Saami: Enlightened Europeans
The Saami are indigenous people in the Arctic encompassing parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Russian Kola Peninsula. The northernmost indigenous people of Europe, they are in the “Fourth World” that spans the North Pole from Siberia to Alaska. The Saami are reindeer herders whose traditional homes are yurts (tipis) and log cabins. They are dependent on the reindeer in the same way the Plains Indians in the Western Hemisphere depended on the buffalo -- except that the Saami also use the reindeer for transportation!
The thrilling 1987 film Pathfinder, the first in the Saami language, documents the story of their founder and shows the similarity of the Saami’s lifestyle and worldview with those of Native American cultures. It is a fantastic ski film that shows that the Saami were overcome at the time of their founder by an aggressive European tribe they call the Kurgans. These are the patriarachal warlike Indo-Aryans who came out of the Caucasus and overran many peaceful European tribes. The Kurgans have been the subject of study by Marija Gambutas, author of many books including The Kurgan Culture and the Indo-Europeanization of Europe.
Many indigenous cultures across Europe were later destroyed by the Catholic Church or were forced to convert to Christianity. Those who did not submit -- including the Christian Cathars and Knights Templar -- experienced genocide.
Santa Claus: Saami Shaman!
Why does Santa wear red and white, come from the North Pole, magically drive a sleigh with reindeer flying through the night sky, carry a sack, and go down the chimney of each home to deliver gifts for Christmas? Gordon Wasson shows in the Flesh of the Gods: Ritual Use of Hallucinogens by Peter Furst that a sacred ritual of indigenous Europe involves the red and white “amanita muscaria” mushroom whose powerful, mind-altering properties are still prized by Saami shamans.
Saami reindeer herders drive reindeer-drawn sleighs. Their shamans wear red and white hats to show that the mushroom is their sacrament -- and red and white capes, symbolizing their flight through the air when they eat the mushroom on their most sacred night of the year, the Winter Solstice (ending December 25).
The shamans gather the mushrooms and hang them on pine trees to dry. They put them in sacks and deliver them to each household by descending through the roof since the yurts are piled high with snow. The mushrooms are hung by the fire place to dry -- just as stockings are hung on Christmas Eve. The sacred red and white amanita muscaria mushroom is eaten on Christmas to provide a transcendental experience. Reindeer also like the mushroom and are said to "fly" when they eat it!
So, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, wears a red and white hat and cape, rides magically through the sky in a sleigh driven by reindeer around the world to deliver presents through chimneys because he is based on a Saami shaman who gets his magical powers from being high on the “amanita muscaria” mushroom! Ho! Ho! Ho!
In this way, Santa Claus preserves our unconscious connection to our shamanic roots and to the experience of Enlightenment -- while hiding and disguising them. Instead of delivering the magic mushroom -- a pathway to wisdom through transcendental direct experiential knowledge -- Santa Claus brings gifts we often don't need or want and ties us to the material world, often deeper in debt!
Mushrooms and Mankind: The Impact of Mushrooms on Human Consciousness and Religion shows that the amanita muscaria (fly agaric) mushroom is connected to Santa Claus, Adam and Eve, Jesus, Last Supper, the Pope, Holy Grail, manna from heaven, holy water, Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur, Ark of the Covenant, Easter Egg hunt, Catholic "communion", four-leaf clover, Christmas tree, Fountain of Youth, Philosopher's Stone, War on Drugs, snake, caduceus, dollar sign, etc.
The mushroom provides Near Death Like Experiences that lead to transcendence prized by shamans and is the root of all religions. The book shows the hidden representations of the mushroom in religious art and architecture around the world.