Sunday, December 27, 2009


Why not learn ya a little somethin' today?

This first article is about Dolly Freed's 1970s book, "Possum Living". It captured my imagination because this
is essentially how I live, well, without all the turtle shooting. I first saw this article on the Flavorpill Boldtype newsletter.
This Dolly Freed character is a pretty fascinating lady. She became a NASA engineer with only a high school diploma, and
has a very likable and endearing way about her. This article includes a 3 piece youtube mini doc about her and her
dad who did "Possum Living", including the appearance the book she wrote as a young lady got her on the Merv
Griffin show.

This next article was sent to me by a friend, and is about the true, mystical symbolism of Christmas. It's pretty neat! It's really long but just read it until you get bored, then move onto someone else's blog.

Enjoy how ever much of it you can get through!

The psychedelic secrets of Santa Claus
By Dana Larsen - Thursday, December 18 2003
Modern Christmas traditions are based on ancient mushroom-using shamans.
(Art by Jimmy Bursenos: --plus all the links at the
bottom of the page-- can be seen and found at the link below)

Although most people see Christmas as a Christian holiday, most of the
symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually
derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of
pre-Christian Northern Europe.

The sacred mushroom of these people was the red and white amanita
muscaria mushroom, also known as "fly agaric." These mushrooms are now
commonly seen in books of fairy tales, and are usually associated with
magic and fairies. This is because they contain potent hallucinogenic
compounds, and were used by ancient peoples for insight and
transcendental experiences.

Most of the major elements of the modern Christmas celebration, such as
Santa Claus, Christmas trees, magical reindeer and the giving of gifts,
are originally based upon the traditions surrounding the harvest and
consumption of these most sacred mushrooms.

The world tree

These ancient peoples, including the Lapps of modern-day Finland, and
the Koyak tribes of the central Russian steppes, believed in the idea of
a World Tree. The World Tree was seen as a kind of cosmic axis, onto
which the planes of the universe are fixed. The roots of the World Tree
stretch down into the underworld, its trunk is the "middle earth" of
everyday existence, and its branches reach upwards into the heavenly

The amanita muscaria mushrooms grow only under certain types of trees,
mostly firs and evergreens. The mushroom caps are the fruit of the
larger mycelium beneath the soil which exists in a symbiotic
relationship with the roots of the tree. To ancient people, these
mushrooms were literally "the fruit of the tree."

The North Star was also considered sacred, since all other stars in the
sky revolved around its fixed point. They associated this "Pole Star"
with the World Tree and the central axis of the universe. The top of the
World Tree touched the North Star, and the spirit of the shaman would
climb the metaphorical tree, thereby passing into the realm of the gods.
This is the true meaning of the star on top of the modern Christmas
tree, and also the reason that the super-shaman Santa makes his home at
the North Pole.

Ancient peoples were amazed at how these magical mushrooms sprang from
the earth without any visible seed. They considered this "virgin birth"
to have been the result of the morning dew, which was seen as the semen
of the deity. The silver tinsel we drape onto our modern Christmas tree
represents this divine fluid.

Reindeer games

The active ingredients of the amanita mushrooms are not metabolized by
the body, and so they remain active in the urine. In fact, it is safer
to drink the urine of one who has consumed the mushrooms than to eat the
mushrooms directly, as many of the toxic compounds are processed and
eliminated on the first pass through the body.

It was common practice among ancient people to recycle the potent
effects of the mushroom by drinking each other's urine. The amanita's
ingredients can remain potent even after six passes through the human
body. Some scholars argue that this is the origin of the phrase "to get
pissed," as this urine-drinking activity preceded alcohol by thousands
of years.

Reindeer were the sacred animals of these semi-nomadic people, as the
reindeer provided food, shelter, clothing and other necessities.
Reindeer are also fond of eating the amanita mushrooms; they will seek
them out, then prance about while under their influence. Often the urine
of tripped-out reindeer would be consumed for its psychedelic effects.

This effect goes the other way too, as reindeer also enjoy the urine of
a human, especially one who has consumed the mushrooms. In fact,
reindeer will seek out human urine to drink, and some tribesmen carry
sealskin containers of their own collected piss, which they use to
attract stray reindeer back into the herd.

The effects of the amanita mushroom usually include sensations of size
distortion and flying. The feeling of flying could account for the
legends of flying reindeer, and legends of shamanic journeys included
stories of winged reindeer, transporting their riders up to the highest
branches of the World Tree.

Santa Claus, super shaman

Although the modern image of Santa Claus was created at least in part by
the advertising department of Coca-Cola, in truth his appearance,
clothing, mannerisms and companions all mark him as the reincarnation of
these ancient mushroom-gathering shamans.

One of the side effects of eating amanita mushrooms is that the skin and
facial features take on a flushed, ruddy glow. This is why Santa is
always shown with glowing red cheeks and nose. Even Santa's jolly "Ho,
ho, ho!" is the euphoric laugh of one who has indulged in the magic

Santa also dresses like a mushroom gatherer. When it was time to go out
and harvest the magical mushrooms, the ancient shamans would dress much
like Santa, wearing red and white fur-trimmed coats and long black

These peoples lived in dwellings made of birch and reindeer hide, called
"yurts." Somewhat similar to a teepee, the yurt's central smokehole is
often also used as an entrance. After gathering the mushrooms from under
the sacred trees where they appeared, the shamans would fill their sacks
and return home. Climbing down the chimney-entrances, they would share
out the mushroom's gifts with those within.

The amanita mushroom needs to be dried before being consumed; the drying
process reduces the mushroom's toxicity while increasing its potency.
The shaman would guide the group in stringing the mushrooms and hanging
them around the hearth-fire to dry. This tradition is echoed in the
modern stringing of popcorn and other items.

The psychedelic journeys taken under the influence of the amanita were
also symbolized by a stick reaching up through the smokehole in the top
of the yurt. The smokehole was the portal where the spirit of the shaman
exited the physical plane.

Santa's famous magical journey, where his sleigh takes him around the
whole planet in a single night, is developed from the "heavenly
chariot," used by the gods from whom Santa and other shamanic figures
are descended. The chariot of Odin, Thor and even the Egyptian god
Osiris is now known as the Big Dipper, which circles around the North
Star in a 24-hour period.

In different versions of the ancient story, the chariot was pulled by
reindeer or horses. As the animals grow exhausted, their mingled spit
and blood falls to the ground, forming the amanita mushrooms.

St Nicholas and Old Nick

Saint Nicholas is a legendary figure who supposedly lived during the
fourth Century. His cult spread quickly and Nicholas became the patron
saint of many varied groups, including judges, pawnbrokers, criminals,
merchants, sailors, bakers, travelers, the poor, and children.

Most religious historians agree that St Nicholas did not actually exist
as a real person, and was instead a Christianized version of earlier
Pagan gods. Nicholas' legends were mainly created out of stories about
the Teutonic god called Hold Nickar, known as Poseidon to the Greeks.
This powerful sea god was known to gallop through the sky during the
winter solstice, granting boons to his worshippers below.

When the Catholic Church created the character of St Nicholas, they took
his name from "Nickar" and gave him Poseidon's title of "the Sailor."
There are thousands of churches named in St Nicholas' honor, most of
which were converted from temples to Poseidon and Hold Nickar. (As the
ancient pagan deities were demonized by the Christian church, Hold
Nickar's name also became associated with Satan, known as "Old Nick!")

Local traditions were incorporated into the new Christian holidays to
make them more acceptable to the new converts. To these early
Christians, Saint Nicholas became a sort of "super-shaman" who was
overlaid upon their own shamanic cultural practices. Many images of
Saint Nicholas from these early times show him wearing red and white, or
standing in front of a red background with white spots, the design of
the amanita mushroom.

St Nicholas also adopted some of the qualities of the legendary
"Grandmother Befana" from Italy, who filled children's stockings with
gifts. Her shrine at Bari, Italy, became a shrine to St Nicholas.

Modern world, ancient traditions

Some psychologists have discussed the "cognitive dissonance" which
occurs when children are encouraged to believe in the literal existence
of Santa Claus, only to have their parents' lie revealed when they are
older. By so deceiving our children we rob them of a richer heritage,
for the actual origin of these ancient rituals is rooted deep in our
history and our collective unconscious. By better understanding the
truths within these popular celebrations, we can better understand the
modern world, and our place in it.

Many people in the modern world have rejected Christmas as being too
commercial, claiming that this ritual of giving is actually a
celebration of materialism and greed. Yet the true spirit of this winter
festival lies not in the exchange of plastic toys, but in celebrating a
gift from the earth: the fruiting top of a magical mushroom, and the
revelatory experiences it can provide.

Instead of perpetuating outdated and confusing holiday myths, it might
be more fulfilling to return to the original source of these seasonal
celebrations. How about getting back to basics and enjoying some magical
mushrooms with your loved ones this solstice? What better gift can a
family share than a little piece of love and enlightenment?

- The Hidden Meanings of Christmas, Mushroms and Mankind, by James
- Santa Claus & the Amanita Muscaria, by Jimmy Bursenos
- Who put the Fly Agaric into Christmas?, Seventh International
Mycological Congress, December 1999, Fungus of the Month
- The Real Story of Santa, The Spore Print, Los Angeles Mycological
Society, December 1998
- Santa and those Reindeer: The Hallucinogenic Connection, The Physics
of Christmas, by Roger Highfield
- Fungi, Fairy Rings and Father Christmas, North West Fungus Group, 1998
Presidential Address, by Dr Sean Edwards
- Fly Agaric, Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month for December 1999
- Father Christmas Flies on Toadstools, New Scientist, December 1986
- Psycho-mycological studies of amanita: From ancient sacrament to
modern phobia, by Jonathan Ott, Journal of Psychedelic Drugs; 1976
- Santa is a Wildman, LA Times, Jeffrey Vallance

- Mushrooms and Mankind, by James Arthur
- Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality, by Gordon Wasson
- Mushrooms, Poisons and Panaceas, by Denis R. Benjamin

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