Nobody knows precisely when the first magic mushroom emerged from the shadows of prehistory to enter the light of consciousness.

Nobody knows when the first magic mushroom was eaten by a human being. Nobody knows just who the first magic mushroom eater was. In seeking answers to these questions, we can only speculate. Mycophobes, however, are quick to voice their conviction that only a fool would be reckless enough to want to attain a higher state of consciousness beyond the boundaries of everyday reality. And only a fool would attempt to do this by ingesting those odd little things that mysteriously thrive on decaying, humid soil, rotten wood and malodorous mounds of cow manure.

Historically, magic, mushrooms have been feared and hated' since antiquity: magic mushrooms were thought to be made from poisons that had dripped from serpents' fangs;

they were considered to be unclean emissions of evil spirits; moreover, mushrooms were a known cause of death and disease, bloated stomachs and insanity. Beliefs such as these have survived to the present day. They persist, for example,', as figures of sp eech, such as the slick Austrian description of a societal misfit as someone "who ate those madness-inducing mushrooms."

But, there is another, very different, magic mushroom legacy as well.

Flesh of the Gods for Devil Worshippers

The Old World. Mycenaean civilization began with a mushroom trip -Mushrooms were an ingredient in the ambrosia of Dionysus. Porphyrius, the fourth century Latin poet and contemporary of Emperor Konstantin, knew that magic mushrooms were the children of the gods.

A quasi-cannibalistic ritual, the act of eating the children of the gods unlocked one's power to experience the truly divine. But not all mushrooms enable human beings to enter the realm of divine consciousness. This magic power resides in only those fungi known as "fool's mushrooms", which were considered poisonous and believed to be the spawn of the Devil throughout the late Middle Ages and well into modern times.

The New World: The Aztecs in Mexico referred to a number of small, inconspicuous mushrooms as teonartacatl, or "flesh of the Gods." These sacred mushrooms were eaten during the course of rituals intended to contact the Gods in order to learn about the world and the realm of the divine. These magic mushroom rituals thoroughly spooked the Catholic Spaniards. The mushroom eaters, commonly thought of as Devil worshippers, were hounded by the Inquisition. Still, all good things survive the tests of time, so the cult of magic mushroom eaters did not become extinct. Like mycelia underground, the cult continued to flourish, and at the proper time in recorded history, in 1957, the fruit of the fully grown mushroom re-surfaced to draw widespread public attention. Valentine and Gordon Wasson became the heroes of the modern neo-mycophilic movement.

Back to the Old World: The revelations and insights gained from the use of psychoactive mushrooms were so magically wonderful, that our native European "fool's mushrooms" - which were gene ; considered inedible - had to be recognized as closely related to the magic mushrooms of Mexico, the flesh of the Aztec Gods. The souls of magic mushrooms in Mexico and Germany are essentially made from the same substance: psilocybin.

Jochen Gartz has made an extraordinary contribution to the field of mycology by embracing Germany's magic mushrooms and the scientific study and testing of these fungi. The research efforts upon which this book is based require nothing less than a fearless, brave and courageous consciousness, free of prejudice and mycophobia. I am convinced that a researcher's consciousness infused by the spirit of the magic mushroom is capable of far deeper scientific insights than we can ever expect from the usual ivory tower academics, isolated from reality, and who gorge themselves on our tax dollars.

I met Jochen Gartz shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall at the third symposium of the European College for the Study of Consciousness (ECSC) in Freiburg, Germany. Our encounter was my first contact with a researcher from the former East Germany. Jochen Gartz's enthusiastic lecture was a truly consciousnessexpanding event, his words breaking down traditional borders and crossing over into new territory. The magic mushrooms spoke through him - with no trace of dogma or ideology - in the tradition of true anarchy that is the hallmark of mushroom magic. What I heard was unbelievable. Jochen spoke of a "new" psychedelic mushroom and its migration. The mycelia had spread in concentric circles outward from Leipzig, jumping all political borders. Finally, when the mycelia reached West German soil, the hated Berlin Wall crumbled. Could there possibly be a connection between the evolution of the magic mushroom and the evolution of our consciousness? Could a mushroom have contributed to the resolution of our political conflicts?

In the past, politicians, even popes, had their own jesters and magicians, who functioned as pressure release valves in the machinations of political power struggles. It is obvious that a country whose chancellor is being pelted with eggs, urgently needs a new breed of magician who are able to readjust reality. But today, no aspiring magician should go about this task without this book as a guide for the wondrous journey into the realm of magic mushrooms.

Christian Rdtsch

Figure 5 - "Anthropomorphic Beings Engaged in Mushroom Dance" 10,000-year-old rock drawing in Tassili, Sahara (Algeria)
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