|Below here I am presenting the complete paper on "The Ascent and
Spread of Psilocybian Consciousness" as originally written by me and co-authored by James Arthur
(Author of Mushrooms and Mankind) for the Book, "Teonanácatl: Sacred
Mushroom of Visions." It is but one of 29 chapters in this 287 page book edited by Dr.
Ralph Metzner with Diane Corn Darling and published by Four Trees Press, Green
Earth Foundation, California.
The original paper by James and I was edited for space and the title of the article in the book was changed to "The Ethnomycology and Distribution of the Psilocybian Mushrooms." The printed version runs 18 pages and this version is another 10 pages longer than the published edited version. So this is an exclusive paper for my new site.
I am also posting all 7 images in full color as opposed tot he black and white images published in the book which only had space for 3 images.
I was asked to write 12-15 pages but it was hard to keep out info so the paper grew and grew. Still I edited out about four pages of the Spanish Conquest and their mycophobic writings about the shrooms. So that info is gone.
|The Ascent and Spread
Psilocybian Mushroom Consciousness
John W. Allen with James Arthur
THE SEARCH FOR A HIGHER POWER
It has become increasingly evident with the current ‘Drug War’ mentality that it is in fact the freedom for the individual to alter their own consciousness that religion and government do not approve of nor want in most contemporary societies. Why you may ask? Because there have been several plants made illegal that are used to alter consciousness that have absolutely no documented evidence that they are either harmful nor addictive to humans. In fact quite the opposite is true, many of these plants have been touted as non-addictive and beneficial to humans for a wide range of reasons. This brings to question the real motivations behind prohibition of plants that have been recognized as valuable teachers for thousands of years by indigenous cultures all over the world.
The whole thing wreaks of a dumbing-down of humanity through lies and dis-information geared to pasteurize and homogenize the masses into good little state citizens conforming to the model of what someone else thinks life is all about. And of course there is money. Great thinkers, poets and philosophers throughout the ages have imbibed in a myriad of consciousness altering substances. The results of which usually entail a dis-satisfaction or even a disdain for the current paradigm and movement towards revolution. This presents a new answer to the questions of prohibition. It is a simple thing to see that dumb people make good followers and intelligent people incite revolution. Because a change of consciousness causes one to think out of the box and this is not permissible in a controlled society, especially if it exposes flaws in the box. Mushrooms are exactly the type of substance that opens the mind to see outside the box. In fact they allow one to examine the box itself quite extensively. These experiential visionary states that millions of humans have discovered are the reason these words are on this paper and the fire is in the mind of mankind.
As a child growing up in Chicago, I first became aware of drugs when I was just about 6 or 7-years-old. About one block from my home was a small poster pasted on the wall of an apartment building. It was the most famous anti-marijuana propaganda poster created from the paranoiac minds of the likes of Harry Anslinger and the FBI. The famous “Warning” - This may be handed to you by a friend or stranger poster. Of course, as a child, I had no comprehension of the implications of this poster at such an early age. Or that marijuana, when smoked, also produced an altered state of consciousness.
Like Andrew Weil (1972), noted in his book “The Natural Mind”, one method employed by young children to achieve a state of altered consciousness was to play “ring around the Rosie.” Well, I too played “ring around the Rosie.” until I got so dizzy I would fall to the earth. I also remember as a child having someone hold my stomach real tight while I would take ten deep breaths and then pass out from hyperventilating. Looking back on these moments in my childhood I realized that I could remember the dizzy effects of light-headedness but was totally unaware at that time that this was an alteration of my consciousness and that these sensations were naturally induced for the effects.
By the time I was 13-14-years-old, I became aware of another form of an altered state. This one caused by a mixture of chemicals. One hot summer day in July in the middle 1950s, my mother was preparing a bucket of soap, ammonia, kitchen cleanser and other cleaning chemicals to soak my dirty clothes. She had gone to the back of the house for over an hour and we wondered why she was taking so long getting back. My grandmother found my mom lying on the stairs in a state of confusion, babbling and making no common sense at all. My mom was looking up in the air exalting, “look at the pretty snowflakes” and describing how beautiful the rainbow butterflies were. Of course, my brother and sister and I, along with my grandmother, saw nothing except the usual everyday Chicago factory skyline from our backyard. I spent three days with her in the mental ward of the hospital worrying that she was going crazy and would never return to normal. This was my first experience baby-sitting a hallucinatory ‘bad’ trip, which according to my mom, was a strange trip. She did not recognize anyone or me. She was totally whacked for three days and so I had my first inkling of what chemicals can do to the mental condition of a person. Of course this opened up my mind to future possibilities in life.
Throughout the ages, human beings have sought to alter their consciousness through the use of certain plants and fungi. The fascination of humans with dung-growing visionary mushrooms may go back to the earliest times.
It was perfectly natural to seek out the effects these plants would have when merged with human consciousness, and repeat the experience. Many such plants slowly became known to humankind and some of these very plants generated a change in human consciousness far beyond anything-primitive mankind had previously experienced Which plants, how to prepare them and the experience they provided was valuable information to share with family, friends and loved ones.
In their search for edible foods, early hunter-gatherers followed the manure trails of the large migratory herds. When the weather conditions were right, they would find mushrooms growing from the manure deposits of ungulates along the corridor routes the mammals were following. Being hungry and curious, early humans naturally consumed the small meaty mushrooms, some of which were psychoactive. Some of the mushrooms found in the manure of four legged ruminants were Psilocybe cubensis, Copelandia spp., and some species of Panaeolus.
These fungi presumably were valued not as food sources, but for the expansion of consciousness and perception they induced. Over the ages, a growing body of knowledge accumulated about which plants and fungi brought about what effects and how to prepare them. Archeological records suggest that early humans knew about these mushrooms’ special effects and consumed them intentionally for this very reason. Several writers have suggested that major religious ideas were inspired by the intake of such entheogenic mushrooms and plants (Wasson, 1968; Allegro, 1970; Arthur, 2000).
We can be assured that the intake of these entheogenic mushrooms provided the consumers with fantastic visions and images far beyond anything the hunter-gatherers had ever imagined as being humanly possible without them. Thus we have early mankind to thank for bringing certain mushrooms to the attention of our species and introducing the mushroom-altered mind to human
This work will delve into four families of mushrooms known to cause cerebral mycetisms in humans and animals when consumed as a food source. However, primary focus will be on mushrooms containing the tryptamine alkaloids psilocine and psilocybine in archaeological records. Examining archaeological records will show that early humanity knew about these mushrooms, their effects and consumed them for this very reason.