Christmas coming up and I'm still amazed at how many psychonauts are unfamiliar with the apparent basis of the Santa Claus legend, which has no discernible connections with the life and times of Jesus Christ. Why are Santa's colours always red and white? Where in god's name do flying reindeer come from and why is Santa always laughing? Why would such a rotund man choose to enter your house through the chimney? And what are these gifts he is bearing? We'll start with the fairy tale fly agaric mushroom, with its distinctive WHITE spotted bright RED cap - the most documented psychedelic in the European tradition. It was taken by the native Laplanders of the Scandinavian Arctic circle who lived in a symbiotic relationship with the reindeer herds, nomadically following their migrations. The reindeer are very partial to these mushrooms, which grow abundantly. Whether the REINDEER metaphorically FLY into other realities we do not know. Certainly the Laplanders DELIGHTED in doing so after drinking the urine of the reindeer, ingesting the psychedelic element purified of the toxins that make most Western experimenters nauseous. Their portable homes in this fiercely cold climate featured a single entrance through a hole in the top, which also served as the CHIMNEY vent for the constantly burning fire. And the gifts? Well, anybody who has travelled well on mushrooms will be aware of the GIFTS that are received. Packaged distractions are a poor substitute. Wishing you the real thing this Christmas.
Speaking of hallucinations, I feel some compulsion to comment on the recent bad trip in East Timor ('scuse that link). But what is there to say? - East Timors and Kosovos will keep on happening as long as coercion is the accepted law of the land and states keep on manufacturing and using weapons of destruction to gain and maintain power. The individual atrocities, lies, hypocrisy and political ploys will always make up a fascinating new mix. This kind of stuff has been going on since before Roman times, and "the people" have seen through it before. Yet still the horrors of it are accepted as a necessary evil - somehow the "natural" way of the world. Natural it is not, which is the basic reason the state fails in its linear objectives. I wrote a book that covers this and recommend you read it (see below).
Finally, as we approach the Millennium - an appropriate thought for the next thousand years. We curiously distinguish ourselves with the term "human BEINGS " though most of humanity might better be termed "human doings." Sounds silly, but it's true. Though the word itself forms an integral part of our collective name, the bulk of our culture seems designed to distract us from appreciating BEING itself. Contemplating and appreciating our own existence is attempted most often with meditation or through the agency of psychedelic drugs - both relatively new ideas to Western culture, and phenomena that might be growing because they fulfil a sacred need of our species. I would suggest that we spend more time living up to our name in the critical and accelerating times ahead, thereby to chart the better route. Let us be.
(Published in nov/dec1999 Dream Creation Magazine - UK)