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Amanita Muscaria, Shamanism and Santa Claus
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In this blog item Santa Claus and Coca ColaPsychedelic Amanita muscariaPagan winter celebrationsTripping reindeerWas Santa Claus a shaman? Want to trip with Amanita muscaria yourself?
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Amanita Muscaria, Shamanism and Santa Claus

I think I was about seven years old when I found out that Saint Nicholas doesn't exist. Around the sixth of December we had a visit from the good saint at school and he had a present for each child. When I held the beautiful hand-painted wooden box in my hands a light went on: the paintings looked very much like my own mother's drawing style! 

After this sad discovery we fortunately kept celebrating this beautiful party, with the creative surprise evening and the singing of the songs. Whether it was real or not, it was anyway an annual ritual, a moment of being together with the whole family and showing gratitude to each other. 

One celebration that we always take part in is Christmas. Since I already received presents from Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus did not visit our home. For me, Christmas consisted more of the Christian tradition and Santa Claus was a somewhat vague figure to me. Always I thought the story was a bit strange, and thought it was some sort of puffed up, American version of Saint Nicholas. 

Santa Claus and Coca Cola

The story of Coca Cola is also a popular link, with it being thought that 'Santa Claus' was created by this soft drink company in order to advertise their product more. It is true that Santa Claus owes certain traits of his appearance to Coca Cola. In the early 20th century, illustrator Haddon Sundblom first depicted him as the round-bellied, friendly man with pink cheeks, as we all know him today. However, Santa Claus existed long before this time, although he was portrayed differently then. Before Coca Cola took hold of it, Santa Claus was more of a dwarf-like man, skinny and a little scary perhaps. However, even in these old images he wore his familiar red suit with white fur collar and black boots. And of course with a big bag full of presents. 

Where does this strange little man come from? 

In this blog I will tell you about a theory about Santa Claus. I myself have probably always been wrong and Santa Claus is likely much more interesting and psychedelic than I have always thought. 

Psychedelic Amanita muscaria

I regularly come across the Amanita muscaria, the red and white spotted mushroom, in the woods. This beautiful mushroom is not only a joy to look at, it has a very interesting history of human use and is deeply connected to shamanism. 

The word "shaman" comes from the language of ancient peoples in Siberia, particularly the Kamchadales and the Koryaks. The shaman could get in touch with the world of spirits and nature, which allowed him to get answers that the community needed. When there were certain problems within the community, someone fell ill for example, the shaman could get in touch with the world of the spirits through certain ways such as drumming, taking psychedelics, meditation or fasting. In Siberia, ancient peoples used the powers of the mushroom to help them enter a trance and receive answers from the spirits. 

The mushroom likes to grow under pines or firs and is linked to the story of Santa Claus. The man with white beard and red suit (the colors of the mushroom) who flies through the sky in a wagon with reindeer and brings happiness and peace during the cold winter days. A pretty trippy story, when you think about it like that. Especially when you consider that it is linked to an otherwise Christian celebration: Christmas. What on earth does this Biblical story have to do with this flying man bringing presents under a pine tree?

Pagan winter celebrations

But even long before this Christian tradition was established, the dark winter season consisted of a number of rituals and celebrations. These "pagan" celebrations have existed for centuries and still make a deep impression on us. A time of being together, singing and dancing, in order to drive away the cold and darkness (and with it evil spirits). 

An example of such a festival is the Germanic Yule festival, which celebrates the solstice around December 21. 

Tripping reindeer

There appears to be a great connection between the story of Santa Claus and shamanism. Reindeer have a good nose for finding fly agaric mushrooms and like a bite of it themselves. The animals go on a special search for the psychedelic properties of this mushroom. 

Reindeer were also revered by these Siberian peoples. In these cold places, man was much more dependent on these animals for their meat, skin, milk and as a means of transportation. Thus, man had close contact with these animals and thus came into contact with the strange phenomenon of tripping reindeer. 

Reindeer that can fly sounds incredible, of course, but when you consider that these people (and the animals themselves) were tripping on Amanita muscaria, it is perhaps already more credible that this phenomenon occurred, at least as a hallucination. Biologist Donald Pfister of Harvard University substantiates this claim by assuming that after consuming Amanita muscaria in their trip, shamans saw reindeer flying through the air. 

Moreover, there is a link between the fly agaric and the phenomenon of flying. According to various stories of experience and old tales, the trip of the fly agaric often causes one to feel like floating through the air. 

Was Santa Claus a shaman? 

Shamans from Siberia went in search of the fly agaric, dried it and distributed it to people. Just like the Santa Claus we know, he went around the houses, during the winter time and brought warmth and prosperity with his presents to the people. 

According to researcher and anthropologist John Rush of Sierra College, Santa Claus "is a modern version of a shaman, who took mind-altering mushrooms to get in touch with the world of spirits. As history goes, these shamans or priests collected psychoactive mushrooms as recently as a few hundred years ago. They gave these mushrooms as gifts to people during these winter celebrations."

Another argument used is the location of Santa Claus. He lives at the North Pole, in a house full of elves who help him wrap presents. Again, this image is pretty psychedelic, if you ask me. And so yet another link to Siberia and the customs of the shamans there.

The eating of magic mushrooms by shamans in Siberia is well documented and is said to have been done in an interesting way: humans watched the behavior of the reindeer carefully. After eating the fly agaric, the active ingredients remain in the urine. Then this urine was reused and the drinker could then also trip. An additional benefit of this was that the side effects were reduced. Amanita muscaria is often classified as a poisonous mushroom. Its effects can be very strong and cause side effects such as fainting, severe stomach pain and vomiting. 

Want to trip with Amanita muscaria yourself?

If you are looking for a psychedelic experience with the power of the mushroom, you will find a whole range of legal products in Sirius' Magic Truffle shop. We do not sell the Amanita muscaria, or fly agaric. You can find it in the wild but a warning is definitely in order: within the family of Amanita mushrooms, there are some species that are deadly poisonous, including the Amanita Phalloides. Although the fly agaric has a striking appearance, it is still not recommended to pick it without some knowledge. 

To experience the flying properties of this mushroom for yourself, prepare yourself for some serious side effects, which can be mitigated (for example, by drinking the pee of someone who has consumed the fly agaric). It is possible to convert the toxins by drying it.

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