Have you ever ever questioned why in fashionable Christmas custom we do the issues we do? What’s the origin of the Christmas tree, with the star on prime, decorations about, and all of the brightly wrapped presents beneath? Or the thought behind Santa Claus who jets across the globe in a magic sleigh with flying reindeer – defying each time and house – to ship the world’s youngsters a bounty of Christmas presents? And since when did Santa and the beginning of Jesus have something to do with one another? The place do these tales come from – and higher but: what are we really celebrating on Christmas morning?
There are solutions to those questions. And the historical past is just not so farfetched and even that hidden. You simply should know the place to look. And the primary place we glance is the North Pole; severely – in historical Siberia, close to the highest of the world. The story of Santa and his doubtless origins begins the place he supposedly lives: the frigid North.
On this wintry-wonderland, in case you go trying to find Santa, you might not discover him or his Elvin manufacturing unit – however you will discover teams of indigenous folks native to what we all know as Siberia. Amongst these cultures are the northern Tungusic folks, generally known as the Evenki. The Evenki have been predominantly hunter-gatherers in addition to reindeer herders. Their survival depended largely upon the well being and vitality of their domesticated reindeer. The reindeer supplied the Evenki and different northern tribes with the whole lot from clothes, housing materials, wares and instruments from the bones and antlers, transportation (sure, they journey reindeer!), milk, in addition to cultural and spiritual inspiration.
The Evenki have been additionally a shamanic tradition. The phrase “shaman” really has its roots within the Tungus phrase saman which suggests “one who is aware of or is aware of the spirits.” Lots of the basic shamanic traits that will later be mirrored in cultures everywhere in the world have been initially documented by Russian and European explorers whereas observing the Tungus and associated folks’s non secular life. This contains the three-world system, the shamanic journey or soul flight, the usage of altered states of consciousness, animistic perception in spirit, and so forth.
A big facet of the shamanism practiced on this a part of the world throughout that point was linked to Amanita muscaria, also referred to as the Fly Agaric mushroom. This mushroom is extra broadly accepted within the fashionable world because the Alice in Wonderland mushroom. It was held very sacred by these historical folks, and was utilized by the shaman and others for ceremonial and non secular functions. Amanitas – as you may inform by the images – vary from brightly purple and white to golden orange and yellow. They solely develop beneath sure kinds of evergreen bushes. They type a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the tree, the trade of which permits them to develop. One of many reported historical beliefs was that the mushroom was really the fruit of the tree. Because of the lack of seed, it is usually generally held that Fly Agaric was divine – a sort of virginally birthed sacred plant.
Though intensely psychoactive, Amanitas are additionally poisonous. One technique to scale back the toxicity and enhance the psychoactive efficiency was to easily dry them. When out gathering the mushrooms, folks would choose a bunch of them beneath the evergreen bushes and lay them out alongside the branches whereas persevering with to select the mushrooms beneath different bushes. The consequence was one thing that seemed very harking back to a contemporary Christmas tree: evergreen bushes whose branches are dotted with shiny purple, roundish “decorations” – on this case the sacred mushrooms. On the finish of the session, the shaman or harvester would go round to every of their mushroom stashes and put them multi functional giant sack… a big sack?!! Remind you of something?! Not solely this, because the story of the custom goes, the shaman would then, carrying this huge sack, go to the properties of his or her folks and ship the mushrooms to them. They’d then proceed the drying course of by hanging them in a sock, close to the fireplace!
One other technique to scale back the toxicity of the sacred mushrooms is thru human filtration. As soon as handed by means of the physique, the poisonous components are apparently filtered by the liver and the resultant urine that comes out accommodates the nonetheless intact psychoactive components. So that they drank the filtered urine. However that is solely half the story. Someplace within the mythic origins of this observe is the reindeer. As a result of the reindeer additionally love these mushrooms. They dig by means of the snow to eat them, and so they additionally drink their very own urine afterwards. So maybe, way back, one of many first shamans witnessed the reindeer’s love affair with this peculiar mushroom – in addition to its propensity for consuming its personal freshly yellowed-snow – and noticed how peculiarly it behaved because the romance heated up. The curiosity (certainly a trademark attribute of a shaman) could not be contained, and the shaman did what he needed to do: he first ate a number of the yellow snow himself… and no doubt realized the profound knowledge and magic not solely within the mushroom, however within the reindeer. And so this romance, too, started…