Santa's Whiskers

When Santa Was A Shaman


Tony van Renterghem

​St. Paul, MN, Llewellyn Publications, 1995, 224 pp.

(Back Cover) 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.