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 shamanic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian Northern Europe. The story of Santa and his flying reindeer can be traced to shamans in the Siberian and Arctic regions. John Rush, Ph.D., author of Mushrooms in Christian Art and professor of anthropology at Sierra College in Rocklin, CA., suggests, "Santa is a modern counterpart of a shaman, who consumed mind-altering plants and fungi to commune with the spirit world." He believes the Santa myth was born because local shamans in the Siberian and Arctic regions would visit locals on the winter solstice, an astronomical phenomenon strongly related to modern-day Christmas, with gifts of dried hallucinogenic mushrooms. Here are eight ways that hallucinogenic mushrooms explain the story of Santa and his reindeer.