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Seeking the Magic Mushroom (1957) (imaginaria.org)
46 points by prismatic 43 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments



For anyone interested in this story and more you should check out Michael Pollan’s book How To Change Your Mind.

It goes into quite a bit of depth on how this story came to be, the motivations, impact to culture as well as the impact to the indigenous tribe(primarily a single woman) that allowed LIFE magazine to cover this ritual.

Beyond psilocybin he covers the history of LSD, DMT and some more obscure psychedelics I hadn’t heard of.

If you have no knowledge or experience with psychedelics but want to understand why they became popularized and then demonized I recommend the book highly.


Seconding this recommendation. Pollan talks about this exact article in the book, and how Eva Mendez came to sorely regret ever letting Wasson and Richardson partake in the ceremony and publish accounts of the experience.

Most incredible to me is that Pollan, late 50s with a dim view of drugs and especially psychedelics, experiments with various different drugs in order to explore and describe their effects for the audience. Great author who does his research and great book.


R. Gordon Wasson got funded by CIA [1]

Recommended read: "The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity: A Critical Re-Evaluation of the Schism Between John M. Allegro and R. Gordon Wasson Over the Theory on the Entheogenic Origins of Christianity Presented in the Sacred Mushroom and the Cross" [2] (as well as the original by John Allegro)

Here is a rare interview of John Allegro with Van Kooten & De Bie from 1976, Dutch public broadcast TV [3]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._Gordon_Wasson#CIA_funding

[2] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5676801-the-holy-mushroo...

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOu9tV6uy2E


Interesting, having ingested mushrooms some 30 or 40 times (at least, but whose counting) I've rarely experienced the vivid hallucinations the author describes. Even when having ingested up to five grams. I wonder if being in darkness, as the author was, aids in this. Perhaps with no other visual stimuli, the mind and the mushrooms can really take hold.

I'll have to try this sometime.


I think people just react differently to substances. I tried Ayahuasca a while ago and during the first night I just felt very heavy and dizzy until I threw up after which I just felt relieved. Next night I had some interesting hallucinations but nothing that was very impressive or impactful. Other people in the same group talked about really life changing experiences on the other hand. I have also tried Marijuana and didn't feel good while others love it.

I would be curious about trying mushrooms and LSD and see how that works for me.

I wonder if it also requires some practice. If you start an intense sport it also takes a while for the body to get used to it so you can enjoy the tough moments. As beginner you just feel as if you are going to die. Maybe it's the same with psychedelics.


Make sure you have a close friend or family member, that you fully trust, when you try psilocybin or LSD. I also recommend you start with a smaller dose and work your way up. My first LSD experience was 50µg, and my second one was 100µg, and that second experience made me happy I'd chosen to respect the substance and not consume it alone at that level - I felt that I would have been really susceptible to being pulled into a "time loop" had my friend not been there and been assisting in providing me a source of continuity. I think I'd be open to a 50µg trip (or lower dose as well) by myself, but that's about it.

Psychedelics also have different effects on different people. My psychedelic experiences have manifested in largely time-related ways. With approximately 40-50mg DMT, I experienced the sensation of being dragged kicking and screaming, so to speak, through a time loop that began at the point of consumption, and ended at what was "now", and the sensation of being ping-ponged back and forth. My 100µmg LSD trip was much more subtle, almost feeling like I was a sinewave oscillating around the "axis of time", and at the points where I was perfectly in sync, there were no visuals and a perfectly clear mind, while at the "out-of-sync" parts, I felt like every moment was a "flutter" of time, and I felt like I was gently being "tugged" back to the aforementioned axis.

Highly subjective, and largely our brains interpret these experiences based on our already lived life, and the experiences that have shaped our psyche.

Be safe, be careful, be respectful of these substances, and they can teach you quite a bit about yourself and about reality. They can also help you dig deep and find potential solutions to psychological issues (but if care is not taken with regards to set and setting, those issues can be exacerbated).


> Make sure you have a close friend or family member, that you fully trust, when you try psilocybin or LSD.

Yes, a so-called "babysitter". Even more so with Ayahuasca. It is DMT with a MAOI. If you consumed MAO, it can be ranging from unpleasant to life threatening.


I have yet to try ayahuasca. I'd like to some day.

I'm still a fairly novice psychonaut. I tend to err on the side of caution, I'd rather have a lesser experience that's not as intense, over jumping in head first with a large dose.


Mind you, I'm also addressing the reader in general :)

Everyone reacts different. I, for one, am very sensitive to drugs in general (probably related to my autism).

My Ayahuasca came with top notch documentation (bought it from a smartshop), but otherwise a website like Erowid has likely good lists of which foods to abstain from and which foods to avoid. A sure way to achieve, is fasting. An alternative could be very light food intake. Take note of any medications you use as they likely interact (badly) with a MAOI. Once you got yourself informed and took the precautions there is nothing to worry about. Personally, I had no 24/7 sitter though I did inform my mother (whom I lived with), I was more than happy to be lonely, and I had the best visual experience ever (which were almost always rather disappointing on mushrooms). I also felt very lethargic though, a bit akin to Fly Agaric or feeling very stoned. The ability to lie down on bed (with music) was pleasant.


I'm lucky in that sense, as I take no regular medications. I seem to be quite sensitive to psychedelics myself, 100µg of LSD was much more intense for me than I'd learned it has been for many others. I've also not read about too large a number of significant time-related hallucinations in reading others' experiences (other than general time dilation, which my experiences went far past).


Where in the world is it legal OTC? "Smartshop" implies the netherlands, but AFAIK it is not legal there.


I bought my Ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, truffles, fly agaric, and a whole plethora of other smartdrugs from a Dutch smartshop. All of these were legal back in the days (in The Netherlands indeed, but in ~2004-2007). Not sure about the legal status nowadays, apart from magic mushrooms being made illegal by Ab Klink. Growkits and truffles were also still sold in 2007.


Yeah, I think it's quite clear that different people have different experiences with LSD. I do see more colour but it's not this blinding radiation that others report and I don't see the melting effect that other people talk about either. The one thing I do have that is common is I feel the oneness with all people.


" The one thing I do have that is common is I feel the oneness with all people."

I'd say that's probably the most important effect.


Last time I got a vivid experience, i took almost 40 grams of fresh hawaian truffles.

Not advising you should take that much of course. Or even suggesting you take it again. Just saying if you feel like it, you can up the dose a quite a bit, put a blindfold in a cozy bed in a safe and quiet room, and the result may differ.

Also everybody is different. Some people just don't react much to psylocibin and there is nothing one can do :)


My first time (back when it was still legal in my country) was with 5 gram fresh mexican mushrooms (yes, fresh). Did I notice it! Almost fell asleep in bath (lucky I didn't fill it completely as a precaution), and the colours were beautiful, and music sound very 3D and touched me deeply.


In my experience, 40 grams is an absolutely absurd amount to take of anything (beyond alcohol) to get a mind-altering state. I can achieve a reasonably altered state from just a gram of mushrooms and a mild high on just 500mg.


In most of the communities I've taken ayahuasca with, the "standard" dose is 1.5oz, which is ~42.5g. In others, it's even higher (or was, but has been reduced as they've refined their cook).

Also, note that was 40g of fresh truffles. That makes a difference.


Again, i'm not recommanding anything. I'm just saying uping the dose a lot is on the table.


As Roger Murtaugh would say, "I'm getting too old for this shit."


40 wet is 4 dry


4-5g (dried) is about equivalent to 40g fresh.


Yeah but he didn't mention it was dried.


I didn’t have extremely concrete visuals, but I did have a very strong feeling that there were tiny people in the room with me that wanted to talk. Like I couldn’t make them fully appear, but I knew they were there.


Were they 5 dried grams?


Yes, who are these people eating fresh/wet mushrooms?




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