Just a few years in the past, I used to be referred to as as an knowledgeable witness in a prison case involving trance and possession. The circumstances of the case should not essential to this text however, to not go away 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 gaggle of males who had planted the cocaine on him earlier than he boarded the airplane.
What was extra fascinating for me was that I received to have lunch with one other knowledgeable witness, a toxicologist from one of many UK’s main instructing hospitals, who had a eager curiosity in mycology and deliberate to publish a ebook 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 Conflict was fought by the indigenous folks beneath 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 goal in battle. It was this that had helped them go away the sector victorious, he claimed.
Clearly, the TV firm couldn’t stage one other battle to check this concept, however what they might do – and did – was to get two martial arts consultants into a hoop to struggle 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 eat. He was allowed to relaxation whereas it took impact, after which each fighters met once more.
Besides they did not, precisely. In response to the knowledgeable I used to be talking to (curiously, 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 outdoors the ropes. The intoxicated fighter by no means even broke a sweat and was not respiration at something above regular ranges when his opponent was counted out.
Utilization and results of fly-agaric
Within the trendy West, we have now misplaced most of our historic ceremonial practices and not consider in a ‘spirit world’. Consequently, fly-agaric (whether it is thought-about in any respect) is regarded solely as a harmful and probably toxic ‘drug’, reasonably than a path to the divine.
In his ebook, Ploughing The Clouds, nevertheless, Peter Lamborn Wilson argues convincingly that fly-agaric will not be solely the sacred Soma referred to within the Rg Veda, however that it was utilized in many European nations and was additionally central to the Irish Keltic custom of shamanism, which nonetheless continues in its primary kind, right this moment.
The mushrooms themselves, shiny purple with white spots, are gathered for ritual use in these traditions through the hottest months of the 12 months – July and August – when they’re most infused with the factor of fireside and the breath of the solar/Sky Father. Essentially the most highly effective mushrooms, actually, are mentioned to dry themselves, able to be picked for his or her communion with man. These are thought-about far ‘stronger’ than these picked early and dried artificially. Smaller mushrooms are additionally mentioned to have a lot higher energy than bigger ones, and it appears possible, from trendy experimentation, that their narcotic results are actually extra intense through the early rising part.
For non-ritual utilization, the mushrooms are utilized in a lot the identical manner as coca leaves within the Peruvian Andes, to create a delicate shift in consciousness, accompanied by delicate euphoria and elevated power. In such utilization, the mushrooms are merely rolled right into a ball and swallowed complete, with out chewing. One bigger mushroom (Three-4cm) or 2-Three small ones is sufficient.
For prescribed ritual utilization, nevertheless, a number of mushrooms are usually consumed, often in a set, or units, of three. “The Rg Veda at all times speaks of Soma in units of three cups and, in Siberia right this moment, three Amanitas are nonetheless thought-about the correct ritual dose”, says Wilson.