Santa is a Mushroom - The Shamanic Origins of Christmas

by Tahnee McCrossin December 06, 2021 2 mins read

SuperFeast | Santa is a Mushroom - The Shamanic Origins of Christmas

Have you ever wondered how on Earth we ended up with a man dressed in red and white dropping in through people’s chimneys with his flying reindeer friends as our Christmas fairy tale?

 

We all know that Santa is a fun guy (see what I did there?), with his jolly smile and his annual mission of delivering presents to children the world-over.

Mase has been sharing the shamanic origins of the Santa story for years and I love it. It’s always super interesting to think about where the cultural icons we grew up with actually originated from. We've also got a pretty wicked story about cordyceps and it's zombie-like characteristics!


You might’ve heard that Coca Cola created Santa (not entirely true, though they did craft the image of a fat, jolly Santa), but did you know that the real history of Santa involves shamans, mid-winter festivals and mushrooms?

In particular, a type of mushroom called Amanita muscaria, the beautiful red and white mushrooms you may remember from fairy tales you read as a kid.


The amanita also happens to be a pretty potent hallucinogen.


From Rudolph’s glowing red nose (yep, it’s a mushroom stuck on the end of his face there), to Santa entering through the chimney (necessary when the door to your yurt is buried in snow - and also a reference for entering another dimension with the help of a certain mushroom!), much of the lore of Santa can be explained by the shamanic traditions of the Arctic regions, specifically around Siberia.

"Santa is a modern counterpart of a shaman, who consumed mind-altering plants and fungi to commune with the spirit world," Professor Rush told LiveScience in 2012.


The Siberian shamans were well known for donning the red coats of reindeer to channel the animal’s spirits for their vision quests and the flying reindeer are indicative of what happens when one ingests the spotty red amanita…let’s just say that those reindeer aren’t REALLY flying. ;)


The reindeer reportedly LOVE getting a little wild on the amanitas, and are known to prance and dance (and leave yellow patches on the snow, which, when consumed {yep, reindeer pee!} that can get a wise old shaman high, too!) It was also common to receive dried fly agarics as a gift, hence the featuring of these ‘shrooms on many Christmas cards and in images of European Christmases.


The evolution of the Santa myth was later contributed to by the Scandivians. One of their gods, Odin, dons garb that is very similar to our modern Santa and visits children with gifts.


Kids in Scandinavia leave food for his horse, just like we do for the reindeer. As the story of Santa travelled, it's shamanic and pagan roots merged with Christianity and the myth was passed around through European and then American culture, leaving us our current incarnation of Santa - a fat, jolly dude with a fat, jolly wife and a tribe of elves.


Still sounds pretty trippy to us! :)

We’re not saying you should give your family THOSE kinds of magic mushrooms this Christmas, but we do think our Mason’s Mushrooms blend makes a pretty awesome gift (all the benefits of medicinal and functional mushrooms, minus the hallucinogenic effects!)


From all of us at SuperFeast, we're wishing you a very mushroom-y, joy-filled silly season and a Merry Christmas!!

References
Vice
NPR
LiveScience
Inhabitat
SMH
New Scientist
Sagacious Mama
Books by John Rush



Also in SuperBlog USA

Jing: The Source Of Core Energy with Mason Taylor (EP#166)
Jing: The Source Of Core Energy with Mason Taylor (EP#166)

by Alexandra Anttilla June 21, 2022

In today's episode, Mason discusses his personal story with the Jing herbs (how they changed his journey) and how the 30 days of JING challenge can transform your month, year, and (as an annual event)-the trajectory of your life. Mason dives deep into the esoteric waters of kidney energy from a Taoist perspective and explains why 30 Days of JING, more than quitting coffee, is about creating an intention that will deepen your relationship with yourself and your Jing essence through foundational lifestyle practices.
Read More
How to Integrate Psychedelics with Tobias Penno (EP#165)
How to Integrate Psychedelics with Tobias Penno (EP#165)

by Alexandra Anttilla June 14, 2022

Today Mason chats with Tobias Penno, a government-funded psychedelic researcher and founder of ‘Psychedelic Healthcare’, about the benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy and its capacity to open up the mind/body interface for deep therapeutic work and mystical experiences that can evolve consciousness. 
Read More
Connecting to Country and Community with Ella Noah Bancroft (EP#164)
Connecting to Country and Community with Ella Noah Bancroft (EP#164)

by Alexandra Anttilla June 07, 2022

Join Ella Noah Bancroft for a heart-centered conversation about bridging the disconnect between indigenous and non-indigenous Australia through building better relationships, investing in country and community, and building businesses that replenish and work with the natural world rather than those that extract and destroy it.
Read More