The red-capped, white-spotted mushroom in everyone's backyard!
Within 20 miles of anyone reading this article grows a magic mushroom of such entheogenic significance it is considered the premier shamanic tool—the Amanita muscaria. Given that the white-speckled red fungus is also perfectly legal to possess—unlike the generally illegal-to-possess psilocybe magic mushroom—you can’t help wondering why more folks don’t explore this particular form of magic. The red-capped, white-spotted Amanita is easily identified as it grows among temperate-zone birch, fir and pine forests.
Also called the Fly agaric, this fungus’ shamanic importance has been understood by a large number of the world’s cultures. It was the foremost entheogen for Siberian shamans to the various North American Native peoples from Alaska to the Great Lakes region. In fact, the Canadian Athabaskan and the Michigan Ojibway peoples can trace uninterrupted shamanic rites to this plant. Various Meso-American peoples, including the pre-Columbian Indians of Mexico also utilized the fungus. Additionally, the pre-Christian European societies also attached great importance to this shroom. Frescos found in early European Christian churches occasionally portrayed, most appropriately, the forbidden Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden as an Amanita mushroom. The fungus is also believed to be a potential source of the great intoxicant Soma—so important to the ancient Hindu Vedic traditions. Thus a huge swath of the planet has believed the Amanita to be divine.
Where do you find Amanita? Everywhere there is a conifer, thus they are not uncommon in North American forests. Picking during the dry months of August and September often results in the most potent samples. They are also easily procured on the Internet. Amanita is legal to possess everywhere; although an argument can be made that consuming it for its psychoactive nature might be illegal. Therefore enjoying this magical shroom in the privacy of one’s home or at a safe outdoor setting away from prying eyes would be best.
How to dose? Amanita done incorrectly can be a bit of a rough ride on the body so following some sensible procedures will ensure the more desired magical experience. First Amanita does not mix with alcohol at all, and alcoholic beverages should be avoided for two days prior to tripping. Second, one should avoid caffeine during the experience. And finally one should always start with a minimum dose to ascertain each individual’s response to the material.
Amanita should always be well dried and ground to a fine powder. Never eat a fresh Amanita. In addition, as there is wide variability in psychedelic strength according to the time of year or day picked, where the mushrooms grew, type of soil and weather conditions, it is best to grind all of one’s shrooms together to create a homogeneity of strength in the final Amanita powder.
The easiest way to begin exploration of this magical mushroom is to add a small amount of Amanita powder to a doobie and smoke it—for while Amanita mixes not at all with alcohol, it mixes very well indeed with cannabis. The smoked experience will give you a glimpse of the more substantial shamanic trip when consuming the shroom.
For the full shamanic experience the shroom is eaten. A dose is generally 10-15 grams of dried material or anywhere from 1 to 3 mushrooms. Start with half this amount for the first time, as it will allow a better gauge of the experience. (A lethal dose would be about 5 kg of fresh material—an amount an individual wouldn’t be able to eat. Too much of the material is definitely an uncomfortable experience.) In a saucepan, add the dried Amanita powder to a cup of water for every 10 grams or so of material. Heat the concoction to about 190 degrees C. Do not let the mixture boil but maintain the temperature just below boiling for thirty minutes or more. Keep stirring—it should have the consistence of blended tomato soup. Let the mixture cool and then drink. A little fruit juice as a chaser will be desired and welcomed.
After 30 to 90 minutes you will feel sleepy and have a bit of nausea. You may also perspire and have more saliva in your mouth than is useful. The key here is not to fight it. Try instead to relax and give yourself over to the experience. Let yourself go to sleep for an hour or more and you will awaken to the real experience. A well-dosed trip will be perceived as a sense of quietly talking to yourself for hours, which indeed is what you are most blissfully doing.
For additional entheogen resources: www.iceers.org
Muraco Kyashna-tochá is a cultural anthropologist with over 50 years of experience exploring the nether regions of her mind with entheogens. She is an award-winning educator and a recognized medical cannabis advocate with extensive experience working on medical cannabis legislation in Washington State.
For more from Muraco Kyashna-tochá go to: www.muraco.org
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