Throughout history images of mushrooms have been associated with shamans, spirituality, even use on the battlefield. Ritualistic application was often designated for the person seeking a communion with the spirits, not the average individual. Across borders the holy person or shaman would connect with the spirit world through use of one or more psychedelic compounds and relay their insight to the community. This powerful medicine would also be seen as part of specific rituals of initiation, or consultation with the spirits before an event. “teonanacatl” is the name used in Central America by the Aztecs for magic mushrooms meaning “God’s flesh” or “God’s meat”. When the Catholic Church came into power with the arrival of the Conquistadors, the use of “teonanacatl” was seen as blasphemous resulting in these rituals being sent underground.
Scientific data however, indicates a fairly modern use for these potent fungi starting in 1957 with an article published in Life magazine called, “Seeking the Magic Mushroom: A New Yorker banker goes to Mexico’s mountains to participate in the age-old rituals of Indians who chew strange growths and produce visions.” The author, Gordon Wasson, a VP at JP Morgan wrote about his experiences consuming the mushrooms with a local healer. The article was read by millions and coined the term ‘magic mushrooms’. It was Wasson’s magic mushroom samples that were used by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman to isolate the psychoactive ingredient psilocybin.
Through multiple expert interpretations of their own personal experiences and those associated with their psychedelic studies we see a nontraditional use of teonanacatl. There is little doubt that the influence of psychedelics has motivated artists and musicians since their introduction just a few decades ago.
Modern medicine is the current proponent for magic mushrooms. John Hopkins, Harvard, MAPS, and others have been conducting research, including human trials for the application of psilocybin (active ingredient in magic mushrooms). These trials include potential application for conditions like PTSD, depression/anxiety, smoking cessation, even weight loss. The ground breaking work these groups are doing is invaluable as many individuals have found traditional treatment protocols ineffective.
Silo Wellness developed proof of concept in Jamaica in 2019 for a metered-dose psilocybin nasal spray. Due to its rapid absorption and reduced gut stress the product is ideal for pairing with a therapeutic component. This complimenting treatment protocol is exemplary for treating the whole person, not just their symptoms.
Visit silowellness.com/retreats to learn more about psychedelic retreat options Silo has to offer in both Oregon and Jamaica that utilize both ketamine and psilocybin respectively.
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May P, Psilocybin and Mescaline. Molecule of the Month 1999 October. Available at http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/psilocybin/psilocybinjm.htm
Singh M, Vice 2020. Psychedelics Weren’t As Common in Ancient Cultures As We Think. Accessed 12, January 2021 https://www.vice.com/en/article/4adngq/psychedelic-drug-use-in-ancient-indigenous-cultures