Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Origin of Santa Claus, Christmas Trees and Flying Reindeer

Most of the rituals and trappings we associate with Christmas may have had their origins in ancient Siberia.

According to John Rush, an anthropologist and instructor at Sierra College in Rocklin, CA:

“Santa is a modern counterpart of a shaman, who consumed mind-altering plants and fungi to commune with the spirit world.”

During earlier times, shamans would (literally) drop into people’s homes during late December, bearing gifts of hallucinogenic mushrooms:

“As the story goes, up until a few hundred years ago these practicing shamans or priests connected to the older traditions would collect Amanita muscaria (the Holy Mushroom), dry them, and then give them as gifts on the winter solstice.  Because snow is usually blocking doors, there was an opening in the roof through which people entered and exited, thus the chimney story.”

This particular hallucinogenic mushroom, Amanita muscaria, lives throughout the northern hemisphere, usually underneath evergreen or birch trees.  The fungi is a deep red with white flecks.  According to the author of Mushrooms and Mankind:

“Why do people bring pine trees into their houses at the Winter Solstice, placing brightly colored (red and white) packages under their boughs, as gifts to show their love for each other?  It is because, underneath the pine bough is the exact location where one would find this 'Most Sacred' substance, the Amanita muscaria, in the wild.”

There also was a tradition in Siberia of dressing up in costumes that resembled these mushrooms, i.e. a red suit with white spots.

Reindeer are common in this area, and it’s possible that Siberians tripping on Amanita muscaria thought they saw flying reindeer.

Anyway, food for thought.

There’s another interesting little tidbit about Amanita muscaria, which wasn’t mentioned in the linked article.  Amanita muscaria passes through the urine completely intact.  Russian aristocrats used to ingest the drug, and then they’d let the peasants drink their piss so the peasants could get a free high.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom have you been grilling those funny Portobellos out back again?
Or have you been overloading on your Ravi Shankar records in memorium?

Actually Odin (Wotan) was more connected to Father Christmas as he rode a chariot pulled by a 8 legged horse.

Pagans will tell you most Holiday rights and traditions were ripped off from them. In exchange the plagiarizing churches turned around and labeled them as heathens and devil worshipers to be hunted down and killed.

That's why Pagans call themselves "The Original Christians"!

Erik aka Donner

Of course Santa's reindeer Donner and Blizten translate to Thunder and Lightening but that's from a 100 year old poem.

December 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

FWIW, in case anyone plans on trying for some hallucinatory fun with secondhand mushroom byproducts. In addition to whatever intoxicants it might hold, urine is loaded with salts. Drinking a little can cause severe vomiting, especially if the urine is concentrated. Drink a lot and it can cause drastic dehydration, screw up serum electrolytes, and could even cause death.

As for origins of Christmas lore and traditions, the more I come across the less interesting and relevant they become to me. I prefer to let Christmas be what most folks want and need it to be.

Sorry to sound so negative, Tom. I'm sure these nuggets of unusual knowledge will strike many as interesting. For me, not so much.

Erik, please forgive a nit pick. Rights and rites are different things. ;)

December 22, 2012 at 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

I know right under our tree this year, is a little package for my husband of a mind altering drug. YUP, got him some really good Hindu Kush from the fat man in the red suit :)

December 23, 2012 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I thought they were Portobellos, but it turned out...

That pretty much sums it up: Christians "borrowed" all these winter and spring rituals from the Pagans, and then demonized them.

SW: OK, you've convinced me. I was all set to track down a Russian VIP who's under the influence of Amanita muscaria, and beg him to let me drink his urine so I could get a free high. But now I've decided to just go ahead and pay for my own psychedelic mushrooms.

Jess: Enjoy your Christmas Hindu Kush high. It's what Jesus would have done.

December 23, 2012 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS explains why the Norte Americano version of Christmas has not caught on in Latin America! The amanita visions conflict with the peyote, etc. visions! For me, I like the conflict/balance. Sort of like how it's nice to keep both a good indica and a good sativa around. Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2012 at 3:26 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

CAn't remember the tribe or culture but there is one group who makes a potent punch of alcohol and a bit of the chiefs' urine.

I find it odd that the right wing is still defending these pagan rituals and not the real meaning of the "holiday" season.

December 24, 2012 at 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Hey Tom. Wanted to let you know, I think I saw the man his own self this afternoon after a bong hit or 5. Could have been him, could have been a bearded friend of ours :) The rest of youz uns
Happy Christmahannukwanzadanivus

December 25, 2012 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anon.: We all need more Yin and Yang in our lives -- amanita and peyote, indica and sativa, etc.

Demeur: Alcohol and chief's urine, mmmm.

Jess: Happy Christmahannukwanzadanivus and Festivus.

December 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Celestial Elf said...

Great post thank you :D
I thought you might like my midwinter machinima animation,
'Flight of the Shamanic Santa'
Blessed Be By Starlight and True Sight,
Ho Ho Ho ~

December 15, 2013 at 5:33 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Celestial Elf: Cool. Thanks for the link.

December 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM  

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