Across global culture, there is a negative stigma concerning magic mushrooms. These fungi have been used for centuries, maybe even millennia, as a gateway to the supernatural. Why is there a negative stigma in our modern world?
The stigma of magic mushrooms is a very powerful thing. It has vilified a substance that has been revered and celebrated for most of human history. Magic mushrooms, which describes mushrooms containing psychoactive properties, are a big part of the human story. There is a long history of their use in Norse, American, African and Asian cultures, with widespread use in ritualistic shamanic and pagan cultures.
Some of the earliest evidence of psychoactive mushroom use is through ancient cave paintings. It is the current leading theory among paleo-anthropologists that cave paintings are the work of ancient artists in an altered state of consciousness. One of the reasons for this is many of the paintings depict therianthropes. These are illustrations that show a combination of an animal and human. One of the most famous of these is “The Sorcerer” in Trois Frères Cave in France. The image below is a representation of the original art. It depicts a being who is half stag and half human.
A wonderful resource which examines this phenomena, as well as other supernatural theories is the book “Supernatural“. It is a part of a series of excellent, thought-provoking books by British author and journalist Graham Hancock. It explores the cave paintings in depth as well as psychedelic drugs.
Why is there a negative stigma surrounding magic mushrooms?
Much like natural medicine, psychoactive mushrooms became stigmatized in the more recent centuries. Practices of natural medicine deemed witchcraft, the practitioners exploring natural herbs and remedies were burned at the stake.
Organized religions played a role in this, which is ironic because these mushrooms grow in the ground. They are a product of nature, which a logical religious mind might explain as a creation of God. Unfortunately, the institution of religion wanted to maintain church attendance as the only gateway to God. As a result, the natural herbs and fungi that offer personal connections to a religious or spiritual experience were targeted and vilified. At the time, they explained the effects as pagan rituals and the work of the Devil.
Is the stigma of psilocybin mushrooms changing?
Today, at the start of the Age of Aquarius (a new stage astronomical precessional, each which lasts 2,160 years) there are many shifts occurring across our planet. For the first time in over 100 years, cannabis is becoming legal across the world. First in Uruguay, then here in Canada, and parts of the United States. Undoubtedly, the world will follow suit as it becomes clear that cannabis is no worse than the other thousands of drugs, including alcohol, which are legal and regulated.
Global Drug Culture
In fact, it is interesting to note that we are not a global culture that is against drugs! Alcohol prospers as a billion dollar global industry and markets itself openly as a good time. The pharmaceutical industry is extremely successful, and there is a drug for everything, from happiness to pain ad sadness. The legal drugs seem to all have numbing effects, like opiates and alcohol. These substances lower inhibition and support the aggressive, masculine culture we live in. Psychoactive drugs open your mind to empathy, oneness and spiritual experiences. However, in modern culture, these experiences are not valid. The explanation is unreliable hallucinations or fantasies.
Heightened curiosity negates the stigmas
Negative cannabis propaganda ruled this planet for over a century. On the road to legality and acceptance, people now question the conventional negativity about other mind-altering drugs. These substances were the focus of the War on Drugs. Today, the view is this crusade was a total failure, and a terrible idea in the first place. We see the results, they are much more harm than good. As a result, the masses no longer believe the propaganda tied to these substances. Now that cannabis has become legal, many people are curious of the possibilities, both recreational and medical, that these ancient plants and fungi could offer. At the front of this movement are psilocybin mushrooms.
Looking to the future
It is now clear that psilocybin mushrooms have a lot of medical uses. For this reason, Oregon passed legalization regarding psilocybin mushrooms for medicinal use. Many of the medical applications connect to mental health. Furthermore, psilocybin stimulates brain activity, and creates new neural pathways. We have seen this through brain scans, although science does not yet have an answer why. It is totally worth studying!
Here at Faded we are beyond excited to see what the future has in store. We are excited to live in a world that accepts these magical fungi. The are substances of reverence and love, not of fear and stigma.