Drugsreligion And Magic

Animism Praising The Tree

"Chemistry is applied theology."

Augustus Stanley Owsley III

Where did the idea of gods come from? Could it have been from ihe ingestion of psychotropic plains, as mycologist R. Gordon Wasson lias surmised? What better explanation for the deeply rooted animism at the heart of all primitive magical religions, the profound conviction that mute trees and howling beasts, stone cliffs and dark watei*ways are possessed of the same mysterious vitaliiy that humans have? The campfire crackles and pops; strange shapes flicker on cave walls. See demons and creatures; draw their outlines with charcoal and berry juice. Breathe deeply, smell the dank spirits. They do not go away even when you close your eyes; the heart pounds in fear and fascination before the supernatural, J the extraordinary, the magnificent divine. A thousand sacred plants, a million sacred verses of praise and horror, lust and serenity, ecstatic prayer and angry war, carried on within the depths of consciousness.

Shamanism was the foundation of most eaily religions. In hunting and gathering societies, the shaman was at once priest, doctor and magician, using drug potions lo communicate with the spiril would, to divine the hidden secrets of life and death, lo cure the sick and to control events affecting not only individuals but the community as a whole. The word shaman derives from Russian or Tungus saman, a Buddhist monk, and ultimately from Sanskrit shramana, a religious ascetic. The concept goes back lo the formation of the Indo-European language family in Eurasia. In other parts of the world where the linguistic heritage is nol as clear, archeology and mythology indicate similar traditions of magic plant use in prehistoric times.

Mushrooms appeared very eady in the evolution of the plant kingdom and, along with solanaceous plants, may have been among the first sacraments used by shamans in Eurasia and the Western Hemisphere. (A land bridge across the Bering Slrait makes this connection even more likely.) In China, the Near East, the Mediterranean and Africa, on the other hand, the earliest sacred plants were mostly grains, grapes and palms, from which beer and wine could be made. Cannabis, coca, the opium poppy and lobacco are among the oldest cultivated plants, and some species are entirely unknown in the wild.

What was magic about these plants? Mushrooms are magic because they grow without seeds. Many species (of Psilocyhe, Amanita, etc.) grow from practically, invisible spores and mycelium into phallic plants several inches tall in less than a week-and have the equally amazing ability to retain their psychoactive powers over long periods if properly dried and stored. Hemp follows nomadic mankind around like a ghost, thriving in desolate wastelands and teeming jungles» intense cold and oppressive heat., Peyole seems almost to Clone itself, with tiny grey-green buds miraculously appearing right next lo hoary old

"The word imiBhtmsm' is derived from the old French mouachercn, which in turn Is b*acd on mousse. muhs 'In popular use/ according toWabatet 'mushroom denotes aay ediWo variety, as opposed to the poisonous ones {toadstool*).' Immediately we art back in a circle of associations of mushrooms with toads» bufotentne. the witches. Perhaps, as the Wa«-sons argued, toadstool, like the Preach crapeudin, was originally the specific name of the dtnvunic fly amanita. the German FiiegefWchwamm, Flies, bugs, maggots are popular mythic embodiments of madness and possession

Ralph Metzner "Mushnjoms aod the Mind," 1970

Sartwyed shaman

Bowl of a shaman Amanita muscaria Sorcerer

Sumerian worshiper wiilt intoxicant bonis, ca, 3500 B.C.

Sartwyed shaman

Bowl of a shaman Amanita muscaria Sorcerer

Sumerian worshiper wiilt intoxicant bonis, ca, 3500 B.C.

1970s Recreational Drugs

Continue reading here: The Origins Of Religion

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