At Christmas time it is always worthwhile pondering the origins of certain myths, such as our dear old philanthropic friend Santa Claus. Over the years similarities have been made between Santa’s antics and the activities of Siberian shamans, who consume the red and white-spotted psychedelic mushroom, Amanita muscaria, for 'magical' purposes.
For instance it is known that reindeer eat the mushroom and that eating the flesh or even drinking the urine (the liver transforms the mushrooms’ ibotenic acid into the even more psychoactive muscimol) of such ‘flying’ reindeer can give rise to 'profound' changes in consciousness. So not only do the reindeer fly, but with their help so can the Siberian shaman. One of the roles of the shaman is to bring back wisdom and healing from the other side (the underworld or the upperworld), and these can be considered as 'gifts' for the health of the community. So why does Santa wear that silly red and white outfit, and why is he helped by elves? Surely there can’t be anything shamanic about old Santa,... can there?