The Light Sound Dimension crew wishes you a merry Christmas -- or happy Hanukkah, happy Yuletide, happy holidays, or whatever -- and, perhaps, one of these indispensable items under your tree.
- Edit: Ah, this fits in too neatly to not blog here. Boing Boing has a wacky YouTube song about the psychedelic origins of Santa Claus and Christmas in general. It’s based on this article by Dana Larsen.
Although most people see Christmas as a Christian holiday, many of the symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian Northern Europe.
The sacred mushroom of these people was the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom, also known as “fly agaric.” These mushrooms are now commonly seen in books of fairy tales, and are usually associated with magic and fairies. This is because they contain potent hallucinogenic compounds, and were used by ancient peoples for insight and transcendental experiences.
Most of the major elements of the modern Christmas celebration, such as Santa Claus, Christmas trees, magical reindeer and the giving of gifts, are originally based upon the traditions surrounding the harvest and consumption of these most sacred mushrooms.
These ancient peoples, including the Lapps of modern-day Finland, and the Koyak tribes of the central Russian steppes, believed in the idea of a World Tree. The World Tree was seen as a kind of cosmic axis, onto which the planes of the universe are fixed. The roots of the World Tree stretch down into the underworld, its trunk is the “middle earth” of everyday existence, and its branches reach upwards into the heavenly realm.
The North Star was also considered sacred, since all other stars in the sky revolved around its fixed point. They associated this “Pole Star” with the World Tree and the central axis of the universe. The top of the World Tree touched the North Star, and the spirit of the shaman would climb the metaphorical tree, thereby passing into the realm of the gods. This is the true meaning of the star on top of the modern Christmas tree, and also the reason that the super-shaman Santa makes his home at the North Pole.
The amanita muscaria mushrooms grow only under certain types of trees, mostly firs and evergreens. The mushroom caps are the fruit of the larger mycelium beneath the soil which exists in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the tree. To ancient people, these mushrooms were literally “the fruit of the tree.”
Ancient peoples were amazed at how these magical mushrooms sprang from the earth without any visible seed. They considered this “virgin birth” to have been the result of the morning dew, which was seen as the semen of the deity. The silver tinsel we drape onto our modern Christmas tree represents this divine fluid.
The active ingredients of the amanita mushrooms are not metabolized by the body, and so they remain active in the urine. In fact, it is safer to drink the urine of one who has consumed the mushrooms than to eat the mushrooms directly, as many of the toxic compounds are processed and eliminated on the first pass through the body.
It was common practice among ancient people to recycle the potent effects of the mushroom by drinking each other’s urine. The amanita’s ingredients can remain potent even after six passes through the human body. Some scholars argue that this is the origin of the phrase “to get pissed,” as this urine-drinking activity preceded alcohol by thousands of years.
Reindeer were the sacred animals of these semi-nomadic people, as the reindeer provided food, shelter, clothing and other necessities. Reindeer are also fond of eating the amanita mushrooms; they will seek them out, then prance about while under their influence. Often the urine of tripped-out reindeer would be consumed for its psychedelic effects.
This effect goes the other way too, as reindeer also enjoy the urine of a human, especially one who has consumed the mushrooms. In fact, reindeer will seek out human urine to drink, and some tribesmen carry sealskin containers of their own collected piss, which they use to attract stray reindeer back into the herd.
The effects of the amanita mushroom usually include sensations of size distortion and flying. The feeling of flying could account for the legends of flying reindeer, and legends of shamanic journeys included stories of winged reindeer, transporting their riders up to the highest branches of the World Tree.
Although the modern image of Santa Claus was created at least in part by the advertising department of Coca-Cola, in truth his appearance, clothing, mannerisms and companions all mark him as the reincarnation of these ancient mushroom-gathering shamans.
One of the side effects of eating amanita mushrooms is that the skin and facial features take on a flushed, ruddy glow. This is why Santa is always shown with glowing red cheeks and nose. Even Santa’s jolly “Ho, ho, ho!” is the euphoric laugh of one who has indulged in the magic fungus.
Santa also dresses like a mushroom gatherer. When it was time to go out and harvest the magical mushrooms, the ancient shamans would dress much like Santa, wearing red and white fur-trimmed coats and long black boots.
After a highly satisfying, well-organized festival with a perfect atmosphere, and a week of forced labour after that, we’re back to take up blogging again. Sorry for the inactivity.
Melt!, unfortunately already a week ago with the next edition still 51 weeks away, was fantastic, either way. We won’t bother anyone with a review, but suffice it to say that through discipline and an unprecedented tapping of energy sources, we actually managed to see quite a lot of artists of the list posted below.
Combine that with perfect weather, a decent camping spot and the magical atmosphere of standing with dedicated party people at 6am under a rising sun listening to the spacy, groovy beats of a dj performing underneath majestic digging machines, and you get the picture. Seriously folks: of all parties and festivals we know of, nothing beats the Big Wheel stage or the beach stage in the morning.
To prove that, here’s a couple of videos capturing that wonderful atmosphere. It’s perfection. Then it’s off to blogging again.
There ain’t gonna be no bloggin’ here till at least Monday, because this weekend the entire LSD crew will be out at the Melt! Festival at Ferropolis, Gräfenhainichen, Germany. If it’s half as good as last year, it’s gonna be awesome.
Author: lsdimension Published: February 28th, 2011
The Huffington Post reports that Andrew Sullivan, author of the highly acclaimed and hugely popular weblog ‘The Daily Dish‘, is leaving the magazine The Atlantic. He’ll continue his blogging activities at Light Sound Dimension.
Sullivan, one of the pioneers of weblogging, began ‘The Daily Dish’ in late 2000, and in the course of a decade managed to turn it into the most-read single-author blog in the United States (and thereby probably the world). Taking his blog from Time to The Atlantic in 2007, his readership currently stands at 6 million unique visitors per month.
Andrew Sullivan, in a reaction, claimed to be thrilled to be yet again taking a bold step with his move to Light Sound Dimension.
For me, it’s a strange mixture of excitement and sadness. Sadness because The Atlantic has been a very special home for me and all the interns and staffers who have worked at the Dish. The more than four years that I’ve worked here have been the most rewarding, exhilarating and challenging of my career. I cherish my colleagues, their support and debate, and will miss them deeply.
But there are some opportunities you just can’t let pass by. The chance to be part of a whole new experiment in online journalism, in the Light Sound Dimension adventure, is just too fascinating and exciting a challenge to pass up. And to work with media legends, maartenp, markdjarvis and adriejan, who also happen to be excellent dj’s by the way, is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Author: lsdimension Published: February 27th, 2011
… to the new Light Sound Dimension, which is now located at lsdimension.com! As you can see, a lot of things have changed around here.
After 14 months of blogging on our old WordPress site, we thought it was time for a little make-over. So, we spent some time and effort on building a new one. Not that this was a smooth process. Au contraire, lots of hurdles had to be taken before we arrived here. First of all, there was our little fight with our previous webhost, the fuckups amateurs of the Leeuwarden-based E-creative, who almost prompted us to hop into a train to Friesland and pay a little visit. Fortunately, after a bit of structured online stalking, that wasn’t necessary anymore. Second, we kept struggling with the font lay-out, but thanks to some highly valued help (thanks, Daniël!) that problem was in the end solved as well. And of course, let’s not go into our own sometimes highly emotional internal debates about such topics as the color of the category hovers, the merits of having an RSS feed on top instead of in the middle, and the aesthetics of red stripes.
So what’s changed? Nothing much, actually. Aside from the incredibly slick new design, everything will stay pretty much the way we, and hopefully you, like it. On the right, the ‘electronic music’, ’politics’ and ‘art/photography’ categories are now permanently showing, we’ve added Twitter and Facebook boxes, and comments are now showing on-site. All the posts from the old site have been transferred to this one, so you can browse through the archives and read your favourite posts again in a new lay-out. One thing: it’s very possibly that with the transfer, some links or images have gone bad. We’ll fix that once we encounter it, but until then, some old posts might not show up properly.
So, we’ll keep on blogging here on the stuff that interests us, and are hoping for your continued visits and comments. If you have any remarks or suggestions about the new lay-out (fonts, readibility, easiness of use, or just anything), please let us know in the comments or e-mail us! If it doesn’t look good in Internet Explorer,try running it in Firefox. Also, we very much appreciate it if you leave comments, so we can get some discussion going on! And: if you like LSD, please click on that little “like” button in the Facebook box…
Great, we wanted to keep track of it, but then the 1000th post ever of the Light Sound Dimension blog slipped right through. The honor fell to the post The Economist Weighs In On Mr. Wilders, by our recent contributor Mark! Congrats. So this post here is actually post 1004. But whatever. Since January 2010 we have been running this blog to our great pleasure. What started as an experiment will now probably be something that’s here to stay. In fact, this might be the right time to announce that we’ve purchased a domain name, and will sooner or later move there and do a great revamp of the blog. Hopefully that does justice to our growing readership (which last month, for the record, was good for near to 16,000 page views). Personally, we really like to throw a mix of stuff online here, from politics to privacy to electronic (and non-electronic) music to art to history to movies to psychedelic stuff and whatever fits the LSD vibe, and hopefully so do you.
Recently, people have been mailing a lot of link tips and suggestions, kudos for that and please keep doing so! E-mail at email@example.com. Also, comment on everything (thanks to everybody who does), and join the Twitter and Facebook appendages of the blog. O and press those “Like” buttons down there frequently.
Author: lsdimension Published: September 30th, 2010
It’s pretty common on other sites and blogs and we were lagging behind, but as of now we’re completely up to date “social media-wise”! Under every post you can now find Facebook “like” , Twitter, Reddit and e-mail buttons. So if you feel you need to share one of our posts with the interwebs just use one of the buttons.
Please share your thoughts on this new feature in the comments!
Pageviews have been going through the roof these last couple of days. So to all our new followers, welcome to Light Sound Dimension! For stuff we’ve done in the past, check out the monthly wrap-ups here or browse our categories on the right. Make sure you also follow us on Twitter, if you’re into that.