Thursday, December 6, 2012

Viracocha, St. Nicholas, Buller Clos

This German Buller Clos seems to fall somewhere
between ancient and modern,
along the middle of the Santa Claus timeline

In addition to the familiar lineage of St. Nick -- from the original 4th Century St. Nicholas of Myra to our contemporary incarnation -- I often wonder if his spiritual roots might be tied laterally to those of the much more ancient and enigmatic Viracocha : "Through all the ancient legends of the peoples of the Andes stalked a tall, bearded, pale - skinned figure wrapped in a cloak of secrecy . . . Viracocha, Foam of the Sea, a master of science and magic who wielded terrible weapons and who came in a time of chaos to set the world to rights" (see Fingerprints of the Gods, by Graham Hancock, p 46).

All of Hancock's sources suggest a similar appearance for the widely traveled Viracocha -- always the beard, the staff, and the long cloak; always venerable, wise, kind and mysterious. Always sounding a lot like -- and this is my conclusion, not Hancock's -- Santa Claus! I'm not kidding!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Viracocha

One and the same?

The connection rings true to me. Hancock may not agree with me, though I mean his work no disrespect; quite the contrary! And quite in keeping with my proposition, poet Richard Eberhart writes of a Mexican Santa who, consistent with my connection, seems a perfect blend of Jolly Old St. Nick and the prescient Viracocha. Surely, without ever saying the name, Eberhart's poem captures the soul of Viracocha. Mystical, apocryphal, legendary, walking through the ages, the Once and Future Santa Claus brings not just toys but light and reason:

Santa Claus In Oaxaca
Nothing seemed so incongruous
In this Christian country of Indians
In bright clothes, Indians part Spanish
And tourists neither Indian nor Spanish,
In the warm dusk in a place of bells
When the cathedral rips again the harsh sound
Of every quarter hour, and then the full hour,
Next to the Marques del Valle Hotel,
And in the square the noisy band goes off
Like a jubilant series of firecrackers,
The firecrackers shot off by Mexican young and old,
Where every breath taken is compassionate,

Nothing seemed so incongruous
As to see Santa Claus in the hot lands
In red cotton garments, trimmed in white,
His bearded face impersonal but appealing,
Walk awkwardly through the square of Oaxaca
Followed by popping strings of boys and girls,
Mothers with babes mangered in red rebozos.
Where are you going, Santa Claus, walking?
Are you going to the ruins of ancient Mitla?
A gentle Zapotec explains the tombs of Mitla.
This Zapotec survives, but gone is the last fierce Aztec.
Are you hastening to see where the future would go?

~ Richard Eberhart
(poem can also be found in
A Christmas Treasury
Selected by Stephanie Nettell)

Gift of Love ~ Counted Cross Stitch
{here & Buller Clos, above}

Happy St. Nicholas Day to All!
And thanks to my sister Peggy Carriker Rosenbluth
for these beautiful handmade presents from years ago!

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