Many of the traditions we see across the world that are tied to the Christmas holidays have a suprising similarity to the ancient traditions of Siberian Shamans. Through the description below, you can easily see the role of Santa Claus being filled by the local shaman. His gift to everyone on Chistmas (Winter Solsitice)... dried out mushrooms that were hung by the fire with care.
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. A shaman dealt with the mushrooms, as both a safety practice and as part of the spirituality of the people.
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.More...