Solstice Spirit

Ever wonder why Santa’s sleigh is pulled by reindeer instead of, say, polar bears? There’s no real way to tell, but Jungian analyst Linda Leonard thinks the reindeer symbol might tie into certain Arctic-area tribes and their reindeer goddess. “These people believe that they were put on Earth to take care of the reindeer, so they follow the reindeer when they migrate every year to give birth,” Leonard explains. “For the Swedish Sami, that goddess is seen as one who will dwell in the spirit world; however, if things are going bad on Earth and the reindeer are not being taken care of, she’ll come down and be among the people, and be like them, but teach them how to take care of the reindeer again.

“I thought maybe — I don’t know really for sure — this image of the reindeer with Santa ties in with Santa as a shaman, because Santa brings gifts, and these are societies that I would say are survival- and gift-oriented, peaceful and giving, and they are always thanking the reindeer goddess.”

Intrigued? Learn more at Leonard’s lecture, “Following the Reindeer Goddess: A Winter Solstice Journey,” where she’ll share more of her extensive knowledge of the reindeer goddess. It takes place tonight at 7 p.m. at First Divine Science Church, 1400 Williams Street. Admission is $10 to $15; for information, visit http://jungsocietyofcolorado.org or call 303-575-1055.
Fri., Dec. 5, 2008

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen

Latest Stories