The Olmecs left no written works on their belief structures, so many interpretations on Olmec beliefs are largely based on interpretations of murals and artifacts. Archaeologists state three reasons for believing that the Olmecs used entheogens:.
Magic mushrooms around the world, by Jochen Gartz
The Maya religious tradition was complex and well-developed. Unlike the Olmec, the Maya had religious texts that survived to this day. The Maya religion displayed characteristic Mesoamerican mythology, with a strong emphasis on an individual being a communicator between the physical world and the spiritual world. Mushroom stone effigies, dated to BCE, give evidence that mushrooms were at least revered in a religious way.
The late Maya archaeologist, Dr Stephan F. C This cult, which was associated from its beginnings with ritual human decapitation, a trophy head cult, warfare and the Mesoamerican ballgame, appears to have had its origins along the Pacific coastal piedmont. Borhegyi developed this proposition after finding a significant number of small, mushroom-shaped sculptures in the collections of the Guatemala National Museum and in numerous private collections in and around Guatemala City. While the majority of these small stone sculptures were of indeterminate provenance, a sufficient number had been found during the course of archaeological investigations as to permit him to determine approximate dates and to catalog them stylistically Borhegyi de, S.
Wasson and R. Gordon Wasson , eds. There are also a number of yet unpublished mushroom stone specimens in the Guatemalan Museum from Highland Guatemala where the pottery association would indicate that they are Pre-Classic. In each case the mushroom stone fragments has a circular groove on the top. Mushroom stones found during the Classic and Post-Classic periods do not have circular grooves. This was the basis on which I prepared the chart on mushroom stones which was then subsequently published by the Wassons.
Based on Carbon 14 dates and stratigraphy, some of these Pre-Classic finds can be dated as early as 1, B. The reference is in the following" The most direct evidence of Maya entheogen use comes from modern descendants of the Maya who use entheogenic drugs today. The Aztec entheogenic complex is extremely well documented. Through historical evidence, there is proof that the Aztecs used several forms of psychoactive drugs.
The Xochipilli statue, according to R. Wasson, gives the identity of several entheogenic plants. Other evidence for entheogenic use of the Aztecs comes from the Florentine Codex, a series of 12 books vividly describing the Aztec culture and society, including the use of entheogenic drugs. There are several contemporary indigenous groups who use entheogens, most notably Native Americans of the southwest United States.
Various tribes from California have been known to use strong alcoholic drinks as well as peyote to achieve visions and religious experiences. During the Paleolithic , there is ample evidence of drug use as seen by preserved botanical remains and coprolites. Some scholars had suggested that the "Flower Burial" in Shanidar Cave , a Paleolithic site in Iraq, was evidence of a shamanic death ritual, but more recent evidence and analysis has contradicted that claim. The most direct evidence we have from the Paleolithic in terms of art comes from Tassili, Algeria cave paintings depicting Psilocybe mairei mushrooms  dated to years  before present.
One image, in particular, shows a man who has formed into one common form with a mushroom. There are several Paleolithic sites that display therianthropic imagery.
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However, there is some debate as to whether or not sites like Lascaux or Chauvet were entheogenically inspired. A cave painting in Spain has been interpreted as depicting Psilocybe hispanica. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Eaten by whom, or what? And why? Beug says that many animals are known to eat psilocybin mushrooms, including horses, cattle, and dogs. Some, like cows, appear unaffected, but many animals appear to enjoy an occasional change in consciousness, too.
Presumably animals with a taste for altered states of consciousness have helped spread psilocybin far and wide. Such a notion would not strike Paul Stamets as the least bit far-fetched. As we stood around the fire pit, the warm light flickering across our faces while our dinner sizzled in its pan, Stamets talked about what mushrooms have taught him about nature.
He was expansive, eloquent, grandiose, and, at times, in acute danger of slipping the surly bonds of plausibility.
I think they have a consciousness and are constantly trying to direct our evolution by speaking out to us biochemically. We just need to be better listeners. What strikes me about both Stamets and many of the so-called Romantic scientists like Humboldt and Goethe, Joseph Banks, Erasmus Darwin, and, I would include, Thoreau is how very much more alive nature seems in their hands than it would soon become in the cooler hands of the professionals.
These moves subtly changed the object of study—indeed, made it more of an object. Instead of seeing nature as a collection of discrete objects, the Romantic scientists—and I include Stamets in their number—saw a densely tangled web of subjects, each acting on the other in the great dance that would come to be called coevolution. I suspect that imaginative leap has become harder for us moderns to make.
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Our science and technology encourage us in precisely the opposite direction, toward the objectification of nature and of all species other than our own. Surely we need to acknowledge the practical power of this perspective, which has given us so much, but we should at the same time acknowledge its costs, material as well as spiritual. Yet that older, more enchanted way of seeing may still pay dividends, as it does to cite just one small example when it allows Paul Stamets to figure out that the reason honeybees like to visit woodpiles is to medicate themselves, by nibbling on a saprophytic mycelium that produces just the right antimicrobial compound that the hive needs to survive, a gift the fungus is trading for Something yet to be imagined.
You are probably wondering what ever happened to the azzies Stamets and I found that weekend. Many months later, in the middle of a summer week spent in the house in New England where we used to live, a place freighted with memories, I ate them, with my wife Judith. Judith and I each drank half a cup, ingesting both the liquid and the crumbles of mushroom. I suggested we take a walk on the dirt road near our house while we waited for the psilocybin to come on.
She told me her mind and her body seemed to be drifting apart and then that her mind had flown out of her head and up into the trees, like a bird or insect. I tried to reassure her as we abruptly turned around and picked up our pace. It was hot and the air was thick with humidity. I was a little worried about her, but once she reached her base on the living room couch, her mood lightened and she said she was fine.
I went out and sat on the screened porch for a while, listening to the sounds in the garden, which suddenly grew very loud, as if the volume had been turned way up. The air was stock-still, but the desultory sounds of flying insects and the digital buzz of hummingbirds rose to form a cacophony I had never heard before. It began to grate on my nerves, until I decided I would be better off regarding the sound as beautiful, and then all at once it was. Whenever I closed my eyes, random images erupted as if the insides of my lids were a screen.
My notes record: fractal patterns, tunnels plunging through foliage, ropy vines forming grids. But when I started to feel panic rise at the lack of control I had over my visual field, I discovered that all I needed to do to restore a sense of semi-normality was to open my eyes. To open or close my eyes was like changing the channel. Much happened, or seemed to happen, during the course of that August afternoon, but I want to focus here on just one element of the experience, because it bears on the questions of nature and our place in it that psilocybin seems to provoke, at least for me.
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I decided I wanted to walk out to my writing house, a little structure I had built myself 25 years ago, in what is now another life, and which holds a great many memories. I had written two-and-a-half books in the little room including one about building it , sitting before a broad window that looked back over a pond and the garden to our house.
However, I was still vaguely worried about Judith, so before wandering too far from the house, I went inside to check on her. She was stretched out on the couch, with a cool damp cloth over her eyes. She was fine. She made it clear she wanted to be left alone to sink more deeply into the images—she is a painter. I stepped outside, feeling unsteady on my feet, legs a little rubbery. The garden was thrumming with activity, dragonflies tracing complicated patterns in the air, the seed heads of plume poppies rattling like snakes as I brushed by, the phlox perfuming the air with its sweet, heavy scent, and the air itself so palpably dense it had to be forded.
The word and sense of poignance flooded over me during the walk through the garden, and it would return later. Maybe because we no longer live here, and this garden, where we spent so many summers as a couple and then a family, and which at this moment seemed so acutely present, was in fact now part of an irretrievable past. It was as if a precious memory had not just been recalled but had actually come back to life, in a reincarnation both beautiful and cruel. Also heartrending was the fleetingness of this moment in time, the ripeness of a New England garden in late August on the verge of turning the corner of the season.
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