Wild mushrooms bring to mind widely different images and emotions in people. Some dwell the possibilities of tasty gourmet dinners of Chanterelles or King Boletes foraged from the Maine woods; for others, the risk of poisonous mushrooms and the potential for illness comes first to mind. The more adventurous sort may imagine the magic mushrooms and a very different toxic experience. But few are aware of the deep connection between mushrooms and the Yuletide season.
The most frequently illustrated mushroom is the bright red and white Amanita muscaria, the Fly Agaric. It graces the cover and pages of children’s books, fantasy illustrations and can even be glimpsed dancing across the screen of certain computer games. In Central Europe, this colorful and distinctive mushroom has long been a symbol of good fortune for the New Year and often adorns decorations during the Christmas season. Is there a reason that we see Santa as a rotund man garbed in bright red and pristine white; the living image of this Christmas mushroom? Why do you think Santa is pulled across the sky by flying reindeer? These modern holiday themes have deep roots on Pagan religions and lore.
Join local mushroom expert and author Greg Marley at the Camden Public Library at 1:00 on Saturday December 16, as he explores wild edible, medicinal and poisonous mushrooms and reveals the connections of mushrooms to the Yuletide season, and the answers to these vexing seasonal questions. This talk will be an entertaining blend of fact, fantasy and supposition for all ages. Greg will have copies of his books available for sale after the presentation. This talk is sponsored by the Maine Mycological Association and the Camden Public Library.