Plant Spirit Shamanism: Fly Agaric

A couple of years in the past, I used to be known as as an professional witness in a prison case involving trance and possession. The circumstances of the case should not essential to this text however, to not depart you hanging, needed to do with a person who had flown to the UK from Nigeria and was discovered to be carrying cocaine when he was stopped by Customs Officers. His defence was that he had been entranced, or probably drugged, by a bunch of males who had planted the cocaine on him earlier than he boarded the airplane.

What was extra attention-grabbing for me was that I bought to have lunch with one other professional witness, a toxicologist from one of many UK’s main educating hospitals, who had a eager curiosity in mycology and deliberate to publish a guide on the sacred use of fly-agaric (Amanita muscaria) in religious therapeutic and historic warriorship practices.

On account of his research, he had not too long ago labored with a TV manufacturing firm who had made a documentary with him to check one in every of his private pet theories: that the Zulu Battle was fought by the indigenous folks underneath intoxication from the sacred mushroom. This had given them, not solely superhuman energy and imperviousness to ache, however a way of fearlessness and their very own divine objective in battle. It was this that had helped them depart the sector victorious, he claimed.

Clearly, the TV firm couldn’t stage one other battle to check this principle, however what they might do – and did – was to get two martial arts consultants into a hoop to combat it out for the cameras.

Within the first a part of this experiment, the combatants met equally and fought a couple of rounds collectively. Neither emerged as a transparent winner on this rigorously matched contest.

Within the second half, nevertheless, one of many fighters was given 5 strips of fly-agaric to devour. He was allowed to relaxation whereas it took impact, after which each fighters met once more.

Besides they did not, precisely. In accordance with the professional I used to be chatting with (apparently, over a lunch of mushroom paella), the fighter who had taken fly-agaric merely flew throughout the ring as quickly because the bell rang, hardly even touching the bottom, and threw his opponent so exhausting that he ended up on the ground exterior the ropes. The intoxicated fighter by no means even broke a sweat and was not respiratory at something above regular ranges when his opponent was counted out.

Utilization and results of fly-agaric

Within the fashionable West, we now have misplaced most of our historic ceremonial practices and now not imagine in a ‘spirit world’. Consequently, fly-agaric (whether it is thought of in any respect) is regarded solely as a harmful and doubtlessly toxic ‘drug’, reasonably than a path to the divine.

In his guide, Ploughing The Clouds, nevertheless, Peter Lamborn Wilson argues convincingly that fly-agaric shouldn’t be solely the sacred Soma referred to within the Rg Veda, however that it was utilized in many European international locations and was additionally central to the Irish Keltic custom of shamanism, which nonetheless continues in its primary type, in the present day.