20th out of 26 books — 2 voters
When Santa Was A Shaman: Ancient Origins of Santa Claus & the Christmas Tree
Editorial Reviews Product Description This work explores the origins of Santa Claus, going back to prehistoric times and man's earliest concepts of religion. It analyzes how ancient myths from countries as diverse as Britain, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain and Africa were adapted, sanitized and commercialized in modern times by America. About the Author Tony van Renterghem (Ne...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 8th 1995 by Llewellyn Publications
(first published August 1st 1995)
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I was very disappointed with this book. Though the author clearly did a lot of research he has constructed a book based on numerous unverified and frankly, unverifiable theories. I think he was a little too ambitious in attempting to trace the origins of the Santa Claus myth back hundreds of thousands of years and the result is an unfortunate and fallacious “house of cards” filled with endless supposition and anti-religious sentiment. In order to be fair to the author I have to admit a couple of...more
First of all, I love Santa Claus. I can't say why. I had an easy transition from believing he was a real magical person who squeezed through our central air ducts to nibble our cookies and know I wanted that tiny white Popple with the orange cheeks, to a tradition you help your parents carry on for your younger siblings/cousins/nephews/nieces. To the very end, I was reluctant to go through that notoriously traumatizing process of realizing he was an invention, but somehow it never happened, and...more
"We must don the mask of the shaman ourselves, and teach the celebration of the Dance of Life - not with magic circles, exotic incantations, and rituals of past milennia that do not relate to today's problems or have been bypassed by science, nor with self-indulgent efforts at exerting our powers over others. Instead, we must live with intelligence, dedication, and self-discipline; by giving up some minor comforts and being less selfish and, above all, with compassion and love for all and everyt...more
Regardless of the author's own supposition, I still found this book engaging, informative and thought provoking. The facts remain that Christmas started as a concept thousands of years before the Christians made their mark on it. Now I understand more about the origins of not only Santa but also mistletoe, the Christmas tree and various traditions. Decorating our home for the holidays has a new enriched meaning when we realize there is meaning, history and metaphor behind these rituals beyond th...more
Tony van Renterghem was born in 1919 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands. In addition to his writing career he has worked in the film industry. He served as technical advisor for the movie The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and as research supervisor for The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).More about Tony van Renterghem...