If you ever thought the story of Santa Claus was a little wonky, you might get a kick out of this article. According to a piece by Douglas Main of Live Science, the story of Santa just might be rooted in none other but magic mushrooms.
The historically and culturally significant hallucinogen is believed by some – such as John Rush, an anthropologist at Sierra College – to explain the quite fantastical story of jolly old St. Nick and his magical flying reindeer.
“Santa is a modern counterpart of a shaman, who consumed mind-altering plants and fungi to commune with the spirit world,” Rush said.
That theory just might hold some weight – Arctic shamans are believed to have given out magic mushrooms during the winter solstice, like prototypes of the modern gift-bearing jolly red and white-clad man.
Here’s another fun thing to consider about that theory – magic mushrooms are found at the bottom of pine trees, just like presents at Christmas time.
Need another one to spark more interest?
Reindeer were actually the spirit animals of the shaman, according to Carl Ruck, a professor at Boston University. The furry, iconic animals are common in Siberia and – get this – feed on magic mushrooms like their shaman buddies.
So I guess it is totally fitting that Reindeer would be Santa’s choice of ride for that yearly *trip.
What about the design of Santa himself? According to popular theory, he was created by Coca Cola after first appearing in their early 20th Century advertisements in his now-familiar form. This is true, to a degree. Before Coca Cola’s ad, Santa was depicted as a smaller, gnome-like man. His precursor, Father Christmas, also looked quite different from the modern incarnation.
However, the roots of Santa Claus’ image and design still lie rooted far back beyond Coca-Cola and Father Christmas. From his bag of goodies to reindeer, sleigh, fantastical trip and means of getting into homes, much of the tradition surrounding Santa leads back to traditions found in the cultures of several indigenous arctic circle dwellers.
Where did those traditions emerge from? As with so many other wild stories and tales, shrooms, man!
According to ancient shaman history, on the night of the winter solstice, a shaman would gather hallucinogenic mushrooms and ‘launch’ himself into a spiritual journey to the tree of life, pine.
The mushrooms in particular used by the shamans is the fly agaric; a red and white mushroom found under pine trees. The shaman would gather the mushrooms and put them in a sock to take back to his village and hang over a fire to dry.
Sound familiar? It gets even wilder.
Tradition further states that when the shaman would go out to gather the shrooms, he would do so in a red and white outfit to honour the colour of the mushrooms he was going after. He would also wear tall boots made of blackened reindeer skin as, during the winter solstice, the ground would be covered in snow.
It gets, even more, interesting when you find out how the shaman would get the mushrooms back into his tent, or yurt.
As the doors to yurts were often blocked with several feet of snow on the night of the winter solstice, the shaman would have to climb to the top of the structure and slide down the chimney with the bag.
But what about the reindeer?
Magic mushrooms have a similar effect on animals as they do in humans. Any reindeer who ingests the shrooms would find themselves very energetic, *prancing* and jumping around to the point where they look like they are flying. See the connection?
So if you’re – like many adults – a little cynical about Christmas, hopefully, this information gives you a bit of a chuckle and helps you get through this year’s round of holiday plays and tunes.
Just imagine a jolly old fat man munching on some magic mushrooms and you’ll be fine.
Today is The Best Day EVER!
Hopefully, all this information makes Christmas Eve with your family a little more exciting than usual.