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? Gordon Wasson shows in the Flesh of the Gods that a sacred ritual of indigenous Europe involves the red and white “amanita muscaria” mushroom whose powerful, magical, 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 connection to our shamanic roots -- while hiding and disguising them. Instead of delivering the magic mushroom which is a pathway to wisdom and enlightenment through transcendental direct experiential knowledge, Santa Claus brings gifts we often don't need or want -- and ties us to the material world.
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 the Near Death Like Experiences that lead to transcendence which is 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.