Shamanism and Mushrooms

The practice of shamanism and mushrooms has seen something of a resurgence in some western circles, although in many cultures around the world the practice never really went away.

What do you imagine when you think of a shaman or shamanism and specials?

Without skipping a beat, most people would conjure up images of a man or woman dressed in some kind of traditional garb, singing and chanting to the spirits, perhaps with the rhythmic pounding of drums in the background. The surface-level idea of a psilocybe and shamanism shaman mushroom spores is so embedded into our collective consciousness that few go a step further and ask: what are they doing, really?

What is Shamanism, Really?

native american shamanism cubensis

The general idea of a shaman—a wise elder of the tribe who could heal his fellows both physically and spiritually—is an interesting one, because this archetype seems to manifest throughout nearly all cultures in all locations throughout human history. Shamanism and shamanic medicine has been seen in cultures ranging from Mongolia to the Americas, from the Native American “medicine man” to the Korean mudang.

Shamanism origin and special shamanism practices go way back.

Nearly universally, shamans are described as healers with metaphysical access to spiritual realms and entities. Utilizing ritual, meditation, and plant or fungi-based medicines, they guide their patients through an experience that results in physical and/or spiritual healing. Sometimes shamans are considered priests, but in some cultures they’re a member of their own group, with priests and other religious leaders placed into their own category.

Many shamans both currently and throughout history have espoused the philosophy of animism rather than any one particular religion—animism is the idea that all things are living and have a soul or spirit. This isn’t limited to beings like animals or trees or fungi or the cubensis strains you read about at, but includes inanimate objects as well, from rocks in the ground to the earth itself.

Historians don’t know when the practice of shamanism first began—what is known, however, is that shamanism is very, very ancient. Cave art which clearly depicts shamanic practices dating back at least 20,000 years have been found, and relics from the stone age suggest these spiritual guides have been purportedly communing with the spirit world since long before recorded history began.

R. Gordon Wasson, cubensis pioneer

The Flesh of the Gods: Shamanism and Psilocybe Mushrooms

As we’ve covered in other psilocybe cubensis posts about hallucinogens and shamanism, the relationship between man and mushroom hallucinogens has been going on for what appears to be the entirety of our existence as homo sapiens.

Mushrooms which contain psilocybe, the special compound thought by many cultures to be a spiritual conduit of sorts, have been a tool of shamans throughout both history and in the modern day.

Shamanism and Mushrooms

Used to communicate with spirits, provide insight, and—in some cultures—metaphysically travel to other dimensions and interact with the beings there, shamanism and mushrooms like Amanita muscaria or mushroom have been the catalyst for thousands (or tens of thousands) of years. In these shamanism practices, psilocybe-containing mushrooms have been referred to as the flesh of the gods.

It was in fact these shamanic practices which originally caught the attention of R. Gordon Wasson, an American banker who frequented Mexico. He, alongside his wife and friend photographer Allan Richardson, participated in a shamanic ceremony in a remote village in Mexico.

Wasson and his companions partook of the divine mushrooms on several trips to the village, having an experience few westerners had ever experienced before. He then wrote an article for Life Magazine, which effectively caused awareness of psilocybe mushrooms and shamanistic practices to flourish in the United States and elsewhere. He wrote:

“For a half hour we waited in silence. Allan felt cold and wrapped himself in a blanket. A few minutes later he leaned over and whispered, ‘Gordon, I am seeing things!’ I told him not to worry, I was too. The visions had started.”

R. Gordon Wasson, Life Magazine

Is Modern Medicine Just “Catching Up” to What Shamans Have Known for Millennia About Psilocybe Spores?

While mushrooms have long been seen as a simple recreational hallucinogen in different branches of shamanism, it appears that modern experts are starting to realize what perhaps the shamans, or the shamanic practitioner, have known all along: that the psilocybe compound has the remarkable ability to alleviate many mental and possibly even physical ailments.

John W. Allen’s Advice

We can’t help but be reminded of John W. Allen’s advice on this topic to young would-be psychonauts using psilocybe in a “party” setting: “The indigenous tribals take 20-30 minutes to consume a dosage. They must be doing so as they have for over 2000 years because the effects come on slow, in waves and ripples, and are most profound and last for 4-6 hours.”

From Shamanism to Amateur Microscopy: How to Start Your Studies on Exotic Mushroom Spores

If you’d like to see science and spirituality merge under your microscope, there’s no better way than with learning about our exotic mushroom syringes. Regular readers know that psilocybe mushroom spores – the spores specifically as well as spore syringes – are legal in most parts of the United States.