am apt to believe, the Log has had the Name of the Yule-Log, from its being burnt as an Emblem of the returning Sun, and the Increase of its Light and Heat.”

When Louise and I lived in Germany, Herr Mueller led us up a mountainside deep into the Franconian forest on this night where they had covered a pine tree with candles: we sang carols and he read aloud a bible verse. He later told me that in ancient times the shamans would set the tallest tree afire to re-ignite the sun and bring back longer days.

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  1. The solstice celebration , involving a tree in an enclosure and a man dressed in the attire that we see, the metal carriage, the gifts, and the lights, are not christian invention.
    They are collectively a victim, of christian takeover, and they flopped their bloody meat stick on top of a beautiful time of year in a boisterous, belligerent, violent, falsely imposed act of war. It was genocide of a globally known holiday. If any christian says, “There is a war on Christmas”,.. then I say, “I know,….. you started it remember ?” Or maybe history and cultural studies are against your religion ? The character of the benevolent man giving gifts, and keeping the children happy and safe as winter closes in, is beyond history and goes deeply into biological. Even for other species. The fresh scent of an evergreen does many things for a family as the snow covers all outside. …Look who finally showed up after a summer of overtime and being away,…better have some fruit from all that absence, and the kids are bored and the wife needs social stimulation. Get busy,…better be sincere too. Everyone goes to town for the festival of lights. Everyone lives under the sun. And as if it wasn’t dark enough, some people thought to add fear and death and blood to the holiday. Not a good choice. Has no meaning to it at all. They line up at your generosity to take your hard earned pay from your own children. Christianity made a financial decision and it was a no brainer for them.

    • Think of how wonderful the holiday was, when everyone gathered at the village square for an evening of children’s songs, and lights. The neighbors are all there, checking on each other to make sure all are ready for winter. The snow begins to fall, and the chipmunk (forced outside by the wife) goes to find a suitable fluffy branch to plug the hole, stopping the cold wind.
      The deer huddle under the evergreens to snuggle and nap, while the scouts inventory the food sources. The beaver, let the muskrats and frogs into their fortified space. The owls grab branches also. The more secure things are, the happier the time for the vulnerable as the ominous winter sets in and the light of the day, slips into low gear.
      Religion poisoned this time of year, and dispersed the people into factions. That is what happened.

  2. “Santa Claus” comes from a 4th C. bishop, St Nicholas, who covertly slipped gold coins through a window of an impoverished household where the father in desperation was at the point of having his daughters prostitute themselves to help the family survive. His gift obviated the possible tragedy.

    The great G.K. Chesterton wrote some profound things about Christmas, such as in this article:

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