Discover the ancient world relationship to Christmas through magic mushrooms, the Pole Star and the World Tree! There is research that suggests that many of our modern-day Christmas symbols and icons are actually derived from the Shamanistic traditions of the tribal people of pre-Christian Northern Europe. They consumed sacred mushrooms and based many of their traditions and celebrations around these sacred mushrooms which bare resemblance to many of our modern Christmas traditions.
There is an interesting history attached to these magic mushrooms we see illustrated in children’s fairy tale books and especially with images of elves and Christmas. They come from the ‘fly agaric’ or amanita muscaria mushroom (red and white in color). These mushrooms are usually associated with magic and fairies. Ancient people used these mushrooms for transcendental experiences and insight. These mushrooms contain hallucinogenic compounds. The Shamanistic traditions included celebrations around the consumption and harvest of these sacred mushrooms. Celebrations similar to our Christmas traditions growing magic mushrooms.
Interestingly these specific mushrooms grow only under certain types of trees being mostly firs and evergreens which are synonymous with Christmas. Ancient people considered the mushrooms the fruit of these evergreen trees. As these mushrooms sprang from the earth, ancient people were amazed because there was no visible seed. Thus it was considered a ‘virgin birth ‘resulting from the morning dew (seen as the semen of the deity). It has been written that the silver tinsel prominent today to drape over our modern Christmas trees is derived from and representative of this divine fluid. Many ancient people including the Shamans and the Lapps (Finland) and the Kyoak tribes of the central Russian steepes believe in the idea of a ‘World Tree’. They believed the trunk of the tree was representative of every day life and known as the ‘middle earth’, the roots of the tree stretched deep into the earth to the ‘under-world’ and that branches stretched upwards into a heavenly or cosmic realm. The World Tree has been described as a kind of ‘cosmic axis’ where the planes of the universe are fixed.
The North Star also known as the ‘Pole Star’ was considered sacred by ancient people because all the other stars revolved around its fixed point. They believed the top of the World Tree touched or connected to the Pole Star. The Shamans belief they pass into the realm of the Gods as they climbed the metaphorical tree. This is believed by some to be the real history of the star on the modern Christmas tree.
Researchers tell us that the active ingredients of amanita mushrooms are not metabolized by the body and so remain active in the urine. It is considered safer and preferable not to eat the mushrooms directly but to drink the urine of one who has consumed the mushrooms. This process enables many of the toxic compounds to be processed and eliminated on the first pass through the body. Ancient people drank each others urine as a common practice of recycling the potent effects of the mushrooms. It has been found that even on six passes through the body ingredients of the amanita mushrooms remain potent. It has been argued amongst some scholars that the origin of the phrase “to get pissed,” comes from this ancient urine drinking practice associated with the amanita mushrooms. This urine-drinking activity preceded alcohol by thousands of years.
The sacred animals of these ancient people were reindeer that were also fond of eating the amanita mushrooms. In fact they would seek them out, and then prance about while under their influence. Reindeer also enjoy the urine of a human who had consumed the mushrooms. Often tribesmen would carry sealskin containers of their urine which they used effectively to attract stray reindeer back into the herd. The effects of these mushrooms usually include sensations of flying and size distortion. This may account for the many legends of flying reindeer or winged reindeer transporting their riders up the World Tree!