Friday, 24 December 2010

How Odin Became Santa Claus

The story begins in the northern regions of Europe where the supreme god Odin, also known as Wodan among the German tribes, reigned. (He still lives among us in Wednesday, which is Wodan’s day).

Odin/Wodan was the god of wisdom, magick and occult knowledge, runes, poetry and war. His name means “the inspired one”. Like a shaman he could travel in other worlds to gather more insight while his two black ravens Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory) kept him informed about the news in the world. Odin was depicted as a tall, old man with a white beard and wearing a cloak. He rode the skies and the seas on his fast white horse Sleipnir with his 8 (the number of transformation) legs, while carrying his never missing spear Gungnir (clear and focused intent) in his hand.

He had one eye, for he had offered the other eye in exchange for gathering wisdom at the well of the head Mimir (Norse representation of the Source) and with that he became a shapeshifter, able of seeing in the outward world with his normal eye and understanding the inward worlds with his black, removed, eye.

Odin trained many men and women as warriors for the final battle against the forces of destruction in the underworld at Ragnarok (the Norse judgement day). His fearless warriors often painted their bodies black and fought in the middle of the night.

Odin is a mythical representation of goodness with his wisdom, white beard and white horse (in New Age terms we would depict him as ‘white divine light’). And he is wise enough to understand that ‘black’ is not similar to ‘dark’ in the sense of ‘evil and taboo’ for his helpers are black ravens and black (spiritual) warriors.

(So now we have a wise, good man performing magick/miracles with a white horse riding the skies, a white beard, a cloak, a spear and black advisors/informers/helpers and he is also god of poetry).

Next we go to the Roman empire where between December 17 and 24 the pagan Saturnalia were celebrated, big feasts with a lot of merrymaking, dancing, gambling, sensuality and the exchange of gifts. This festival was meant to celebrate the return of the sun on the shortest days of the year and to counteract the depression due to lack of sunlight.

(Here we find December celebrations with gifts.)

Time goes by. Christianity develops itself.

In the 4th century in Myra, Turkey, a Christian bishop named Nicholas lived with a great reputation for goodness, benevolence and performing miracles for the poor and unhappy. He miraculously supplied gold to three (number of manifestation) girls as marriage dowries so they did not have to become prostitutes and he brought three children back to life who had been chopped by a butcher.

It is not difficult to understand that during the poverty of the Middle Ages (also called Dark Ages) this bishop became extremely popular as Saint Nicholas in all parts of Europe. His feastday, it was said to be his birthday, was December 5 or 6, nobody knows. There is no historical evidence however for the true existence of this saint.

(So now we see a benevolent, miracle performing bishop with a white dress and a red cloak.)

After the Reformation Saint Nicholas became forgotten in all the protestant countries of Europe except Holland.

There he became Sinterklaas; a kind and wise old man with a white beard, white dress, red cloak, a crosier and riding the skies and roofs of the houses on his white horse, accompanied by his Black Jacks.

Sinterklaas will visit you on his birthday December 5 or 6 and donate gifts. His Black Jacks have miraculously gathered information about your behavior during the last year; if it were good you will now be rewarded with presents, if it were bad you will be punished by the Black Jacks who will beat you with their rods or even worse: put you in a big bag and take you with to Spain, said to be the residence of Sinterklaas.

In the 17th century Dutchmen emigrated to Northern America and brought their tradition of Sinterklaas with. In the new English speaking world the name changed into Santa Claus.

In 1930 a designer for the Coca-Cola Company was asked to draw attractive advertisements for this drink that did not sell well in wintertime. He had to use the company colors red and white and create some cosy type. He remembered the Dutch Santa Claus with his white dress, red cloak, long white beard, kindness and benevolence. The eight-legged horse was replaced for eight flying reindeer. A punishing Black Jack was inappropriate in this concept, so he disappeared.

This new Santa Claus became a big hit. He became so popular that right now in Europe he is serious competition for Sinterklaas.

The above is a shortened version of a wonderful aricle taken from

Yuletide Greetings to all readers of the Morley Patriot Blog. Thank you all for your continued support!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Animal Welfare Letter

The following letter was printed in this week's Morley paper:

Well done for action

I am sure that Morley residents will join me in welcoming the news that one of the big supermarkets with a presence in our town has agreed for CCTV to be introduced into all slaughterhouses that supply their meat, following research that uncovered horrific conditions in some of Britain's slaughterhouses.

The decision of Morrisons to take this action and to allow independent monitoring of the footage is an important step in the right direction. This will help to give local consumers the ability to mimimise the risk of buying meat from slaughterhouses that allow their animals to suffer unnecessary pain, distress and cruelty.

I hope very much that other supermarkets with stores in this area, including ASDA and Sainsburys, will follow the good example set by Morrisons. I have written to these and other companies asking for them to take action and I would encourage others who care about this issue to do likewise.

Chris Beverley
East Ardsley

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

My Letter on Remembrance Day and the Christmas Truce of 1914

Pictured: How the Illustrated London News depicted the truce

The following letter was printed in this week's Morley Observer and Advertiser:

As is the case every year, the townsfolk of Morley came out in their droves to pay their respects to our fallen servicemen and women on Remembrance Sunday. It was an honour for me to take part in the parade and ceremony, where I laid a wreath on behalf of my party. Wreaths were also laid at the ceremonies in Churwell and Tingley.

This annual commemoration is based around the date of the armistice that ended the First World War.

By the end of 1914 a number of battles had been fought with significant losses on all sides, and as the year’s end approached it slowly dawned on the various participants that this war would most probably not be over by Christmas after all. The set-piece battles of past conflicts were consigned to the history books and were replaced with the horrors of trench warfare. Though few could have guessed it at the time, the scene was set for a slaughter of Europe’s youth on an industrial scale that would shape the rest of the century to come.

Yet as Christmas Day in 1914 approached, the guns increasingly fell silent. In many sectors troops from opposing sides offered one another a hand of friendship. Soldiers erected makeshift Christmas trees, sang carols together, and exchanged cigarettes and chocolate and other gifts. Some played football.

I find it heartening and yet heartbreaking that such a spontaneous truce was possible. Heartening in that for this short time the youth of Europe could put aside their artificially imposed enmity and join together in the celebration of a common custom, and heart-breaking in that a short time later these young men who had been happily socialising with one another would be killing each other on a colossal scale once again.

I regard the Christmas Truce of 1914 as a beacon of humanity among the unimaginable pain and suffering of the Great War and think that this is a story worth reflecting on as we remember those who have died for their country.

Chris Beverley

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

My Letter Regarding Circus Animals

The following letter was printed in today's Morley Observer and Advertiser:

Agree with animal ban

I agree wholeheartedly with the call to ban wild animal acts in travelling circuses (‘Help ban animal act’ letter, Morley Observer and Advertiser, 3rd November 2010).

I believe that transporting wild animals around the country and forcing them to perform for the amusement of a circus audience has no place in a civilised society.

Even with the best will in the world it would be extremely difficult to ensure the safety and well-being of animals such as lions, tigers, and elephants, which spend their lives on the road with a travelling circus.

The cases of wilful cruelty towards performing circus animals that have been exposed by the Captive Animals’ Protection Society strengthen the case for an all-out ban.

As well as calling for a change in the law, people have the option to vote with their feet and refuse to attend circuses that use wild animals, such as the one that was in Tingley recently. Local schools should acknowledge that we have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent cruelty to animals and teach their pupils why it is unethical to force wild animals to perform in circuses. Schools certainly should not be sending children home with flyers for such circuses, as at least one local school did recently.

My criticism is aimed only at circuses that use wild animals and is obviously not aimed at circuses and their performers in general. Circuses can be a fantastic spectacle and are truly worth visiting if you get chance. They contain some of the most exciting and raw live performances in the world.

Happily, many circuses do not use wild animals. Those that do should remove animals from their acts and concentrate instead on showcasing the feats of human skill and endurance for which circuses have become renowned throughout the centuries.

Chris Beverley

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Stop the Fur Trade - Leeds Kirkgate Market complaints

I've just received some emails today containing the following appeal:

Please Stop the Fur Trade

This shop in council-owned Leeds Kirkgate Market, the XXXXXXXXXX, is selling key rings and ‘nodding dog’ toys made entirely of fox and rabbit fur.

Leeds City Council have previously signed up to ethical policies regarding various issues of animal abuse.

Undercover investigations into the Chinese fur trade have revealled routing suffering and cruelty, including animals being skinned alive and clubbed to death.

Please Stop this cruelty.

I have deleted the name of the store as I have not yet verified the truth behind these claims. I have contacted the council's chief executive about this matter to ask that it be investigated and I will update readers on the outcome of this in due course.
I have today received the following communication:

Dear Cllr Beverley....I can confirm that the Market service are now investigating this issue; in the meantime the tenant has been advised to remove the items from sale which he has agreed to do....If you require any further information then please do contact me directly - my details are below.

Head of City Centre and Markets

Saturday, 2 January 2010

My letter regarding discovery of historic artefacts in Tingley

Pictured: Viking 'Thing' or gathering of the sort believed to have taken place at the historic Tingley site, just off Dewsbury Road/Lowry Road.

The following letter was printed in this week's Morley paper:

I read with great interest your report concerning the recently found Anglo-Saxon and other historical artefacts in Tingley.

I would like to congratulate Mr Cockroft on his find and I hope that this great result will spur him on to keep up his metal detecting work!

As was hinted at in your article, Tingley is an area of huge historical importance, particularly with regard to the Anglo-Saxon and Viking eras of early English history.

The greater Morley area has a very rich history, as well as a number of highly dedicated and knowledgeable local historians, such as Mr Peter Aldred, who was mentioned in your article, and I hope that this important discovery will help to highlight this and may lead to more local people taking a keener interest in the history of our local area.

Well done to Mr Cockroft. We look forward to seeing what you unearth next!
Chris Beverley