- Taschenbuch: 256 Seiten
- Verlag: Park Street Press; Auflage: 2 Reissue (1. September 2002)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0892819979
- ISBN-13: 978-0892819973
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 20,3 x 1,8 x 25,4 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 450.601 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. September 2002
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". . . fascinating, scholarly and original . . . I love it." (Terence McKenna, author of Foods of the Gods and True Hallucinations)
"No researcher to date has tackled the subject with Heinrich's painstaking ingenuity. His conclusions are as fascinating as they are certain to be controversial." (Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions)
"[An] extraordinary and beautiful book. . . . I read it with the highest interest and enjoyed enormously following its excursions into the realm of myths and the origins of religions, into fascinating possible connections. I have learned a good deal." (Albert Hofmann, discoverer of LSD and coauthor of Plants of the Gods)
Rejecting arguments that the elusive philosophers' stone of alchemy and the Hindu elixir of life were mere legend, Clark Heinrich provides a strong case that Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric mushroom, played this role in world religious history. Working under the assumption that this "magic mushroom" was the mysterious food and drink of the gods, Heinrich traces its use in Vedic and Puranic religion, illustrating how ancient cultures used the powerful psychedelic in esoteric rituals meant to bring them into direct contact with the divine. He, then, shows how the same mushroom symbols found in Hindu scriptures correspond perfectly to the symbols of ancient Judaism, Christianity, the Grail myths and alchemy, arguing that miraculous stories as disparate as the burning bush of Moses and the raising of Lazarus from the dead can be easily explained by the use of this strange and powerful mushroom. While acknowledging the speculative nature of his work, Heinrich concludes that in many religious cultures and traditions the fly agaric mushroom, and in some cases ergot or psilocybin mushrooms, had a fundamental influence in teaching humans about the nature of God.His insightful book truly brings new light to the religious history of humanity. - Draws parallels between Vedic beliefs and Judeo-Christian sects, showing the existence of a mushroom cult that crossed cultural boundaries. - Contends that the famed philosophers' stone of the alchemist was a metaphor for the mushroom. - Confirms and extends Robert Gordon Wasson's hypothesis of the role of the fly agaric mushroom in generating religious visions. Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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To the newcomer to this field, much is surprising. As one begins to explore the territory, some of what Clark asserts appears to be well-supported. Some of what he says may find more support as he and others pursue lines of inquiry he opens or extends. Some of it may just be wrong, and Heinrich admits he is fully aware of the risks of exploration.
We have today a few bits and pieces of solid information about people using Amanita muscaria as a psychoactive, often in a religious context, in scattered locations around the world. For example, we have reports from western observers of Amanita use by tribes in Siberia. In addition to describing how they used it, they also described some of the local lore of the mushroom, its "nicknames" and mythology. Scholars like Heinrich have found (or, some would say, have spun) a far-flung web of speculative associations between this mushroom lore known from a few localities and the mythologies of many cultures. While the analysis of the stories passed down the ages through oral and then written traditions has many perils, another thread in the web is the persistent reappearance of mushrooms, often disguised but sometimes obviously, in paintings and sculptures through the ages. These paintings often depict the events of stories where Heinrich and others find the symbolic connections between the known mushroom lore (Siberia, etc.) and the speculated upon lore within the warp and woof of the history of culture and civilization.
Here's an example of a series of connections, from mushroom natural history, to known lore, to speculation, to "seeing is believing": the mushroom first emerges as a white "egg" shape, then grows to maturity, the cap eventually inverting so that its margins are higher than its center. If one slices across the cap, the view explosed is like that of uplifted wings of a white bird. Birds and eggs are of course an association pair, and there are reports of users of the mushroom giving it bird nicknames. In addition to this appearance of wings, there is the association of the psychoactive mushroom with visionary flight. And so Heinrich and others suggest that where we see winged angels or descending doves in words or pictures in mythology, we may be seeing psychoactive mushroom referents.
It sounds like perhaps a stretch. But then we open another book co-authored by Heinrich, "The Apples of Apollo" and find photographs of ancient Greek vase paintings of the winged Gorgon Medusa (whose blood was medicinal), and of Hyakinthos riding to Paradise on the back of a swan, and quite clearly the depicted wings bear much more resemblance to sliced mushroom caps than to the pattern of feathers on bird wings, which the artists were fully capable of rendering, had that been their intention. It appears obvious that these vase painters were communicating to an initiated audience traditions into which they were themselves initiated. If the mapping of mushroom lore onto religious symbolism is simply a "confusion" created by drug-addled minds, it appears that this "confusion" has existed a long time and surfaces again and again where we have glimpses into esoteric traditions which may have been carried on continuously for thousands of years.
Heinrich is deeply indebted to R. Gordon Wasson, the father of ethnomycology, especially for Wasson's thesis that Amanita muscaria was the "Soma" of early Hindu religion. Heinrich contributes additional information to corroborate this thesis, and his chapters on the traditions the subcontinent are a strong part of the book. Here we also have mention of the Psilocybe species.
Speculation on the role of the mushroom in the semitic traditions that brought us Judaism and Christianity were introduced by John Allegro, a tenured professor who took "early retirement" in the wake of the controversy surrounding his "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross", which contained much far-flung speculation and a certain amount of mean-spirtedness toward both modern christians and drug users past and present. Heinrich reports on Allegro's theories and offers his own speculations on Adam, Eve, the serpent, the fruit, Moses, the visionary prophets and the New Testament. He devotes a chapter to the Gnostics, and another to the Holy Grail, a Christianized ancient Celtic legend.
It appears that Heinrich is the first person in recent history to speculate that the Amanita muscaria mushroom occupies a central role in the alchemical traditions pertaining to the Philosopher's Stone. He offers a tantalizing set of parallels between the mushroom and the "stone", and includes some illustrations from alchemical texts which are strongly suggestive of these connections. Alchemical symbolism is deliberately obscure, as the alchemists were sworn to secrecy. It was their habit to publish works regarding the stone which deliberately teased the non-initiate while entertaining the initiated ones. Alchemical traditions continued to be passed from masters to apprentices from the classical world through the medieval, into the 18th century.
Indeed, it appears that the 18th and 19th centuries mark a point of transition, as the alchemical tradition disappears. If it did indeed include a full and conscious knowledge of a tradition of the mushroom as the "Philosopher's Stone" and of its use, this is the last time we see it written about by them "in the know". Today we can only speculate and attempt to re-construct and rediscover. Heinrich's tips on mushroom use may be useful to those who would seek to rediscover the secret of the stone. Indeed, the fact that most people do not find Amanita investigations especially fruitful is one reason that speculations that this mushroom once played a huge role in human history meet with resistance. Part of the mushroom mystique is the possibility that some people of the past were more adept in mastering its use, in bringing to fruition its hidden potential.
Sexual imagery plays a role in Heinrich's speculations, and in the history of religion. The themes of unity underlying apparent multiplicity and oppositions and of creation from couplings are ancient and recurring in the human quest for meaning and in the stories that seem to have written themselves within us. The mushroom, with its columnar stem and wheel-like cap, appears to be a perfect metaphor for the creative process in which from unity dualities emerge and then join to bring about new creation. The psychoactive mushroom appears as flesh, but it releases spirit with us. Given the power of the mushroom metaphor, and the power of the mushroom, it is not surprising that Heinrich sees it "everywhere", and perhaps it is everywhere, even if not every person in history who ever painted or sculpted a winged messenger from heaven consciously intended to depict the visionary shroom. Heinrich stimulates us to see the mushroom everywhere and also to wonder how many of those who went before us have seen it thus. Perhaps more than a few of them.
An excellent explanation of the botanical and cultural ramifications of the Amanita muscaria.
For me the best part was the lucid Alchemical explanation. After going through the growth stages-exceptional photographs to illustrate the points-the author's delineation of alchemical symbolism is simply mind blowing.
So much garbage has been written by apologists for alchemy-including Jung-that this book just cuts to the chase
and suddenly the alchemical obfuscations evaporate in the light of Heinrich's explanations and the illustrations
become an open book. Simply amazing!
If you want to get out of the basement of esotericism read this book.