Krampus

Last year I have you the story of La Befana, the Italian Witch who delivers presents on Christmas to children, and this year I have yet another rather unconventional Christmas figure to offer you. One of which I find most particularly intriguing.

While many children may be having pleasant dreams of sugar plums and candy, and filled with joy in anticipation of Christmas Morning, there are some whom might be left trembling in fear with their heads filled with nightmares only praying to survive the night.

Predominately in Austria, but in other parts of Europe such as Germany,  Hungary, Bavaria, Friul and Slovenia, there lives the legend of the Krampus. The name coming from the German word krampen which means claw.

The krampus is of all things a side-kick to Jolly ol’ St. Nick. But while Santa might be handing out presents and bringing good cheer and happiness to children the krampus has a rather different agenda, and a much more sinister one. Many of us might have heard the warning of our parents that if you are naughty and misbehave you will be left coal within your stalking. Well if you thought that was bad, you haven’t met the krampus.

The krampus is a terrifying demonic figure dressed in furs and wrapped within rattling chains, said to carry a wooden stick, or a switch of birch branches. He wares a frightening mask has a long red tounge pair of horns, and he follows along with Santa with the purpose of whipping and beating children who have misbehaved.

Of course legends of the krampus vary from cultures and regions between people. In some legends, he is believed to actually kidnap the children and place them in the black sack some say he carries and than make them his slaves until he finally kills them.

But just where did this figure come from? the krampus was a part of Germanic pre-Christian lore and myth that was carried over to be used as a way to try and ensure that children keep up with their lessons and do as they are told.

The krampus was originally a fertility demon, and a type of incubus who was particularly interested in the punishment of children and would visit misbehaving children in their sleep to terrify them and prey upon them sexually.

Today in Austria the krampus is a highly celebrated figure and large crowds of people will don themselves in Krampus costumes.

Exploring Sexuality Behind the Unicorn Myth

The Maiden And The Unicorn, fresco by Dominico Zampieri

The unicorn is perhaps one of the most well known, easily recognized, and perhaps most beloved figures of mythology. Almost every young girl has had unicorn obsessions and fantasies. Part of this stems from how closely linked unicorns are to horses as by some unknown phenomena young girls seem to be particularly attracted and enamored with the horse.

But this attraction girls have to unicorns is seen as being particularly innocent as the unicorn is a creature which has a long history of being linked to ideas of purity, innocence, truth, goodness. Of corse this too can stem from their close kinship to the horse, animals known for their strong ties to humans and their loyalty to man. But it also goes back to the lore surrounding the unicorn.

Virginal maidens have been strongly tied to unicorns in myth, and it is this idea that lends to the idea of the purity of the unicorn. In some legends it is thought that a unicorn can only be seen by a virgin, or someone who is pure of heart. In medieval mythology it was believed that upon seeing a virgin maid a unicorn would forget its wildness and fear of men and come up to the maiden to fall asleep within her lap. Virgin maids were used by hunters to try and bait unicorns. In some lore it was thought a unicorn would allow only a virgin to ride upon its back.

This may sound to be innocent and wholesome enough, but is there an underlining sexuality between unicorn myth, and the unicorns connection to virginal maidens?

It goes without saying that the sole feature of the unicorn, which makes it so unique, and the very thing for which it is named after, is its solitary horn. It does not take a great deal of imagination to perceive the horn as a phallic symbol, and indeed horns and horned animals have a long history of being connected to fertility and associated with various fertility gods. Horns or pieces of horns were often believed (and still are in some cultures) to have special properties which can cure impotence, or increase the chances of pregnancy, and all around improve the sex drive and ones ability to sexually perform.

In addition since the earliest of civilization, man has held a great anxiety and fear regarding his bestial nature (a complex still seen in todays soceity). This has been talked of several times before in many of the myths mentioned here. It is a reoccurring theme in lore. Man is all too aware of his carnality in spite of all his efforts to deny it, the fear of what would happen if man should forget his reason, or give into his baser instincts.

What is the unicorn? A wild creature that bares a strong resemblance to an animal which has been one of mans closest allies and useful instruments, just as crucial to man as the dog, for the horse is just as worthy as being dubbed as “mans best friend”

A unicorn is untamed, uncontrolled, and beyond mans reach.

Is it a coincidence than that a beast that so strongly resembles the horse and has been graced with such an ancient fertility as the horn, and is associated with the canrality of the wilderness would be so closely counterparted with one of the most valued treasures of that time, a womans virginity, her purity, the thing which women were most prized for.

It can than be seen as no coincidence and no act of naive innocence that the symbol of purity should be so closely linked to such a strong and pervasive symbol of fertility. The carnality of the horned beast rendered into submission before the virgin maid. The idea of the naive, young, innocent maid meeting with the wild creature alone, unescorted in the middle of the woods. There is much that can be read between the lines within this lore when contemplating over the medieval mindset.

Myth and stories and lore were told for a variety of different reasons, many of them were ways of explaining events of nature that were not understood by the people of the day, they helped explain the way the world worked and put some order to things which were happening, they gave people meaning and perhaps a greater sense of power over the things of which they had no control over. But in the oral culture the passing of stories were a crucial form of entertainment for the people, and within many of these stories there was often a lot of coded sexuality, some of which could have been intentional innuendo to enhance the entertainment of the stories, and some of which subconsciously interjected.

Many of the stories were also told to give warnings and teach lessons to man, and quite often the focus of these lessons revolved around that lurking danger of that lurking beast within, and were to serve as constant reminders to man to never forget his rational mind and to always put that above all else.

What really lies behind the unicorn myth? Perhaps it was a jovial story of raunchy jest, a story to be told in taverns and laughed about over drink, perhaps they were intended as precautionary tales to men about the bewitching power of women over men, and the danger that can be seen even today in modern sitcoms, commercials, and comedy acts, that if a man is not careful, he shall find himself at the beck and call of some clever maiden and his days of freedom as a young buck come crashing down to an end. Or maybe a tale of warning aimed toward women to take caution of the carnality of man so they might preserve their sacred virginity.

Whatever the true secrets which lie behind the unicorn myth might be, it can be assured that there is more to it than what at first might meet the eye, and it is not as naive nor pure as school girls in pig tales make it out to be today, somewhere between now and than the meaning was lost, but the clues are there for the perceptive eye to see.

A Message to Readers

I am quite disheartened in being driven to have to make this statement, and though I do not know how much good it will do in the long run. If there is any chance it might help than it is worth a try.

I am growing rather wary of having to deal with the steady flow of moronic comments that  keep appearing upon my blog from which I can only assume come primarily from Twilight fans, not to say that all Twilight fans are moronic, but it has created a vampire craze among teenagers, and as many of us know a great deal of teenagers are indeed morons.

So to my intelligent readers, of whom are so rare but much appreciated, bear with me a moment, as I am rather disappointed to see that my blog is being so grossly and insultingly misinterpreted I want to set a few things straight for those whom just don’t get it.

Since it is clear by the nature of your comments that any form of subtly is lost upon you, I shall be as clear and precise as I can.

If you take anything written upon this blog literally, than you are an idiot.

This blog is a study of vampires, werewolves, and other such figures of myth and lore, from a historical, folkloric point of view. As well as a psychological look into these myths, and an analysis of how they appear within literature and other media forms.

Since it is also clear that some of you do not understand what Folklore is, let me explain it to you.

Folklore are the traditional stories, songs, customs, jokes, practices, beliefs, handed down orally from individual to individual.

To say it plainer and more simply, folklore is not fact, folklore is not meant to be taken as fact.

If I post something on this blog that I state comes from folklore, and you take it literally, you are an idiot.

Let me say very clearly. This is NOT. I shall repeat just to make sure we understand each other. NOT   a blog about actual “real life” vampires and werewolves running around in the world today.

If you believe that the characters in Twilight, are real or if you think vampires as they are presented in Twilight actually exist or if you think you are going to turn into a vampire or a werewolf, than please.

GO AWAY!

Any comments posted on this blog, in any way  take this blogs content as being literal, will be deleted.