A Very Merry Mushroom Christmas

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Amanitas are curious mushrooms. They grow in a wide variety of locals, some in humid southern swamps under the shadows of giant ferns. Others flourish up north, rising from cold white snow like iced roses on a wedding cake. They emerge from the soil like white eggs.  As they grow, they break their veil of white, revealing red or yellow skin beneath. All that remains of the veil are small white pointy warts which dot the mushroom cap like poison stars that smell of dark places beneath the earth.

 In Siberia, shaman eat amanitas to see visions. Though shamans are men of power, they are still only men. Their bodies are not made to consume magic. After eating the mushrooms they shiver and shake, often growing ill, though seldom dying. Through their body the magic runs. It drained from their system, toxins removed, visions intact. The amanita’s magic remains potent even after six passes through the body. People steal the visions of the shamans by drinking their waste.

After feasting on Amanita, the skin takes on a flushed and ruddy glow. When the time is ripe for amanita, shaman, dressed in red and white fur-trimmed coats and long black boots go to gather them.  Filling their sacks they return home to their yurts of birch and reindeer hide. So as not to let in the cold, for it is very, very cold in that northern country, they climb down a chimney-entrance in the top of the yurt, to share mushroom gifts with those within.  That is why on one special cold winter night, red suited men in black boots slide down the chimneys leaving sacks of presents.

The shamans string the mushrooms together in long fungus necklaces that smell of dark places under the earth and hang them round the fire to dry. That is why today we string popcorn and berries on our hearths at Christmas time.

Reindeer too are fond of amanita; they seek them out and after dining, dance under the moonlight. That is why, for one magic night, reindeer fly, bringing gifts to all.

The amanitas grow beneath the World Tree the roots of which reach down into the underworld. The tree passes through our world, and its branches reach up into heaven.

The top of the tree is so tall it touches the North Star. This is why Christmas trees boast stars on their uppermost bough.

Amanitas spring from the earth. They are born of morning dew which is the semen of Gods. That is why today we drape our Christmas trees in tinsel which sparkles like condensation.

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About E.E. King

E.E. King’s has published many short stories. Ray Bradbury calls E.E. King a writer “marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I can not recommend her highly enough.” HER NEW COLLECTION new Collection of Short Fiction “Another Happy Ending,” comes out in October 2013. There is a book launch and party @ Ray Bradbury’s favorite Bookstore Mystery and Imagination Bookstore October 20th @ 2:00 -3:00pm Her first novel, Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, came out 2010, released in Spanish in 2/2012. She is performing bits of "Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, all you need to know to choose the right heaven.” (in costume) October 30th @ 7:30-8:30 @Echo Park in “Stories Book and Café.” 1716 West Sunset Blvd • Los Angeles • CA [213] 413-3733 The New Short Fiction Series, Los Angeles’ longest running spoken word series, launched her anthology, Real Conversations With Imaginary Friends, 1/2012. Sponsor, Barnes & Noble. All her books as well as her children’s book The Adventures of Emily Finfeather or The Feathernail and Other Gifts are currently available on audible. E.E. King is the recipient of various international writing, biology and painting grants. Her murals can be seen in Downtown Los Angeles and Spain. Elizabeth Eve King has a background in teaching, painting, theater, comedy and biology. She will be an artist in residence at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art June -Sept 2015 Ms. King is the recipient of two International Tides painting fellowships, and two international biology Earthwatch grants. She was an advisor for the J. Paul Getty’s and the Science Center’s, Arts &; Science program. She was the Science and Arts coordinator in Bosnia with Global Children’s Organization (a summer camp for war orphans and refugees) in 2000. She was the founding Arts & Sciences Director for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation . She’s worked with children in Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain and planted butterfly gardens in South Central Los Angeles. The butterflies wish she had chosen a different location. Her short stories have been published widely
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