How Psychedelic Mushrooms From Shamanistic Rituals Evolved Into the Modern Santa Claus Mythology

Psychedelic Reindeer

“Santa Is a Psychedelic Mushroom”, a truly fascinating short film created by Matthew Salton for The New York Times featuring animation by James Bascara and Ben Silberstein, digs deep into the theory that psychedelic mushrooms used in ancient shamanistic rituals of Lapland tribes explain much of the modern mythology that surrounds Christmas, particularly the idea of Santa Claus and his flying reindeer.

As it turns out, the shamanic rituals of the Sami people of Lapland, a region in northern Finland known for its wintry climate and conifer forests, bear an uncanny semblance to the familiar narratives of Santa and Christmas that we have come to know.