Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Gift

(Or, the prototype for "Marilyn Manson's War on Christmas Special")

Gather round children, gather round... Now that the Natalis Domini festival is over it is time to learn the dark secret of Christmas. The secret is this: It's not Jesus' birthday. No one knows when, or even if, Jesus was born. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice was celebrated long, long before there was a Jesus, or Christianity. Various cultural mythologies and traditions had arisen long before our culture's religion claimed this day as their own.

Outside the sun has been on a decreasing arc across the Southern sky. On winter solstice the sun ceases to decline in the sky and the length of daylight reaches its minimum for three days. Then, on the night of winter solstice, as seen from a northern sky, the three stars in Orion's Belt align with the brightest star in the eastern sky Sirius to show where the Sun will rise on the morning after.

This was noted long before our religion existed. Saturnalia was the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of Saturn, a large and important public festival that involved animal sacrifices. The concepts of birth or rebirth of sun gods was common. In seventh century Japan they celebrated the reemergence of Amaterasu or Amateras, the sun goddess of Japanese mythology. Requiems for the dead were held and rituals performed throughout the night as they awaited the sunrise. Aspects of this tradition have continued to this day. The indigenous people of Finland, Sweden and Norway, worshiped Beiwe, the sun-goddess of fertility and sanity. She traveled through the sky in a structure made of reindeer bones with her daughter, Beiwe-Neia, to herald back the greenery on which the reindeer fed. On the winter solstice, her worshipers sacrificed white female animals and covered their doorposts with butter so Beiwe could eat it and begin her flying journey once again.

So, huddle up shivering in your blanket near the crackling fire with a warm cup of Cocoa as the world outside is blanketed in this season's cadaverous snows, crystal and cold and deadly, for tonight you shall have a gift given in the true spirit of the long lost holidays of the ancients, the gift of Heavy Metal Delirium to help you through this the longest, and the darkest, night of the year.

Sweet dreams are made of this:


If you're confused by the comments here it's because I dropped some requests on other blogs for help looking for more music. I seem to have come down with a strange case of heavy metal musicophilia and you'll note that a lot of the linked music here is decades old. I'm wondering how out of touch I am with what's going on today in heavy metal. It once dominated my life in high school, but then sometime during college I stopped looking for new music. So, I am just getting started to again look for the music like I once did and your help would be appreciated. If you like the music I've got linked on this post and there's some band you think I might like to hear, drop a link into the comments section and share.

And if you're looking for new music yourself, here's a heavy metal critic's site you might find useful: Chad Bowar's Heavy Metal Guide.

My next metal post will probably be called "The Devils Music" and will feature "Hail Satan," Black Sabbath's N.I.B. and the Rolling Stones "Sympathy for the Devil." I'll also be looking for preachers railing against rock and roll.


Pedro said...

I came here via Pharyngula. As I have few metal fans in my family except my son, and he has already got his gift this year, I never thought of giving heavy metal presents. However, tomorrow I'm going to a heavy metal Christmas fest: in Seville. Things have changed quite a bit since our little National-Catholic dictator bited the dust :-)

Anonymous said...

I remember something about there being a list, but I couldn't find it. This will get you started.


normdoering said...

Nice, Anonymous.

Lumsk, Byttingen, is now linked under the words "indigenous people."


normdoering said...


Screwed up at least one link. The words "sacrificed white female animals" was suppose to link to Tori Amos' "Crucify," not the "hot or not" page.

It has been corrected.

It might be hard to tell with what odd little jokes I'm playing with the links, but let me know if any of them connect to something that seems wrong.

kamaka said...

Hiya Norm

Did you find the list I mentioned? I found a note in my music pile that says folk-metal band list at

I hardly remember, but if I jotted it down, it means I liked what I heard.

Two bands I like, they're more punk than metal, but you might like them;

Gogol Bordello

Kultur Shock

Gypsy punkers, but unlike many punk bands, they know how to play.


Pedro said...

To discover new music according to your tastes I would suggest LastFM or Pandora. I do not know Pandora as it's not available outside the US but LastFM works rather well.

Although I'm very into metal now, I'm an old hippy and my kind of music is more psychodelic from the sixties. I discovered new metal just because my kid wiped out Janis, Jimi, Doors, Airplane and Dead from my computer to put his music so I had to listen to what I had and liked it. And from that base came all the rest.

And from my little corner of the world I would recommend you Medina Azahara, Triana, Angeles del Infierno and BarĂ³n Rojo.

normdoering said...

Pedro wrote:
" kid wiped out Janis, Jimi, Doors, Airplane and Dead from my computer..."

You can probably find all your Janis, Jimi, Doors, Airplane and Dead on youtube free now.

Pedro said...

> You can probably find all your
> Janis, Jimi, Doors, Airplane and
> Dead on youtube free now.

Tx for the links but I still have my vinyls :-)

The problem then was that I was in an hotel room with no Internet connection after more than 1000 km with my ass on a Harley and wanted to relax listening to some good music. And, after getting mad at my son, I felt quite well when I discovered what he had downloaded. As a matter of fact I became such a fan of one of the groups, Within Temptation, that I made much more km on my bike last winter just to see their Black Symphony in Rotterdam.

As we say down here, "No hay mal que por bien no venga" :-)

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Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded. [DO30]
Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany. [WW223]
Battle of Belgrad 1456: 80,000 Turks slaughtered. [DO235]
15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Victims unknown. [DO30]
16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops "pacified and civilized" Ireland, where only Gaelic "wild Irish", "unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing." One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that "the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies... and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie", which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused "greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde".
Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage. [SH99, 225]

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Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site
Is this possible?

normdoering said...

Anonymous - we can't exchange links until you put your link up here.