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Vikings: the Berserkers


Horne

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Prior to watching this, I assumed this would be another silly viking movie, like there are so many out there, but it isn't. Anglo-Saxons are being captured by Norse people, five of them are being released again only to be hunted ritually afterwards by warriors turned into berserkers after taking some orally ingested "stuff", supposed to bring back to their priestess the hearts cut out from their victims' bodies. Best viking movie I've seen in years!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og7ESKMdBIo

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Hmmm I saw this in redbox and skipped it.  The TV show Vikings is beast though.

 

I might have to check it out though.  I actually think I might know what it was they were eating too.

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Oh yeah I love the Vikings show, I'm only halfway through season two.

 

I don't know what the berserkers were eating in that movie and if it truly relates to any real historical berserker rage, it made foam coming out of their mouths though, and they smeared the same substance over their faces.

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Oh yeah I love the Vikings show, I'm only halfway through season two.

 

I don't know what the berserkers were eating in that movie and if it truly relates to any real historical berserker rage, it made foam coming out of their mouths though, and they smeared the same substance over their faces.

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What they were eating, and smearing on their faces is likely a certain combination of  plants/fungus that produces visions of Valkyries and the golden halls of Valhalla.  I don't want to say too much in the public area but I can say that it includes henbane.

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I thought that Amanita Muscara mushrooms were part of that mix?  Besides helping you stay warm in heat and giving you lots of energy, these mushrooms are also psychoactive, which could lead to trance states which would aid fighting in some ways (feel invincible, feel less pain, more in touch with your senses/body ect).  They were commonly used all over the northern hemisphere as a cold-weather tonic and trance inducer.  

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I've heard theories like that before, and although I think it's likely they really did use substances to achieve an altered state, these substances/mixtures must have been pretty advanced. Too much hallucinations, temporal and/or spacial distortions (etc.) will probably make poor effective warriors.

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Amanita is not like LSD or Psilocybin mushrooms - it is much less visual, and felt more in the body.  Remember - it has a history of being used as a tonic for working outdoors in cold weather!  Also, while large doses of psychedelics usually make people a little off balance, it isnt as dramatic as in the movies, and if you micro-dose, psychedelics are known to increase your physical awareness and coordination.  

 

This article gives an example based on athletes who use micro-dosing psychedelics to improve performance: http://www.highexistence.com/micro-dose-lsd-psychedelic/

(from the article): taking psychedelics at lower doses, the “cognitive functioning, emotional balance, and physical stamina were actually found to be improved.”

 

So the idea that they were working with Amanita to increase skill in warfare, as well as increase blood-lust is totally believable to me.  

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I included the LSD testing video for fun. :wink: I know Amanita is different, but isn't one of their traits that the effects can be highly unpredictable? That's what I meant when I said the mixtures used should have to have been advanced in order assure the effects for warriors shouldn't be limiting their skills rather than enhancing them.

 

Thanks for the link about micro-dosing, I skimmed through it and it's worth investigating more, I especially liked the part on learning languages quickly. You obviously know more much about all this then I do, and useful material is always welcome.

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I've never tried learning languages with micro-dosing, but that would be awesome!  My Spanish could use some serious help...  Sounds like a funny study plan!  I've certainly learned music faster with entheogens, but havent tried languages yet....

 

Amanitas can be unpredictable, but mostly because people dont know a lot about them.  They differ from region and season, but that should be easy to account for in a stable society like the Vikings had.  How long they are cured for makes a huge difference in the effects as well, and if a culture used them long-term, I bet they would have curing down pretty good.  Drinking the mushrooms through someones urine is another option, but maybe not as appealing.  Proper curing or drinking them through urine should regulate the effects quite a bit though - especially since they are all gathered from the same region.

 

If you ferment or cook the mushrooms in any way, they are no longer psychedelic at all, but still retain all of their cold-fighting, body-warming, energizing effects (this is how they were eaten most of the time - for flavor, or as a health tonic).

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I'm certainly going to research the learning of languages this way. I remember reading Tolkien on LSD in my teens and the elvish languages started to make sense to me. Of course this "understanding" was gone the next day, but it's an interesting thought I could improve my German this way, to begin with.

 

I agree that the use of substances on a long term regular basis would make sure those who prepared and used them knew exactly what they were doing.

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Just found out the part of the website you posted:

 

"It was a week before registration and it depressed me tremendously that I had not spent the summer learning German, as I had planned. I had intended to give myself a crash course so I could take second-year German, which I needed for my study in physics. I had heard of a woman who had learned enough Spanish in a few days, via LSD, to speak it fluently when she had to go to Mexico on business. I had taken LSD before, and while I couldn’t see how she did this, I decided it was worth a try. I hadn’t even gotten around to picking up a textbook, but I did have a close friend who knew German well and who said he was willing to “sit in” while I took the drug and try to teach me the language. Fortunately, I knew something about conjugation and declension, so I wasn’t completely at sea. I wanted to get worked up and feel involved with the language, as it seemed that this must be at least part of the key to the problem, so I asked my friend to tell me about Schiller and Goethe, and why the verb came at the end. Almost immediately, after just a story or two, I knew I had been missing a lot in ignoring the Germans, and I really got excited. The thing that impressed me at first was the delicacy of the language (he was now giving me some simple words and phrases), and though I really messed it up, I was trying hard to imitate his pronunciation as I had never tried to mimic anything before. For most people German may be “guttural,” but for me it was light and lacey. Before long, I was catching on even to the umlauts. Things were speeding up like mad, and there were floods of associations. My friend had only to give me a German word, and almost immediately I knew what it was through cognates. It turned out that it wasn’t even necessary for him to ask me what it sounded like. Memory, of course, is a matter of association, and boy, was I ever linking up to things! I had no difficulty recalling words he had given me—in fact, I was eager to string them together. In a couple of hours after that I was reading even some simple German, and it all made sense. The whole experience was an explosion of discoveries. Normally, when you’ve been working on something for a long time and finally discover a solution, you get excited, and you can see implications everywhere. Much more than if you heard someone else discovering the same-thing. Now this discovery thing, that’s what was happening with me—but all the time. The threshold of understanding was extremely low, so that with every new phrase I felt I was making major discoveries. When I was reading, it was as though I had discovered the Rosetta Stone and the world was waiting for my translation. Really wild!"

 

Is a quote from a book called "LSD - the problem-solving psychedelic"

 

The chapter and in fact the entire book can be found through this link: http://www.psychedelic-library.org/staf5.htm

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