Come Discover the Secret Origin of Santa Claus – An Interview in Comic Book Yeti

“It was the way that Santa inspires generosity that led me to connect his mythology to that of the ancient Muses. From ancient times, the Muses have helped to direct people toward their creative potential. It seemed to me a perfect pairing: Santa as the spirit of generosity and wonder partnered with a Muse, the personification of encouragement and inspiration.”

~Valya Dudycz Lupescu

I really enjoyed being interviewed by Ty Whitton for Comic Book Yeti about Mother Christmas, and I’m delighted to share it with you here:

https://www.comicbookyeti.com/post/come-discover-the-secret-origin-of-santa-claus-an-interview-with-valya-dudycz-lupescu

Here’s a sneak peek, but I hope you’ll follow the link to read the rest!

These are the ornaments I referenced in the interview (and in the previous screenshot).

 

A Haunting Question on Krampusnacht

What are you afraid of?

In the world of Mother Christmas, creatures called the kobaloi feed off fear. So they seek out places where fear is in abundance: battlefields, prisons, and those spaces where people are persecuted and tortured.

The oldest and most clever of the kobaloi will choose a particularly fearful human to attach to and will remain with the human in a parasitic relationship, encouraging them to cultivate more fear around them.

Because they want to amplify the message of fear, they look for human beings in positions of power. It is in this way, they try to steer humanity down self-destructive and fear-inspired paths.

Muses, as agents of inspiration and change, are taught from a young age to avoid the kobaloi. The following two pages are from a Mousai children’s book, warning them about the appetites of the kobaloi:

The kobaloi get in the way of the work of the Muses, who are trying to inspire human beings toward fulfilling their best destinies—creating a more beautiful, thoughtful, and more just future.

Tonight is Krampusnacht. We’re nearly at the winter solstice, longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. We may have electricity and technology, but our world is still covered in darkness.

The dark can be cozy and also uncomfortable. Like anything mysterious, it exists in a place of paradox, it is possible for both to exist at the same time. A mystery can be scary and exciting.

Just like being brave and afraid. You can be both at the same time.

A friend mentioned recently that Christmastime has always had a haunting atmosphere. I think that’s one of the things Dickens’s A Christmas Carol captures so well, as well as other ancient yuletide stories and characters, from Krampus to the Mari Lwyd to the Tomten. They are among many manifestations of the complex nature of winter, darkness, and all great unknowns.

We see different things when we look into the depths of a great Mystery. So much of it depends on perspective: where exactly are we standing and how have our experiences shaped what we see?

Looked at from that perspective, our fears reflect back to us a snapshot of who we are in a given moment. Which makes  me wonder, tonight on Krampusnacht 2022, what fears are we grappling with?

What do our fears say about who we are, right now?

 

 

Who’s Your Muse?

Where does inspiration come from?

We are surrounded by wonders of the human imagination: breathtaking architecture, musical masterpieces, unforgettable plays and poems, world-changing inventions. Human beings are capable of profound innovation—but what is the source of these ideas?

It’s a big question that has been considered by philosophers and theologians, artists and scientists. Answers have been offered in the form of myths and scripture, theories and studies.

One ancient answer to where the ideas come from is: the Muses. The Muses bestow their gifts on humanity, each one dedicated to a specific aspect of the imagination.

A photograph of nine women in the clothing of ancient Rome, each holding a different tool or instrument. They are representations of the nine muses.
Mosaic of the nine Muses found in the ancient Roman city of Augusta Treverorum (modern-day Trier), ca. 250 CE

The story of Mother Christmas is my answer to where does inspiration come from—and what does that magic have to do with Christmas?

The Santa Claus legend is one in a long line of stories about travelers bringing gifts in dark of winter. Around the world, many of the stories told in the cold, dark of winter have to do with finding hope in the promise of spring, and finding inspiration in the mysteries and dreams of the long nights.

What happens when you bring together a young, passionate Muse and a generous, spiritual seeker, united by a desire to inspire humanity and protect them against a growing threat of creatures that feed off fear?

An image of a young woman holding the hands of a young man in a Byzantine church. He will eventually become Saint Nicholas and she will become Mother Christmas.
A panel from Mother Christmas, Volume 1: The Muse.

Why, you get the story of Mother Christmas!

In Volume 1 of the Mother Christmas trilogy, you are introduced to the Muses and their home, the Realm of the Mousai. From ancient times, the Muses have helped to direct people toward their creative potential, each House with its own special focus: watching over them, whispering encouragement, sending dreams and cultivating their fruitful imagination.

I’d like to introduce you now to the Houses of the Mousai as they appear in Mother Christmas:

House of Terpsikhore: Muse of the Body Arts
House of Thaleia: Muse of Comedy and Theater
House of Kalliope: Muse of the Arts
House of Ourania: Muse of the Sciences and Technology
House of Melpomene: Muse of Memorials and Tragedy
House of Kleio: Muse of Leadership and Honor
House of Erato: Muse of Passion and Compassion
House of Euterpe: Muse of Music and Mathematics
House of Polyhymnia: Muse of Spirituality

And then there are those without a house: The Silent Ones, who follow Dea Tacita.

Would you like to know who your Muse is?

Take the quiz below and learn which Muse inspires you.