I’ve always been keen on Dungeons and Dragons stuff, especially when it comes to folklore. I was astounded and delighted to learn later in life Christmas in most Northern climes and cultures comes with dark and sinister Shadow elements. This makes sense not only from culture but from human psychology. We modern folks easily forget winter was a dark and scary time with little light and doubtful survival rates. Nasty animals and dark forces were out there ready to get us. Later on when Christianity came along it took the time-tested truism if you can’t expunge paganism then take it in. Good Christmas figures like The Christ Child or St. Nicholas (whose night this is) shows up with a dark nasty demon to denounce and discipline the miscreants. Only in North America the Jolly Old Elf is bereft of Shadow Energy. At worst all he has is a lump of coal for you. Funny how violence-obsessed America expunged Santa of any darkness. But then we like things black and white.

Jungians deplore lack of balance. If The Shadow part of psyche is not recognized and given space it will bite us in the collective backside and cause havoc. Happily Yanks and Canucks and others are folding into the Christmas recipe some spice. Dr. Seuss did us a huge favor making an anti-Claus A.K.A The Grinch who shows up regularly on front lawns this time of year. more than Santa or creches. We in America ‘discovered’ The Krampus, The Yule Cat, Frau Perchta (really nasty) et. al. a while back and they are becoming quite welcome, thus balancing the Christmas Season at least from a psychological point of view.*

This evening I doubt The Krampus or Bellsnickel or one of that crowd will show up at my door and whip me with a switche or carry me off in a wicker basket, worse luck. I certainly deserve it. I’ve been not all I should be this year. However, I have them in my heart, for I keep tabs on my Shadow side. They mustn’t run the show but they make the show worthwhile. After all isn’t the villain what makes the tale worthwhile?

*Strict Christians are appalled by these pagan/devils being part of the Christmas season. They are not wrong that The Christ Child has no Shadow part. In the Christmas story there is a Shadow element: King Herod. As a Shadow figure he isn’t too much fun.