Reindeer in the Arctic Circle love to forage for the psychotropic mushroom Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric by digging through the snow with their hooves in Autumn. Fly agaric mushrooms looks like the ones from the Mario Brothers video games: red caps speckled with white dots.
While it’s unknown just how the mushrooms effect reindeer, in humans they cause intense visions. Often, those visions include flying.
As the 2009 BBC video below explains, the Sami people indigenous to the arctic have long used fly agaric mushrooms in their visionary rituals. Sami shamans “even drank urine from reindeer believed to be under the influence.”
It is theorized that the connection between reindeer, Sami and fly agaric mushrooms is the basis for the legend of Santa’s flying reindeer.
Watch the video below to learn more.