Wilder Mann - photos of traditional animal costumes of Europe, by Charles Freger. Also in National Geographic, and in the New York Times' Lens Blog:
“These traditions come from Neolithic times — from shamanism — and they have never stopped,” said Mr. Fréger, 38. “For a few nights you can behave like a goat, drink a lot and forget about being civilized. You can be a wild animal for three days and then you go back to controlling your wildness.”
This is Bull of Frost (Chys Khan), which is Yakutian colleague of Russian Grandpa Frost (Ded Moroz) and Santa Claus. [more inside]
Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason, readable online, is an analysis of the physical mechanisms of hallucination, shamanic ritual, and expanded states of consciousness. By presenting these methods in physical terms, Psychedelic Information Theory offers a rational and objective model for shamanic transformation and therapy in modern clinical practice. [more inside]
Surrendering to the Spirit Vine. Artist Alex Grey (previously) describes his experience with "the champagne of ayahuascas."
One Step Beyond - The Sacred Mushroom. A 1961 episode of One Step Beyond investigates whether or not psilocybin mushrooms can give you extra-sensory perception. Part 2, Part 3. [Via Neurophilosophy]
Gary Snyder, sublime and seminal poet of ecological awareness and activism [YouTube link], Zen appreciation of "ordinary mind" and American speech, shamanistic intimacy with the natural world, and surviving member of the Beat Generation (West Coast posse) at age 78, has won the $100,000 Ruth Lilly poetry prize. "Gary Snyder is in essence a contemporary devotional poet, though he is not devoted to any one god or way of being so much as to Being itself," said Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman. "His poetry is a testament to the sacredness of the natural world and our relation to it, and a prophecy of what we stand to lose if we forget that relation.” Previous recipients of the Lilly prize include Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, and W.S. Merwin. [Previously mentioned here.]
Ayahuasca: A Strange Brew. "Can a psychotropic jungle potion cure the existential angst of the McMansion set?" Previously.
Hell and Back: "Deep in the Amazon jungle, writer Kira Salak tests ayahuasca, a shamanistic medicinal ritual, and finds a terrifying—but enlightening—world within." Interesting tale found via this interview with Charles Grob on the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics. The legal status of ayahuasca in the US was recently discussed here.
Psychedelic Santa Claus. "Modern Christmas traditions are based on ancient mushroom-using shamans." [Via J-Walk blog.]
Tripping on iboga: author Daniel Pinchbeck describes his experience with the psychedelic drug tabernanthe iboga, which is used in the rituals of the Bwiti in West Africa. Ironically, the active chemical in iboga, the indole alkaloid ibogaine, is said to be useful in the treatment of drug addiction (PDF.)