“Wasson and his school have demonstrated how mushroom language tends to be euphemized, masked, coded, buried in etymologies and even “false” etymologies.–Peter Lamborn Wilson, Irish soma.
AMANITA MUSCARIA AND THE THUNDERBOLT LEGEND IN GUATAMALA AND MEXICO. BY L.LOWRY. 1973.–http://www.samorini.it/doc1/alt_aut/lr/lowy4.pdf
The red-and-white spotted toadstool is a common image in many aspects of popular culture, especially in children’s books, film, garden ornaments, greeting cards, and more recently computer games. Garden ornaments, and children’s picture books depicting gnomes and fairies, such as the Smurfs, very often show fly agarics used as seats, or homes. Fly agarics have been featured in paintings since the Renaissance, albeit in a subtle manner. In the Victorian era they became more visible, even becoming the main topic of some fairy paintings. Two of the most famous uses of the mushroom are in the video game series Super Mario Bros., and the dancing mushroom sequence in the 1940 Disney film Fantasia.
The journeys of Philip von Strahlenberg to Siberia and his descriptions of the use of the mukhomor there was published in English in 1736. The drinking of urine of those who had imbibed the mushroom was commented on by Anglo-Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith in his widely read 1762 novel Citizen of the World. The mushroom had been identified as the fly agaric by this time. Other authors recorded the distortions of the size of perceived objects while intoxicated by the fungus, including naturalist Mordecai Cubitt Cooke in his books The Seven Sisters of Sleep and A Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi. This observation is thought to have formed the basis of the effects of eating the mushroom in the 1865 popular story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A hallucinogenic “scarlet toadstool” from Lappland is also featured as a plot element in Charles Kingsley‘s 1866 novel Hereward the Wake based on the medieval figure of the same name; fly agaric shamanism is explored more recently in the 2003 novel Thursbitch by Alan Garner.
 Christmas decorations and Santa Claus
Fly agarics appear on Christmas cards and New Year cards from around the world as a symbol of good luck. The ethnobotanist Jonathan Ott has suggested that the idea of Santa Claus and tradition of hanging stockings over the fireplace is based centrally upon the fly agaric mushroom itself. With its generally red and white color scheme, he argues that Santa Claus’s suit is related to the mushroom. He also draws parallels with flying reindeer: reindeer had been reported to consume the mushroom and prance around in an intoxicated manner afterwards. American ethnopharmacologist Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein, researching possible links between religious myths and the red mushroom, notes, “If Santa Claus had but one eye [like Odin], or if magic urine had been a part of his legend, his connection to the Amanita muscaria would be much easier to believe.”.
The connection was reported to a much wider audience with an article in the magazine of The Sunday Times in 1980, and New Scientist in 1986. Historian Ronald Hutton has since disputed the connection; he noted reindeer spirits did not appear in Siberian mythology, shamans did not travel by sleigh, nor did they wear red and white, or climb out of smoke holes in yurt roofs. Finally, American awareness of Siberian shamanism postdated the appearance of much of the folklore around Santa.
TRANSLATED BY GOOGLE FROM GIORGIO SAMORINI.
The Amanita muscaria from Siberian populations
The fly-agaric Among the Siberian Populations
The use of the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria (Fly agaric mushroom) is attested in Siberian regions in the images of prehistoric rock carvings of various archaeological sites in the rivers Yenisei and Pegtymel . The ethnographic reports of the last century documented use as intoxicating in different populations.
Its use is attested in two vast regions of Siberia. The first concerns the territory of Siberia to the north-west including the rivers Dvina and Kotuj, including the peninsula of Tayma. In this region the people involved in the use of the fungus belongs to the Ural language family, and they are: Khanty (Ostiaki), Mansi (Vogul), Forest Nenets, Selkup (Samoidei group), Nganasan, Ket (Yenisei Ostiaki of) . According to recent observations of Saar (1991), with these people today use the fungus became extinct.
The second region covers the eastern part of Siberia from the Kolyma River, including the peninsula of Kamchatka and the people involved are: Chukchi, Koriaki, Itelmen, Eskimos, Chuvanian (one of the tribes Yukagir), Yukagir, Even Russians who settled for centuries and along the Kolyma River.
The use of the fungus has been reported by ethnographers of the nineteenth century, even among the Lapps of Inari in northern Scandinavia (Wasson, 1968) and at the northern Komi living in the Urals (Dunn, 1973).
Anthropologists of the Russian post-revolutionary period reported that, with the advent of Soviet power, the Siberian populations stopped their old practice of fly-agaric ingestion dell’agarico, “Socialist soon reaching the stage of social development” (in rip. Wasson, 1968: 151). Following the political change in post-Soviet 1990s, anthropologists, more free from censorship, they returned to report the use of the fungus in these populations, showing that this use was in fact never been stopped (see Saar, 1991) .
Depending on the populations of Fly agaric mushroom was and is used collectively for ceremonies and parties, or used by shamans to promote healing trance during practices or to contact the spirits of the dead, in divination and the interpretation of dreams. And ‘as fortifying used during long journeys and hunting. And ‘highly probable that originally was exclusively use shamanic and subsequently weakening the institution of shamanic power and the use of the fungus has spread to other members of the tribal society.
During the fly-agaric dall’agarico induced visions they occur in siberian investigator of anthropomorphic figures without arms and legs, and regarded the spirits of the fungus called “man-love” or “dummies”, which communicate with the investigator and the lead for hand in the afterlife journey. These “men-like” to play an important role in the interpretation of the experience with the fungus, are depicted in prehistoric petroglyphs of the ancient Siberian peoples and are a recurring theme in mythology and stories of Yakuti, Chukchee and other tribes present.
See: The Amanita muscaria among the Chukchi (V. Bogoraz)
The Siberian populations have found that the urine of those who have eaten the Fly agaric mushroom is also equipped with psychoactive properties and are known for the bizarre habit of drinking his own urine or that of other individuals to prolong the effects of the fungus.
It is very likely that these people have discovered the psychoactive properties of the urine of those who have eaten the same mushroom fungus and observing the behavior of the reindeer, which are both tasty and intentionally become drunk with the Fly agaric mushroom, which the urine of other reindeer that have eaten.
The Amanita muscaria among Koriaki (W. Jochelson)
The use of Amanita muscaria among Siberian Koriaki (J. Enderli)
The Amanita muscaria among Ugri (Ostiaki and Vogul) (KF Karjalainen)
The Amanita muscaria among Kamchadal (Erman)
ETHEL DUNN, 1973, Russian Use of Amanita muscaria: A Footnote to Wasson’s Soma, Current Anthropology, vol. 14, pp.. 488-492.
GEERKEN HARTMUT, 1992, Fliegen Pilze? Merkungen Anmerkungen und und zum Schamanismus Sibirien in Andechs, Integration, vol. 2 / 3, pp. 109-114.
WALDEMAR Jochelson, 1905-1908, The Koryak, Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History, New York.
Langsdorf GH, 1809, Einig Bemerkungen day Eigenschaften des Kamtschadalischen Fliegenschwammes betreffend, Annalen für die Wetterauischen Gesellschraft gesammte Naturkunde, vol. 1 (2), pp. 249-256.
ROSENBHOM ALEXANDRA, 1991, in Der Fliegenpilz Nordasien, in: W. Bauer, E. A. Klapp & Rosenbhom (Ergs.), Der Fliegenpilz, Wienand Verlag, Cologne, pp.. 121-164.
SAAR MARET, 1991, date from Siberia and North Ethnomycological-East Asia on the effect of Amanita muscaria, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 31, pp.. 157-173.
R. Wasson GORDON, 1967, Fly Agaric and Man, in: Daniel H. Efron, Bo Holmstedt & Nathan S. Kline (Eds.), Psychoactive Drugs Search for Ethnopharmacologic, U.S. Department of Health, Education and welfare state, Washington, pp. 405-414.
Father Wasson VALENTINA & R. Gordon Wasson, 1957, Mushrooms, Russia and History, Pantheon Books, New York, 2 vol.
R. Wasson GORDON, 1968, Soma. Divine Mushroom of Immortality, HBJ, New York.