The Link Between Santa Claus, Flying Reindeer, and Amanita Mushrooms

The Link Between Santa Claus, Flying Reindeer, and Amanita Mushrooms

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Amanita muscaria is a fungus that lives vividly in our cultural landscape, whether as a power-up for videogame plumbers or an emoji. But could this red mushroom with white spots also be the inspiration for iconography associated with Christmas? 

From theories of Santa being a shaman to flying reindeer, we'll investigate this agaric's influence on iconic aspects of the Christmas season. 

Is Santa...a Mushroom Shaman?

Santa Claus surrounded by mushrooms

Most historians agree that Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicholas of Myra, a Greek bishop known for his kindness and miracles performed for the poor. The historical figure of Saint Nicholas then served as the inspiration for Sinterklass, a Dutch figure with white hair, a white beard, a red cape, and a red bishop alb who carries a book containing a naughty or nice list. 

And then there's "Father Christmas" from English folklore dating back to the 15th century, which served as a personification of the holiday and was associated with merry-making, singing, drinking, and eventually, gift-giving. 

Still, there are many aspects associated with Santa Claus that aren’t explained solely by these influences. 

For example, Santa Claus traditionally rides on a sled pulled by reindeer, while Sinterklass rides a white horse. And what about his frigid home, the North Pole? 

The answer may lie in the Lapland region of Finland, which rests in the Arctic Circle, where you'll find the indigenous Sami people. Traditionally, during the Winter Solstice, Sami families would get a visit from shamans to participate in a spiritual healing ritual involving Amanita muscaria. 
reindeer in finland

These shamans would wear red and white garments that matched the mushroom's appearance and ride on sleighs pulled by reindeer (who also enjoy consuming Amanita muscaria). If snow blocked the entrance to the home, the shamans would enter the house through the chimney. The parallels to mainstream Christmas lore are hard to deny.

Final Thoughts

amanita muscaria

Tracing the exact origins of Santa Claus can get a bit hazy because the character is more of an amalgamation of multiple Christmas and winter traditions from around the world. 

Still, the modern version of St. Nick is typically attributed to the 1822 poem by Clark Moore, "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas," which most of us know as "Twas The Night Before Christmas," brought to life visually by cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1881. 

This doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate amanita muscaria’s influence on our traditions.  If you’re looking for a gift (and even a conversation starter) this holiday season, you should check out our Magic Muscaria Gummies

Similar to St. Nick, our Magic Amanita Muscaria Gummies are a bit of a blend, but instead of a mixture of folk legends, they contain a mix of adaptogens and psychotropics, including: 
  • 500mg Amanita muscaria for a boost of serotonin
  • 100mg of lion's mane for clarity
  • 100mg holy basil to bring out feelings of tranquility
  • 25mg broad-spectrum CBD for physical comfort
And that's just about it for this article. We hope you learned a thing or two about Santa Claus, along with the link between Amanita muscaria and Christmas. But besides that, from our hometown to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas.

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