November was a busy month and so we didn’t get any newsletters out. We were getting the final touches on our Baba Yaga book so we can send it out the rewards to our Kickstarter backers, and we also attended in-person events, craft fairs, and such. Things have settled down a bit now, thankfully.
Looking back, since December 2020 until December 2022, we’ve published 12 books, averaging 6 books a year; whereas before, our average was one or two a year. Needless to say, we’re a bit worn out and will be taking off the month of December before we start on our next projects.
After that, we’ll get going on finishing the final two books in the Dragon Village series and start doing research on the next book in the Spirits & Creatures series: Vampires! We’re hoping to do a Kickstarter campaign for the complete Dragon Village series in September, so be sure to follow our Kickstarter profile so you’re updated. We want to have the books completed this time before we start the campaign, so we’ll be able to ship them out as quickly as possible.
Back now to the Santa/Baba Yaga connection. In our research on Baba Yaga, we discovered she has an association with mushrooms, in particular fly agaric, Amanita muscaria. It’s believed that this may be the magical food Baba Yaga feeds to heroes before she sends them off on their journey to the otherworld, the land of the dead. This gave them the ability to unlock the keys to eternity as well as allowing him to become part of the world of the dead, to speak and see there in the same manner as the dead.
So, how does this connect to Santa?
It all relates back to Amanita muscaria, that red-capped, white-spotted mushroom. The toxins in it have psychedelic properties, and shamans (in particular those of the Sami people of Lapland) have used it to put themselves into a trance so they can travel to the other side and get advice from the dead. These shamans didn’t just nibble on the mushrooms to get into this state, they also drank reindeer urine, which contained the mushroom’s compounds that were free of toxins. The rein deer ate this mushroom, but filtered out all the toxic elements.
The Amanita muscaria gives one the sense of flying.
Are you seeing a connection yet?
People believed that those who ate the Amanita muscaria ended up looking like the mushroom: a big, fat person with red splotches. They traveled to homes on a reindeer-pulled sled in winter. And they came down the chimney to enter the house.
These shamans who ate the mushrooms would perform healing rituals and solve people’s problems from the advice the shamans received from the dead. In return, people gave them lots of food, making the fat man even heftier.
The source of this information about the Amanita muscaria and Santa comes from this great article and video, “How the Psychedelic Amanita Muscaria Mushroom May Have Inspired the Santa Legend of Lapland,” which you can find here: https://www.themarginalian.org/2022/12/02/mushroom-santa/.
And be sure to check out our book to find out more about Baba Yaga.