Within the “previous world”, the psychoactive Fly amanita mushroom (Amanita muscaria) has been intently related to northern European and Asiatic shamans and their rituals. Researchers have documented its use or presumed use by quite a few cultures all through Europe and Asia. In Siberia, its use predates the crossing of the Bering Straits into North America.
In the course of the Pleistocene, the usage of fly agaric entered Alaska, unfold out throughout North America, and ultimately south into Mesoamerica. Nevertheless, the usage of the fly agaric mushroom fell by the wayside within the “new world” because of the availability of liberty cap mushrooms (Psilocybe spp.). Liberty caps grew to become the popular psychoactive fungi as they have been extra simply tolerated and produced extra intense experiences.
Fly-Agaric’s Affect on Trendy Midwinter and Christmas Celebrations
Why does Santa Claus put on a pink coat and pants trimmed with white fur and black boots? Why does Santa come down the chimney and into the home to ship his presents? Why do reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh? Why does Santa carry his presents in a sack? Why does Santa have such rosy cheeks?
There’s a saying that behind each delusion lies a wee little bit of fact. The reply to those questions could also be present in pre-Christian rituals practiced in northern Europe on the time of the winter solstice. The gathering, preparation, and use of fly agaric mushrooms (Amanita muscaria) have been central to many northern European and Asian peoples’ winter solstice celebrations and ceremonies.
Within the days main as much as the winter solstice, the fly agaric mushroom seems beneath timber, principally firs and spruces. The fly agaric mushroom’s cap is darkish pink to reddish-orange with creamy-white small patches dotting the cap in an irregular sample.
In central Asia, shamans wore particular clothes to gather the fly agaric mushrooms. Their coats and pants have been pink with the collar and cuffs trimmed with white fur and topped off with black boots. The shaman collected the fly agaric mushrooms in a particular sack. After amassing the mushrooms, the shaman would return to his village and enter the yurt (a transportable tent dwelling) by way of the smoke gap on the roof; does this sound acquainted?
In the course of the ceremonial ritual, the shaman would eat and share the sacred mushrooms with the members. The smoke gap was a gateway or portal into the religious world the place the individuals would expertise many visions. Among the many Sami (Laplander) peoples, the hallucinations related to ingestion of fly agaric gave the feeling of flying in a “religious sleigh” pulled by reindeer or horses (i.e., Santa in his sleigh journeying out into the evening to provide presents).
Watch this quick video from the BBC wildlife present “Bizarre Nature” to be taught extra in regards to the reindeer urge for food for intoxicating fungi, and maybe uncover just a little extra in regards to the origins of Santa’s flying companions!
A facet impact from consuming fly agaric mushrooms was a rosy, pink flush to the cheeks and face. Frequent winter rituals included drying and stringing fly agaric mushrooms close to the fireside. To at the present time, many individuals everywhere in the world nonetheless adorn the household fireside and Christmas tree with strings of popcorn, cranberries, and mushroom ornaments. It’s a reminder that many winter solstice traditions have long-forgotten histories introduced ahead into fashionable secular festivities, together with the Christmas vacation.