Shamanism and Magic 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 psychedelics?

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 psilocybin 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?

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at historic and modern shamanism, the involvement of psilocybin in shamanistic practices, and how the “breakthroughs” of modern medicine could actually be the echoes of our shared human history.

What is Shamanism, Really?

native american shamanism psilocybin

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 psychedelic 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 Qualityspores.store, 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.

The Flesh of the Gods: Shamanism and Psilocybin Mushrooms

R. Gordon Wasson, psilocybin pioneer

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 psilocybin, the psychedelic 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 Psilocybe cubensis have been the catalyst for thousands (or tens of thousands) of years. In these shamanism practices, psilocybin-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 psilocybin 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

For a more detailed retelling of R. Gordon Wasson’s journey and experiences—and the cascading series of events in the United States as a result of them—make sure to get a copy of our free eBook, Amateur Microscopy: Mushrooms, Psilocybin, and You.

Mushrooms, Psilocybin and YOU ebook by Quality Spores

GET YOUR FREE COPY: SPORE STORE eBook!

Get answers to your questions about mushroom spore legalities and discover the long history of our relationship with mushrooms. It is a great primer to get started in the world of mushroom spore microscopy.

In addition to your free copy of the report, you’ll also get signed up to the Quality Spores mailing list so that you can receive additional information about amateur microscopy, mushroom spores, and even special coupons, discounts, and important site announcements. You definitely don’t want to miss it!

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

If you’re a regular reader of The Psilocybe Philosophy, the Quality Spores resident psilocybe spores shop and blog, you already know that the past few years have seen unprecedented levels of interest in psilocybin from the medical community and society at large.

While so-called “magic 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 psilocybin compound has the remarkable ability to alleviate many mental and possibly even physical ailments.

At least if they’re treated with the respect that the ancients gave them—whether that be in the context of psilocybin-assisted therapy or a more personal exploration in jurisdictions where doing so is legal.

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 psilocybin 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 spores. Regular readers know that psilocybin mushroom spores – the spores specifically – are legal in most parts of the United States.