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Did Magic Mushrooms Send Santa & His Reindeer ‘Flying’? Investigating Pre-Christian Santa Folklore

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*This article is the first segment in a new series that CE is launching which will explore the expansive topic of psychedelics. We will be chatting with some of today’s most well-respected figures in the field with hopes to broaden our understanding of the remarkable and enigmatic topic that is psychedelics. Stay tuned! 

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*Edit: CE by no means promotes eating wild amanita muscaria. Although very rare, there have been reported cases of amanita posioning so we suggest doing your research before trying to hunt it down. 

As a child, the Christmas season always represented great things. The holiday cheer, the familial celebrations, and most exciting of all, presents. But as I grew into adulthood, the sparkling veil of the Christmas season soon revealed it’s true form – a religious-based, commercial lie meant to perpetuate consumerism and materialism.

I eventually let go of my jaded view of Christmas, and created my own meaning for the holiday season, which now saw the end of the year as a dedicated time to spend with the ones I love, and to reflect on the experiences and lessons of the previous year. Not that Christmas is the only time to do this, but let’s face it, life has a tendency to otherwise keep us preoccupied.

But recently my views on Christmas were challenged once again, after reading up on the pre-Christian history of Santa Claus and his ‘magical’ reindeer. I was shocked to hear a proposed theory of the story’s origins, which explained how Santa may have originally been a northern Eurasian shaman who used the psychedelic mushroom amanita muscaria, and that many of the well known Christmas symbols, such as the tree, the star, and the gifts, were actually inspired by esoteric practices involving the red and white magic mushroom.

A Siberian Shaman With A Bag Of Special ‘Gifts’

ShamanClaus

Could the story of Santa actually be inspired by Shamanistic practices out of Northern Europe and Asia during the pre-Christian era?

In his articleMagic Mushrooms May Explain Santa & His ‘Flying’ Reindeer, author Douglas Main explains how the story of Santa and his flying reindeer can be traced to an unlikely source: hallucinogenic or “magic” mushrooms. Speaking with John Rush, an anthropologist and instructor at Sierra College in Rocklin, California, Main learned more about Santa’s story.

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“Santa is a modern counterpart of a shaman, who consumed mind-altering plants and fungi to commune with the spirit world,” said Rush.

According to the theory, the legend of Santa derives from shamans in the Siberian and Arctic regions who dropped into locals’ teepee-like homes with a bag full of hallucinatory mushrooms as presents in late December.

As the story goes, up until a few hundred years ago these practicing shamans or priests connected to the older traditions would collect Amanita muscaria (the Holy Mushroom), dry them, and then give them as gifts on the winter solstice,” Rush told LiveScience. “Because snow is usually blocking doors, there was an opening in the roof through which people entered and exited, thus the chimney story.”

The Christmas Tree Connection

Amanita muscaria grows freely around conifers and birch trees. Could the tradition of placing presents under the tree be symbolic of psychedelic fungi's symbiotic relationship to forest trees?

Amanita muscaria grows freely around conifers and birch trees. Could the tradition of placing presents under the tree be symbolic of psychedelic fungi’s symbiotic relationship to forest trees?

In his book, Mushrooms and Mankindlate author James Arthur points out that amanita muscaria, also known as fly agaric, lives throughout the Northern Hemisphere under conifers and birch trees, with which the fungi —which is deep red with white flecks — has a symbiotic relationship. This partially explains the practice of the Christmas tree, and the placement of bright red-and-white presents underneath, which look like Amanita mushrooms, he wrote.

From Northern Antiquities, an English translation of the Prose Edda from 1847. Painted by Oluf Olufsen Bagge.

Was the Christmas tree tradition based off of ancient Northern European symbology? Painted by Oluf Olufsen Bagge.

Why do people bring pine trees into their houses at the Winter Solstice, placing brightly colored (red and white) packages under their boughs, as gifts to show their love for each other … ?” he wrote. “It is because, underneath the pine bough is the exact location where one would find this ‘Most Sacred’ substance, the Amanita muscaria, in the wild.”

Author Dana Larsen elaborated on the pre-Christian symbology of the Christmas tree in her article, The Psychedelic Secrets of Santa. She explains how the ancient northern European people, 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.

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” wrote Larsen.

“So Up To The House-Top The Coursers They Flew”: Breaking Down The ‘Flying’ Reindeer

Perhaps one of the most memorable aspects of Santa Claus mythology are his co-pilot counterparts, his flying reindeer.

Reindeer are rampant in Siberia, and are also known to include various fungi in their diet, as seen in the BBC Weird Nature video below.

Donald Pfister, a biologist who studies fungi at Harvard University, suggests that Siberian tribesmen who ingested fly agaric (amanita muscaria) may have hallucinated into thinking that reindeer were flying.

At first glance, one thinks it’s ridiculous, but it’s not,” said Carl Ruck, a professor of classics at Boston University. “Whoever heard of reindeer flying? I think it’s becoming general knowledge that Santa is taking a ‘trip’ with his reindeer,” Ruck said.

Controversy Over Linking The Pre-Christian Santa To The Modern Day Version of St. Nick

As convincing as the theory may be, many historians and anthropologists disagree with the Amanita shamanic version of Santa Claus, and claim that our current depiction of the jolly old man has in fact evolved from a 4th century Greek-Christian bishop named Saint Nicholas, who was known for his generous gifts to the poor.

A 13th-century depiction of St. Nicholas.

A 13th-century depiction of St. Nicholas.

Then, in 1823, a New York City aristocratic academic by the name of Clement Clarke Moore wrote the infamous poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (which later became “Twas The Night Before Christmas“), which was thought to have been inspired by the Christian bishop, and which envisioned an entirely new portrayal of St. Nick.  Throughout the next few centuries, the image of Santa Claus became ubiquitous throughout Western culture, and was re-sculpted and refined by clever marketing organizations such as Coca Cola. Hence the fat, bearded character we know today.

cokelore_santa_toys_cutout

Santa as depicted in Coca Cola commercialism.

But Germanic folklore tells an even different story of the true origins of Santa Claus. Prior to Christianization, the Germanic peoples celebrated a midwinter event called Yule. With the Christianization of Germanic Europe, numerous traditions were absorbed from Yuletide celebrations into modern Christmas. During this period, supernatural and ghostly occurrences were said to increase in frequency, such as the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky. The leader of the wild hunt is frequently attested as the god Odin, who bears the Old Norse names Jólnir, meaning “yule figure” and the name Langbarðr, meaning “long-beard.”

An 1886 depiction of the long-bearded Germanic god Odin by Georg von Rosen.

An 1886 depiction of the long-bearded Germanic god Odin by Georg von Rosen.

James Arthur wrote that at the very least, Santa’s sleigh and reindeer are references back to various related Northern European mythology. For example, the Norse god Thor (known in German as “Donner”) flew in a chariot drawn by two goats, which have been replaced in the modern retelling by Santa’s reindeer.

So Where Does Santa Really Come From?

santa2

The true origins of the pre-Christian Santa are convoluted to say the least, however, one can only consider that the version we see of Santa today is a conglomerate of folklore and mythology from multiple Eurasian cultures of the past. Therein lies the issue of tracing Santa’s true beginnings.

That being said, investigating Santa’s past is amusing at the very least, and I think the shamanic version of the story stands as the most fascinating of all. What are your thoughts on the origins of Santa and his reindeer? Do you think the Amanita muscaria legend could be true? Share with us below!

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Highest Court In South Africa Legalizes Cannabis Use

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    South Africa has now legalized the use of cannabis for adults, but only in private places. The law also allows citizens to grow their own for personal consumption as well.

  • Reflect On:

    Times are changing, this may be a small victory in natural freedom, but it just goes to show that the people do have power.

Just a few short years ago the pursuit to legalize cannabis seemed futile at best, now it feels like just a matter of time before the majority of the world jumps on board! Most recently, South Africa’s highest court has legalized the use of cannabis by adults in private places only.

After a unanimous ruling, pro marijuana activists cheered in the public gallery chanting, “Weed are free now!” Judges also legalized the growing of marijuana for private consumption.

The government of South Africa had opposed the legalization arguing that the drug was harmful to people’s health. The Constitutional Court, however declared the law that criminalized the use of cannabis in the first place, unconstitutional and invalid and gave the government 24 months to come up with a new set of laws that respected South African’s right to privacy “in their private spheres.” It will no longer be a “criminal offence for an adult person to be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption.” It will however, still be illegal to use the drug in public places, sell it or supply it.

Prior to this ruling the laws regarding cannabis use were strict and could result in 15 years in prison and up to 25 years for selling it.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said, “It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption.”

Rastafarians rejoiced outside the court hall celebrating the huge success.

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Things Are Changing, And Fast

As more awareness continues to grow, we are seeing just how powerful the people really are by coming together and doing what they can to make a difference in the world. When compared to a substance like alcohol that is addictive, harmful, can cause rage and depression and often comes at a great cost to the user and their family, it really makes little sense as to why there would still be any prohibition on the use of cannabis. It seems as though the courts are starting to agree, and seeing why really, it makes little sense to ban the use of cannabis and send people to jail for it — now really, that’s just absurd.

As mentioned above, what once may have seemed impossible is now proving to be very possible in fact. This is just another reminder that we the people do have a say, and if there are aspects of our society that don’t align with our values, or don’t make any sense, we can do our part by speaking up and working towards changing them. Things aren’t always as concrete as they may appear, this is a great example of why we should never give up hope.

“Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

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Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Where Does Donald Trump REALLY Stand On Syria?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Recently, Democratic Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard lashed out against Trump for his rhetoric and policy in Syria that is the polar opposite of what he ascribed to in their meeting on Syria less than two years ago.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it possible that this whole Syria drama is playing out for the sake of awakening people to the larger reality behind these events?

In 2016, Democratic Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard met with Donald Trump to discuss Syria policy at a private meeting at Trump Tower in November, just ahead of then president-elect Trump being sworn into office. At the time the two appeared to be in complete agreement over Syria policy. Gabbard said this after the meeting:

“I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government—a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families.”

The following summer President Trump allegedly shut down the CIA’s clandestine efforts for overthrowing the Damascus government, a covert program called ‘Timber Sycamore’, after reports said he was increasingly disturbed by the brutal and jihadist nature of the armed opposition. All the way up until April 2018, he had appeared to be pushing toward withdrawing the over 2,000 US troops from Syria, against which advisers and neocon warmongers vehemently pushed back. Trump had proposed,

“Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon, very soon, we’re coming out. We’re going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be.”

But that was then. Today, Trump’s stance has changed. Or has it?

Responding To Chemical Weapons False Flag

We all know what happened next. Just days after Trump’s statement touting the withdrawal of American troops, video emerged from Idlib purporting to show an Assad sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, to which Trump responded with a brief Tomahawk missile strike on a largely abandoned Syrian military airport in the center of the country. Trump launched an even bigger attack on Damascus the following April following more unverified opposition claims of another gas attack.

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Now, I would bet my bottom dollar that Trump knows very well that those two alleged chemical attacks were orchestrated false flags in order to promote a military response against Syria. If this is the case, then why would he have authorized the attacks, and why did he recently issue a warning against Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces against attacking al-Qaeda forces in Idlib?

Tulsi Gabbard Calls Out Trump

The way Tulsi Gabbard sees it, there are two reasons, which she elaborated upon in this video:

“One is because, if you look back over the last couple of years, the two times that President Trump has received vast positive reinforcement from the mainstream media, from Democratic leaders. from Republican leaders, have been the two times he has launched military attacks against Syria. His poll numbers are dropping. So he’s looking with a political calculation of what’s the thing that I know will make it so that people are saying nice things about me again?

The second reason is because there’s been this long, slow regime change war happening in Syria, we’ve been waging this long war since 2011, and the main ground force in that war has been al-Qaeda, and these other Jihadist terrorist groups. And so there have been both direct and indirect support of these groups fighting on the ground, to overthrow this regime, and, so their concerned that if these terrorist groups like al-Qaeda are taken out in Idlib, what happens to the ground force fighting to overthrow the Syrian government? And this leads us to the United States alliance with Saudi Arabia, who would like to see a Wahabi extremist government replace the government that’s in Syria.”

A couple of days after commemorative speeches about 9/11 were presented by the Trump administration, Ms. Gabbard took the opportunity to contrast the rhetoric in those speeches with the current position of the administration on Syria, using the full minute afforded general speeches in the House of Representatives:

Are They Just Role-Playing?

A speech like that seems to me to be addressed not to Congress, not to Donald Trump, but rather to the public in general, to wake up and realize that all that’s going on is pure theatre, and that without the public waking up none of us can move forward. Bringing up the specter of “Al-Qaeda”, which seems to be the tried and true boogeyman of terrorism that everyone recognizes, is one clue. The suggestion the 9/11 was the fault of al-Qaeda is another. It seems like there is a need to wake people up with a narrative that has some familiarity, in order not to shock them.

Do we really think Donald Trump is a supporter of Jihadi groups trying to unseat Syrian president Bashar al-Assad? Of course not. His reasonable stance on withdrawing from Syria up until April of this year seems to be how he sincerely feels, but for some reason those feelings have to be shelved for the moment. Indeed, he has limitations in terms of what his ‘character’ in this drama is allowed to say. Notice these two almost contradictory remarks about the Syria situation that came out within a few days of each other:

Optics

You will note that while the first tweet condemning radical Jihadis garnered a little over 4K likes, his condemnation of Syria, Iran and Russia got almost 72K likes. In a way, this might actually explain why he has turned against Russia and Syria of late. Does he need to reconnect to his base and those who still believe the full weight of the Russia-is-bad narrative? Tulsi Gabbard alluded to his poll numbers; one has to wonder if there are deeper reasons why a president’s popularity is an important aspect of his ability to get things done. The other theory one might hold is that he is under blackmail pressure from the Rothschilds and the Deep State. He goes ahead and unleashes fiery rhetoric against Assad, but then his retaliatory missile attack barely does any harm.

One way or another, the inconsistency and contradictions in Trump’s words and actions must be more than the vicissitudes of a bombastic blowhard. I think there is a method to the madness, though a method whose logic is currently difficult to pin down.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Real Life Hero: One Man Rescued 64 Dogs & Cats From Hurricane Florence In A School Bus

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the wake of Hurricane Florence many pets were left behind. Thanks to a real life hero, Tony Alsup, the lives of dozens of animals were saved.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you deeply inspired to assist those in need, whatever that may look like to you? If you are not taking action now, how can you begin taking action on that inspiration?

After officials announced their stern clear message to people living in the coastal towns of North Carolina, Leave, Now. “You put your life at risk by staying, don’t plan to leave once the rain and winds start.” More than 1 million people were told to leave. Unfortunately because of the rush and severity of the incoming storm many people panicked and left their pets behind.

Shelters across the southeastern coast have been struggling to make room for an influx of pets that have been dropped off. Thankfully, there are some real life heroes out there and because of these compassionate and courageous people the lives of dozens of abandoned animals will be saved and have the chance to find a new home.

Last week, a couple from North Carolina rescued around 20 pets from shelters in their “fluffy bus,” and a truck driver, Tony Alsup loaded up 64 cats and dogs in his school bus, eventually driving them towards safety, outside the hurricane warning zone.

“It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup told the Greenville News. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”

Greenville News reported that the animal lover from Tennessee spent $3,200 on a school bus to collect all of the sheltered pet’s from disaster zones across the country. Several days before Hurricane Florence hit, Alsup drove through South Carolina and collected 53 dogs and 11 cats into the bus from various shelters across the state. He drove them to a private dog shelter in Alabama where many were adopted, others were sent to other adoption centers across the states who had a little room to spare for the un-adopted animals.

Pets Often Get Left Behind

It’s unfortunate, but in the days before a hurricane, pet shelters begin to fill up and government run shelters in some jurisdictions are not allowed to turn away new animals, but this sometimes means that they have to put down other animals to make space for the new ones. People become frantic and don’t know what to do with their pets, so they drop them off at shelters, even though there is little that these shelters can do to rescue all of these animals from disasters such as hurricanes.

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Some of the animals of South Carolina were truly blessed to have good samaritans like Alsup swoop in to save their lives. He aims to head back down to Wilmington North Carolina, an area where the flooding has caused road closures in order to save even more animals in need.

“Animals—especially shelter pets—they always have to take the back seat of the bus,” Alsup told the Post. “But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”

Isn’t it amazing to see people performing such selfless acts to save the lives of those in need? Way to go Tony for your continued efforts to save the lives of countless animals. May he be an inspiration to us all to do what we can in times of need.

You can follow Alsup’s journey on Facebook and donate to his gas and upkeep funds through his Paypal.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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