Tony van Renterghem

When Santa Was A Shaman:
Ancient Origins of Santa Claus & the Christmas Tree

Jolly Old Man . . . or Powerful Shaman?

Yes, there is a Santa Claus—and this book will tell you who he really is! For the first time ever, Tony van Renterghem disentangles the complex, centuries-old legends that surround the origins of today’s Santa Claus to uncover two of the West’s oldest myths: that of the Tree of Fire (the modern Christmas Tree) and that of the wise shaman—transformed today into the familiar jolly old man with flying reindeer.

Drawing upon ten years of extensive research, the author delves into how these stories began and were woven into the fabric of our ancient memory. As this “ancestral detective story” investigates how these myths were eventually camouflaged and joined with others to ensure their survival, it unearths the ageless cultural values that are locked in the myths of our pagan past—and connects them to humankind’s search for meaning.

  • Discover the ancient pagan origins of Santa Claus—and why we still celebrate a festival that’s 100,000 – 800,000 years old
  • Learn how the myth—strong enough to survive the onslaught of hostile invaders and organized religion—may fall before the god of Western commercialism
  • Trace the fascinating connections among Santa Claus, the Horned Shaman, the Greek god Pan, the Norse god Wodan, St. Nicholas and Robin Hood

How do we rekindle these oldest of myths for the twentieth century—and why is it vitally important that we do so? Read the provocative answer to that question and others in When Santa Was A Shaman.

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