The evidence linking traditions commonly associated with Christmastime to the medicinal and ceremonial use of the Amanita muscaria mushroom by ancient (and modern) shamans is remarkable, yet little-known.
SANTA SUIT AS RITUAL GARMENT
Shamans of Siberia have for many centuries revered the Amanita muscaria mushroom (red with white spots) as a sacred and magical plant. The ceremonial garments of these shamans are traditionally red and white, resembling the typical Santa-style suit.
SANTA’S BAG AND STOCKINGS
The sacred mushrooms were gathered in sacks, and hung to dry on the hearth around the fireplace.
FLYING REINDEER WITH GLOWING NOSES, CHRISTMAS TREES, AND PRESENTS
Reindeer – the animal allies and spirit guides of the Siberian shamans - are fond of eating Amanita muscaria mushrooms, which grow almost exclusively beneath pine trees.
When the Amanita muscaria mushroom is ingested, it produces a dizzying feeling of floating or weightlessness. When taken at night, it is often accompanied by the sensation of being able to see in the dark.
more info: The Psychedelic Secrets of Santa Claus
THE SANTAHEAD MUSHROOMS
I happened upon strings of Santa-head holiday lights at a discount store in Skowhegan, Maine back in 2004. I immediately acquired several strings, and set about creating these giant glowing mushrooms from papier-mache, using the Santa-heads in the caps: