Ep. 25: Sweden's Legends, Myths, Magicks and Mushrooms (feat. Saga Mariah Sandberg)

Today on Mushroom Hour we are excited to interview Saga Mariah Sandberg. Saga Mariah is an accomplished artist whose work focuses on mushrooms and other natural subjects. Her work has been described as authentic, beguiling, captivating and, perhaps above all, a beautifully curated celebration of Sweden’s natural systems.   

In this second part of our two-part interview, Saga will be our guide through the folklore, myths and legends of Sweden. This epic journey starts with a brief introduction to the indigenous Sami people, whose tribes inhabited polar regions across Europe and Asia. We quickly come face to face with everyone's favorite pirate traders - the Vikings. Best known for their fierce warriors, their clans of elite fighters who donned bear-skins and wolf-skins are the origin of the English words "berserker" and "werewolf". There is a legend that Viking berserkers used the delirium-inducing amanita muscaria to fuel their rage prior to battle - but is it true?   

Continuing our journey through time, we'll see that the peoples of Sweden have always sought the aid of shamans to access higher realms of consciousness. One of the most powerful spiritual conduits were master witches known as valas or völvas. These female mystics channeled spiritual power by performing a sejd (trance-inducing chant) and calling upon the aid of one's haugen (spirit or soul) with the help of a women's circle, a drum and a staff. Did entheogens or mushrooms play any role in the practices or powers of these wise women?   

Attuning with the realms beyond our own, we commune with spirit animals and spirit guardians and then dive into the realm of the Vaesen. The Vaesen is another dimension that is the domain of otherworldly beings including trolls, fairies and mushrooms! These spirits feature prominently in Swedish myths and their influence persists to this day. Because non-bracket mushrooms were considered of the Vaesen domain, they were avoided as "troll food" by ancient Swedes. Luckily this has completely reversed in more recent times as Swedes have begun to deify the mushroom! These ancient myths, folk tales and spiritual concepts we discuss echo through many parts of our modern society and still live on in modern Swedish culture and language.   

Thanks for listening and Mush Love!   

Directed, Recorded, Produced by: Mushroom Hour

Music by: Ancient Baby (https://peckthetowncrier.bandcamp.com/)   
Art by: Wyn Di Stefano (http://www.wyndistefano.com/)   

Episode Resources   
Saga-Mariah's Art & Illustration Website: https://www.sagamariah.se/   
Saga-Mariah IG: https://www.instagram.com/sagamariah_floral/     
Berserker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker
Vala/völva: https://norse-mythology.net/volva-the-viking-witch-or-seeress/   
Vaesen Reading: https://www.amazon.com/Vaesen-Spirits-Monsters-Scandinavian-Folklore/dp/B072MFGQVG/

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