In the plant medicine world, there are currently a lot of studies and a lot of work happening– also politically to make it legal– about psilocybin. This chemical occurs in what we tend to call magic mushrooms.
Magic Mushrooms and Religion?
People have been eating magic mushrooms maybe since before religion. Some people even theorize that religion comes out of psychedelic experiences that people had including experiences on mushrooms. Potentially, people ate mushrooms and had spiritual experiences which later were the foundation for religion.
Which, for me, is quite credible because everything is built on people’s experiences, just what kind of experiences were they? Probably vast and varied.
Deeper Spiritual and Reality Experiences
What kind of experiences are people having on magic mushrooms? How can they create something like religion as a possibility or theorize about such a thing?
Well, I’d say people are probably having pretty deep spiritual experiences where they are getting access to parts of themself, reality, or maybe other people’s psyches that they normally don’t have access to. That creates a somewhat reverential stance.
What’s interesting about psilocybin, ayahuasca, or any of these more traditional plant medicines, is that the experience is organized enough that it produces some of what you see in the shamanic cultures. These rituals, ways of being, and sacred parts of a tribal community using psilocybin and psychedelics as possibly a fundamental experience that creates religion. It means that those experiences are organized enough that they produce something like a religion.
Tapping into Transcendence
I don’t just mean people are worshipping “the mushroom”. I mean that they tap into something like the transcendent moral good.
Wow. Could you imagine that you could be walking through the forest, you see this ugly, slimy mushroom, fungus, you eat it and suddenly you have an understanding of the moral good in a way that you didn’t before?
That’s very weird. That’s very strange. How does that occur nowadays?
Psilocybin and Revelations in Our Lives
I don’t think it’s uncommon that somebody might eat psilocybin mushrooms and realize that they’ve been a total schmuck in their relationship for a very long time. They’ve been a total asshole and they’ve been unaware of it.
Why would it be that you would eat a fungus growing out of the ground and then that fungus, when you ingest it, looks at you and tells you, you know, you’ve been a real asshole…and you go, “You know what? It’s the truth.”
I hadn’t really seen it that way for the last 10 years. That’s kind of unbelievable. You have these really mysterious and powerful living plants that when you ingest them give you access to things you just don’t have access to in your everyday life most of the time.
I think of the potential in the future of addiction and mental health recovery, because plant medicine gives you access definitely to parts of yourself–possibly to parts of the universe–that we don’t know about.
There’s so much potential and so much power in learning how to navigate those spaces, but then it’s only going to work out if we do it with proper set and setting…And if we’re patient about it. If we have a reverential attitude towards something that may be sacred.
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