Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mushroom Magick: A Visionary Field Guide

Mushroom Magick: A Visionary Field Guide

"The history of modern use of the magic mushrooms began with the investment banker R. Gordon Wasson and his wife, Valentina, who visited Mazatec shamans in the mountains of Oaxaca, and published an extraordinary account of their discoveries in Life magazine in 1957. Wasson later regretted this deeply. The Life magazine article brought the sacred mushrooms to the attention of "hippies and trippers", including rock stars and their hangers-on, who descended on the little mountain town of Huautla de Jimenez in search of fungal gnosis, over the next decades.

I often ponder on the Wasson's quest, through remote Mexican mountains and obscure etymologies, to discover the lost secrets of teonanacatl, the "wondrous mushroom" of Mesoamerica. The story is a Nabokovian fable, complete with its requisite supporting cast of aged indigenous wisdom-keepers, CIA spooks seeking new tools for mind control, and a Greek chorus of gray-bearded ethnobotanists, archaeologists, and poets. What began as a cook-book-writing project - a hobby for a successful investment banker and his wife - turned into an epic pursuit of revelation and gnosis, transforming their lives, and eventually, the lives of many others, as well"

from the Foreword by Daniel Pinchbeck

I was 18 the last time I took magic mushrooms, it was a bit apocalyptic and demented. I was out of my mind and with my mother (unintentionally). We watched A Room With A View and Helena Bonham Carter kept transforming into a giant-winged beetle. I have problems watching her in anything to this day.

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