When Terence McKenna discovered a technique for home-cultivation of psychedelic mushrooms in the 1970s, he transformed a rare entheogen, known mainly to mycologists, shamans and mushroom hunters, into a common and widely proliferated hallucinogen. At the time, magic mushrooms weren't illegal and Terence set up shop in Northern California, acting as probably the sole grower until the book he had written under a pseudonym with his brother Dennis was published, the Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide, (still in print today). "Shrooms" have been on the standard psychedelic menu ever since, and mushroom cultivation is widespread. Until he stopped in the 1980s, Terence would output upwards of 70 pounds every 6 weeks.

When these mushrooms first entered the countercultural underground, there was very little common knowledge on how to identify the actual psychedelic varieties. It was occasionally the case that dealers were selling ordinary grocery store mushrooms laced with LSD. In recent years, knowledge of psychedelic mushrooms is widely available among the community (and on the internet). There are many kinds of psychedelic shrooms you might encounter (depending on which part of the planet you live in), but it should never look like an ordinary white mushroom (Agaricus bisporis). 99% of hallucinagenic mushrooms on the underground market are dried Psilocybe cubensis (also known as Stropharia cubensis), with characteristically blue bruises on their white stems and brownish-orange caps with possibly golden facets. There are some other psychtropic species out there. Please be certain that you recognize the mushrooms you are ingesting.

See also:
Psychedelic Guide: Mushrooms
Mushroom trip #1
Psilocybe cubensis
Psilocybin
Liberty Cap
Mushroom
Mushrooms

When the subject of hallucinogenic mushrooms is mentioned, an host of images immediately comes to mind, specifically, images of tripped-out hippies and tie-dye, and also a word, psylocibe.

The use of magic mushrooms, however, did not begin in the 60's, and was not unique to this era. Many ancient cultures, including the American Indians, and certain African tribes used hallucinogenic plants and fungi in religious ceremonies.

Currently, our society rejects the use of such chemicals, and views them as somewhat evil. This is also the view of many Christian denomonations, but perhaps, it is not so farfetched to think that this culture may have also been the fruit of some magical substance.

In biblical accounts of the journey of Moses and his people through the desert, there is reference to a substance called manna. The story of Exodus describes this food from God to be very similar to a fungus.

Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will vain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or no (16:4). And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground (16: 14).

And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning (16:19). Notwithstanding they harkened not unto Moses. but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms and stank: and Moses was wroth with them(16.20). And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating. and when the sun waxed hot it melted...(16:21).

Another allusion to mushroom use in Christianity deals with the mushroom Amanita Muscaria. This large red mushroom with white scabs perhaps spawned some of the current symbols and traditions associated with the holiday of Christmas.

First, this mushroom can only survive if there is a symbiotic relationship with the roots of specific trees, that is, only pine and birch. These mushrooms then only occur in a very near proximity to such trees. Early pagan cultures, which celebrated yule, often used these mushrooms as medicine, and viewed their appearence as a gift. This idea may be the basis to the traditon of having gifts under a Christmas tree.

The colors associated with the mythical Santa Clause show a strong resemblance to the mushroom as well. The bright red and white colors of the mushroom can also be seen in traditional dress and decoration of the season.

Christians may or may not deny the existance of such relationships, but the fact remains, that many cultures were once based on such magical beliefs, and it is likely that this one, in part, is too. Myths do not just pop into a culture, but rather, often have a root in stories and legends that get handed down through the ages. These stories, at one point in time, held a certain truth or wisdom, but, through time, they become no more then tradition.

Eating magic mushrooms does not enable you to walk through walls.

Sadly enough, I have seen this feat attempted. And my role in this debacle will surely damn me to an eternity in the fires of Hell.

We were at my place. My friend Mike and I had been up for a few days, and we had procured a fair amount of mushrooms. Mike declined a dose, having never done them before, but he had a girl with him, roughly in her twenties, whose name I never bothered to remember. She decided she would love a dose, so I gave it to her. Share and share alike, right? I settled into a chair, being a bit fatigued, and ended up in a bit of comedic wordplay with Mike. About an hour passed, long enough for the effects to kick in nice and strong.

I was still deep into my conversation with Mike, enjoying the delightfully geometric visuals at the same time. We pretty much were in our own world. The girl, meanwhile, was pacing along the floor, staring at one of my walls. I paid this no mind. I mean, seriously, staring at walls while tripping is apparently so cliche that it's a bit of a joke, so I didn't think there would be a problem. Mike and I were snickering over a particularly deft riposte on his part when her voice, for the first time since we dosed, drifted over to us.

"I can walk through this wall."

The room fell silent. We just stared at her as she calmly contemplated the wall. There were no signs of mania about her whatsoever. Just calm confidence. I was still trying to decide if she had just said what I thought she had said, when Mike asked, "What?!"

"I can walk through this wall. I know I can."

It took me another moment to realize that she wasn't talking about bursting through it in the style of the Kool-Aid Man.

Mike and I glanced at each other, and a decision was silently made. I took the initiative. "I think she's right," I said, as deadpan as I could manage. Mike got the hint, and dropped right into the role of devil's advocate.

So we debated whether or not she could, while she paced back and forth, studying the wall intensely, gathering her mental energies, and occasionally running her hands along it as if to attune herself to the forces within it. I pulled out every single half-assed metaphysical justification I could find in my addled little brain. I brought up the point that matter was mostly empty space, and that it was just a matter of aligning the molecules. Nay, matter is only energy. She obviously was of a high enough mindstate to be able to, at least momentarily, phase herself into energy long enough to do a piddling little thing like walking through a wall. No, reality was merely a construct of the mind. It's only a matter of belief, right?

Mike scoffed at every reason, just snidely enough to make anyone want to disprove him. We went back and forth for about an hour, and the whole time, the girl studied the wall and gathered her energies.

Finally, I said, "I'd do it myself, but I'm just not at that level."

She stopped pacing. She stood before the wall, hands held perfectly at her sides, and breathed.

In.

Out.

Yin.

Yang.

The meditative state she had entered was perfect. I could see the singularity of purpose in her mind, a singularity of purpose that would have had the Buddha himself purple with envy. She was Samadhi, Satori, and all those other Eastern words that talk about enlightenment.

Eyes closed. Balance poised. Mind focused.

And she lunged.

She didn't step, she didn't stride, she didn't even tiptoe. She fucking *lunged*.

Face first.

Right into the fucking wall.

I have never at any other moment in my life been more glad for the visual acuity that psilocybin imparts. I watched, bemused, at the peaceful expression on her face. I watched in perfect detail as said face collided with the wall. I watched her head recoil away from the wall, and the rest of her body follow. I watched her quick step backwards, pinwheeling her arms, her mouth forming into a perfect "O" of surprise as she fell back and landed square on her ass.

And Mike and I, heaven help us, we laughed. We didn't just laugh. We hooted. We guffawed. We were on the floor, holding our sides in pure and utter hilarity.

The girl looked at us, and in that wonderfully childlike naiveity of a tripping person, said:

"I didn't walk through the wall."

It was too much. I roared with laughter until I passed out. Fortunately, the girl never thought to blame us for letting her try something so amazingly stupid.

I was an evil, evil fucker for what I did that night. But I'm an even more evil fucker, because deep in my heart, where all my darkest secrets lie, I honestly, seriously wanted her to succeed. I wanted her to walk right through that wall, and plant both feet firmly on the other side.

We were in a third story apartment.

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