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I decided to do this piece because my daughter is at the age where the whole tale is crumbling, and this is never a pleasant thing for kids. It isn’t cool that we lie to our kids in this way in the name of, “Aww, but it’s Christmas… what is childhood without all the bullshit we spin around them all year with bunnies and eggs, flying reindeer and pissed off pumpkins that all have no connection to anything whatsoever, no compelling morality tale nor awakening message? You’re an awful parent if you deprive them of all that!” Well, there are many cultures that don’t spin all these larks for their kids, because children are quite capable of spinning a world of wonder around themselves without our help, in fact, they’re infinitely better at it.

I want my daughter to know what the Santa myth stands for, what “gifts” were brought, why, by whom and finally: what’s in it for her.

In our culture, we’ve always kind of wondered how the heck Santa is connected to Christmas other than the fact that he brings gifts. Most of us were lead to believe that Santa Claus is a child-friendly version of Saint Nicholas – we even call him St. Nick occasionally. Although Santa became a mutt of sorts over time, including a bit of St. Nick (from Sinterklaas, the original and current European version), the actual origin of Santa is much more interesting, way before St Nick was a glint in his mama’s eye.

It all begins with a mushroom. Yes. A mushroom. Did you expect it to begin with something man made? Then you’re not thinking far back enough. Humanity’s first interactions were with earthly things.

The name of the mushroom is Amanita muscaria, also called Fly Agaric.

Muscaria is a psychotropic, causing visions and altered states. It is also toxic, and must be handled in a particular manner so as to get the psychedelic effects without the toxic ones. You may have heard of the word “shaman”, which is a word from the Tungus-speaking people of Siberia, to connote a religious specialist.(1)  The Tungusic are Russian indigenous people who live in the arctic circle (north pole) and they are reindeer herders – I shit you not. (2)

A shaman dealt with the mushrooms, as both a safety practice and as part of the spirituality of the people. In fact, often the shaman would eat the mushrooms and then the people would drink the shaman’s urine – this way, the shaman acted as a filter, because the psychedelic effects remain intact but the toxicity is eradicated.(3)

Another way to decrease toxicity is to dry the mushrooms completely. The mushrooms would be harvested in late Autumn and strung up around the hearth-fire to dry in preparation for the winter solstice. (4)

The home of those in the cold north, such as Siberia, was, and is, often a “yurt”, which is similar to a tee-pee.

In some shamanic rituals, such as the initiation of shamans in Buryatia, a tree will actually be erected inside the (yurt) … passing through the smoke hole (in the roof)… in some … the shaman literally climbs the tree; in others … the shaman drums at the base and only ascends with his spiritual being. As the shaman ascends the tree in his ecstatic state, he describes his journey to the upper world. Also, even in the absence of an actual turge tree, the shaman will still travel to other worlds after exiting through the smoke hole, often after his spirit has metamorphosed into a bird.

Travel to the upper world requires the ability to fly, and shamans often change themselves into birds in order to make the journey. They may also ride upon a flying deer or horse. (5)

The shaman would collect the mushrooms in a bag and deliver them to families, who would then often hang them in socks around the fireplace to dry – the mushrooms would be ready to share their revelatory gifts in the morning of the solstice.

Amanita Muscaria grows only beneath a Christmas tree (coniferous/pine tree) in a symbiotic, non-parasitic relationship with the roots of the tree. (6) It used to be thought to be the fruit of the tree.

Finding these vivid red and white gifts beneath the Christmas tree was a treat indeed!

Especially for reindeer, who absolutely loved them. After eating some, they would prance around and some have said that is where the idea they could fly came from. There is more evidence however that the whole flying thing comes from a blend of two facts, one is that under the influence of Muscaria there are several common visions: things appearing much bigger or smaller than they really are; faeries and gnomes and other beings; and flying – either flying one’s self or seeing other things flying. This is how many would see the shaman fly off on his reindeer sleigh after his special visit. Muscaria’s other name, Fly Agaric is said to be called that because it is used as pesticide for flies, but it is useless at this apparently, and the moniker refers to the visions. (7)

Here are some tripped out reindeer courtesy of BBC’s Weird Animals:

Altogether, that is a very tight connection to our Christmas, and that is either a wild coincidence or is what actually makes the whole Christmas Santa story intelligible. Without this history, the tale stands for nothing, goes nowhere and is inexplicable mish mash.

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There are those who don’t like this connection, and the best argument against it we currently have is oft repeated from the wiki page, and here it is:

Historian Ronald Hutton has since disputed the connection; he noted reindeer spirits did not appear in Siberian mythology, shamans did not travel by sleigh, nor did they wear red and white, or climb out of smoke holes in yurt roofs. Finally, American awareness of Siberian shamanism postdated the appearance of much of the folklore around Santa.(8)

I have researched all those claims and what I found was:

  • Reindeer were very important to the Siberians, they even put antlers on their headdresses to symbolise the protector spirit of the reindeer. (9)
  • Shamans did travel by sleigh, in fact many people did… and still do.
  • Shamans did wear red and white, but not exclusively.
  • Shamans did climb in and out of yurt holes. A “hole” was special in their religion, seeing it as an entry point to another dimension. See quote above for more info on the yurt hole regarding trees.

Hutton’s final claim that awareness of Siberian shamanism came after the evolution of our Santa claus is irrelevant. Things have evolved without public knowledge regularly, including ancient historical memes in current symbology and ritual. The Christmas tree and the date 25th December are both pagan in origin (utilised initially to appeal to the pagans of the time)(*).  Although given a cursory nod by apologists today, for the last 2000 years most Christians did not have awareness of those pagan origins. The majority awareness does not necessarily precede the appropriation. He has used a logical fallacy.

Every point he makes to dispel the Muscaria-Santa-Christmas connection is false… but it would be a logical fallacy on my behalf to say that means it is necessarily true. However, you’ve seen some of the history now… what do you think?

The dress of Santa is his most distinguishing feature (when not on a reindeer sleigh with a sack full of presents) that seems to be where we have refined him over time. Some Siberian shamans do have the red and white of the Muscaria, such as the shaman with the mushrooms in this picture:

We need to slip over to the west a little bit, just as our myths did, to get to the next phase of the evolution of Santa – to the God Odin in Scandinavia. It seems he took a little ‘shroom himself:

Odin’s (8 legged) steed was capable of bearing him through the air and to and from the land of the dead. (10)

And…

Santa Claus, a jolly old fat man with a long white beard who is said to distribute presents to good children on Christmas Eve, is largely based on Odin, merged with the Christian legend of Saint Nicholas of Myra. Christmas itself and most of its traditions in Germanic countries derive from the pagan winter solstice holiday Yule…

… children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin’s flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir’s food with gifts or candy. This practice, she claims, survived in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianization and can be still seen in the modern practice of the hanging of stockings at the chimney in some homes. (11)

And if you still doubt, here is a picture of Odin:

I noticed that Santa and garden gnomes look identical and after a quick google I found that in Sweden the word for both is the same – tomte. With the gnome as a strong visual during a Muscaria experience, I find that interesting but I can’t really consolidate it.

And of course, we have faeries, often seen in the visuals, and often found in children’s literature hanging about Muscaria.

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The evolution to the Santa we know from the Odin point on is generally known (or easy to find). So I’d like to step back a little instead, back into the relevance of the original reasons for the mushrooms that started all this. For openers, a controversial painting of Adam and Eve called Fresco at Abbaye de Plaincourault, which resides in Mérigny, France.  It was used as evidence that the forbidden fruit was the fruit of the Christmas tree:

Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality

There are many examples of mushrooms in historical religious iconography. (12)  Soma (“body”, or “soul”; Hindu equivalent of Eucharist) is a ritual plant eaten/drunk to become “one with God”; it has evidence to suggest it is Muscaria although scholarly debate continues… but it is certainly a psychosomatic substance.  Apparently the only religion that can’t be traced to a psychedelic root is Buddhism.  The works of John Allegro are interesting food for thought.

It makes sense that most religions were founded on psychedelic experiences because our culture is usually very similar to other cultures when we trace back to our own roots – and cultures that have not strayed too far from humanity’s roots still use entheogenic plants. Entheogens “generate the God within” (en = in, within; theo = God, divine; gen = create, generate). Examples are Amazonian tribes with ayahuasca and native Americans with peyote.

These ideas freak most westerners out, even the open minded ones because we can’t imagine a time when such substances were so commonly accepted. Perhaps a reminder that not so long ago cocaine was in Coca Cola and heroin was given to babies to help them sleep is in order. Cocaine was in common usage as was opium until the last century. Alcohol has been illegal at various times. Marijuana is currently under review in the United States and we could safely bet that it will eventually become legal again. That’s the way of things… they change.   That we once used psychedelic plants in religious ritual and for general awakening purposes is not a big deal, nor is it a stretch of the imagination.

What bites is that powerful others have control over these changes, not us – after all, these things are plants, and we have basic human rights to all the plants our planet comes furnished with – risks included. Humans have always worked it out as long as force (for or against) is not involved.  As soon as force (law) is involved, suddenly it is like a fat person on a diet: we lust for, lie for, cheat for and overindulge on that which is forbidden.

Those who have had an entheogen describe it as a religious or spiritual experience, almost universally. Particularly those that contain the DMT molecule, although not necessarily (Muscaria does not contain DMT). DMT is a substance found naturally in the human body, and no other purpose has been considered for it except “extra sensory” incidents, such as near death experiences (perhaps naturally increased to help the transition to the Other Side) and spontaneous, inexplicable mystical experiences. Inducing such experiences seems to be encouraged by nature (or the Creator, whichever you prefer), considering just how many plants contain DMT (thousands)! (13)

Only people who have not experienced an entheogen deny the implications or the reality of the experience. They are busy in their studies writing essays against the testimonies and rejecting them as hallucinations… without any experience to do so. Like near-death experiences, the reports are often that the experience feels more real than life, like it is waking up, and life is the dream.

In a 2009 interview with Examiner.com, Dr Rick Strassman described the effects on participants in a study of volunteers injected with DMT:

“Subjectively, the most interesting results were that high doses of DMT seemed to allow the consciousness of our volunteers to enter into non-corporeal, free-standing, independent realms of existence inhabited by beings of light who oftentimes were expecting the volunteers, and with whom the volunteers interacted.” (14)

It is also released when we go to sleep. This means we break the law every night because DMT is schedule-1 under the Controlled Substances Act. The powers that be certainly wouldn’t want us accessing that kind of mind opening experience, now would they?

Perhaps certain… groups…  already know.

Entheogens are said to “lift the veil”. There are many dimensions to life and the universe, and quantum mechanics seems to be smacking up against that very issue. It seems a human body is given particular sensory limitations so as to function on this plane, so ordinarily only extenuating circumstances would allow for most of us to see, hear or sense anything beyond what anyone else can. There is a ceiling, a limit, and science is now suggesting that it may simply be chemical in nature.

We are expecting a big hole or doorway, something like a black hole, and we jump through it to another place; or that aliens or other-dimensional beings will come down from the sky – much like we believe that’s where God is: “up there somewhere”. Yet, it seems to be all right here inside each of us, we are part of the universe and we are the universe – you are looking for God, yet you are God. No wonder we never find It.

The scriptures never said, “God is everything… except you.” You were included.  Entheogenic experiences seem to suggest that you were much more than merely included.

Removing the limitations, lifting the veil, is perhaps nothing like hallucination and everything like “expansion of the senses”. Entheogens show you that, and unless you’ve seen it yourself, you can only speculate.

Mushrooms are the reason for the season!

Mind expansion, becoming as one with Christ, or as the scripture says in Genesis of the fruit of the “tree of knowledge”:

For God knows that as soon as you eat it, then your eyes shall be

opened, and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. (15)

Christmas = Christ’s mass or eucharist (taking of the soma/body/soul)

Does this mean we give our children a magic mushroom trip for Christmas?  Uh, no.  Christmas has been watered down to a holiday almost solely for children (except for some eggnog and a few office parties which are thrown in for adults), but I think that is because it seems too much of a fairy tale for adults.  We’re left to make it about Jesus’ birth or a family get together if we aren’t Christian.  Considering that nowhere in the bible does it reference the 25th having anything to do with Jesus’ birth, then that takes a kind of “la la la I can’t hear you” ignorance that many of us simply can’t partake in, Christian or nay.

Bring meaning back to Christmas.  Christmas is the birth of the christ within, KRST(16) (17) (18) (19), and in our culture this is symbolised by Jesus – you can be Christian to do this, or not.  Jesus was pretty clear that he wants you to wake up, so … wake up.  He gave you the map, and the internet has made it so there are almost no esoteric “secrets” left, they’re all out there now – we can ALL be mystics, with the true inner knowledge that the Vatican and others would rather we didn’t have.

Failing that, there are always psychedelics to open our minds with a WHAM and shamans only too happy to wake us all the heck up by guiding the experience safely.  Hellish journeys are often reported, of course.  The type of journey you experience is much like life – your thoughts determine your reality.  There is something to learn in all of it.

What do Christmas psychedelic experiences have to teach us?  The same as all the psychedelic experiences… in the words of those who know:

“We are all one.”

“I was the universe and everything in it.”

“Love.  Nothing but shining, drop-to-my-knees-in-tears Love.”

“Light.  Golden-white brilliant light.”

“I’ll never been the same, everything has changed.”

“I was swimming in an ocean of oneness with all beings in a way I cannot effectively find words for.”

“A snake curled around my legs, up my body, and stared me in the face… all my fears looked right back at me.”

“I flew through the void.”

“Peace surrounded me, I’d never felt such peace and joy… I never wanted to leave that space.”

Merry Christmas.

References:

(1) http://www.shamana.co.uk/siberian_shamanism/index.html

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evenks

(3) http://www.drugtext.org/library/books/recreationaldrugs/amanita.htm

(4) http://www.northofthemoon.com/2009/01/old-yule-5-lord-of-yule.html

(5) http://www.tengerism.org/cosmology.html

(6) http://www.arkive.org/fly-agaric/amanita-muscaria/#text=Habitat

(7) http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobotany/plantprofiles/flyagaric.php

(8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria

(9) History of Cartography, Volume 2 By G. Malcolm Lewis

(10) http://www.helium.com/items/696803-how-the-steed-of-odin-has-shaped-other-religions

(11) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odin

(12)  http://www.metahistory.org/psychonautics/Eadwine/EadwinePsalter.php

(13) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21501655/Biochemistry-Project-DMT

(14) http://www.examiner.com/near-death-experiences-in-national/dr-rick-strassman-interview-dmt-and-near-death-experiences-shed-light-on-spirit-brain-relationship

(15) http://bible.cc/genesis/3-5.htm

(16) http://atheistandagnostic.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/which-came-first-krst-or-christ/

(17) http://www.egyptcx.netfirms.com/soul_amenta_no14.htm

(18) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Christ_in_comparative_mythology

(19) http://www.timothyfreke.com/

(*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianised_calendar

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37 thoughts on “The Spiritual Origins of Santa Claus

  1. very well done Janine….makes sense to me…..the entire universes is vibrational…and we are just a vibe…one vibration….imo….interesting isn’t it?

    dmt is quite something…..been a long time….grows in our mountains of san luis obispo i am told….just take a walk and find it….

    nice child and pretty mother…..lucky child…

    joe

  2. This is a wonderful article. Thanks! When it came time to tell my daughter about Santa Claus, I told her that yes, he does exist and yes he does live in the North Pole. But that she would not see him if she went there. That Santa lives in a parallel universe, that millions of children cannot believe in Santa and not have him exist. (Millions of people believe in the devil for instance, and I have no problem believing he exists on some plane. I believe in a Goddess and I know She exists.)

    There has to be some powerful magic afoot to convince millions of parents to decorate trees and buy gifts all on the same day. Solstice celebrations are 60,000 years old after all, and the Christians only borrowed the date recently, since Christ was actually born in July.

    So, my daughter did not have the terrible letdown that other children do, and I told her the absolute truth as I believe it to be.

  3. loved this piece, so informative and imaginative at the same time (as in, let’s dare to imagine). i think Odin has been highly underrated/ignored due to the tall shadows cast by all those Greco-roman gods – it’s good to see that depiction and learn more about him.

    i live in Mongolia right now, and shamanism is definitely on the rise though the city’s decorations leave no doubt that somebody(s) cares deeply about pressing christmas on us. (what would Buddha say?) but more importantly, from mongolia to the arctic circle, the steppe and siberian peoples who want to maintain their traditional lifestyles and cultures are at great risk of losing the resources and land access that is so essential. thank you for shining a light on them and their reindeer :-)

  4. I have an interest in Shamanism and the teachings. I am in groups who do Shamanic journeying regularly and we do indeed go to these places mentioned and beyond. This is in us, we just access it and realize awesome journeys. So for me the article is dead on.RJ

  5. I’ve been a Christian all my life. Thirty years I was intensely involved with my faith as a teacher, minister, etc. One of the hardest things to accept when I became an adult was when a pastor was teaching “Christmas” on the radio. Made me so mad. Get rid of Santa Claus? You gotta be kidding! That was in my late 20’s. I’m sixty one now. I haven’t celebrated Christmas in over 30 years, because of what I found out when I started digging it out for myself. No more tree, Santa, lights and such for me. I came along for the ride with family, just because family got together to see each other and call truces for a day from the rest of the year. Your article is a good study of the holiday. Very interesting to say the least. No one has to be ignorant of such things any more as you said the internet has expoded the information age with a flood of information to study and compare. I think this universe is even bigger than what we can ever imagine in this life. Why confine our minds to the little box we try to put our beliefs and thoughts in.

  6. Though this isn’t new information to me, I love that the story always come up again as we near the Solstice. I love the way that you presented it!
    My daughter is nearing 4… we have yet to have a Christmas tree… I never have. My parents raised me with the story you’ve told here. I decided to get a tree this year for the first time!~I am going out tomorrow with my partner and daughter to cut down a ‘power line tree’.
    I am making amanita muscaria mushrooms to put on the tree along with the lights.

    This is the truth~this, and the fact that it’s fun to bring light into the darkest time… so that is what I tell my daughter. I don’t see the need for Santa, Tooth Fairy or a bunny who brings really unhealthy mass-produced chocolates… I love the truth. Babies come from the momma’s uterus and out of her yoni. Why not just tell the truth from day one? My daughter’s life is no less magical~I needn’t fill her with lies to help with her imagination.

    What our children lack is coming of age rituals. What happens that is special when they lose their first and last tooth? Or begin puberty? Or begin menstruating? These are the gaps I choose to fill. I believe in making real life magical. Why must the magic fade away into a lie?
    Why not make the truth out to be as full of awe as it really is?
    My daughter knows about moon blood, I have never hid it from her. There will never be a shocking moment of ‘blood will come out of where?!’.

    I want the truth to be seen as the wondrous thing it is!

  7. Dallas, Texas is located at approximately the same latitude as Bethlehem, Israel, and I can assure you, you’ll NEVER find a Texas shepherd out tending any flocks on a December 25th night!

    We lose sight, as Tycho Sierra mentioned above, of our Norse heritage, as the Greek gods are flashier and the Hebrew god more threatening. Obviously though, there was a time when we were certainly close enough to them to name many of the days of our week after them. Sunday and Monday are self-explanatory, named after this planet’s two most significant celestial bodies, the sun and the moon. But Tuesday was named after “Tyr,” AKA, “Tiwaz,” the ancestor of the Norse gods, thus “Tiwazdae.” Wednesday, of course was “Woden’sdae,” (Odin’s day); Thursday was “Thor’sdae;” and Friday, “Fria’sdae” – Fria being the daughter of Odin/Woden. Saturday, we’ll just have to give to the Romans, as “Saturn’s Day” honored the Roman god who was blatantly plagiarized from the Greek Dionysus, but hey, everybody borrows from somebody, sometime.

    “Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds?”
    — H. L. Menken —

    You write well S.M., reading your work was a pleasure. I can see in it that you anticipate objections and try to cover them before they emerge, which tells me you are indeed a sagatious, throrough thinker.

    I have a site myself, dedicated to freedom of thought, which examines the Judaeo-Christian Bible, upon which the religious principles of Judaism, Christianity and Islam were founded, questioning all that is neither logical, plausible, physically possible, scientifically established, technologically practical, nor consistent with archaeological facts – and along the way, believe it or not, we try to have some fun!

    Please don’t consider this a shameless plug, but rather an invitation – feel free to visit sometime, I would be honored by your comments. I’d tell you that Richard Dawkins has been there, but I’d be lying.

    pax vobiscum,
    archaeopteryx
    in-His-own-image.com

  8. This is a great article. I was not aware of the Shamanic nature of the Santa story. So excellent to get this depth of knowledge.

    “The Church”, has done such an effective job not only destroying the calendar, but obscuring science and obfuscating… well.. just about everything.

    I want to encourage all the Christian friends out there to not be dismayed and never give up looking for the actual and real.. in spite of what your leadership attempts to do to your minds.

    Have a wonderful Christmas… and Happy New Years day everyone.

    Here in the North, we are having our Winter Solstice today. The days begin getting longer on this day, read: Spring is coming. This is the astronomical “new year” in the sun calendar. Makes sense right? This was the day of the year where all the New Year and renewal rituals and festivals originated.

    Then later, a Pope decided to also use this day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. He was trying to universalize all the holidays so everyone would fall under the auspices of “the Church”.

    It’s really important that we not blame Christians for what their leadership has put everyone through. We are all waking up right now. Let’s just rub our eyes, look around and be glad about it.

    Christmas is such an awesome Holiday regardless. Say Merry CHRISTmas to your friends everywhere.

  9. As I don’t spend my tome trying to disect and analyze fairy tales to horrify children and dubious adults into thinking you can accidentally worship satan I have a view on santa to we celebrate the birth of jesus christ. Rabbi Yeshua Ben Yosef (ah but to this site he is fictional to ) but Yahweh our Elohim placed a star in the sky and had multitude of angels and host proclaim this event holy of course it was not confirmed until he was glorified now as we the goyim were under roman rule and had no pharisee middle men to interact being the down casts of both jew and roman we worshiped in secret in the times we were allowed . Our worship is 100% biblical . Now luke we date birth to dec /jan starting at Zacharias being silenced at the time of atonement . Now I concede it was meant to fall with Hanukkah but we read in john he was rejected at the feast and had to flee for his life as he was at every feast he attended he fled in his own words it was not time for these confrontations till as I said he is GLORIFiED . Now Santa’s exploitation I find interesting was by Macy’s (Jews) and a movie metro goldwinn (miracle on 42nd ) macy’s again all jews . And as I said it’s a fairy tale lol jews we don’t believe in jesus but we’ll. Sell crosses lol we say chrisdtmas I’d satanic but will boost our sales with Santa our does it run deeper hmmm same old pharisee’s try to discredit jesus ads god e

    • Patrick, I have three thoughts I’d like to share with you, though likely they will fall on deaf ears:

      “Philosophy consists of questions that may never be answered. Religion consists of answers that may never be questioned.”

      “If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood, or persuaded of afterward, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it…the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”
      — William Kingdon Clifford —

      And lastly,

      “If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.”
      — Dr. Gregory House –

  10. Early in your article you state that the Shaman would eat the mushrooms and the the people would drink the shaman’s urine. Your source (3) takes me to a site that make no reference to a Shaman practicing your stated “filter” role. Only that Siberian natives and other primitive natives used to do this. This is a key item you are taking liberty with considering the shaman is central to the Santa Claus/ Amanita Muscaria link.

  11. the reasons behind your interpretation of drug experience lie in adopted belief, not fact. You have a good mind, so use it to research deeper into the deleterious effects of ibotinic acid use: Many of these shaman are completely mad and behave inappropriate in all ocasions. That they have a place in culture without censorship is a credit to their cultures. I have seen people reject society and go live in caves due to such use. One famos movie star did so on a famos beach– he died a few years later of malnutrition and toxic blood.

    I’m happy for those who find some relief from lifes boredom, but the toxins in Muscaria have a huge price to tag
    as one gets older. Such things as cognitive problems and short term memory deficit are long term effects.
    Then there is the chance of everyting turning red– a condition that preceeds death from overdose.

    So many fall for the fantasies such as the Avatar movie and do goofy with green politics ( religion) placing safety of newts over the security of jobs for familys–you and me and the big old tree, instead of resonable prices for home materials– few see that the money masters are makings us all slaves of our own optimism, ignoance, and foolish beliefs–we have become people who dont see enough danger in our lives to get out of the way of an economic freight train–before it tuns thier lives to sorrow. Social engineering by know -best ideologues.

    Other than these issues: Your article is appealing. I wish your children well and hope for thier wisdom with regard to mamma’s dangerous ideas.

  12. This is a wonderful article! I actually excerpted the first few paragraphs with a link back to your site on my blog. I first heard this with the Gnostic Media folks and it just made so much sense to me.

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    • Delores, this is a WordPress blog – I use a different company, but many I know use WordPress. Google it, and you will find details for setting one up – it’s not as difficult as it sounds, and no programming knowledge is necessary. Unless I’m mistaken, and I think I was once (but I could be wrong), their basic one is free.

      archaeopteryx

  15. Interesting ideas, but you should do more historical research first. An excellent start is “The Battle for Christmas” by Nissenbaum. Statements like “Without this history, the tale stands for nothing, goes nowhere and is inexplicable mish mash” are just blatantly false– you haven’t read enough about the holiday if you think it is and “inexplicable mish mash.” Of course, if you just want to justify your use of mushrooms by tying it to Christmas, go ahead. But mushrooms are not the reason for the season, and the real reasons for the season are much more complicated and interesting than you describe here.

  16. It was fantastic to read about these shamanistic traditions so many years ago. I have done some research about northern christmas traditions and found that many of the things we are using in our decorations come from that tradition. But shamanistic practices from Siberia pushes the time line for christmas celebrations so much further. I suppose I can trace nordic yule traditions maybe 2500 years ago. But with the siberian approach those traditions are at least one thousand year older.
    I suppose we will never know just how these different old traditions made an impact upon each other. But it is good to have a sense from where the tradition derive from, and what it was all about originally.
    And yes I believe those shamanistic traditions are among the oldest we have concearning celebrating christmas in a way that is still somewhat similar to ours. a feast, an introspection and also journeying for a deeper truth in the trembling hour of the winter solstice.

  17. Well written article without much of the hype usually surrounding this subject, however a few points:
    No indigenous people live at the north pole. The arctic is a large circle around the north pole and there are people who live within this circle, including those you are writing about. Not on the north pole. The northernmost settlements of humans are in Svalbard Norway and Greenland.
    I have also seen this yurt/tipi similarity quoted other places on he internet on this subject, it is good to do research before saying so. I have lived in yurts, the structure is totally different from a tipi, underneath the yak felt or reindeer hide covering is a ring of horizontal latticework with a conical beam room resting on it, held by cables. So the roof structure may be said to be similar to a tipi, but other than that it is quite a stretch. Tipis are heavy poles alone with a hide covering and no lattice work.
    Traditional Sami people in Scandinavia may have used amanita as well, and their portable homes, called lavvu can be called similar to tipis, much shorter, and with reindeer hide. Goahti are another Sami structure, more permanent.
    Thanks for the article.

  18. This article is years old, but still offers lot of food for thought.
    However I spotted one issue with the claim that fly agaric name may came from the word “flying” instead from the word fly as for insect.
    That is just a false speculation, because while in english or germanic languages the word for the insect and flying are the same root, this is not true for other non-germanic languages, yet that particular mushroom in those other languages is still called after the fly (insect) and poison or death. (flypoison, flydeath etc…)

    Otherwise nice article., Just small note.

  19. Great article. I do hope that we can fess up to our species’ spiritual history that has often times been aided by the Plant Kingdom’s more psychedelic virtues. But I will say that the way we confront parables, and the meaning we derive from them is heavily influenced by our current spiritual positioning. I’m not arguing one bit with your research, but I would like to say that there is a true meaning behind the Santa Claus Myth (and by myth, I don’t mean a foundationless fabrication, but a mystery of initiation) — an esoteric meaning that is at the heart of all the Yule myths and Odin myths and myths of all customs which arise around this time of year. There is also a reason that this Myth is celebrated and retold around the time of the Winter Solstice. Nature provides humans with certain psychedelics which have aided us in understanding this true process or story of Santa Claus. We don’t have a necessity for external sources of them, per se (we create the necessary chemicals within ourselves such as DMT), but certain external sources can aid in the process. To anyone who is interested in this article: again, I’m not arguing with it at all, other than to say that there IS much, MUCH more to the meaning of both the Santa Claus Myth and the Christmas Myth than we had ever previously expected. And if you are lucky enough to learn it, you will go out and buy a Christmas Tree, you will tell all the stories careful to include every detail, and you will perpetuate the exoteric foundation of these Myths for your children, because you will now know the true meaning behind them.

    If you’d truly like to learn more, then start your own search. Here is the key of where to start:

    Seek out the text called “God-Man: The Word Made Flesh”.

    Over the temple of Delphi in ancient Greece was written, “Man, KNOW THYSELF and thou shall know the Universe and the gods.”

    Buddha said, “Look within; you are the Buddha.”

    Hermes Trismegistus said, “As Above, So Below; As Below, So Above.”

    And the Bible teaches, “Know ye not that your body is the Temple of the Living God?”

    If we can truly understand the psycho-physical makeup of OUR OWN body and being, we will understand all the Myths, all the Gods, and all the Religions.

    After all, a mushroom isn’t the spiritual origin of anything :) But it surely may help open us to what the spiritual origin is behind the story. It may be a gift that Nature leaves under a Tree, but even that is only able to point the way towards some greater spiritual process.

    The Tree is a Symbol. The presents, are a symbol. The reindeer are symbols. Their number is important. The fact that they land on a roof — YOUR roof — is important. That the Santa, Saint, or Holy Claus descends a chimney — YOUR chimney — is important. Coal is a symbol. The tree, lit up is a symbol. It’s all important — every last traditional detail, and it points to YOU.

    Smart friends, keep digging into this subject and I promise you that you will once again be ENAMORED with the idea of Christmas — whether it’s the story of Christ and/or the story of Santa Claus.

    Best wishes :)

      • What word would you rather then? Electro-magnetic? Etheric? Subtle energetic? Bio-electric? Physiologic? Psychologic? Psychedelic? If you’d like, I can continue the conversation with any bent you choose. Of course, it is your right to tune out, or rather, not tune in if you’d like. Perhaps you would prefer a conversation in terms of “frequency” since you seem to inherently have chosen such an idiom to indicate your tendency. I can tell you think I am something which I am not. Best wishes friend.

      • By the way, I only used the word “spiritual” because it is in the title of the article. If you’re tuned out, why are you here?

        • Alright my senseless friend. If you’d rather talk non-sense, then close your eyes, plug your ears, and wait to see what happens. Your mind will race, and then you’ll fall asleep. In that sleep, you’ll start to dream. What is that dream? What chemical reactions cause it and what do you experience? I suppose you’ll tell me its a bunch of meaningless garbage. Alright. Then why does it happen? What’s the physiological process for its happening? From non-sense, comes sense. There is no avoiding it. It happens on a daily basis.

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