Charles Dickens’ Scrooge – A Victorian Shaman?

Marley's Ghost-John Leech, 1843The Fortean Times has a very interesting analysis of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”  by Guy Reid-Brown, in which he investigates the possible mystical/shamanic inspiration for the classic Christmas story:

No doubt as this Advent comm­ences, I, and many others, will be re-reading Charles Dickens’s 1843 seasonal classic  “A Christmas Carol” for the umpteenth time. Those of us who have fallen under its spell will doubtless continue to do so every year, even if we live to be as old as the oldest Biblical patriarch, and each time with the same degree of emotion – whether it be delight, wonder or sadness -– as the times before.

In any other context, such behaviour might be interpreted as borderline obsessive, but that simply doesn’t apply here. Ponder this for a moment: there are few other works in Western literat­ure that have enjoyed such a breadth and variety of adaptations across all media. The tale continually reinvents itself, the same and yet different; yet by any reasonable measure the work is slim, compact – by Dickens’s own expans­ive standards positively Lilliput­ian. So what is its secret?

It was only a short while ago, after completing and contemplating Patrick Harpur’s alchemical masterpiece The Philosopher’s Secret Fire,  that I grasped consciously what my unconscious (or higher self; call it what you will), had presumably known all along – that Dickens, an unwitting Victorian shaman, had created a ‘hermetically’ compact yet multifaceted transformative initiation myth for our times. All other cultures and periods, from the Eleusinian Greeks to the Dreamtime Aborigines, needed and originated such myths, and Dickens has done the same for us.”

Read more.

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  • http://twitter.com/cshadyp Robert Novitsky

    I actually watched the new movie with Jim Carrey. It was very good and right away I thought “This is definitely shamanic in nature.” I don’t know much about shamanism, but I saw the elements of death/rebirth and at the end of his ordeal he was basically alive again. In the Bible, when they say Jesus Christ had the ability to bring people from the dead to life, I take it as a figurative meaning, similarly to what Scrooge experienced. He was basically “dead” and then brought back to life (Holy Spirit). That’s my theory.

  • http://twitter.com/cshadyp Robert Novitsky

    I actually watched the new movie with Jim Carrey. It was very good and right away I thought “This is definitely shamanic in nature.” I don’t know much about shamanism, but I saw the elements of death/rebirth and at the end of his ordeal he was basically alive again. In the Bible, when they say Jesus Christ had the ability to bring people from the dead to life, I take it as a figurative meaning, similarly to what Scrooge experienced. He was basically “dead” and then brought back to life (Holy Spirit). That’s my theory.

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