Happy Krampusnacht!

Who is Krampus and his hermaphroditic counterpart Frau Perchta?  They are the epitome of Yuletide Dom(mes)!

As you can tell from the video, Krampus hails from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and into France and Northern Italy.  Pretty much anywhere they speak German or once spoke German, he makes an appearance.

Although now most folks associate him with St. Nick and Santa and see him as a minor devil, he was originally a Pagan nature spirit in his purest form that was associated with the Winter Solstice.  His original purpose wasn’t to necessarily punish people, although he was a bringer of justice.  His original purpose was to scare off winter and bring about spring.

He is a carry over of the horned nature and pastoral gods like Pan and Cernunnos and of the trickster god Loki.  This can clearly be seen in his appearance and in the etymology of his name–”claw”.    Originally he brought chains to bind up winter and any roaming negative spirits.  He wore bells to wake the Earth up from it’s slumber and to ward off negativity.  He was also a bringer of fertility.  He is often portrayed riding a broom, which was a common sympathetic magic performed in fields to show the crops how high to grow.

In the same spirit of Lupercalia, he bears a birch rod.  The rod is seen as a phallic device. With every lick he imparted his fertile seed to the community.  The beatings with the birch can also be seen in the same light as beating the bounds of ones home to ward off evil, which may be how his whippings were twisted into a punitive context by early Christians.

And why does Krampus have his tongue out?  The better to eat you out with, my dear!

Even Krampus is a switch!
The Christian version of Krampus is still a big deal in German speaking countries and the pockets of the world where Germanic folks settled.  Instead of celebrating him on the Solstice, he is celebrated the night before St. Nicolaus’ Day.  Every year there are huge Krampus runs in the Alps, where everyone turns out.  The runs were originally done by young men to chase away winter and to bring about the spring.  However, in some areas the runs were more like an enactment of the Wild Hunt than of a Yule Vigil. Kids today look forward to Krampusnacht and stoically bear whatever beating they may receive.
Carting the babies off to Hell.

Krampus’ counterpart and sometime companion is Frau Perchta.
As previously stated, Perchta is a hermaphrodite, but often carries herself as a woman.  She represents both man and woman, both light and dark.  She is an incarnation of the goddesses Holda, Holle, and Frigg and vaguely of Brigid.  Her name means “blaze”,  and she is seen as a spinster who checks on the girls to make sure they’ve spun all the materials that they have available. She is also a leader of the Wild Hunt in some areas.  Sometimes Perchta is pretty and sometimes she is not!
Instead of beating you with a birch like Krampus, Frau Perchta slits open your belly, steals your guts, and replaces them with straw.  Dommes are always more sadistic than Doms!  If you’re on her good side, you can leave her an offering (she likes herring) and she’ll bestow upon you riches and fertility.  Around the solstice before she visits, folks usually smudge the house and barns to chase away evil spirits but to also cleanse the air of any germs.  Sage is a wonderful antiseptic.
Krampus and Perchta
Now to review just who Krampus is:
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Winter’s a long cold season.  Make it more fun by enacting some of these old traditions with your partner(s).  One night you can be Krampus and the next night the naughty one. Or maybe you’re always Krampus!   If you’ve never prepared a birch rod before, there are instructions in the BDSM ritual section to the right of this post.  Chains should be tight enough not to get caught and tangled in things but loose enough to allow for blood flow. Clips for chains are safer than locks.

If you decide to go into Frau Perchta territory, make sure that you are experienced with edge play, and have antiseptic and other first aid materials near by.  If you are not experienced with edge play, an alternative is to blind fold your partner and use a plastic or wooden knife.  Both can be made to have sharp edges that don’t cut.  If your hoodwinked partner thinks you’re still holding a real knife, it will feel like a real knife to exposed skin.  Using a sterilized pin to simulate a knife point works well too.  Since Perchta means “blaze”, wax play would be an appropriate tribute to her as well.

There are a myriad of other Solstice traditions out there that are meaningful and fun as well.  The wild hunt is one of them.  This can be enacted by partners or a group and be something as simple as wild hide and seek or something more complicated and serious.  There’s also the battle of the Holly and the Oak Kings (or it can be Queens).   The Holly represents the waning year and the Oak represents the waxing year.  In some myths there is also an Ivy girl/boy who is a mediator.  An idea for this tradition is a mock Holly and Oak king battle, with the weapons being oak and holly switches.  The looser can be bound with strands of ivy for the real fun to start.  Holly leaves can also be used on the skin like a Wartenburg wheel or spurs.

Have fun and remember:

As with any sort of S&M and or sex ritual, be responsible.  Use safe words and condoms and respect boundaries.  No under aged participants or spectators.  Outdoor sex should be on private property.  Bondage should allow for blood flow.  If you break skin, use first aid to treat it and clean your equipment properly.  And for heaven’s sake, avoid the spine and kidney area!
May your Krampus put you in the best chains with the loudest bells, wield the stoutest birches, and be super horny to put that long tongue to good use!

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