The Amanita Muscaria mushroom is an instantly recognisable and pervasive image in our society – from Super Mario games to Christmas tree decorations to Alice in Wonderland. There are even theories that the drug Soma mentioned in the Rig Veda is actually the A. Muscaria. My initial interest in Amanita Muscaria was as a cure for addiction. William S Burroughs was convinced that he could cure his addiction with Yage (Ayahuasca) – I had similar ideas but didn’t hitch my cart to just one horse – I figured the cure was hidden in some obscure hallucinogen. So I tried just about every single one.
My investigations eventually led me to a book called Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality by R. Gordon Wasson. This book is quite rare and not available online – I had to go to the reference section of a university library to track it down which added to my intuition that this was ‘the one’. It was in this book that I discovered all the strange Christmas related stuff. Over the years, I have often wondered how a religious day was turned into a gift giving ritual personified by Santa Claus and reindeer – do they even have fucking reindeer in Israel? And where the hell did that fat cunt Santa come from? Would you believe it is ALL from the A. Muscaria? It didn’t cure me of addiction which is probably for the better really, but it rates as one of the stranger trips I’ve had and definitely one of the weirdest stories I have ever heard. Cheggitout:
• Lapland reindeer shepherds dress in the same fashion as Santa Claus, their outfits are are a different colour but that is what Santa looked like before Coca Cola colourised him(in the same colour scheme as Coca-Cola/Amanita Muscaria). Many have large white beards, shin high boots, thick belts and carry sacks over their shoulders for collecting mushrooms.
• A. Muscaria has been a treasured botanical in Lapland for millennia. The mushroom has a symbiotic relationship with pine trees and only grow underneath them (presents under the xmas tree). Scientists have been unable to grow them in a lab environment and have no idea why they grow under the periphery of pine trees.
• If the weather is good, Reindeer herders will dry the mushroom by placing it in the branches of the pine trees (xmas tree decorations)
• Reindeers love A. Muscaria as well and will often butt the herders out of the way so that they can eat them first. When they have consumed the mushroom, their noses turn red and they prance about as if flying(Rudolf the red nosed reindeer) The herders don’t bother trying to hitch them to a sleigh when they are in this state.
• Laplanders live in Yurts; round huts with an opening in the top for the smoke from the fire to escape from. When it snows, the front entrance is cut off so reindeer herders climb into the Yurt through the roof hole with a bag of dried mushrooms over their shoulders(Santa coming down the chimney with presents)
• Another method of drying the mushrooms is to hang them in socks by the fire(stockings hanging over fire place filled with gifts)
What I would like to know is how the hell did psychedelic mushroom lore transplant a Christian ritual? Contrary to popular belief, eating the A. Muscaria won’t kill you, I know this because when I was living in Melbourne, I ate hundreds. If you want to be technical, I drank the juice from re-hydrated dried A. Muscaria. I only had what could be called a psychedelic experience the first time, but it was considerable. It was a complete out of body experience and I was shown the ‘mind of God’ – it was a silent psychedelic waterfall that dwarfed galaxies. My insane cunt of house-mate found me in the lounge-room when she went to flush the gutted rabbit at 3am. Apparently, I was on my back with my knees pulled up to my chest and my arms pointed to the ceiling. My eyes were open but I wasn’t seeing much in this world and she couldn’t rouse me. It’s funny because she had never seen me high before and I told her that I must have been sleepwalking .
The first time I took it I got carried away and took a shit-load – just in case. After that, whenever I drank the mushroom juice I would feel dizzy then fall asleep. The next day I would awake and feel better than I have ever felt in my life; it was unbelievable and I took it only for this effect. The feeling was a complete natural high – there was no distortion of any kind it just felt like the best day of my life every time – even if I was doing nothing and I never developed a tolerance for it. If scientists want to synthesize an amazing anti-depressant they should definitely look into the A. Muscaria. Another thing about the A. Muscaria is that the active ingredient (when dried), ibotenic acid passes unchanged in urine. That is where the story of people drinking reindeer piss and getting high comes from. Which means that technically you could get high on one dose for your entire life by drinking and then bottling your own piss – or you could just gargle it to impress pals.