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Sunday, 17 October 2010

fly agaric mushroom

i posted a while ago a video and pics on the fly agaric mushroom..ive now got round to completing what i wanted to add to this info...

These red and white mushrooms, Amanita muscaria, were found in an
alpine forest around Creede, Colorado. A. muscaria was the "sacred
mushroom" used by the ancient tribal peoples of pre-Christian northern
Europe. Its bright coloring suggests the colors of Santa's garments
and of holiday lights. (Photo by Mark Adams)

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, also known as "fly agaric." This mushroom commonly is seen
in books of fairy tales and usually is associated with magic and
fairies. It contains potent hallucinogenic compounds once 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 this most sacred mushroom.

The World Tree

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 realm.

Amanita muscaria grows only under certain types of trees, mostly firs
and evergreens. The cap of the mushroom is the fruit of the larger
mycelium beneath the soil which exists in a symbiotic relationship
with the roots of the tree. To ancient people, this mushroom was
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 this magical mushroom 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.

Origin of phrase, "to get pissed"

The active ingredients of A. muscaria 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 mushroom than to eat the
mushroom 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 mushroom'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 mushroom; they will seek it out,
then prance about while under its 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 mushroom. 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.

Legend of the flying reindeer and modern image of Santa

The effects of the A. muscaria 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.

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 A. muscaria is that one's 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 mushroom, the ancient shamans would dress
much like Santa, wearing red and white fur-trimmed coats and long
black boots. These peoples lived in dwellings made of birch and
reindeer hide, called "yurts." Somewhat similar to a tee-pee, the
yurt's central smoke-hole is often also used as an entrance. After
gathering the mushroom 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 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 they
gathered and hanging them around the hearth-fire to dry. This
tradition is echoed in the modern stringing of popcorn and other

The psychedelic journeys taken under the influence of the amanita were
also symbolized by a stick reaching up through the smoke-hole in the
top of the yurt. The smoke-hole 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 grew exhausted, their mingled spit
and blood falls to the ground, forming the 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 but 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

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

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 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.

True spirit of Christmas

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.
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