Friday, December 26, 2014

Krampus is NOT the "Son of Hel"

While I am suddenly indeed seeing this claim that Krampus is the son of Hel, there is no evidence of it in southern Germanic or Alpine lore. Neither Hel nor Loki were known to our folk, and, while I think it is acceptable and sometimes necessary to utilize Scandinavian lore, personal gnosis, or comparative myths to fill in gaps in the lore of the south, the concept of Krampus being the son of Hel omits Berchta and our own lore from the region, including remnants of a horned god. 

This horned god has associations in our own oral lore with some tales from other regions in (and astride) the Alps and in the Deitscherei with the god Holler or the Eternal Hunter, from whom Krampus was perhaps derived. Some may also be led to place Krampus' roots in Wudan, Dunner, an elf-type of entity, or an animal spirit, and a good case can be made for each of them.

My opinion would differ if Krampus were known at all in the north, but he was not. Thus, it smacks of cultural appropriation to remove Krampus completely from the context of the southern lore in order to place him haphazardly in the lore of the far north and to artificially reconstruct his family line to match the north's lore. Links can be drawn, lessons can be learned, and dots can be connected, but the declaration that he is the "son of Hel" completely dismisses the history of the south.

Check out Grimm's "Teutonic Mythology," pp. 514-516. The same post-conversion denigration for Holle and Berchta also impacted house wights, deity companions, etc., and turned them from being understood as beneficent (or even benevolent) to being malevolent. Krampus is likely a product of that same degenerative process While ascribing him to be the "son of Hel" makes for an interesting story, the true story of how our deities came to be the models of the stereotypical depictions of witches and demons is, in my opinion, far more interesting and necessary for us to control. 

Since it was the south that encountered conversion efforts first, it is natural that it would be the deities known in the south who would suffer such profanities against their reputations first. Add to it the fact that goddesses were of such prominence in those regions, one can imagine the vitriol with with the patriarchal church might treat those goddesses.

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