We all know the enduring Christmas story of Santa Claus flying through the night sky being towed by magical reindeer delivering presents to children all over the world.
The origin of this well-known story may surprise you, and what’s more is that it contains information that may be a benefit to medical science.
This story starts quite unsurprisingly with reindeer in Finland, what you may not know about these wintry beasts is that they consume large amounts of fly agaric mushrooms (also known as Amantia Muscaria) which are known to contain various psychedelic compounds. As I mentioned in this previous article , animals altering their state of consciousness by deliberately ingesting drugs is well documented but poorly understood.
Image from http://nutmeg.zenfolio.com
So we have reindeer getting high, but where does Santa come in?
Well historically humans have practiced the drinking of the reindeer urine as a safe method of ingesting the psychoactive compounds from the mushrooms as the deer’s metabolism filters out most of the mushrooms toxicity.
Vikings are rumoured to have drank the reindeer urine before battle and would apparently also drink each other’s piss to pass on the hallucinogenic effects though other Vikings lower than them in their social hierarchy.
Basically it would suck to be an intern in the Viking world.
Finnish shamans (the Laps) also used to practice the drinking of reindeer urine as they see this as a way to access the spirit world. Apparently the particular psychedelic effect of fly agaric mushrooms is inducing a hallucinogenic feeling/experience of flying.
And what did these shamans used to use to transport themselves across the frozen Siberian/Finnish landscape? ………. a sled of course!
Santa’s Ho-Ho-Ho, the red hue on his cheeks and placing presents under a tree (bit of a stretch on that last one) are all attributed to this practice. The fly agaric mushrooms themselves also used to be featured on Christmas cards.
And if all this isn’t enough to convince you, here is a picture of a Lapp shaman.
So the origin of the much loved and publicised Santa story is a dude getting out of his fucking tree on shrooms and going on a joy ride on his sled toed by reindeer. The rest was done by marketing from Coca-Cola, I got no idea where the elves and other shit came from though.
Here is a short BBC clip demonstrating the psychedelic origin of Santa.
Historically psychedelics have been used by many human cultures across the world and until recently their medicinal properties have not been recognised by the medical community. Studies lead by Harbor UCLA Medical Center have shown they may be highly effective in treating post traumatic stress disorder and depression, they may also boost the brains creative potential.
Here is a short clip by Reset.me that summarises these findings.
Have a good Christmas.