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panlives
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"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
Woland
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The problem with this theory is that the modern red & white imagery of Santa Claus, in fact most of the imagery of Santa Claus on which the theory depends, was invented in early XIXth century America, not in the tundras of the north where the shamans and reindeer play.

Woland
Magnus Eisengrim
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Did you read the article Woland? No mention is made of legends, except for "For humans a common side-effect of mushrooms is the feeling of flying, so it's interesting the legend about Santa's reindeer is they can fly."

Sheesh.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Woland
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My Dear Magnus,

Sheesh indeed. Yes I did read the cited article, but a more complete account of the "theory," if that's what you want to call it, can be found on the NPR website, here.

There was also an article in 2003, in the "Cannabis Culture" magazine, which you can find here.

First of all, I confess I don't understand this comment at all:

Quote:
Did you read the article Woland? No mention is made of legends, except for "For humans a common side-effect of mushrooms is the feeling of flying, so it's interesting the legend about Santa's reindeer is they can fly."


Where in my post did you find I had anything to say about any legends?

In the NPR article, you will find a more complete exposition of the "theory," viz:

Quote:
Look at the Christmas decorations here, he said.

"We use — all over the Western world at least — these Christmas ornaments [which] have Amanita muscaria or other mushrooms."

And finally, he said, consider the color schemes.

"So here's a red fungus with white spots. And Santa Claus was dressed in red with white trim."

Add it all up and what do you get? Pringle connected the dots: "People are flying. The mushroom turns into a happy personification named Santa."

She said it with a laugh, but the connection between psychedelic mushrooms and the Santa story has gradually woven itself into popular culture, at least the popular culture of mycology, mushroom science.

So every year, when Christmas draws near, Pfister gathers the students in his introductory botany class, and, no doubt with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, tells the tale of Santa and the psychedelic mushrooms.


There's the red & white imagery clearly spelled out. And it is that red & white imagery which dates back no farther than the early XIXth century. In the United States.

The cannabis enthusiasts' article is, unsurprisingly, a bit more fanciful and far-fetched. They try to tie in the World Tree of Nordic mythology with the shamanism of the north asian steppes, and include a number of I think mistaken and certainly unsubstantiated statements about the character of St. Nicholas in history and western culture. Apparently it was a practice among some people who used amanita muscaria to feed the mushrooms to reindeer, and to imbibe the reindeer's urine as the intoxicant, rather than use the mushroom itself. This probably allowed for more careful calibration of the dose. But I don't think you can work your way back to there from Santa Claus.

The point is, there is no continuous tradition associating St. Nicholas with reindeer, and there is likewise no ancient tradition of St. Nicholas flying through the sky dispensing presents or coals to good and bad children, respectively. Those are recent inventions, and largely attributable, as the NPR article points out, to Clement Moore:

Quote:
Now some say that certain stories are simply too wondrous to question in this magical season. Others have no such compunction, like Ronald Hutton, a history professor at the University of Bristol.

"If you look at the evidence of Siberian shamanism, which I've done," Hutton said, "you find that shamans didn't travel by sleigh, didn't usually deal with reindeer spirits, very rarely took the mushrooms to get trances, didn't have red and white clothes."

And they didn't even run around handing out gifts.

"The Santa Claus we know and love was invented by a New Yorker, it really is true," Hutton said. "It was the work of Clement Clarke Moore, in New York City in 1822, who suddenly turned a medieval saint into a flying, reindeer-driving spirit of the Northern midwinter."

And Moore brought that beloved Santa Claus to life in his poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," otherwise known as "The Night Before Christmas."


I prefer the Cajun version, myself, in which the Old Elf travels in a flying pirogue pulled by alligators who have wonderful old French names:

Quote:
Twas the night before Christmas an' all t'ru de house,
Dey don't a ting pass Not even a mouse.
De chirren been nezzle good snug on de flo',
An' Mama pass de pepper t'ru de crack on de do'.

De Mama in de fireplace done roas' up de ham,
Sit up de gumbo an' make de bake yam.
Den out on de by-you dey got such a clatter,
Make soun' like old Boudreau done fall off his ladder.

I run like a rabbit to got to de do',
Trip over de dorg an' fall on de flo'.
As I look out de do'in de light o' de moon,
I t'ink, "Mahn, you crazy or got ol' too soon."

Cux dere on de by-you w'en I stretch ma'neck stiff,
Dere's eight alligator a pullin' de skiff.
An' a little fat drover wit' a long pole-ing stick,
I know r'at away got to be ole St.Nick.

Mo' fas'er an' fas'er de' gator dey came
He whistle an' holler an' call dem by name:
"Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an' Alcee'!
Gee, Ninette! Gee, Suzette! Celeste an'Renee'!

To de top o' de porch to de top o' de wall,
Make crawl, alligator, an' be sho' you don' fall."
Like Tante Flo's cat t'ru de treetop he fly,
W'en de big ole houn' dorg come a run hisse's by.

Like dat up de porch dem ole 'gator clim!
Wit' de skiff full o' toy an' St. Nicklus behin'.
Den on top de porch roof it soun' like de hail,
W'en all dem big gator, done sot down dey tail.

Den down de chimney I yell wit' a bam,
An' St.Nicklus fall an' sit on de yam.
"Sacre!" he axclaim, "Ma pant got a hole
I done sot ma'se'f on dem red hot coal."

He got on his foots an' jump like de cat
Out to de flo' where he lan' wit' a SPLAT!
He was dress in musk-rat from his head to his foot,
An' his clothes is all dirty wit' ashes an' soot.

A sack full o' playt'ing he t'row on his back,
He look like a burglar an' dass fo' a fack.
His eyes how dey shine his dimple, how merry!
Maybe he been drink de wine from de blackberry.

His cheek was like a rose his nose a cherry,
On secon' t'ought maybe he lap up de sherry.
Wit' snow-white chin whisker an' quiverin' belly,
He shook w'en he laugh like de stromberry jelly!

But a wink in his eye an' a shook o' his head,
Make my confi-dence dat I don't got to be scared.
He don' do no talkin' gone strit to hi work,
Put a playt'ing in sock an' den turn wit' a jerk.

He put bot' his han' dere on top o' his head,
Cas' an eye on de chimney an' den he done said:
"Wit' all o' dat fire an' dem burnin' hot flame,
Me I ain' goin' back by de way dat I came."

So he run out de do' an, he clim' to de roof,
He ain' no fool, him for to make one more goof.
He jump in his skiff an' crack his big whip,
De' gator move down, An don' make one slip.

An' I hear him shout loud as a splashin' he go,
"Merry Christmas to all 'til I saw you some mo'!"

Author: J. B. Kling, Jr., 1973
Source: Unknown


But to each his own.

Woland
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For those who like such things: http://vimeo.com/17911948
from here: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/

And maybe Rare Exports will play locally too Smile
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Magnus Eisengrim
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Woland.

The OP liked to a very short article, quoting a biologist named Andrew Haynes. The entire article follows:
Quote:
A scientist claims reindeer deliberately eat magic mushrooms to escape the monotony of dreary long winters.

Andrew Haynes believes the animals seek out the mind-bending fly agaric fungi in the wild, reports The Sun.

Writing in the respected Pharmaceutical Journal, Mr Haynes said: "They have a desire to experience altered states of consciousness.

"For humans a common side-effect of mushrooms is the feeling of flying, so it's interesting the legend about Santa's reindeer is they can fly."

He also said herdsmen drink the reindeer's urine to get high themselves.

You responded:
Quote:
The problem with this theory is that the modern red & white imagery of Santa Claus, in fact most of the imagery of Santa Claus on which the theory depends, was invented in early XIXth century America, not in the tundras of the north where the shamans and reindeer play.


I saw no connection between the OP and your response, and said so.

In response to me, you quote an NPR article that quotes Donald Pfister talking about a book by R. Gordon Wasson which argues for a connection between mushrooms and Santa. To further bolster your claim you quote a Cannabis Culture article (I would never have guessed that you were a subscriber) that contains no references whatsoever; I have no idea how that article refers to the OP.

Maybe you had the NPR and CC articles in mind. But why in the word would you think than anyone else in the thread did? The OP was about stoned reindeer.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Woland
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Curiosity.
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