HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT

Mushroom Venus and Fleur de lis Iconography in Pre-Colombian Art

  DECODING THE FLEUR DE LIS

            

 THE ORIGIN AND MEANING OF THE FLEUR DE LIS

IN THE NEW WORLD BEFORE COLUMBUS:

                                           by Carl de Borhegyi  copyright 2012                                                                        

   

The primary purpose of this publication is to illuminate previously unrecognized aspects of pre-Columbian art and iconography. That stated, while the similarities in appearance and meaning of the Fleur de lis symbol in pre-Columbian art and iconography may be entirely coincidental, logic would argue for consideration of the possibility of ancient transoceanic contact with the Americas prior to the arrival of Columbus--a subject rife with contention. 

No publication to my knowledge, either online or in print has ever presented evidence of the Old World Fleur de lis symbol encoded in pre-Columbian art representing the same symbol of "Lord", linked to a Tree of Life, a trinity of gods, and a mushroom of immortality. The  mushroom, being the medium through which one achieved ecstasy and thus communion with the gods.  

Although the symbol known as the Fleur de lis is perhaps best known through it's association with French royalty, it's origin in the New World is of far greater antiquity.

 

                       File:Louis-Félix Amiel-Philippe II dit Philippe-Auguste Roi de France (1165-1223).jpg

               Philip II, King of France, in a 19th-century portrait by Louis Felix Amiel

The trefoil, in its form known as the Fleur-de-lis (“flower of the lily”), has long been a symbol of European monarchy and the sacred symbol of the Holy Trinity. Above, a painting of King Philippe II Augustus (1165-1223 C.E.), last King of the Franks and first King of France crowned with the Fleur de lis. Although  perhaps best known through its association with French royalty, the symbol itself is of far greater antiquity, and occurs in the ancient art of both the Old and New Worlds as a symbol of divinity, or "Lord" linked to a  Trinity of gods, a Tree of Life and it's forbidden fruit.


The hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom, identified by the late ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson as the God plant Soma, from the Rig Veda is, I believe, the inspiration of many religious ideas throughout the world.
In my examination of pre-Columbian art I have discovered that the gods and kings that are crowned or encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol are also linked to a World Tree, or Tree of Life and a fruit of immortality.

Wasson proposed that the ancient Hindus pursuit of immortality revolved around the covert ingestion of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.

 

Quoting Ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wassan...

"Here was the Secret of Secrets of the Ancients, of our own remote forebears, a Secret discovered perhaps sporadically in Eurasia and again later in Mesoamerica. The Secret was a powerful motive force in the religion of the earliest times (Wasson 1980, p. 53)     

                    


        Quoting Wasson...

"In brief, I submit that the legends of the Tree of Life and of the Marvelous Herb had their genesis in the Forest Belt of Eurasia". "The Tree of Life, is it not the legendary Birch Tree, and the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Life, what else is it but the Soma, the fly-agaric, [the Amanita muscaria] the pongo of the Ugrian tribesmen?"

      

The World Tree, or Tree of Life is a common motif in found in Sumerian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hittite, and Hebraic art, and mentioned in the Books of Genesis  and Revelations.

In Mesoamerica, as in the Old World, the Tree of Life represents the symbolic center of the earth, the Axis mundi, or pillar of the world. In both Mesoamerica and in the Old World, the royal line of the king was considered to be of divine origin, linked with the Tree of Life.

Descendants of the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl, and thus all Mesoamerican kings or rulers, were also linked to the Tree of Life encoded in both the Old World and New World with the trefoil symbol, we recognize as the Fleur de lis emblem.   
 

Mesoamerica: is a term that "defines those areas of Mexico and Central America that witnessed the development of advanced pre-Columbian civilizations such as the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Toltec, Mixtec, and Aztec, all of which shared a number of interrelated cultural traits involving religious concepts, ritualism, architecture, arts, and crafts, hieroglyphic writing, and calendrics" (Paul Kirchhoff, 1942) (Charles Gallenkamp, 1959, revised 1985 p.3) 

 
Diffusionism: is a term often used to describe the origins of cultural characteristics and their spread from one society to another.
 
 
 
In the Old World, there is an ancient belief that the Sun God was born from the sea and soared into the sky like an eagle. For this reason, ancient solar deities were often depicted as half-man and half-fish, or half-man and half-bird. In Assyro-Babylonian art of Mesopotamia the Sun God is also portrayed at times as a  "half-man, and half-lion deity" depicted below all crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol.
 
 
 
Tree of Life encoded with a Fleur de lis symbol at it's base. Deities of Assyro-Babylonian mythology, all crowned with the Fleur de lis symbol.
 
 
 
The symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis, first appears in the art of the ancient Sumerians. Historians propose that Sumer was settled between 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people and that ancient Sumer was known as the "land of the civilized kings". The earliest written literature of the Sumerians dates from about 2600 BC. The Sumerian word for "Lord" is apu, the same exact word for "Lord" used in the New World by the ancient Inca civilization of Peru (Hugh Fox, 2005 p.7). 
 
Like Mesoamerica, Mesopotamian religion was highly polytheistic a system based on the belief of many gods, or deities. The earliest Sumerian gods were nature deities, concerned with fertility, but by the third millennium BCE. Mesopotamian gods were referred to "Lords or Masters" and mirrored the actions of human rulers (Bodley p.180).
 
In Mesopotamia the Fleur de lis was a symbol of the Sumerian-Babylonian Trinity, of Nimrod, Tammuz, and Simerimas.
 

 
 
The Fleur de Lis, Symbol of the God-King Quetzalcoatl:

 

Symbols are important, especially  for pre-literate people for whom they carry much of the power of the written word. However, to make any sense of Mesoamerican iconography and the multiplicity of gods that populated various pantheons,  one must be willing to put aside all western notions of a linear history and hierarchical universe.

 

Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso explains:  (The Aztecs, 1958: p.23) :

"Aztec religion was in a period of synthesis, in which there were   being grouped together within the concept of a single god,  different capacities that were considered to be related. Quetzalcoatl, one of the greatest of the gods, provides an example of how different and seemingly unrelated aspects were being synthesized within a single god. He was Quetzalcoatl, the god of the wind, of life and of the morning, the planet Venus, the god of twins, and of monsters; and so on." 

 

I have found that in Mesoamerica the trefoil symbol signified nothing less than the divine symbol of their god-king Quetzalcoatl, who "is described in the post-Conquest literature as being of fair skin, with long hair and a black beard" (Mexico, 1994, M.D. Coe p.123). 

Spanish chronicler Fray Bernardino de Sahagún Florentine Codex (Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España), 1547-1582. 

 

 “They [the Indians] were very devout. Only one was their god; they showed all attention to, they called upon, they prayed to one by the name of Quetzalcoatl. The name of one who was their minister, their priest [was] also Quetzalcoatl.  "There is only one god" [he is] Quetzalcoatl.”( Sahagún, 1950-75,10:160).
 
 
 
Above is an image of Lord Quetzalcoatl crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol, reproduced from page 19 of the Codex Borgia one of five codices, or divinatory manuals in the Borgia group (now in the Vatican), that predate the Spanish Conquest. Here, the Aztec Toltec god-king, and culture hero Quetzalcoatl, (known as Waxak-lahun-Ubah-Kan among the Classic Maya) is portrayed wearing his trademark wind-jewel and the mask of the Wind God Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl. A closer look at the attributes of Quetzalcoatl's headdress, depicts a harpy eagle, one of the many avatars of Quetzalcoatl, a trefoil or Fleur de lis symbol, and the "single eye" motif, a universal symbol of the resurrected Sun God. Also encoded in Quetzalcoatl's headdress is a five pointed Venus half star symbol. The "fiveness" of Venus, 5 synodic cycles, comes from the fact that five Venus cycles of 584 days each equal eight solar years to the day, and that 584 days is the time it takes for Earth and Venus to line up with respect to the Sun.  This day was a period ending day in the sacred 260 day calendar (almanac) and always ended on the day Ahau (also spelled  Ajaw). Ahau in the Mayan language means Lord.
 
According to Spanish chronicler Fray Diego Duran, (The Aztecs,1964, p.149) it was written that before Quetzalcoatl departed  his beloved Tula, he left orders that his figure be carved in wood and in stone, to be adored by the common people. “They will remain as a perpetual memorial to our greatness in the way that we remember Quetzalcoatl”.
 
“They were very devout {Indians}. Only one was their god; they showed all attention to, they called upon, they prayed to one by the name of Quetzalcoatl. The name of one who was their minister, their priest [was] also Quetzalcoatl.  "There is only one god" [he is] Quetzalcoatl (Sahagún, 1950-75,10:160).
 
Quetzalcoatl attributes assume the character of other deities. He was also a real person who stood for learning and the arts who  was a ruler of the Toltec empire. We know that succeeding rulers or High Priests who emulated the ways of Quetzalcoatl also used his name. We know from ancient manuscripts called codices that Quetzalcoatl the god created mankind from drawing blood from his penis in the underworld. Quetzalcoatl the man is known to have created the calendar, and he delivered mushrooms and corn to his children.

                          

Quoting Fray Bernardino de Sahagún,  Florentine Codex (Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España), 1547-1582.

 

“Although this Quetzalcoatl was a man [the Indians] they held him to be a god....This Quetzalcoatl who was a mortal and perishable man they called a god. Although he had some appearances of virtue, judging by what they say he was nevertheless a great sorcerer, a friend of demons…and deserves to be assigned to the flames of Hell… When your ancestors said that this Quetzalcoatl went to Tlapallan and would return, that you must await his return, they lied, for we know that he is dead, that his body was reduced to dust and that Our Lord God hurled his soul into Hell where he suffers eternal torment.” ( Sahagun, 1969, book 1, chapter 5)

 

 

On the left is a Post-Conquest image of Quetzalcoatl, drawn by a native artist, that portrays the God-King holding a scepter almost identical to a 13th century Bishop's staff. The Florentine Codex, is a compilation of well documented ethnographic information of Aztec culture recorded by Spanish chronicler Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, organized into twelve books consisting of over 2400 pages and over 2000 illustrations.
 

 
 
 
Was the God-King Quetzalcoatl a foreigner ?

Much of our understanding of Mesoamerican religion has been pieced together from Spanish chronicles and pre-Hispanic and Colonial period manuscripts called codices.
 
We know that Quetzalcoatl was a historical person who was the ruler of the Toltec empire, and that succeeding rulers or High Priests may have also used his name.
 
In the years that followed the Spanish Conquest, all aspects of native ceremonial life were banned, temples and idols were destroyed, and hundreds of their colorfully illustrated books, known as codices, were burned. Despite these official sanctions, however, some conscientious historians continued to describe what they had observed, albeit with a heavy dose of sixteenth century cultural and religious bias. 
 
In Mexico City, Bishop Juan de Zumarraga claimed to have destroyed 20,000 idols and 500 temples. He is known to have formed a large pyramid of books, manuscripts with paintings and hieroglyphic writing that he torched into flames while the natives who watched could only cry and pray.
 

A Spanish traveler in post-Conquest Peru named Pedro Cieza de Leon is quoted by Bartolome de Las Casas as saying...

 

"We Christians, have destroyed so many kingdoms....For wherever the Spaniards have passed , conquering and discovering, it is as though a fire had gone destroying everything in its path."  (Mann, 2005:143-145).

 
 
 
Unfortunately, for our understanding of the role of mushrooms in this religion, the Spanish missionaries who reported these mushroom rituals were repulsed by what they perceived to be similarities to holy Christian communion.  As a result, they made no attempt to record the rituals in detail and banished all forms of mushroom use.

The Annals of the Cakchiquels,  (1953:82-83), records: “they began to worship the devil [Quetzalcoatl].  Each seven days, each 13 days, they offered him sacrifices, placing before him fresh resin, green branches, and fresh bark of the trees, and burning before him a small cat, image of the night. They took him also the mushrooms, which grow at the foot of the trees, and they drew blood from their ears.”

 
Fray Diego Durán who was one of the first Spanish chroniclers to write about mushroom ceremonies, believed the Aztecs were the decedents of the lost tribes of Israel, writing that the Indian traditions with which he was familiar with, were similar with the ancient Jewish customs and beliefs that were described in the Old Testament (J.H. Parry 1976, p.318). Duran called these mushroom ceremonies "Feast of the Revelations".
Fray Diego Duran...

"They became so inebriated and witless that many of them took their lives in their hands. With the strength of these mushrooms they saw visions and had revelations about the future, since the devil spoke to them in their madness".

 
          
Above is a page from the Post-Conquest, Manuscript of Glasgow, Historia de Tlaxcala Mexico: 1585, that depicts two Spanish Friars destroying and burning down a temple inhabited by demons. Note that the temple being destroyed in this scene is adorned with three Fleur de lis emblems, a symbol of Lord Quetzalcoatl, and his mushroom religion. Descripcion de la ciudad y provincia de Tlaxcala, Historia de Tlaxcala Mexico: 1585, Manuscript of Glasgow. Reprographics: Marco Antonio Pacheco / roots
 
 
A human sacrifice ceremony observed by Spaniards at a temple adorned with the Fleur de lis symbol (Lienzo de Tlaxcala Folio 239r).
 
      Caption in Náhuatl describes how people are killed in the "house of the devil".
 
The Tlaxcala Codex (Lienzo de Tlaxcala), is a mid Sixteenth Century Mexican manuscript history of the Tlaxcaltecas and the Spanish in their wars against the Aztecs and the evangelical battle for Christianity.

 


 

Mycolatry: is a term used to describe the study of Mushroom Worship; specifically, worship of the entheogenic mushroom species in proto and prehistory as a means for communicating in grave circumstances with the Almighty Powers (Wasson, 1980 p.XIV).

Over the years I discovered plenty of evidence that the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom, like the Vedic god Soma, was worshiped and venerated as a god in ancient Mesoamerica.

Mushrooms are not only frequently identifiable in the prehistoric art of both the Old World and New World, but that in Mesoamerica in particular, they played a major role in the development of indigenous religious ideology, and that both the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom and the Psilocybin mushroom were worshiped and venerated as gods in ancient Mesoamerica.It was easy to understand, however, why mushroom imagery had not been noted earlier. On many vase paintings and figurines the images of mushrooms, or images related to mushrooms, were so abstract, and so intricately interwoven with other complex and colorful elements of Mesoamerican mythology and iconography, that they were, I believe, quite deliberately "hidden in plain sight," in an effort to conceal  this sacred information from the  eyes of the uninitiated.                  

          

       I found visionary mushrooms encoded in pre-Columbian art.

 

These mushrooms were so cleverly encoded in the religious art of the New World that prior to this study they virtually escaped detection.

 

         Quoting Robert Gordon Wassan...

 The bemushroomed person is poised in space, a disembodied eye, invisible, incorporeal, seeing but not being seen….In truth, he is the five senses disembodied, all of them keyed to the height of sensitivity and awareness, all of them blending into one another most strangely, until, utterly passive, he becomes a pure receptor, infinitely delicate, of sensations”. (Wasson, 1972a:198)

"I believe the whole corpus of surviving pre-conquest artistic expression should…be reviewed on the chance that divine mushrooms figuring therein have hitherto escaped detection”.  (from Thomas, 1993 p.644 11-17n) 

 

While at first glance the faces of the "Weeping Gods" gives the illusion of a deity with dangling eye-balls. However, if you look closely you will notice that the dangling eyeballs are actually encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms, in the upper image and Psilocybin mushrooms  in the lower image, "Hidden In Plain Sight". 

 

        Quoting Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi...                       

"...fanged anthropomorphic individuals with dangling eyeballs, are commonly associated with the god Quetzalcoatl in his form of Ehecatl the Wind God”. ( S.F. de Borhegyi 1980:17)
 
 

We know from the Rig Veda, (Veda is a Sanskrit word meaning "to see") that Soma was an intoxicating plant worshiped as both a god and holy beverage by a people who called themselves Aryans. 

   

         Quoting R. Gordon Wasson...

 "It [the mushroom] permits you to see, more clearly than our perishing mortal eye can see, vistas beyond the horizons of this life, to travel backwards and forwards in time, to enter other planes of existence, even (as the Indians say) to know God."  

 

In fact I propose that the key to this entire belief system lies, as proposed by Gordon Wasson, in man's discovery of the mind-altering effects of various hallucinatory substances. The accidental ingestion of these hallucinogenic substances could very well have provided the spark that lifted the mind and imagination of these early humans above and beyond the mundane level of daily existence to contemplation of another reality.

Both the Amanita muscaria mushroom and the Psilocybin mushroom are discussed in relation to their veneration in both the Old World, and the New World, and the mushroom's relationship to the Fleur de lis symbol.

Also discussed is the parallelism between the use, veneration and depiction of sacred mushrooms in Mesoamerican culture and the worship of the Vedic-Hindu God-plant Soma in the Rig Veda. Soma was both a beverage and a god. Soma was the Vedic god who came down from the heavens and manifested himself in the form of a plant of immortality.

The Rig Veda describes Soma as a small red plant having no leaves, and lacking both roots and blossoms, but having a stem that is juicy and meaty (Furst, 1976 p.97) all of which point to the intoxicating Amanita muscaria mushroom as the sacrament or medium. While the hymns about Soma have come down to us through time, the botanical identity of Soma still remains a mystery.  

In Zoroastrian religion, the same sacred plant and beverage was known as Haoma, (the Persian pronunciation of Soma) and played a major role in Persian culture and mythology. In Iranian (Persian) and Vedic-Hindu mythology, both the Haoma and Soma plant are connected in myth with a ritual beverage and Tree of Life.

The Soma / Haoma beverage, appears to be a source of divine power and strength, as well as bestowing the sacred knowledge that leads to divine immortality.  

In the Rig Veda Soma is described as an all powerful god who gives strength to Indra which enables him to conquer his enemy Vritra, the snake of darkness.  

There is still a great deal of debate among scholars concerning the true identity of the mystery plant mentioned over 100 times in the Rig Veda called Soma, the only plant / beverage known to have been deified in the history of human culture, (Furst, 1972:201).  We are told that the gods drank Soma to make them immortal.

 "We have drunk the Soma and become Immortal; we have attained the Light, and found the Gods". (Rig Veda, 8.XLVIII.3)


         Ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson...                

"What was this plant that was called "Soma" ? No one knows. Apparently its identity was lost some 3,000 years ago, when its use was abandoned by the priests. The earliest liturgical compositions of the Indo-Aryans, called the Brahmanas and put together after the hymns had been assembled, discuss the surrogates to be used for Soma in the ritual but fail to describe the original plant."

 " I believe that Soma was a mushroom, Amanita muscaria (Fries ex L.) Quel, the fly-agaric, the Fliegenpilz of the Germans, the fausse oronge or tue-mouche or crapaudin of the French, the mukhomor of the Russians. This flaming red mushroom with white spots flecking its cap is familiar throughout northern Europe and Siberia. It is often put down in mushroom manuals as deadly poisonous but this is false, as I myself can testify.[3] Until lately it has been a central feature of the worship of numerous tribes in northern Siberia, where it has been consumed in the course of their shamanic sessions. Its reputation as a lethal plant in the West is, I contend, a splendid example of a tabu long outliving the religion that gave rise to it. Among the most conservative users of the fly-agaric in Siberia the belief prevailed until recent times that only the shaman and his apprentice could consume the fly-agaric with impunity: all others would surely die. This is, I am sure, the origin of the tabu that has survived among us down to our own day."

(from Wasson's, Soma of the Aryans:  ttp://www.iamshaman.com/amanita/soma- aryans.htm)
 

The cult of the hallucinogenic mushroom has been traced back to ancient Siberia by mycologists. The divine mushroom, appears not only to have played a role in the early history of Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrian, Judaism and Christianity, but also may be the metaphorical key to decoding the esoteric religions of ancient Mesoamerica, and South America, including Easter Island.  

 

Richard J. Williams, author of Soma in Indian Religion: Etheogens as Religious Sacrament, writes...

" With the aid of certain magical herds and plants, man may have invented religion. When the Aryans came down from Siberia they brought with them their Ur-religion and an urgaritic language, which became the Vedic and Persian religious expression and later the Indo-European language, which includes Sanskrit and Persian, and the dialects of Greek. Finnish, German, Hindi,and Urdu".  (Williams 2009 p.7)

 

I will demonstrate that the Vedic Soma / Haoma mushroom cult, with its symbol of the Fleur de lis, migrated to the Americas sometime around 1000 BCE. to 600 BCE. with the rise of the ancient Olmecs, and that the Indians of the New World modeled their religion on Vedic beliefs and ritual practices.  

It is therefore particularly interesting that my study of mushroom symbolism in  pre-Columbian art has led me to a number of striking parallels between the visual imagery of Mesoamerica, and South America, including Easter Island.    

If, there had been very early pre-Columbian contact with Easter Island it would help to explain the presence of such Olmec-like traits as monumental stone sculpture as well as monument mutilation. I also found evidence of a supernatural were-jaguar cult, as well as a trophy head cult, and a Venus cult on Easter Island.

         

Above on the left is a bearded effigy mushroom stone from Guatemala, and giant Moai statues from Easter Island. I am the first to note the interesting fact that many Moai statues appear to have mushrooms encoded into their head and noses, and that both the Maya mushroom stone and Moai statues share the same ear design.

  

If the identification of the Vedic god Soma, the so-called mystery plant described in the Rig Veda is in fact the Amanita muscaria mushroom, first proposed by the late Ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson, then there can be little doubt that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was indeed the model for the numerous small stone sculptures found in the New World known as Maya "mushroom stones."

 

MUSHROOM GODS OF  MESOAMERICA

                                      (photograph by Dr. Richard Rose)

 

Quoting Dr. Michael D. Coe, today's unofficial  "Dean of Maya studies"....

 "These peculiar objects , one of which was found in an E-III-3 tomb, are of unknown use. Some see vaguely phallic association. Others, such as the late Stephan de Borhegyi, connect them with the cult of the hallucinogenic mushrooms still to this day prevalent in the Mexican highlands, and it is claimed that the mortars and pestles with which the stones are so often associated were used in the preparatory rites" (The Maya, 1993 fifth edition, by M.D. Coe, p. 60).

 

 

SOMA IN THE AMERICAS :

Surprisingly, as I discovered, (see photograph above) the ancient symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis appears in the art of Mesoamerica at approximately the same time in history as the rise of the ancient Olmecs (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.). 

 

The rise of the ancient Olmec in the New World has puzzled archaeologists for some time. The Olmec, the first complex civilization of the New World emerge from the jungles of the Gulf Coast of what is now present day Mexico, sometime around 1500-1200 B.C. Archaeologists contend that the Olmec culture appears to come from out of nowhere in full bloom at the site of San Lorenzo, in Veracruz, Mexico. Carbon 14 dates place Olmec civilization at San Lorenzo at 1200 B.C. E. (M. D.  Coe, 1970, p.21). 

The ancient Olmec appear on the scene having already developed a highly evolved system of writing, where no earlier or simpler forms have been found. Renowned Maya archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley, noted that there was also the lack of known direct antecedents of Maya culture in the Maya region (Morley 1946, p.46). Morley noted writing as a perfect example, that even in its earliest known forms, it was already a highly evolved system, that no earlier, simpler forms of writing out of which it might have grown are known anywhere (Stephen C. Jett 1971, p.46).
 
In the groundbreaking book published by the late Robert Gordon Wasson and his wife, Valentina Pavlovna Wasson, titled Mushrooms, Russia and History  (1957), the Wassons postulated the existence of a belief system, shared by both continents, that was so ancient that its most basic elements may have been carried to the New World with the first human settlers. The origin of this Pan American belief system, he believed, was early man's discovery of the mind-altering effects of various hallucinatory substances found in nature, among them the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The Wassons surmised that our own remote ancestors worshiped and venerated a divine mushroom god perhaps 6000 years ago (Furst, 1972, reissued 1990, p.187).

 

         

Above are paleolithic petroglyphs from the Chukotka region of Northeastern Siberia depicting sea vessels and mushroom headed people. The Wassons reported on the ritual consumption of fly-agaric or Amanita muscaria mushrooms among Siberian and northern Asian peoples, suggesting the antiquity of an ancient mushroom cult to Stone Age times. 

It's generally excepted that before the Pleistocene Ice Age, early humans migrated to the Americas through the Bering Strait region where Siberia is only a hundred miles or so from Alaska. Controversy continues as to how early the migrations began, and whether these early migrants used boats or walked across a land bridge that later flooded. We know that Asiatic traits filtered through Siberia into the American Arctic throughout the prehistoric period and have continued to do so among the modern Eskimo (Miguel Covarrubias 1954, p.150). 
 
    

Above is a late 3rd-early 2nd millennium BCE, stamp seal from the Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex, located in Central Asia. The seal has been described as a figure holding snakes, when in reality, I believe this figure represents a shaman with god eye and horns, attributes that are common in the depiction of shamans in ancient art, and that the so called snakes surrounding the shaman are merely encoded mushrooms, encoded to portray divine ecstasy and the mushroom as the medium.     
 
 
Berthold Laufer an anthropologist and historical geographer with an expertise in East Asian languages, demonstrated that the word shaman is of Turkish-Tungusian origin in contrast to earlier beliefs that it came from Sanskrit, and that it was introduced to Siberia by Buddhist monks.
 

 

Petroglyphs of shamans with horns antlers from Azerbaijan on the left and almost identical petroglyphs of shamans with horns and antlers on the right from North America (Petroglyph collage by Laboratory of Alternative History).

 

I propose that the mushroom cult and the Fleur de lis symbol migrates from Asia to the  Americas sometime around 1000 to 600 BCE.

  

Above is a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. Central Asia, that encodes the Fleur de lis symbol (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran).

 

Siberian shamanism incorporates ecstatic trances brought on by a ritual of dance and the inducement of hallucinations, most commonly through the consumption of Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The intention was to open communication directly with the spirit world, often through a form of animal transformation. In both Siberia and Mesoamerica the divine mushroom speaks through the voice of the shaman (Wasson 1980, p.52).
 

      

To this day Siberian shamans still encode the bright red with white spots, the colors of the Amanita muscaria mushroom in their ceremonial attire (Tatina the Evensk shaman from Kamchatka).

 

The Lukhang murals of ancient India depict scenes that may represent Amanita muscaria mushroom (Soma?) worship. The Vedas' repeatedly mention that Soma grows high in the mountains. All the above shamans, or priests wear clothes I believe are encoded with the colors of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.

                             

The shaman's goal is to achieve divine ecstasy, the mushroom being the medium to communicate with the spirit world. The shamans in the Lukhang murals appear to be in ecstatic trance. It should be noted that the artist's symbolic reference of a rabbit in the moon, is a similar motif found in Mesoamerican art. Compare the images of the rabbit in the moon in the Lukhang murals of ancient India, with the Aztec version of the rabbit in the moon in the pre-Conquest Codex Borgia. Also note that the Lukhang murals also portrays a shaman sitting next to what looks like a ritual bundle, a common motif often depicted in pre-Columbian art. The similarities between Asian and American shamanism are far too numerous to be explained away as mere coincidence (Furst , 1972  p.82).    

( Mural photos from   http://www.thelostword.dk/index3.ht ) 

 

In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, travel writers and natural scientists described the ritual use of  Amanita muscaria mushrooms among certain tribes in Siberia, and on the curious practice of secondary intoxication with urine suffused with Amanita muscaria mushrooms (Furst, 1972 ix). 

The most famous literary account of urine intoxication suffused with Amanita muscaria mushrooms was presented by Oliver Goldsmith in 1762, regarding the use of Amanita muscaria mushrooms in northeastern Asia by the Tungus, Yakuts, Chukchies, Koryaks, and Kamchadales tribes. Among the Khanty peoples of Western Siberia only the head or cap of the Amanita muscaria mushroom is eaten. One Amanita muscaria mushroom was a prize that was traded for with as many as four reindeer. According to Goldsmith "a rich owner of mushrooms would have a woman chew a couple of the mushrooms into a sausage, which the male would ingest. Then when he walked outside to relieve himself later, the urine was saved in a wooden pot and reused. Apparently the active substances are even more potent in the urine than in the original material. The tradition was called "passing the pot." An entire village could remain high for a week on one to several mushrooms."   (from  Literary accounts of Amanita muscaria mushroom rituals in northeastern Asia, Goldsmith from http://wikicompany.org/wiki/911:Entheogens)

      

        Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst... 

 "It happens that not only Siberian shamans but their reindeer as well were involved with the sacred mushrooms. Several early writers on Siberian customs reported that reindeer shared with man a passion for the inebriating mushroom, and further, that at times the animals urgently sought out human urine, a peculiarity that greatly facilitated the work of the herders in rounding them up—and that might just possibly have assisted their reindeer-hunting ancestors in early efforts at domestication:

 . . these animals (reindeer) have frequently eaten that mushroom, which they like very much. Whereupon they have behaved like drunken animals, and then have fallen into a deep slumber. When the Koryak encounter an intoxicated reindeer, they tie his legs until the mushroom has lost its strength and effect. Then they kill the reindeer. If they kill the animal while it is drunk or asleep and eat of its flesh, then everybody who has tasted it becomes intoxicated as if he had eaten the actual fly agaric. (Georg Wilhelm Steller, 1774, in Wasson, 1968: 239-240) 

  

 

 

It may be that the origin of Soma and its rituals, as proposed by Gordon Wasson, is rooted in the shamanism of the Siberian forest people and came to the New World as early as the Paleolithic.

However according to researcher Jason Fitgerald...

" Gordon Wasson noted ancient Hindu scriptures depicting urine drinking as bestowing spirituality, just as Siberian shamans drink the urine of Amanita muscaria-fed reindeer which exhibit appropriate signs of mushroom intoxication in order to gain insight and wisdom".  

 

 

For reasons that may never be known, the ceremonial use of Amanita muscaria mushrooms and the drinking of Soma, was later replaced in Vedic and Hindu rituals, and Soma's true identity became a mystery. In the Persian sacred texts called the Zend Avesta, there is a passage in which Zoroaster asks, when will the practitioners get rid of the "urine of drunkenness" that the priests have been using to delude the people (Clark Heinrich 2002, p.20).  
 
  Quoting Ethno-Mycologist R. Gordon Wasson...
"People generally claim that the effects of the mushroom poison becomes more intense and more beautiful when it has already passed through another organism. Thus an intoxicated man will often be followed by someone else who wants to collect his urine, which is supposed to posses this effect to a particularly high degree (Wasson 1968: 257, reprinting Dittmar  1900). "

 

 
Spanish chroniclers recorded that the Aztecs drank or ate mind altering mushrooms to induce hallucinatory trances and dreams during which they saw colored visions of jaguars, birds, snakes, and little gnome-like creatures”. 

      

Above is a Late Classic period (600-900 CE.) Maya figurine of a bearded gnome-like figure wearing what I believe is an upside down mushroom hat, encoded "Hidden in Plain Sight" as an Amanita muscaria mushroom. I would argue that the folklore and mythology of dwarfs and little gnome-like creatures in the Old World associated with the Amanita muscaria mushroom diffuses to the New World with the mushroom cult around 1000 to 600 BCE., long before the voyages of Christopher Columbus. (photograph of mushroom copyrighted and owned by the artist, Esther van de Belt )

The word gnomes comes from the Latin gnoma, meaning "knowledge", suggesting gnomes as "the knowing ones" ( Raymond Buckland 2002, p.208)

 

          Quoting Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi....

"The little red topped mushroom with white polka dots occur frequently in Hungarian folktales, usually in connection with little dwarfs who live under them" (letter from Borhegyi to Wasson April 29th, 1953  Wasson archives, Harvard University)    

 

 

Above is a figurine from Nayarit, Western Mexico, dated 100 C.E-, depicting a little person sitting under a Amanita muscaria mushroom.  The figurine, which is 7.5 cm tall,  is now in the INAH Regional Museum in Guadalajara Mexico. (photo of the Amanita muscaria mushroom was taken by : © Michael Wood)    
 
 
 
Not long after the fall of the Aztec capital it was reported to Hernando Cortes that the Indians were using certain mushrooms in their religious ceremonies, consuming them as Spanish friars put it, in a demonic religious communion and calling these sacred mushrooms teonanacatl, meaning " Gods flesh"  "Teo" meaning god in the language of the Aztecs. The Spanish friars and Conquistadores who reported on the religious use of mushrooms, shortly after the conquest were repulsed by the apparent similarities of the mushroom ceremony to the holy Christian communion. The Spanish clergy was understandably horrified at what they interpreted as a devil-inspired misinterpretation of the Holy Eucharist.

One of the first twelve Franciscans to arrive shortly after the conquest of Mexico was Toribio de Paredes who the Indians affectionately called Motolinía "poor man". Motolinia ends his disquisition with the observation that the Indians served the mushrooms in Holy Communion (source, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, by R. Gordon Wasson and Stephan F. de Borhegyi, Harvard University, 1962).

Another Spanish chronicler Jacinto De La Serna, also drew the analogy between the Christian Eucharist and the eating of the mushroom; Serna suggests that the Indians regard  the flesh of the mushroom as divine, or as he considers it diabolic (source, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, by R. Gordon Wasson and Stephan F. de Borhegyi, Harvard University, 1962).

 

                     

Above is a sixteenth-century drawing from the Florentine Codex, Book 11, by Bernadino de Sahagun. The top image on the page depicts the sacred mushroom of Mexico, called teonanacatl  by the Aztecs meaning "Gods Flesh". The image of a bird perched on top of the mushroom is a metaphor that alludes to the Principal Bird Deity that sits atop the world tree in Mesoamerican mythology.

The scene in the middle on the left depicts a seated figure wearing a white robe, drinking from a goblet. Note that directly in front of the seated figure are two mushroom caps next to the mushroom's stems, convincing evidence of a mushroom ritual among the Aztecs.


In the Old World Soma was a god and a beverage, considered to be the most precious liquid in the universe, and therefore was an indispensable aspect of all Vedic rituals, used in sacrifices to all the gods. The gods consumed the Soma beverage in order to sustain their immortality. In this aspect, Soma is similar to the Greek ambrosia (cognate to amrita) because it was what the gods drank and what helped make them deities.

 

           Gerald Messadie, author of, "The History of the Devil"....

"The equilibrium of the world was maintained through sacrifices and the ritual offering of Soma, the juice of a plant that could well have been Amanita muscaria or Amanita phalloida mushrooms. The meaning of that rite is worthy of reflection: The world exists only on condition that humans inebriate themselves on certain fixed dates and circumstances, thus partaking of the nature of gods. This is the basic principle of the Greek mysteries, and it is also the basis of Judaism's reactive hatred of drunkenness" (Gerald Messadie, 1997, p.38-39)

 

In Iranian and Vedic-Hindu mythology, both the Haoma and Soma plant are connected in myth with the "World Tree". Harappa / Indus Valley civilization carving 2600-1900 B.C.E.  (http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.com/2011/09/decipherment-of-soma-and-ancient-indo.html)
 
    
Like the god plant Soma of the ancient Indo-Aryans the god myths of Mesoamerica contain a  sacramental food or beverage associated with sacrifice and immortality. The Aryans, who introduced their Soma religion into the Indus Valley civilization around 1500 B.C.E, believed that sacrifices were necessary to keep the world in balance. This balance was maintained through the acts of ritual sacrifice and the offering of Soma (Sanskrit) Haoma (Avestan), the hallucinogenic drink of the Indo-Aryans and ancient Persians of Iran.
 

 

Above are examples where the Fleur de lis, and the psilocybin mushroom are esoterically encoded as the Tree of Life in ancient Persian art. Note that in the Old World a feline is also associated with the Tree of Life.

 

            Making a case for pre-Columbian contact:

                      

Above are Vedic Hindu Buddhist symbols for a Triad, identical to symbols I found in Olmec- Maya and Aztec art.  (from http://karenswhimsy.com/buddhist-symbols.shtm). The symbols refers to a trinity of creator gods that can be traced back to Vedic times.

 

             

Above is a silk textile from Iran, Sasanian Dynasty, 224 CE to 651 CE. which depicts a Fleur de lis emblem with what may be encoded mushrooms emerging from both sides. It may be that the stars in this scene as well as the two birds represent the duality of the planet Venus as a resurrection star, and that the stylized pillar in the scene with  Fleur de lis emblem encoded with nine sacred hearts, alludes to the World Tree.    

 

 Quoting Ethno-Mycologist R. Gordon Wasson....            

"It can of course be argued that the two great mushroom traditions, that of New World Indians and that of the peoples of Eurasia, are historically unconnected and autonomous, having arisen spontaneously in the two regions from similar requirements of the human psyche and similar environmental opportunities. But are they really unrelated?

 

 

In the mythology of ancient Mexico, there is a Nahua legend of a paradise of nine heavens that was dedicated to the Wind God Quetzalcoatl, (wind = breath=life) called Tamoanchan where there was a sacred tree that marked the place where the gods were born and where sacred mushrooms and all life derived...  "In Tamoanchan...On the flowery carpet...There are perfect flowers...There are rootless flowers" (Hugh Thomas 1993, p.474).           

  

                                    

Above is a pre-Columbian drinking vessel that encodes the fruit from the legendary Tree of Life, covertly stylized sacred mushrooms. Source: Metropolitan Museum 1978.412.113

 

                                                

Above is a close up scene from the Codex Selden, a pre-Conquest Mixtec manuscript from Highland Mexico, painted sometime around A. D. 1500. I believe the Mixtec artist intentionally encoded the Fleur de lis symbol emerging from the four branches of the World Tree, or Tree of Life as a symbolic reference of the four cardinal directions, and it's sacred center. In Mesoamerican mythology the World tree, with its roots in the underworld and its branches in the heavens,  represents the axis mundi  or center of the world. The branches represent the four cardinal directions. Each of the directions was associated with a different color while the color green represented the central place. A bird, known as the celestial bird or Principal Bird Deity, usually sits atop the tree. The trunk of the World Tree which connects the two planes, was seen as a portal to the underworld.
 

        

        Quoting the late Dr. Robert Heine Geldern... 

“ Future research will probably indicate that Asiatic influences changed the whole structure of native society [New World before Columbus] and transformed the ancient tribal culture into civilization more or less comparable to those of the Old World.” (From Man Across the Sea; Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, 1971, third printing 1976)

 

     

Above is a carving of the Buddha meditating in a portal, under a Fleur-de-lis symbol,  Nalanda Site Museum, Bihar, India.

 

Above is a doorway to the 16th-century Padmanabhaswamy Temple, located in Thiruvananthapuram India. The elaborate temple doorway is believed to be a portal guarded by a deity of the Underworld associated with death and Underworld resurrection. The portal door encodes dual serpents, wrapped around the Tree of Life, and dual Fleur de lis emblems, symbolic of the Trinity, and divine resurrection.

       

 
It may not be coincidental that in Mesoamerica as in the Old World there is a parallel belief in a Tree of Life surmounted by a spectacular bird deity.
 

Above is a Late Classic period, 600-900 C.E. Maya drinking vessel K6547, photographed in roll out form by Justin Kerr. The scene may esoterically portray the mushroom as the  World Tree, encoded as a Trinity of gods, the mushroom tree at center surmounted by a spectacular bird deity. (owner Museum Volkerkunde Berlin Germany). 

 

In Mesoamerican mythology the harpy eagle is associated with the World Tree, as well as with both the resurrected sun, and the planet Venus as a resurrection star. In both the Old World and the New World the Fleur de lis carries the same metaphoric meaning of divine resurrection. The manifestation of this star in Mesoamerica being the "Feathered Serpent", the winged god-king Quetzalcoatl. It is said that when Quetzalcoatl died he was changed into that star that appears at dawn.    

     (top photao © Robin Heyworth – Photo taken 10th December 2001)

The murals above are from the ancient city of Teotihuacan, (150 B.C.E.-750 C.E.). The ancient metropolis of Teotihuacan is thought to have been established around 100 B.C.E.


In the Mayan creation story told in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiche Maya of Highland Guatemala, a great bird monster known as Itzam-Yeh, the Principal Bird Deity, 7 Macaw or Vucub Caquix, sits atop the World Tree. 

      

Above is an Aztec stone panel now in the National Museum in Mexico City, that portrays a giant bird deity atop the World Tree. The late ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson identified the iconography (below left) from the Aztec statue of Xochipilli, as an Aztec symbol representing sacred mushrooms in profile. 

 

Above is a sixteenth-century drawing from the Florentine Codex, Book 11, by Bernadino de Sahagun. The image was described by Sahagun as the sacred mushroom of Mexico, called teonanacatl  by the Aztecs, which means "Gods Flesh". The image of a bird perched on top of the mushrooms is a metaphor that alludes to the bird deity (Quetzalcoatl) that sits atop the world tree in Mesoamerican mythology.

 

Above is a page from the Codex Borgia, one of the few remaining pre-Conquest codices that depicts the World Tree", or "Tree of Life" emerging from the body of a death god in the underworld, (life from death) dressed in the guise of a harpy eagle, the spectacular tree encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol and surmounted by a bird deity. (http://americaindigena.com/sacred16.htm)     

 
Many years ago archaeologist Eduard Seler linked  the jaguar-bird-serpent god associated with the World Tree, with Venus and warfare to the god Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star  (Miller and Taube, 1993 p.104).
   
 According to Edward Seler; In a passage from the Anales de Quauhtitlán...

"At the time when the planet was visible in the sky (as evening star) Quetzalcoatl died. And when Quetzalcoatl was dead he was not seen for 4 days; they say that he dwelt in the underworld, and for 4 more days he was bone (that is, he was emaciated, he was weak); not until 8 days had passed did the great star appear; that is, as the morning star. They said that then Quetzalcoatl ascended the throne as god".  

 

In Vedic Hindu mythology its an eagle named Garuda (Gayatri,) who gives the Soma beverage to the gods. Soma was considered to be the most precious liquid in the universe, used in sacrificial rituals to the gods, particularly Indra, the warrior god. The Rig Veda states that the gods consumed the Soma beverage in order to sustain their immortality. 

                                    

Photographs © Justin Kerr

The Maya/Toltec vessel on the left is from Quintana Roo, Mexico, Postclassic Maya, A.D. 1200-1400.  The vessel portrays the image of a diving god, holding round objects in each hand that I propose are the severed caps (symbolic of decapitation) of psilocybin mushrooms. The figure is dressed in the guise of the harpy eagle, a symbol of the Morning Star and the new born Sun, and the god Quetzalcoatl. In 1980 Eyhno-mycologist Bernard Lowy, proposed that the "diving gods" in the Dresden Codex, were depicted as under the influence of psychotropic mushrooms (LOWY BERNARD, 1981, Were Mushroom Stones Potter’s Molds?, Revista/Review Interamericana, vol. 11, pp. 231-237.)
 

In Aztec (Mexica) mythology the cosmos was intimately linked to the Evening Star and Morning Star aspects of the planet Venus. Among the Quiche Maya,Venus in its form as the  Morning Star, was called iqok'ij,  meaning the "sunbringer" or "carrier of the sun or day." (Tedlock, 1993:236).

                        

As the Morning Star the Nahua or Mexican god Quetzalcoatl's avatar was the harpy eagle. In Aztec (Nahua) legends the sun, descends each night into the underworld to battle the forces of death in order to return, triumphant, each morning to the sky on the wings of an eagle. Note that the sacred beverage depicted above in the Codex Vaticanus, encodes two Fleur de lis symbols of divine resurrection.  

 

                                

Above is a close up images from page 89, in the Codex Vaticanus that depicts a ritual drink encoded with a Fleur de lis as a symbol of divine immortality.

 

    

Above on the left is a scene from the Codex Bodley, a Mixtec manuscript from Highland Mexico, painted sometime around A. D. 1500.  I propose that the artist intentionally encoded a Fleur de lis symbol, as a symbol of divinity on top of a sacred mushroom, and that the three dots below the Fleur de lis is code for a trinity of creator gods.

 

                                           
A close up of a Late Classic period (600-900 C.E) Maya Vase painting, photographed by Justin Kerr. The drinking vessel depicts, what may be an instance of deity impersonation. The figure on the far left holding a spear and shield wears the headdress of the Maya deity known as God L, who in Late Classic times symbolized the Maya Lord of the Underworld.  In Maya cosmology the planet Venus was believed to be the sun from the previous world age. Before this world was destroyed it was ruled by God L.  In the middle is a ballplayer, or ruler wearing jaguar attire, who kneels in the posture of someone about to be sacrificed.  He holds a royal staff in one hand and with his right hand makes a  gesture which may be code for the mushroom ritual. The dark-skinned figure standing directly in front of him wears the headdress of an underworld deity.  That this scene is associated with the grisly ritual of decapitation is clear from the trophy head he has tied upside-down to his staff.

When I first began searching the Justin Kerr Data Base of Maya vase paintings for mushrooms, one of the first Maya vase paintings I found with encoded mushroom imagery was Maya vase K1490, illustrated below. This Late Classic Maya vase painting (600-900 C.E.) from highland Guatemala was like a Maya vase "Rosetta Stone" in the amount of information it contained.  I immediately saw the mushrooms in the robes of the twin smokers on the far right. I also noticed that the artist had encoded mushroom imagery into the headdresses, and that mushrooms were on the tips of the noses of the executioners with obsidian knives. A dark loop symbol was repeated three times along the upper rim of the vessel. Because of this repetition, I suspected that it might be important and related to mushroom-inspired religious beliefs. 

In the Popol Vuh, numerous passages reveal obscure connections between Maya creation myths, the ballgame, ritual decapitation, self decapitation (Borhegyi,1969: 501) and Maya astronomy, involving the movement of the sun, moon, and the planet Venus that are commonly depicted on  Maya vase paintings.

        

   Photographs © Justin Kerr  K1490 

 In the vase painting above, the Lord of the Underworld is depicted as the white skeletal god in the center of the scene. He holds a decapitated head in one hand and a  serpent-bird staff in the other. Known as Skeletal God A, his fleshless body represents death and decay,  but also the transformation at death from which life is regenerated.

Like many other Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900) carved and painted vessels, Maya Vase painting K1490 depicts the sacred (and improbable) ritual of self-decapitation. Note that the third individual from the right has no head. He holds in his left hand the obsidian knife with which he has decapitated himself. In his right hand he holds the cloth in which he will wrap the head. The fourth individual from the right is shown holding the decapitated head by the hair with his right hand, and a knife in his left hand.  After a close examination of this scene, it occurred to me that it might depict an early version of an episode related in the colonial period document known as the Popol Vuh.

Archaeologist Michael D. Coe was the first to recognize that many of the scenes depicted in Maya vase paintings are images of the Maya underworld, Xibalba, and versions of the creation story of the Quiché Maya of highland Guatemala. This myth, written in Quiche Maya using Spanish orthography, is known today as the Popol Vuh,  It involves two sets of divine twins.

The first set of twins, known as Hun Hunahpu and Vucub Hunahpu, play a ballgame in Xibalba with the Lords of Death and are defeated. The Popol Vuh  tells us that these twin Maya gods, were sacrificed by decapitation in the underworld after losing a ballgame against the Lords of the Death. Their bodies were buried under the ballcourt at the place of ballgame sacrifice. The sons of Hun Hunahpu, another set of twin gods known as the Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, follow their father and uncle into the Underworld to avenge their deaths. They also play a ballgame against the Lords of Xibalba.  Hunahpu and Xbalanque, however,  were accomplished tricksters as well as ballplayers. They were  ready for any trap that might be set for them by the Lords of Death. (Coe,1973, 1975a). 

I believe that this complex scene illustrates the passage in the Popol Vuh in which the Hero Twins smoke cigars in the underworld. That they are smoking hallucinogenic cigars is suggested by the mushrooms that are clearly painted on their robes and in their mushroom-inspired headdresses. The two smokers are the first two individuals on the right. The two figures in front of them, since they wear the same clothing as the first pair,  may be the same set of twins. One of the twins, however, has  undergone sacrificial decapitation. Another interpretation could be that the two smokers, through their hallucinations, are seeing the fate of their father and uncle in their underworld struggle against the Xibalbans.

                         

In the close up scene above, all four of the figures on the right wear sacrificial scarves around their necks. The figure in black wears what appears to be a helmet shaped like a mushroom.  As noted earlier, he holds an obsidian blade in one hand, and the decapitated head of the figure behind him in the other.  

Dennis Tedlock has identified five episodes involving underworld decapitation and self decapitation in his translation of the Popol Vuh. He notes that, based on evidence discovered by Borhegyi and Wasson, he does not rule out the presence of an Amanita muscaria mushroom, cult in the Popol Vuh (Tedlock,1985: 250).  In one episode the Hero Twins decapitate themselves in the underworld in order to come back to life. The two decapitated heads shown in this scene belong to the twins.   (Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress)

 

                                

Photograph  © Justin Kerr  

Maya vase K1185 from the Justin Kerr Data Base, depicts a Maya scribe with what I believe is a sacred mushroom encoded into his headdress.  Painted Maya vessels like the one pictured above may have contained a divine drink concocted from the Amanita muscaria mushroom or other hallucinogenic mushrooms in a manner very similar to that described for the legendary Soma. Soma was prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. That certain plant was likely the Amanita muscaria mushroom, first identified by ethno-mycologist  R. Gordon Wasson. Soma was the divine beverage of immortality in the Rig-Veda Soma was referred to as the "God for Gods" seemingly giving him precedence above all other Gods (RV 9.42). The drinking of Soma by priests at sacrifice produced the effects of god within, and according to Wasson the act of collecting hallucinogenic mushrooms was always accompanied by a variety of religious sanctions. For example, among the present day Mixtecs the sacred mushrooms must be gathered by a virgin. They are then ground on a metate, water added, and the beverage drunk by the person consulting the mushroom." (Borhegyi, 1961)

 

          Photograph © Justin Kerr

Above are Maya vessels encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol, that likely contained a ritual drink, concocted from hallucinogenic mushrooms in a manner very similar to that described for the legendary Soma of the Rig Veda.

 

        The Mushroom as the Medium:    

                                           

Late Classic period 600-900 C.E. Maya vase paintings that I believe encode the sacred mushroom in the head of the "bemushroomed", "Hidden in Plain Sight".
 

                     

Photograph © Justin Kerr   

Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900) Maya drinking vessel photographed in roll out form, depicting two fleur de lis symbols.                                     
 

 

In the Rig Veda, there are recurring themes that allude to decapitation and the spiritual potency of the head. In the ancient Hindu texts known as the Brahmanas, that follows the Vedas, one of the cups of Soma is referred to as the head of Gayatri, the eagle who bore Indra down from the heavens after beheading the dragon Vrtra, and obtaining Soma, only after Vrtra's beheading, known in the Vedas as Ahi meaning "snake" (Rush 2013, p. 296). 

In the Maya Highlands a dance drama that takes place in the town of Rabinal in the department of Baja Verapaz, called the Rabinal Achí, is based on a sacred drink. In the dance a prisoner of war is captured and is granted one last drink, called “the drink of lords,” before he is ritually decapitated. According to anthropologist  Dennis Tedlock, there were repeated efforts by colonial authorities to ban the performances of the Rabinal Achi because it was considered a dramatization of Maya culture and Maya royalty. Was this ritual drink called Ki’ also called “twelve poisons” which, according to Tedlock, brings dreams to the character in the Rabinal Achí?  a mushroom beverage, similar to the Soma beverage of the Rig Veda ?

 

     

                    

Above is a close up view from the pre-Conquest Codex Laud, that depicts a painted vessel encoded with a Fleur-de-lis emblem and two water glyphs suggesting what was likely a divine beverage of immortality.               

                        

Photograph © Justin Kerr      

Above is a Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900), Maya vase painting that depicts the offering of an Amanita muscaria mushroom.  

 

 

 

The sixteenth century Florentine Codex, is a collection of well documented ethnographic information written by Spanish chronicler Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, organized into twelve books consisting of over 2400 pages and over 2000 illustrations drawn by native artists.  

 

Above is another 16th-century illustration from the Florentine Codex of teononacatl, the hallucinogenic mushroom of the Aztecs. ( Sahagun,1950 p. 517).

 

Frey Sahagun describes the use of mushrooms at the coronation of Montezuma II,  the High Priest of the Aztecs, as follows: 

“For four days there was feasting and celebration and then on the fourth day came the coronation of Montezuma II, followed by human sacrifices in numbers”.

“At the very first, mushrooms had been served.  They ate them at the time when the shell trumpets were blown.  They ate no more food; they only drank chocolate during the night, and they ate the mushrooms with honey.  But some, while still in command of their senses, entered and sat there by the house on their seats; they danced no more, but only sat there nodding.  One saw in vision that already he would die, and then continued weeping, one saw that he would die in battle; one saw in vision that he would be eaten by wild beasts; one saw in vision that he would take captives in war; one saw in vision that he would be rich, wealthy; one saw in vision that he would buy slaves, he would be a slave owner; one saw in vision that he would commit adultery, he would be struck by stones, he would be stone; one saw in vision that he would steal, he would also be stone and saw in vision that his head would be crushed by stones-they would condemn him; one saw in vision that he would perish in the water; one saw in vision that he would live in peace, and tranquility, until he died; one saw in vision that he would fall from a roof top, and he would fall to his death; however many things were to befall one, he then saw all in vision: even that he would be drowned. And when the effects of the mushrooms had left them they consulted among themselves and told one another what they had seen in vision. And they saw in vision, what would befall those who had eaten no mushrooms, and what they went about doing.  Some were perhaps thieves, some perhaps committed adultery. Howsoever many things there were all were told-that one would take captives, one would become a seasoned warrior, a leader of youths, one would die in battle, become rich, buy slaves, provide banquets, ceremonially bathe slaves, commit adultery, be strangled, perish in water, drown.  Whatsoever was to befall one, they then saw all in vision.  Perhaps he would go to his death in Anauac  (Florentine Codex, Dibble & Anderson, Bk 9:38-39) "

 

 

In the northern Peruvian highlands of South America, the ancient Chavín civilization flourished, that in many ways paralleled the contemporary Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. Both were major early civilizations and both used feline images in their sacred iconography. Pioneer archaeologist Marshall H. Saville was the first to call attention to certain Mesoamerican influences he called "Mayoid" in archaeological material from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian highlands and Pacific coastal areas of South America (Saville, 1907, 1909, 1910). Since Saville's first observation numerous archaeologists have reported other apparent artistic and ideological similarities between the two areas dating from as early as the Preclassic and continuing through the Postclassic, a time span from 1500 B.C. to A.D.1400. There is now a consensus that this exchange likely occurred by sea.


                                

 Above is an incense burner from the north coast of Peru, South America, Chimú culture, that portrays a deity wearing a conacle shaped hat crowned with two Fleur de lis symbols, both attributes of the Mexican god-king Quetzalcoatl. The Chimú people were known as the great navigators of the sea, and that they were the heirs to a great knowledge gained through the centuries by peoples before who came before them. The Moche or Mochica civilization  (1st century to 8th century C.E) has been identified as Early Chimú.

             
 

In the late 1940s Ethno-archaeologist Gordon F. Ekholm boldly proposed that Chinese visitors from the Shang Dynasty crossed the Pacific and taught the Olmec how to write, build monuments, and worship a feline god. Ekholm proposed multiple transpacific contacts with the New World beginning as early as 3000 B.C. He believed that this influence on New World civilization came from China, or Southeast Asia, and argued that the Chinese, during the Chou and Han dynasties undertook planned voyages to and from the western hemisphere as early as 700 B.C. Ekholm contends that scholars have underrated the maritime capabilities of the early Chinese, who not only invented the compass, but used a more seaworthy rudder than those used in the voyages of Columbus.

 

 Quoting the late Ethno-mycologist R. Gordon Wasson...

"Now if, as seems likely, the Chinese once worshiped an hallucinogenic mushroom and employed it in religious ritual and medicine, and if some of their sages reached the New World, by accident or design, they could of course have introduced some of their own advanced pharmacological knowledge, or at least the idea of sacred mushrooms, to the ancient Mexicans. The same would apply to early India, whose calendrical system, like that of China, bears a perplexing resemblance to its pre-Hispanic Mexican counterpart" (Furst, 1976 p.104)

 

The late Maya archaeologist David H. Kelley noted the similarity between the Mesoamerican calendar and the Hindu lunar mansions. Kelley saw the resemblance between the Mesoamerican cycle of the Nine Lords of the Night, to the Hindu planetary week of nine days, and noted the parallel belief of four previous world ages and their cataclysmic destruction, a belief shared by Hindus, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians (Susan Milbrath, 1999, p.292) a resemblance, according to archaeologist Michael Coe far to close to be merely coincidental (M.D. Coe, The Maya, fifth edition 1999, p.45).

Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi also noted the significance of the number nine, with a cache offering of nine miniature mushroom stones, from the verbena cemetery at Kaminaljuyu Guatemala, and a group of nine deities who were the nine lords of the night, and gods of the underworld (de Borhegyi, S.F.  1961 p.501)
  

Describing the contents of the Kaminaljuyu cache, Borhegyi wrote...

"The cache of nine miniature mushroom stones {depicted below} demonstrates considerable antiquity for the "mushroom-stone cult," and suggests a possible association with the nine lords of the night and gods of the underworld, as well as the possible existence of a nine-day cycle and nocturnal count in Preclassic times. The association of the miniature mushroom stones with the miniature metates and manos greatly strengthens the possibility that at least in some areas in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica metates were used to grind the sacred hallucinatory mushrooms to prepare them for ceremonial consumption." (de Borhegyi 1961: 498-504)

 

The nine miniature mushroom stones in the Nottebohm collection, depicted above, all have a circular groove around the base of the cap, and are of Early and Late Preclassic period (1000 B.C.-A.D. 200).

 

                

Above is a close up view of the carved relief panel Mahabalipuram India, (full image below) depicting a dwarf holding what may be an encoded mushroom with a circular groove around the base of the cap, not an umbrella or parasol The word for mushroom in Sanskrit means parasol "chattra" (letter, Wasson to de Borhegyi 5-7-1953 Harvard Archives)

 

 Quoting Dr. Carl A. P. Ruck...

"Hence the Soma god [of the Rig Veda] has no name, Soma being a metaphor of him as the "Pressed One"; and his botanic identity lies hidden beneath a plethora of metaphors, such as the parasol or wheel with spokes, both perfectly applicable to a mushroom".  (from Sacred Mushrooms of the Goddess, 2006, p.34)

 

Above are ceramic figurines that I would argue are all holding a divine mushroom, and not an umbrella or parasol; all three figurines are from Western Mexico, and date around 300 BCE–250 CE. (photo on the left, is from American Friends of the Israel Museum) (Photograph in the middle is from the Walter Art Museum) (Photograph on the far right courtesy of Dr. Gaston Guzman)  

                

                            Umbrella (parasol) or encoded mushroom ?

          

 

         Quoting the late Dr. Gordon F. Ekholm...

 "There are, of course, many problems concerning the kinds of evidence that have been presented in the area of transpacific contacts, but the principal difficulty appears to be a kind of theoretical roadblock that stops short our thinking about questions of diffusion or culture contact. This is true in anthropological thought generally, but the obstruction seems to be particularly solid and resistant among American archaeologists." (ethno-archaeologist Gordon F Ekholm...From Man Across the Sea; Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, 1971, third printing 1976, Chapter 2, Diffusion and Archaeological Evidence, by Gordon Ekholm page 54)

                 

David Kelley's  work was often criticized and or ignored for his insistence to carry on his studies of long range cultural contacts via trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic voyages. 

 

           Quoting Maya archaeologist David Kelley...

"Much of Aztec religion looks like a modified Hinduism in which one important change was the deliberate abandonment of religious eroticism" (Man Across the Sea, 1971, p.62).

       

Above on the left is a female figurine from the Harappa culture, Indus Valley civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE). The female figurine on the right  is from Puebla, Mexico, Tlatilco an Olmec influenced culture, Early-Middle Preclassic period 1300-800 B.C.E.  Both female figurines depict vulva shaped legs and hips and headdresses with what I propose are encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms. Tlatilco flourished maybe as early as 2000 BCE. and appears to end sometime around 150 BCE (The Ancient Past of Mexico: Alma M. Reed 1966, p.18).

While one can argue that the simultaneous appearance of encoded mushroom imagery in both the early cultures of the Old World and that of the New World could be the result of parallel outgrowths of the same Paleolithic shamanistic mushroom cult proposed by Wasson, there are other, more complex, similarities that suggest possible transpacific contacts between the two areas. One of these is the method of extraction of the hallucinogenic drink used in both areas. I have found plenty of evidence in pre-Columbian art that supports Wasson's identification of the revered and deified mystery plant of the Rig Veda, called Soma in Indo-Aryan folklore, and called Haoma in Zoroastrian and later Persian mythology, as the Amanita muscaria mushroom.

In the Rig Veda, Soma, the plant around which the Vedic sacrifices took place, is described as an intoxicating liquid that was pounded or pressed out of the plant using special pressing stones, called Soma stones (RV IX.11.5-6;IX.109.17-18).

Similarly, there is archaeological evidence from the Guatemalan highlands supporting the use of metates to grind  sacred hallucinogenic mushrooms prior to their consumption in a mushroom ceremony. This possibility is supported by the fact that the practice survives to the present in Mazatec mushroom ceremonies in southern Mexico (S.F. de Borhegyi, 1961:498-504). 

According to the Rig Veda, a mysterious plant called Soma was the source of an intoxicating drink known by the same name. While the actual identity of this sacred plant has been lost through time, both its description and the details of its preparation seem to point to the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The flesh of the plant was crushed, using “Soma stones,” and the juices were filtered through wool into large jars. In a like manner, mushroom stones, when they have been found in situ in the course of archaeological excavation, are often accompanied by stone grinding tools known as manos and metates.  Accounts of mushroom ceremonies still in practice among the Zapotec Indians of Mexico confirm the use of these tools in the preparation of hallucinogenic mushrooms for human consumption. One must conclude that these manos and metates were used for the same purpose as the sacred stones described in the Rig Veda that were used to prepare Soma.
In the highlands of Guatemala where the majority of mushroom stones have been found, and where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance, archaeologists working at the Preclassic site of Kaminajuyu discovered nine miniature mushroom stones in a Maya tomb, along with nine mortars and pestles, stone tools which were likely used in the mushroom's preparatory rites (see S.F de Borhegyi,1961, 498-504).
 
         
Above are two of the nine miniature mushroom stones found buried together in a Maya tomb at Kaminaljuyu, along with nine miniature stone metates and manos (Soma stones?) used in the preparation of a ritual mushroom beverage.

There is ample evidence that the mushroom stone cult lasted well into the Colonial Era.  In 1554 it was reported as a symbol of dynastic power in the Maya Quiche document entitled "El Titulo de Totonicapan" (Land Title of Totonicapan) 

"  The lords used these symbols of rule, which came from where the sun rises, to pierce and cut up their bodies (for the blood sacrifice). There were nine mushroom stones for the Ajpop and the Ajpop Q'amja, and in each case four, three, two, and one staffs with the Quetzal's feathers and green feathers, together with garlands, the Chalchihuites precious stones, with the sagging lower jaw and the bundle of fire for the Temezcal steam bath."

 

Ethno-botanist Terrance McKenna, author of the book, "The Food of Gods" , proposed that the Soma beverage of the Rig Veda was a combination of water, cannabis indica, and the psilocybin mushroom. McKenna based his theory on the premise that the Amanita muscaria mushroom is widely recognized to be a poisonous mushroom, and that the Amanita muscaria mushroom does not produce a hallucinogenic experience. I will demonstrate using visual archaeological evidence that the Amanita muscaria mushroom or Fly agaric, was the "original Soma plant" as proposed by the late R. Gordon Wasson, but that over time it was replaced in certain areas by the more available psilocybin mushroom. 

In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the general word for mushrooms was nanacatl and that the intoxicating species, the Psilocybe mushroom, was called teonanacatl, a term Sahagun gives us, teo-, or teotl, meaning god, that which is divine or sacred, "the flesh of god" (Wasson, letter to Borhegyi, June 23, 1953).  The Psilocybe mushroom contains the substance psilocin and psilocybin, the active ingredient in LSD, that causes the mushroom hallucination that was described as "consciousness-expanding" during the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. The psilocybin mushroom is indigenous to the sub-tropical regions of the U.S, Mexico, and Central America. The plain or tripod mushroom stones, which carry no effigy on the stem (stipe), have been typically found at lower elevations and may indicate the ritual use of the psilocybe mushroom in these regions.

 

 

Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Marco Allegro, has written a controversial but thought-provoking study of psychotropic mushroom rituals in early Judeo-Christianity (1971).  Allegro in his book titled  "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross", strongly proposes the possibility that contemporary Judeo-Christian tradition may be traced to primitive fertility cults associated with the adoration of the fly agaric or Amanita muscaria mushroom (Bernard Lowy, 1971 New Records of Mushroom stones From Guatemala).

 

Allegro an Oxford-educated scholar was assigned to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran in 1947.  Allegro believed that the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, known as the Essenes, were religiously consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms, specifically the Amanita muscaria mushroom in their rituals. Allegro surmised that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was the original sacrament of the eucharist, that formed the basis of early Christian doctrines, including the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   

 

         Quoting John Marco Allegro....

"Thousands of years before Christianity, secret cults arose which worshiped the sacred mushroom — the Amanita Muscaria — which, for various reasons (including its shape and power as a drug) came to be regarded as a symbol of God on earth. When the secrets of the cult had to be written down, it was done in the form of codes hidden in folktales. This is the basic origin of the stories in the New Testament."

 

 

 

Mushrooms and mushroom imagery encoded in the mosaics at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, commissioned by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena,  built around 350 A.D. over a cave that Christians believe marks the birthplace of Jesus.

 

          Quoting John Marco Allegro....

"When the time came for the secrets of the mushroom cult to be written down to preserve them intact in a hostile world, it was done in a kind of code. – John Allegro, Sunday Mirror, April 19, 1970, p. 35

...the stories of Jesus are no more historically real than those of Adam and Eve, Jacob and Esau and even of Moses ... thanks to these discoveries about the origin of the languages of the Bible – Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and their related tongues – the stories of the New Testament have indeed been exposed as myths. ... when the Gospel writers speak of Jesus, Peter, James and John, and so on, they are really personifying the sacred mushroom – the Amanita muscaria. They are spinning stories from its cult-names...(John Allegro, Sunday Mirror, April 26, 1970, p. 28)

 

The Three Magi from the Romanesque Illuminated Manuscript, The St. Albans Psalter A.D. 1140. Note that the painting of the Three Magi, covertly depicts what I believe are encoded mushrooms in the tree on the left surmounted by a Fleur de lis symbol.

 

 

 

I believe that I have found sufficient visual evidence from the corpus of existing pre-Columbian art to identify this sacramental food as the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom. Like the Vedic god Soma, the Amanita muscaria mushroom of Mesoamerica assumes, from earliest times, the persona of the god itself. In Mesoamerica this god took the form of the underworld "were-jaguar".  

        

Above on the upper left, is a ceramic pre-Columbian mask that depicts the transformation of a human into a "were-jaguar," a half-human, half-jaguar deity first described and named in 1955 by archaeologist Matthew W. Stirling. The were-jaguar appears in the art of the ancient Olmecs as early as 1200 B.C.  I believe this mask symbolizes the soul's journey into the underworld where it will undergo jaguar transformation, decapitation and spiritual resurrection. Once again if you look closely, as "I discovered", you will see a Amanita muscaria mushroom (actual specimen shown in the photo on the right) encoded into the head and nose of the human side, while the left half of the mask depicts the effect of the Amanita mushroom as resulting in were-jaguar transformation. The were-jaguar eventually came to be worshiped and venerated throughout Central and South America. 

(photo above of the "Were Jaguar" from Prof. Gian Carlo Bojani Director of the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, Italy) (Photo of Amanita muscaria by Richard Fortey)   

Above on the lower left is a Late Classic Maya figurine (600-900 C.E.) photographed by Justin Kerr (K 656a). The figurine wears a headdress encoded with an Amanita muscaria mushroom. The figurine's contorted face depicts the "Olmec snarl", a common motif in Olmec art that I believe represents the mushroom's effect of jaguar transformation and the soul's mythical underworld journey. The figurine holds in his hands what appears to be a concave mirror. Mirrors were used by shamans, priests, and rulers in their rituals to see into the past and future and communicate with ancestors and gods. I believe that in many, if not most cases, this divine communication was conducted under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Mirrors were also a common ritual object in Central Asia, and China, and may have been introduced into Mesoamerica along with the mushroom cult and the Fleur de lis symbol.

  

     Photograph © Justin Kerr

Maya vase K2797, esoterically depicts a mushroom ceremony involving the Maya god known to scholars as K'awil, or God K, and identified as GII of the Palenque Triad. The abstract object on the far left has been identified as a mirror.

 

Above is a close up of a Late Classic Period (600-900 C.E) ceramic incense burner from the ancient Maya city of Palenque, in Chiapas Mexico. Palenque is home to a trinity of Maya gods known as the Palenque Triad. The god-king that's portrayed on the incense burner, wears a crown encoded with two X-symbols, and two Fleur de lis symbols, one on ether side of a deity that may represent G-I, or GII of the Palenque Triad, to whom Schellhas assigned the letters, God B and God K.  

                                         

Above is a Late Classic period (600-900 C.E) ceramic incense burner from Palenque, that portrays one of the Palenque gods as a fanged bearded deity, wearing the headdress of the Underworld Jaguar God encoded with a Fleur de lis symbol. 

 

No discussion of the beginnings of mushroom worship in the New World would be complete without at least a brief mention of possible Old World origins. The prevailing anthropological view of ancient New World history is that its first human inhabitants came from Asia but, having arrived and spread throughout the length and breadth of the two continents, and they developed their own complex cultures totally independent of outside influence or inspiration. Beginning with Franz Boas, American anthropologists adopted an essentially isolationist point of view. The peoples of the New World, they argued, were fully capable of developing civilizations as sophisticated as any found in the Old World.  Suggestions to the contrary were dismissed as, at best, lacking in hard archaeological evidence, and at worst, fanciful, racist, or demeaning. As a result, Americanists, in general, have ruled out all considerations of possible trans-oceanic contact as lacking in legitimacy.

This view was strongly challenged by a number of anthropologists around the middle of the twentieth century. Among them were Robert Heine-Geldern, an Austrian pioneer in the field of Southeast Asian studies, and Mesoamerican archaeologist Gordon Ekholm. They argued that numerous Old World-New World contacts may have occurred, the majority of them by boat. Ekholm proposed multiple transpacific contacts between the Old and New Worlds beginning as early as 3000 B.C., While Heine Geldern was fascinated by, and wrote about, the significant parallels he found in the symbolic arts of Southern Asia and Middle America, Ekholm made an investigation of possible Old World/New World connections a major focus of his career. Heine-Geldern speculated that the Chinese, during the Chou and Han dynasties, undertook planned voyages to and from the western hemisphere as early as 700 B.C.E.

At the time, an abundance of convincing evidence appeared in print supplied by Ekholm and other anthropologists as well as by scholars from different disciplines (Riley, et al, 1971).  In addition to providing examples of probable animal, plant, and technological exchange between the continents, they argued that most American prehistorians, being landlubbers, underestimated the ability of ancient seamen to build a craft capable of navigating the oceans. These well-reasoned and documented arguments notwithstanding, acceptance by American anthropologists of the possibility of significant trans-oceanic contacts between the Americas prior to 1492 CE was not forthcoming. Even with the recent awareness that early humans used boats to explore their world as early as 50,000 years ago, when they reached the shores of Australia, this denial has remained as intractably lodged in the minds of New World archaeologists as the possibility of a Worldwide mushroom-based religion.
 
 

The Mexican god-king Quetzalcoatl the so-called "Feathered Serpent", and his Maya god-king counterparts known as Kukulcan, and Gukumatz, were all reputed to be the inventors of the science of measuring time, and that feathered serpents represent the bondage of time, and its cyclical nature. The fear that the gods had destroyed previous creations and that their own world might meet a similar fate, led Maya calendar priests to make calendric and astronomical calculations as precise as those that are made today by modern astronomers. 

Dr. Paul Kirchhoff was of the opinion that the Aztec and Maya ritual calendar was a Chinese invention. (The Ancient Past of Mexico 1966, Alma M. Reed p.41-42), and Dr. George C. Vaillant noted that at the ancient site of Zacatenco, in the central valley of Mexico, a settlement that flourished around 1100 B.C., had burials with  bodies covered with red cinnabar (signifying immortality) and buried with jade funerary offerings, a burial custom also found in China (Alma Reed, 1966, p.17).

Maya mathematics also included the concept of zero, an invention by the ancient Maya that most Mesoamerican scholars propose developed independently in the New World. The concept of zero which was an invention also used by the Babylonians and the Hindus, is most likely linked to the origin of the calendars and hieroglyphic writing in the New World.

Stephan de Borhegyi noted that mushroom stones first appear in the Preclassic period in the highlands of Guatemala and at sites along the Pacific slope.  He also noted that many of the mushroom stones, especially those dating between 1000 B.C.E. and 100 C.E. depicted images of toads, as well as snakes, birds, jaguars, monkeys, and humans. In 1957, Borhegyi published a typological breakdown of mushroom stones according to their chronology and distribution noting that the mushroom stones from the lower altitudes were of the late type and either plain or tripod (Wasson and Wasson, 1957, Borhegyi de, S.F., 1957b.).  

 
   

Borhegyi also noted that mushroom stones that carry an effigy of a human, monkey, bird, jaguar, toad and other animals, have been mostly found at the higher elevations of the Guatemala Highlands. This is an area of woodlands and pine forests where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance. The Amanita muscaria mushroom, considered a deadly poisonous mushroom by many (Gerrit J. Keizer 1996, p.156), contains muscarine and ibotenic acid, the toxins or chemicals that cause the powerful psychoactive effects.

Some of the earliest mushroom stones which date to Olmec times bear toad images carved on their base. The discovery of numerous toad bones in Olmec burials at San Lorenzo suggests that the Olmecs may have used other mind-altering substances, such as hallucinogenic toad toxin, in various ritual practices (Coe, 1994:69; Furst, 1990: 28; Grube, 2001:294).   Certain toads discard a toxin from the skin when touched, that can be dried and can be smoked or taken orally (Eva Hopman, 2008).

Gordon Wasson was the first to call attention to the pervasiveness of the toad and it's association with the term toadstool, with the intoxicating or poisonous mushrooms in Europe. Wasson noted the recurrence throughout the northern hemisphere of a toad deity associated with the entheogenic mushroom (Wasson 1980, p.184-185).    

          Ethno-Mycologist  R. Gordon Wasson...

"In the association of these ideas we strike a vein that must go back to the remotest times in Eurasia, to the Stone Age: the link between the toad, the female sex organs, and the mushroom, exemplified in the Mayan languages and the mushroom stones of the Maya Highlands. Man must have brought this association across the Bering Strait (or the land bridge that replaced it in the ice ages) as part of his intellectual luggage.”

Mushroom stones bearing toad images carved on their base (depicted above), have been found throughout Chiapas, Mexico, the Guatemala highlands, and along the Pacific slope as far south as El Salvador.  (Borhegyi, 1957, 1961, 1963, 1965a, 1965b). 

 

     

Above is a Type C mushroom stone, depicting a mushroom (toadstool), emerging from the mouth of an upended toad. The late Maya art historian Tatiana Proskouriakoff demonstrated that in Mayan hieroglyphs the upended toad represents the symbol of rebirth (Coe, 1993:196).

 

The historical evidence came to Borhegyi's attention through his extensive correspondence with  Wasson.  Wasson  pointed him toward reports of ritual use of hallucinogenic mushrooms among the Aztecs in a number of Spanish chronicles written shortly after the Spanish conquest. Wasson also directed him toward reports of the existence of modern-day ritual use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in various parts of Mexico and, in particular, among the Mazatec Indians of Oaxaca.

 

  In a letter to R. Gordon Wasson, Stephan de Borhegyi writes..... 

  Dear Gordon,

“I discovered two interesting sentences relating to mushrooms from Indian Chronicles, written around 1554 by natives. In the Popol Vuh, translated from the Spanish version by Delia Goetz and Sylvanus Griswold Morley, University of Oklahoma press, Norman Oklahoma, 1950, page 192. “And when they found the young of the birds and the deer, they went at once to a place the blood of the deer and of the birds in the mouth of the stones that were Tohil, and Avilix.  As soon as the blood had been drunk by the gods, the stones spoke, when the priest and the sacrificers came, when they came to bring their offerings.  And they did the same before their symbols, burning pericon (?) and holom-ocox (the head of the mushroom), holom=head, and ocox= mushroom”.

“I think this section definitely indicates that the Quiche used mushrooms in connection with their religious ceremonies.  I even wonder what made the stones speak “?

“In the annals of the Cakchiquel’s, translated from the Cakchiquel Maya by Adrian Recinos and Delia Goetz, University of Oklahoma press, Norman, Oklahoma 1953, pp. 82-83. “At that time, too, they began to worship the devil.  Each seven days, each 13 days, they offered him sacrifices, placing before him, fresh resin, green branches, and fresh bark of the trees, and burning before him a small cat, image of the night.  They took him also the mushrooms, which grow at the foot of the trees, and they drew blood from their ears.”

 

From the time of Wasson and Borhegyi's initial meeting in Guatemala in 1953 until Borhegyi's untimely death in 1969, the two scientists worked in close cooperation and shared a voluminous correspondence of over 500 letters. As the result of their collaborative efforts they both surmised that if the mushroom stones did, indeed, represent a mushroom cult, then the mushroom itself was an iconographic metaphor, and the mushroom stone effigies would supply the clues necessary to decipher their meaning.   

          Quoting R. Gordon Wasson...

 "Some Middle American specialists may challenge my assumption of a connection between the "mushroom stones", which ceased to be made centuries before Columbus arrived on these shores, and today's surviving mushroom cult." .... "For years I had only an assumption to go on , but now, thanks to discoveries made by the late Stephan F. de Borhegyi  and us, I think we can tie the two together in a way that will satisfy any doubter"   (Wasson,1972:188n)

 

 

In 1951 Carl Hentze (Chapter III, pp.39-54) first noted the close similarities between the mushroom-shaped stone and pottery objects of Mesoamerica with those from Shang period China. Hentze proposed that both the Chinese and Mesoamerican mushroom-shaped objects represented temples or ancestral shrines used in rituals connected with the departed spirits of clan ancestors.

Dennis Lou (1964?),  noted a resemblances between the Mesoamerican mushroom stones, and certain Chinese ancestor "tablets" of the Shang dynasty, and suggests that the mushroom-shaped stones of Mesoamerica are derived from the early Chinese tablets. Lou noted early literary sources refer to those Shang dynasty, objects as being not only of stone and pottery but also of marble, jade, silk, bronze, and wood. (Trans-Pacific Contacts symposium in Spain 1964)  

 

        Shijiahe jade figure on the right with mushroom head, 2000 BCE, China.

 


Perhaps not so surprisingly, the emblem of the Fleur de lis in pre-Columbian art and iconography carries the same symbolism of "King" or "Lord", linked to a triad or Trinity of gods, a World Tree, and a mushroom of immortality.  

  

Above on the left is an albite-jadeite figurine of an Olmec ruler or deity, wearing a helmet crowned with a trefoil element reminiscent of the Old World Fleur de lis symbol.

It is reasonable to propose that a belief in the redemptive power and divinity of the mushroom and the symbol of the Fleur de lis could have spread from one culture to another. The first mushroom cult, identified by its powerful artistic expression of the were-jaguar, dominated Olmec culture as early as 1500 B.C.  As early as 850 B.C. a were-jaguar cult begins to appear in South America, identified in the religious art of the Chavin and Paracas cultures of Peru.

                 

         

Above is a ceramic polychrome flask from Peru, South America Wari, (Huari) culture AD 500 to 1000, that depicts a feline with three Fleur de lis symbols encoded on its back and tail (Metropolitan Museum of Art).         

The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mesoamerica (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.) rising up in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, at the centers of San Lorenzo, La Venta, Laguna de Los Cerros, and Tres Zapotes, in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco. The influence of these ceremonial centers extended in all directions and Olmec culture seemingly laid many of the foundations for the Zapotec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Toltec, Mixtec, and Aztec civilizations that were to follow.
 
After closely examining the archaeological and historical evidence, we find many parallels between the ancient Vedic religions of Asia with the mythology and religion of the Americas. 
 
My studies have led me to conclude that all variants of the Toltec/Aztec gods Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc, and their Classic Maya counterparts, Kukulcan, Gucumatz, Tohil, K´awil and Chaac, though they may have different names and be associated with somewhat different attributes in different culture areas, are linked to the planet Venus through divine rulership, lineage and descent, and linked to a Trinity, or triad of gods.

The earliest evidence of writing in Mesoamerica appears on a stelae at the ancient Zapotec ceremonial site of Monte Alban. New evidence would suggest that the ceremonial center at Monte Alban, was Olmec influenced, and begins to develop under Olmec influence about 700-800 B.C.  Radiocarbon dates by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus, of the oldest Zapotec palisade, range between 1680 and 1410 B.C.E. (Charles C.Mann 2006, p.237). The stelae with inscriptions officially known as the danzante with glyphs (or Monument 3 at San Jose Mogote), was carved sometime around 600 B.C. (Josephy 1991, p.159). 

Spanish chronicler Pedro Perez de Zamora, in his "Relacion de Teticpac",  Papeles de Nueva Espana 1580, reported the use of sacred mushrooms among the Zapotec Indians, in the Valley of Oaxaca. (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, p. 37 1962).

           

Above is the list of the 20 Zapotec day signs from Javier Urcid (2000). The Zapotec glyph on the bottom right, encodes a symbol into the headdress which I propose is a pre-Conquest or New World version of the Old World Fleur de lis symbol representing  ruler or lord. In Mesoamerica, as in the Old World, the royal line of the king was considered to be of divine origin, linked to the Tree of Life. 

         

Above is a Olmec influenced Zapotec urn from (Tomb 7) Monte Alban, in Oaxaca Mexico.  The Zapotec urn portrays a ruler or deity with facial features that appear remarkably similar to those found in the cultures of Asia. The Zapotecs were a pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca of southern Mesoamerica. Note the familiar "Olmec snarl" symbolism of a snarling underworld jaguar. The ruler or deity portrayed on the urn is crowned with a symbol of rulership that I believe represents a New World version of  the Old World Fleur de Lis. (photograph of Zapotec urn from http://roadslesstraveled.us/monte-alban/)

                               

             

Above are drawings of Olmec stone celts (900-500 BCE), the drawing on the left portraying a winged deity crowned with an emblem of lordship, that I will demonstrate is a Fleur de lis symbol. 

The earliest evidence of a mushroom-based religious cult in the New World, appears to date to approximately the same time period, around 1000-400 BC, and the beginnings in Mesoamerica of Olmec culture (S.F. de Borhegyi to Wasson, June 14th 1953). This sophisticated culture, with its distinctive art style and mythology, pyramids and megalithic stone sculpture adorned with the images of gods and rulers, appeared quite suddenly in full blossom, first along the Pacific coast of Guatemala and Mexico, and shortly thereafter in what is now the state of Veracruz, Mexico.

 

Above is an Olmec ceramic whistle, that most likely comes from the San Lorenzo phase of Olmec culture, 1200-400 B.C.E.  These infantile baby-faced figurines, many of which depict the symbolism of a snarling jaguar, and facial features that appear remarkably similar to those found in the cultures of Asia, are a distinctive feature in Olmec art. This figure appears to represent a baby holding on to a tree or gigantic Amanita muscaria mushroom. According to ethno-mycologist Gastón Guzmán, one of the effects of the Amanita muscaria mushroom experience is to see objects as gigantic in size. (Guzman, 2010). (Photo of Amanita muscaria, Fly Agaric Mushrooms from Salvia Space Ethnobotanicals)  

Mesoameicans believed that this divine knowledge was bestowed upon them by the same god who gave them mushrooms (page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis).

                                                                           

Above is a closeup view of the Wind God Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl bestowing sacred mushrooms to his children. The image is from page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis, and depicts Quetzalcoatl carrying a mushroom god on his back and wearing a red mask with fangs that identifies him as the Wind God, Ehecatl.

This god, identified as Quetzalcoatl, the avatar of the planet Venus, was believed to have created both the universe and humankind. He also gave to man the sciences, the calendar and writing, and the knowledge to fix certain days for feasts and blood sacrifice. Rulers bestowed with this divine knowledge were believed to be incarnates of this god.

We know from the early chronicles that Quetzalcoatl (known in the Maya area as Kukulcan and Gucumatz) was a Toltec ruler. He was apotheosized as Venus and, according to archaeoastronomer Susan Milbrath (1980:177),  Quetzalcoatl in the Mixteca-Puebla codices is also identified with Venus. Quetzalcoatl's mushroom ritual of underworld jaguar transformation and Tlaloc Venus resurrection was so sacred that, if one gave one's own life in sacrifice the act emulated Quetzalcoatl, himself.  (Wauchope, Ekholm and Bernal, p.323)   
 

The ancient cultures of the Nahua and Maya developed similar ideologies and mythologies from the same Olmec roots. The sacred mushroom ritual shared by these cultures was intended,  I believe, to establish direct communication between Earth and Heaven (sky) in order to unite man with god. As told in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the ancient Quiche Maya,  the sun-god of the Maya, Kinich Ajaw, and his Aztec equivalent, Huitzilopochtli, would be extinguished in the underworld if not nourished with the blood of human hearts. The Nahua and Maya God-King Quetzalcoatl's essence in the world as a culture hero was to establish this communication. Quetzalcoatl taught that mankind must make sacrifices to transcend this world in order to achieve immortality. There is good reason to believe that this ritual was regularly performed prior to sacrifice, whether the sacrifice was performed willingly by the participant, or carried out  by another individual.

 

   Quoting ethno-archaeologist Peter T. Furst:

"It is tempting to suggest that the Olmecs might have been instrumental in the spread  of mushroom cults throughout Mesoamerica, as they seem to have been of other significant aspects of early Mexican civilization (Furst 1976, p. 79)."

 

Not enough is really known about the ancient Olmec people, the language which they spoke, what they may have called themselves, and where this ancient civilization originally came from. Aztec poems recorded by Spanish scribes, speak of a land called Tamoanchan, which translated from the Mayan language means "Land of the Serpent".   It was said that "this was a land settled long before the founding of Teotihuacan, where there was a government for a long time, and it was a paradise of gods, ancestors, and humans".  

 

          Quoting Mexican Art Historian Miguel Covarrubias....

 "The mystic spirit of "Olmec" art suggests the presence of highly intellectual sorcerers, who may have developed the astronomical knowledge basic for weather predictions and time-reckoning, culminating in the development of such liturgical traits as religious architecture, secret symbolic art, and glyphic writing."

"Olmec art has significant traits suggesting an early stage in the development of the Classic cultures,  particularly the Maya, Teotihuacan, Tajin, and Monte Alban" (1954:79)

 

    

Above is Monument 1, from San Martin Pajapan,Veracruz, that depicts a kneeling Olmec ruler or deity wearing an elaborate headdress crowned with the Fleur-de-lis emblem. The figure appears to be grasping the trunk of the World Tree, ready to lift it into an upright position, an act alluding to Olmec/Maya cosmological mythology, in which a creator god separated the earth from the sky by setting the World Tree upright between the two (Freidel, Schele, and Parker 1993, p.132). Drawing by Linda Schele of Pre-Classic (Olmec?) iconography. The ancient Maya, as well as all Mesoamericans believed that the gods who created the present world raised the sky by placing a vertical axis, a World Tree signifying up and down at the center of the cosmos.

Around the end of the Late Preclassic period (900 B.C. to A.D. 250) writing begins to appear sporadically in Mesoamerica, celebrating time honoring events, and the great deeds of Mesoamerican kings.

In Mesoamerica we  find carved stela of Maya kings dressed in elaborate costumes (deity impersonation) that reinforce the king's power as a god of life and death and divine resurrection.

  

                    

Above is the famous La Mojarra Stela, dubbed Stela 1 of La Mojarra, an Epi-Olmec carved monument that was found under the waters of the Acula River near the village of La Mojarra in 1986 in Veracruz, Mexico.  The stela dates to the 2nd century B.C. and records a script with 465 glyph s, making it one of Mesoamerica's earliest known written records ("A Decipherment of the Epi-Olmec Hieroglyphic Writing" in the journal of Science, vol. 259, 19 March 1993, by Justeson and Kaufman).

Terrence Kaufman and Lyle Campbell, two linguists  studying the diffusion of languages in Mesoamerica, postulate that the glyphs on Stela 1, and the language of the ancient Olmec, of San Lorenzo,  the  "mother culture" of New World civilization, was Mixe-Zoque.
 
Note that the ruler on Stela 1, (impersonating a bird deity) is portrayed holding a ritual beverage in his right hand (Soma?) and wearing an elaborate bird headdress, encoded with a trefoil symbol that I would argue represents a Fleur de lis emblem, symbolizing divine kingship. The headdress takes the form of a supernatural bird known to scholars  as the Principal Bird deity, that sits atop the World Tree located at the center of the universe.

By the Classic period (200-650 CE.) the Maya's powerful gods had taken on the multiple aspects so basic to their concept of the supernatural, and yet so confusing to the Western mind. K'awil, and Chaac (to whom Schellhas assigned the letters God K and God B), had become sources of dynastic rule. K'awil's image, depicted as a serpent-footed figurine called the manikin scepter,was held by rulers as a symbol of divine power. Additionally, the Maya god K’awil has been identified by scholars as the Quiche Maya counterpart of the god Tohil.

 

                   
  

Above is Stela 11, from the ancient Maya ruins of Yaxchilan, in the state of Chiapas Mexico. The monument portrays the powerful king wearing an elaborate feathered headdress, and a pectoral which encodes the Fleur-de-lis emblem as a symbol of divine kingship.  In this scene the ruler has been identified as Bird Jaguar the Great, the  king of Yaxchilan. The king wears the bearded mask of the Maya god of decapitation known as Chac (also spelled Chaac) or Chac-Xib-Chac. The king holds the God K Manikin Scepter in his left hand, depicting the serpent-footed, long lipped, Maya god known as K'awil, over the heads of three sacrificial victims. Designated as "God B," by Schellhas, Chac, like his Aztec-Toltec counterpart Tlaloc, represents the embodiment of lightning, rain and thunder. The king's conjuring up of the Maya god K'awil manifested the spiritual world within the material world.
 

                        

Above is the image of a Maya ruler, who wears an elaborate feathered headdress crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol. The Maya king, known only as Ruler C from Coba, holds a "Double-headed-serpent-bar," also known as the Bicephalic ceremonial bar, a royal symbol that has been identified as a symbolic representation of the "World Tree", known among the ancient Maya as the Wakah Chan, meaning "Raised-Up-Sky", a gateway or portal to the spirit world. In Maya mythology when First Father raised the World Tree he "entered" and he became the Tree, and that this act of entering, or perching in the Tree's topmost branches as the new Principal Bird Deity was an event that magically organized all space and time in the three levels of the universe, the Underworld, earth plane, and the Upper world (Douglas Gillette 1997, p.37).
 
Legendary archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley believed the Maya ceremonial bar symbolized the highest religious rank during the Classic period (A.D. 250-900). The Maya god K'awil also known as God K (designated by Schellhas), is the god most frequently depicted emerging from the  Double-headed-Serpent Bar during the Classic period. It was believed to summon the deities associated with immortality linked to bloodletting rituals and sacred mushrooms. The ceremonial bar likely represents a cosmological icon of the "World Tree", the axis mundi, which was an up and down portal linked to the dualistic nature of the planet Venus as a Morning Star and Evening Star.
 
The inscriptions on Stela 20 reveal that the ruler's name may have been given the title kaloomte’ (see E1 of stela text, Gronemeyer 2004), a title  comparable to the supreme rank of “emperor” (Harrison, 1999 p. 92). The ruler is portrayed wearing the elaborate headdress of the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac, also known simply as Chaac from the later codices. Archaeologists propose that Ruler C is portrayed impersonating Chaac on Stela 20 at his accession, or resurrection from the underworld. This suggests that Ruler C entered the afterlife impersonating this deity. Chac-Xib-Chac  is a long-lipped deity with both reptilian and fish-like features. He wields an axe and is commonly depicted in Maya art associated with the ritual of underworld decapitation. Because of Chaac's reptilian attributes he is commonly mistaken for the serpent-footed Maya deity known as K'awil (also spelled K'awiil, or Kauil) the other so-called long-lipped Maya deity. K'awil known as the Lord of Lineages, is believed by many scholars to be a version of G II of the Palenque Triad. Chaac, or Chac-Xib-Chac, has more fish-like features, and is and is frequently depicted wearing a shell earflare and a shell diadem in his headdress depicting an X-shaped symbol that I identify as a portal to underworld, linked to mushrooms and underworld decapitation.               

Maya kings may have believed they were actually communicating with the god K'awil when they performed sacred bloodletting rituals after consuming the intoxicating beverage, that opened the door to the spirit world. 

Because the glyphs on Stela 20 are too eroded to be read, the ruler portrayed on Stela 20 is known only as Ruler C. However its known that Maya rulers who impersonated the deity Chac-Xib-Chac at their death, resurrected from the Underworld not as Chac-Xib-Chac, but as the reincarnation of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau in the likeness of the god K'awil. Maya researchers inform us that, when we see K'awil's burning torch piercing the king's forehead or cranium, the king is being reborn at the precise moment of his resurrection and apotheosis, and is reborn as the deity Unen K'awiil or Baby K'awiil" (Stone and Zender 2011, p. 31) . An excellent example of the king's underworld transformation can be found in the inscriptions at Tikal in which the name given to this king is Sihyaj Chan K'awiil, which means "heavenly K'awiil is born" (Stone and Zender, Reading Maya Art,  2011, p. 149).

Archaeologist Michael Coe mentions in his book, "Reading the Maya glyphs" (page 112), that K'awil's glyph is almost always a logogram but that a smoking mirror or forehead devise are also commonly used. Coe also mentions that the bar-and-dot notation of the number "nine" is associated with K'awil, possibly indicating an alternate name for K'awil, a name found in Bishop Landa's Relacion, as Bolon Ts'akab. I have noted that directly in front of Ruler C, there is a bar glyph with four dots indicating the number nine, and that there are glyphs that mention the seating of Lord Kinich Ahau, or that of the Ruler of Coba portrayed on Stela 20, as "Kinich Ahau u ba K'awiil"  

Ruler C may have had the distinguished title of Kaloomte, as a "living king", but at his death, and his accession from the underworld, he resurrected as a reincarnation of the Sun God known as Kinich Ahau (also spelled Ajaw, and likely GIII of the Palenque Triad?). I believe that the open hand glyph meaning "to raise up", directly in front of Ruler C, tells us that "he was raised" or that the "World Tree was raised", an opening of a divine portal, and that the glyph directly below the open hand glyph  may mean "he arrived", and that just below that glyph is the glyph already identified as a title that reads, "Kinich Ahau" or "Great Sun Lord". So rather than use the title Kaloomte which is a bit sketchy anyways because the upper glyphs are so eroded and unreadable, we can conclude that Ruler C resurrected from the underworld reborn as baby jaguar but in the likeness of K'awil.

This would imply that Maya rulers who impersonated the god Chac-Xib-Chac at death, resurrected from the Underworld not as Chac-Xib-Chac but in the likeness of the god K'awil. Maya researchers inform us that when we see K'awil's burning torch piercing the king's forehead or cranium that the king at the precise moment of his resurrection and apotheosis, is reborn as the deity "Unen K'awiil or Baby K'awiil" (Stone and Zender 2011, p. 31). The ruler also wears clothing encoded with a 3-dot motif, that I believe is code for a trinity of gods, know as the three hearth stones of creation.

Archaeological evidence of trinity of creator gods among the ancient Maya, also appear at the sites of Cerros, Uaxactum, Caracol and at Tikal, during the Early Classic Period 250-400 C.E. (Proskouriakoff 1978:116) (Milbrath 1999:102).  

 

         Maya archaeologist David Freidel...

"as the most ancient and sacred of all Maya deities, these three gods played a crucial role in the earliest symbolism of kingship that we saw at Cerros, Tikal, and Uaxactun. " (Maya Cosmos 1993)

 

The Vedic-Hindu gods and goddesses of East Indian philosophy are in many ways very similar to the pantheon of gods of Mesoamerica, for they too derived much of their strength from the sacrifices of men. Vedic Hinduism and the religions of Mesoamerica both believed in a three-tiered cosmos, with celestial gods traveling back and forth from the heavens to the Underworld, and saw a triadic unity in their gods (Hindu triad, and Palenque Triad) that was essentially related to cosmic forces such as wind, rain-lightening, and fire, and the unity of creation, preservation, and destruction creating the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In Hindu mythology Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma, make up the Hindu Trinity of gods.

       

                   

The three faced ceramic incense burner above comes from the ancient Olmec-Maya site of Comalcalco, located in Tabasco, Mexico near the mouth of the Usumacinta River. Researchers at this archaeological site now argue in favor of transoceanic contact between the Old World and Comalcalco. The site is unique for substituting what is now believed to be Old World fired brick technology using a special type of kiln, with stone masonry. Comalcalco is believed to have been occupied by an infamous group of great seafarers known as the Putun, who were most likely the infamous Itzas who were believed to be Chontal speakers (Culbert 1973, p148).  The incense burner above depicts the faces of three deities all with tongue sticking out, representing what may be a Hindu inspired conception of a Maya trinity. The Vedic inspired Hindu concept of a Trinity, called the Trimurti, personified the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction as the deities Brama, Vishnu, and Shiva. The so-called Maya Trinity is known to scholars as GI, GII, and GIII. Note that two deities appear to have a stylized Fleur de lis emblem encoded in their headdress as a symbol of divinity, and that the central figure with tongue sticking out, and T-shaped Ik glyph encoded in his headdress, is an esoteric symbol of  the Wind God, which is arguably the same shape as the Aryan Tau cross. I found the T-shaped Ik glyph in Mesoamerica to be intimately connected with the Fleur-de-lis, and tied to the births of the Maya god GI, (Chac)  and the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind. (Photograph © Rob Mohr, 2010)  

 

Above is a three-sided figurine from Veracruz Mexico, represents a three-in-one deity, or Holy Trinity of Gods in Mesoamerica.


       

Above is a photograph and drawing of a ball court relief panel from the archaeological site of El Tajin, in Veracruz Mexico. Upon noticing the turtle in this creation scene a number of years ago, I knew right away that this ballcourt scene was a New World version of the ancient Hindu/Buddhist myth known as "The Churning of the Milk's Ocean", a creation story often depicted in Hindu/Buddhist art. The Churning of the Milk Ocean, is told in several ancient Hindu texts, the most popular version of the Indian myth being the Eighth Canto of the Bhagavata Purana (Richard J. Williams p.2 2009). The story begins at the suggestion of Vishnu, that the gods and demons churn the primeval ocean in order to obtain Amrita, (Soma) which will guarantee them immortality. 

As it turns out I wasn't the first researcher to make the connection. David  Kelley noted the similarities years ago, but as mentioned earlier his research of trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic voyages was ignored. Kelley as mentioned earlier, noted the striking similarities between the Late Chow decorative styles of China of 700-200 B.C.E. and those of the El Tajin culture of Veracruz, Mexico, of A.D. 500-1000 (Stephen C. Jett 1971, p.44) (Heine-Geldern, 1959a).

Referring to the Classic Veracruz art style of El Tajin, archaeologist Michael D. Coe, today's unofficial  "Dean of Maya studies", and author of the book,  Mexico, From the Olmec to the Aztecs, Coe is quoted as saying  ...

"This style can be mistaken for no other in Mexico; on the contrary, its closest affinities seem to lie, for no apparent reason, across the Pacific with the bronze and Iron Age cultures of China" (Michael D. Coe, 1994, p.115)

The art style at El Tajin is reminiscent of the Cotzumulhuapa culture on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, and there is little doubt that there must have been close contact between the two regions.

 
Although the Vedic God-plant Soma's actual identity has been lost through time, Soma was described as a god, and as a "heavenly liquor" that was guarded by a Serpent. Note that in the drawing above of the Tajin ballcourt panel, that a dual headed serpent is depicted at the bottom of the scene, emerging from the ocean's depth. The turtle at the bottom of the scene, may indeed represent the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu who acts as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism which is composed of an intertwined serpent being pulled at both ends by sky deities (four cardinal directions) who create the new born Sun (Vishnu ?). Note that the tail of the serpent end directly above the symbol of the new born Sun just above the turtle in a three-lobed stylized design of the Fleur-de-lis emblem, esoterically alluding I believe to the trinity of creator gods in Vedic mythology. The three arrows penetrating the Sun in the scene alludes to the triad and the Sun's life giving rays of light. If this ballcourt scene does represent Hindu-Buddhist mythology, and I feel certain that it does, than the two deities behind the central characters hold containers or ritual buckets in their hands filled with the Soma beverage, pressed from sacred mushrooms.
  

The great city of El Tajin in Veracruz, Mexico, is an extensive archaeological site that boast a minimum of 18 ball courts, an indication that the inhabitants there were obsessed not only with the ball game, but with human sacrifice and decapitation.

      

The drawing above is of a carved relief panel from the vertical side walls of the South Ball Court at El Tajin, in Veracruz, Mexico. The carved panel depicts an individual, a ruler or deity with were-jaguar fangs, in the sacred act of drawing blood from his penis. Note that the figure in the water below receiving the blood offering, wears a fish headdress, which may be a symbolic reference to a mythological ancestor from a previous world age, who survived a world ending flood by being changed into a fish. The bearded god hovering above with two bodies, may represent Quetzalcoatl in his twin aspects as the planet Venus representing both the Evening Star and Morning Star.
 
Most importantly, note that in the carved relief panel there are what appear to me to be tiny mushrooms encoded on the limbs of the Tree of Life just left of center.

 

                                  

                 QUOTING RESEARCHER RICHARD MERRICK...

"In the Hari Purana, the god Vishnu is shown as having assumed the form of a fish, with a human head, in order to reclaim the Vedas lost during the deluge. Having enabled Visamitra to escape with all his tribe in the ark, Vishnu remains with them for some time and gave them instruction".

"This narrative is probably the original story behind the Babylonian god Oannes, described by Berossus in the 3rd century BC as the man-fish who arrived from the sea and taught the Babylonians agriculture, writing, geometry and mathematics. This in turn is cognate with the Biblical story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and Noah returning from the sea in his ark". (From Richard Merrick, Venus blueprint ?)

               
In both hemispheres the symbol we recognize as the Fleur de lis is associated with mythological deities of a serpent, feline, and giant bird, all associated with a Tree of Life, and a trinity of creator gods.
 
       

A Fleur de lis symbol appears in this mural scene from the Temple of Feathered Conches at the ancient city of Teotihuacan in Highland Mexico. The green quetzal bird as well as the green quetzal-macaw are avatars of the god-king Quetzalcoatl, alluding to the green bird that sits atop the World Tree, the so-called axis mundi, the central portal or world pillar, associated with the color green, that connects the lower world with the upper world.   

Although Soma's actual identity has been lost through time, Soma was described as a god, and as a "heavenly liquor" that was guarded by a Serpent.

     

Above is a closeup scene taken from the pre-Conquest manuscript known as the Codex Laud. The scene, I believe, portrays the serpent deity Quetzalcoatl the Feathered Serpent as the World Tree, encoded with three Fleur de lis symbols, alluding to a trinity of creator gods in Mesoamerica.

In the Mayan languages the word chan or kan means both sky and snake, and is code for the vision-serpent-sky portal and alludes to the path the gods and ancestral dead travel in their journey in and out of the Underworld during bloodletting ceremonies, and at death and resurrection. In both hemispheres serpents are associated with the Tree of Life and immortality by virtue of renewing themselves, through the shedding of their skin. 

The Feathered Serpent, is one of the oldest and the most important deities of Mesoamerica. In Aztec accounts, the Feathered Serpent, known as Quetzalcoatl turns himself into a serpent and then back again into a god with human attributes and form. Quetzalcoatl’s name represents a blending of serpent and bird; the quetzal, a blue-green bird that inhabits the cloud forests of Mesoamerica, and coatl, the Nahua word describing both sky and serpent. Among the Mixtecs of Oaxaca, Quetzalcoatl was known by his calendrical name "9 Wind."  The Maya of Yucatan called him Kukulcan.  

                    

Above is a closeup scene from a pre-Conquest codex that depicts the offering of a sacrament to a double headed serpent deity. Note that the sacrament is esoterically encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol, code for divinity and immortality.    

The first depictions of double-headed birds and serpents in Mesoamerica goes back to Olmec times, with both deriving from the Olmec Dragon. This mythical creature represents the principal sky god who may derive zoomorphically from the harpy eagle (Miller and Taube, 1993 p.126).  Images of two-headed birds and serpents are found throughout Mesoamerica and South America, and are also commonly found in rock art on remote Easter Island.  The two headed mythological bird of Hindu mythology called the Gandaberunda (also known as the Berunda) is depicted often as an intricately sculptured motif in Hindu temples. The antiquity of the double headed bird and serpent in Hindu mythology may date back as far as 2000 BC.   


 

The hallucinogenic mushroom cult, which has survived to this day among certain tribes like the Zapotec, Chinantec, and Mazatec Indians of Mexico, has been little reported among the present day Maya (S.F de Borhegyi,1961, 498-504). 

That it may well have been in use in Pre-Hispanic times, however, is suggested by early dictionary sources which describe a mushroom the ancient Maya called xibalbaj okox meaning “underworld mushrooms”, and k’aizalab okox, meaning “lost-judgment mushrooms." The Mayan word for mushroom in Keqchi  is ocox (Spenard 2006:72). Both Wasson and Guzmán believe that mushroom stones were modeled  after the Amanita muscaria. (Guzmán, 2002:4).  In a letter to Wasson (June 30, 1962)  It has been reported however that pottery mushrooms have been excavated at Maya Lowland sites like El Mirador and Berriozabal in the Maya Rainforest, and in 1962  archaeologist Richard E. W. Adams reported finding several pottery mushroom specimens in the Maya Rainforest at the Olmec influenced site of Altar de Sacrificios (Borhegyi, 1963 Vol.28, No.3, p.330).

Despite all the evidence of the religious use of mushrooms recorded in the pre-Columbian codices and described in the Spanish chronicles, the academic and archaeological community as a whole has been reluctant to recognize and accept the important cultural and religious role played by mushrooms in ancient New World society. Both my father, and Gordon Wasson noted this fact over a half century ago. Though both added enormously to the body of published ethnographic and archaeological information on the subject, it remains to this day virtually unknown. 

     

    

Above are ancient Hindu-Buddhist artifacts from the Old World, that I propose  encode the Amanita muscaria mushroom, as the Vedic-Hindu-Buddhist god Soma... "Hidden in Plain Sight" . 

 

The belief in a "World Tree" or "Tree of Life" that interconnects the upper world with the underworld, is a concept that has it's origin in the Old World. Throughout northern and central Asia, the Amanita muscaria mushrooms grow in a symbiotic relationship beneath giant pine and birch trees. This fact likely gave rise to belief in a Tree of Life, and in Asia it was believed to have been surmounted by a spectacular bird, capable of soaring to the heights, where the gods meet in conclave. (from Furst 1976, p.102)  There are repeated references to the Food of Life, the Water of Life, the Lake of Milk that is hidden, ready to be tapped near the roots of the Tree of Life." "There where the tree grows near the Navel of the Earth, the Axis Mundi, the Cosmic Tree, the Pillar of the World." (from Furst 1976, p.103) The navel of the earth is code for the entrance to the Underworld. 

 

                  

The "Tree of Life", located in a paradise of immortality, or the "Garden of the Gods", is one of the most pervasive and enduring legends in the history of religion. In the Bible, in the Genesis account of the origins of humanity, there is a "tree of life" and a "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" found growing in the Garden of Eden, and that God is afraid of humans attaining the secret knowledge from that tree of eternal life. 

                

Above an Assyrian king (722 BC-705 BC) wears a helmet crowned with the Fleur-de-lis emblem, symbolizing divinity and Lordship and a trinity of gods. Note the esoteric symbolism of the number 3, encoded in the branches of the Tree of Life. Also note that a Fleur de lis symbol has been encoded at the base of the Tree of Life, as an esoteric symbol of immortality and divine resurrection. One can find numerous legends and myths of the Tree of Life that relate to the events of the Old Testament.   

In ancient Egypt for example the symbol for "plant" meaning "Tree of Life" was the lotus lily, a symbol in the shape of a trefoil, and like the Amanita muscaria mushroom, a symbol to represent eternal life and divine resurrection. 

 

                   

Above is an Egyptian sandstone carving (18th Dynasty 1570-1342 BC), depicting Pharaoh Akhenaton and wife Queen Nefertiti in profile, with hands raised in the air to venerate what I would argue are two Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The Pharaoh is known to have introduced a "new religion"  into Egypt, based on the worship of the sun god Aten. (source of authenticity...  http://www.worldwidestore.com/36340c.htm

Researchers have proposed that Pharaoh Akhenaton's wife Queen Nefertiti may have been a Hittite princess, who came from the land of Mitanni, a small kingdom of Indo-Aryan people, just north of the Upper Euphrates, in what is today northern Iraq. The Hittites were an ancient people who established their empire in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC., in what is today, modern day Turkey.

Pharaoh Akhenaton is best known for introducing a new religion to Egypt, that was strongly supported by Nefertiti, that made the Aten, the sun disc, the center of Egypt’s religious life. She may have brought with her the worship of an intoxicating plant called Soma and a pantheon of Vedic Gods, like Indra, Mitra, and Varuna. After the death of Akhenaton sometime around 1334-1336 B.C. Egypt would return to its original pantheon of gods and religious beliefs. (Online source, Was Nefertiti, An Aryan Princess? by K. Gajendra Singh http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles...)

The Hittites were an enigmatic civilization that disappear from the historical record after the collapse of their empire around 1180 B.C.E. They were an Indo-European people, who were contemporaries of the early Assyrians and Babylonians, and were known to have possessed stone idols that had the appearance of anthropomorphized mushrooms.

 

Compare the Hittite statue on the left, from ancient Anatolia (modern day Turkey)  with the mushroom stone from Guatemala on the right.

 

Gordon Wasson, in his classic book, "Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality", connect the motif of 'spots' with the amanita cult. William Eichman, writing about his studies of the ancient city of Catal Huyuk in Turkey, calls attention to this same imagery. According to Eichman, spots were the ultimate distinguishing sign of divine authority in Catal Huyuk, "whether on a leopardskin cap, on a statue of a god, or painted on an erupting volcano goddess." Catal Huyuk, (pronounced Chat-al Hoo-yook), was a thriving and completely planned and developed city by 6500 B.C.  Eichman suggests  that the religion of Catal Huyuk utilized psychedelic drugs and points out that  Catal Huyuk is located in an area where the Amanita muscaria mushrooms, are commonly found.  He links the religion of Catal Huyuk to an ancient animal religion centering on matters of life and death that has been recorded in paleolithic cave art.

 

 Quoting Eichman:

 "This is the reason that esoteric practitioners need to study the ancient cultures. We are working with the damaged and fragmentary remains of an esoteric tradition which, stretching back many thousands of years, has taken innumerable forms as it was adapted to the needs of culture after culture"....

 "The Vedas and the Sutras, the Torah, Bible, and Koran, cannot be understood out of context; their true, complex, interwoven levels of meaning are distorted by translation, and the world in which they were based, the agricultural city-state civilizations which dominated our planet thousands of years ago, is entirely foreign to us. We have little hope of understanding the original ideas and practices of the great spiritual teachers unless we can, at least to some degree, put ourselves in their place. Thus, the study of the archaeology and history of spiritual traditions is one of the few ways we can test the quality of our modern esoteric material. With this in mind, let us turn to the Near East, the rough northern edge of the Fertile Crescent. the cradle of civilization. The time is 8,000 years B. C.,  the place is Anatolia, the rich central plateau of what is now modern day Turkey For millennia Anatolia has been a fountainhead of the Esoteric Tradition. And it all started at Catal Huyuk."    

    

Sri. A. Kalyanaraman, an Indian author who has studied the Vedas, argues in his book Aryatarangini: Saga of the Indo-Aryans, that the Aryans of ancient India were a sun-worshipping sea-people, who sailed around the world, to the New World as well as to many parts of the Old.

It just so happens that the successors of the Hittites, the Phoenician have several (Aryan) traits very similar with those of Easter Island and the ancient Olmec such as hieroglyphic writing, child sacrifice, cranial deformation, cannibalism, the flaying and wearing the skins of sacrificial victims, the use of incense, and the worship and veneration of the sun and moon and the planet Venus to whom they raised their pyramid temples for. Evidence of cannibalism from household refuse appears very early on at San Lorenzo, an Olmec ceremonial center dating around 1500 to 800 B.C. 

The origin of the Phoenicians are vague, but at the high point of their culture around 1200–800 BC. they were known as a great sea peoples, who had developed a very high level of  ship-building. The Bible refers to the Phoenicians as the "princes of the sea", Ezekiel 26:16. 

Archaeologist John Gray in his book Archaeology and the Old Testament World, (1962, p.106) that the discoveries of literary, ritual, and administrative texts inscribed on clay tablets found at Ras Shamra, near the coast of north Syria, inscribed in a alphabetic cuneiform script, according to Gray, "may safely be taken as evidence of the culture of the Phoenicians of the Late Bronze Age, which we recognize on Biblical evidence to be essentially that of the Canaanites, the native population of Palestine at the Hebrew settlement."

 

The worship of the Storm god Baal Hammon flourished in the Phoenician colony of Carthage, located near what is now the city of Tunis on the north coast of Africa. The city of Carthage was founded by a Phoenician Queen named Dido in 825 B.C.E., and quickly became the wealthiest and most important Phoenician outpost in the Mediterranean (Thompkins, 1976 p. 351).  The Carthaginians and their kinsmen the Phoenicians and Canaanites are known to have sacrificed children on a massive scale for their Storm God Baal (Nigel Davies 1981, p.63).  

These Carthaginians, like their Phoenicians predecessors, could have sailed to the New World, landed in Central America, giving some substance to the legend of Votan who was said to have sailed from the East and founded the great Maya city now in ruins known as Palenque  (Thompkins, 1976 p. 78). It should be noted that several rock inscriptions found in the New World have been attributed to the Phoenicians (Man Across the Sea: Problems of PreColumbian Contacts: 1971, p.30).       

 

Anthropologist and author of "Mexican and Central American Mythology", Irene Nicholson...

 "In spite of the great gulf that separates Precolumbian thought from our own in many of its external aspects; in spite of distortions, irrelevancies, decadence and subsequent annihilation by European conquerors of a great part of it; the culture which this mysterious leader established [Quetzalcoatl Votan] shines down to our own day. Its message is still meaningful for those who will take the trouble to make their way, through the difficulties of outlandish names and rambling manuscripts, to the essence of the myth".   (from the book, Mexican and Central American Mythology 1967, p.136)

 

The Carthaginian Captain Hanno, describes a flotilla of 60 ships of 50 oars and 30,000 men and woman setting off in about 500 B.C.E., down the west coast of Africa with enough provisions to travel 3500 miles from Carthage and 2500 miles beyond the Pillars of Hercules to found new colonies (Peter Thompkins, 1976 p. 351).  

                   

Above is Carthaginian armor decorated with the Fleur de lis symbol emerging as the Tree of Life from the head of the Phoenician god Ba'al Hammon (Museum of Carthage ).

                  

Above is a cylinder seal found at Tell ed Daba, the modern name of the capital city for the Hyksos in the Nile delta region of Egypt. Egyptologists propose that the Hyksos were a Semite people, most likely Canaanites who came from the Levant, (the eastern Mediterranean) who invaded Egypt around 1700 BC. and introduced the horse and chariot to the Egyptians. The Hittites and the Hyksos were the first people in the Middle East to use the chariot in warfare, giving them a huge advantage over the people they conquered. The cylinder seal in roll-out form, depicts the Storm God Baal of Zephon, a Hebrew name which means 'lord of the north'. The Hyksos/Canaanite Storm God Baal Zephon, is portrayed standing over two mountains, above a sailing vessel with what appears to be encoded mushrooms on the sail. (above drawing is from

 

Quoting Biblical archaeologist John Gray (1962,  p.86) regarding the Hyksos (1730-1580 B.C.) ...

"There is, however, no conclusive evidence of the racial identity of the Hyksos. Their introduction of the horse and light war-chariot to Egypt suggests Aryan affinities."

 

 


 
Several monuments from the Olmec site of La Venta, Stela 3, Monument 19, and Monument 13 called the "Ambassador" (altar with footprint) appear to celebrate  foreigners, and that foreigners are clearly indicated by their distinctive items of dress ( Prudence M. Rice 2007,  p.98) (Drucker 1981, pp.42-46). Monument 19 from LaVenta, clearly portrays a ruler holding a ritual bucket. The site of La Venta was one of the largest Olmec ceremonial centers that flourished in the hot tropical jungles of Mexico's Gulf Coast, between 1500 BCE and 900 BCE. before it was abandoned around the beginning of the 4th century BCE.
 
Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi theorized that Maya civilization developed as the result of direct influences from the Olmec civilization of La Venta, and proposed that the Olmec of La Venta most likely spoke a Proto-Mayan language, living among such other Mayan speakers as the Huaxtecs, and proto-Totonacs (S.F. de Borhegyi 1965a p.19). Words like muxan and okox (mushroom) are two of several words borrowed or loaned by the ancient Maya, perhaps as early as 1000 B.C. E. (Furst, 1976, p. 79)
 
Recently archaeologists excavating at the ancient Maya/Olmec site of Seibal (also spelled Ceibal) in the lowlands of Guatemala, have suggested that around 1000 B.C. a broad cultural shift took place that now challenges the two prevailing theories of the origin of Mayan civilization (American Archaeology, summer 2013 by Tamara Stewart).   Coincidentally this cultural shift in New World history seems to occur at approximately the same time as the mushroom cult, around 1000 B.C.
 
 "The two prevailing theories hold that the Maya either arose independently in what is now Guatemala, Belize, southern Mexico, and western Honduras; or that it developed as a result of the influence of the older Olmec culture" (American Archaeology, summer 2013 by Tamara Stewart).  
 
 

Above on the far right is a drawing of Stela 13, from the Olmec influenced Maya site of Seibal (also spelled Ceibal) in Guatemala. The 3-dot and the seven-headed serpent motif are commonly encoded in both pre-Columbian art, and in ancient Hindu, Buddhist, Jainism and Sikhism art. In fact the Buddha is often portrayed being shadowed by a seven headed serpent or “Naga”.

 

I believe the ancient Mesoamericans believed that the consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms, whether orally, anally through enemas, or drinking, metaphorically, transformed the individual into a "were-jaguar" and that mushrooms and this transformation opened a sacred portal into the underworld. The were-jaguar represents a supernatural being, associated with the underworld called Xibalba, by the  ancient Maya, that's linked to caves, and pools of water, as well as mountains and volcanos.

  Photographs © Justin Kerr # 6608

Owner: Denver Art Museum Denver CO
Above is Maya vase K6608 from the Justin Kerr Data Base of Maya vase paintings, photographed in roll out form. The three underworld jaguars all wear mushroom shaped ear plugs, and wear sacrificial scarves that encode the colors and spots of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.

 

                   

The Underworld Jaguar God of ancient Mexico is depicted above in a pre-Columbian Mixtec manuscript called the Codex Zouche-Nuttall or Codex Tonindeye. The painting depicts the Underworld Jaguar God sitting on a thrown encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol, and three upside down or inverted Fleur de lis symbols is code for a sacred Trinity and underworld resurrection.


             

Above is Late Classic Maya vase painting that depicts a ruler or priest, wearing a jaguar headdress, and holding an offering plate with an Amanita muscaria mushroom.     

 

                             

The pre-Columbian vessel above depicts a fanged figure holding a ritual beverage.


 

                                              

Above is a pre-Columbian drinking vessel, (Soma beverage?) that encodes a bird deity, and stylized mushrooms in profile, as the fruit of immortality from the legendary Tree of Life. 

      

      

                    

Above is a ceramic piece from the Capacha culture in Western Mexico, in the State of Colima. The miniature grouping of figurines are of the Late Formative period (300 B.C. to A.D. 200 ) and depicts what appears to me to be the veneration of the encoded metaphorically as a sacred mushroom.     


The Aztecs at the time of the Spanish Conquest referred to mushrooms as flowers (R. Gordon Wasson, 1980 p.79). Flowers (mushrooms) symbolize a state of the soul on its journey to full godhood and Teonanacatal, the mushroom of the Aztecs, was called "the flower that makes us drunk" (Nicholson 1967, p.90).   

Above are symbols and names for the 20 day signs in the Aztec calendar, note that the symbol on the bottom right referred to as a flower and representing the number 20, is identical in shape to the Old World Fleur de lis symbol. I propose that this Aztec symbol referred to as a flower in the day signs and representing the number 20 is really a symbol for divinity, or "Lord" and represents an esoteric symbol of the Tree of Life and its forbidden fruit, the mushroom of immortality.  

Flowers symbolize a state of the soul on its journey to full godhood and Teonanacatal, the mushroom of the Aztecs, was called "the flower that makes us drunk" (Nicholson 1967, p.90).  Fray Diego Duran writes that war was called xochiyaoyotl, which means "Flowery War". Death to those who died in battle was called xochimiquiztli, meaning "Flowery Death" or "Blissful Death" or "Fortunate Death".

I propose that the flower that makes one drunk, and sends one to heaven was a sacred mushroom, and that the Fleur de lis emblem was code that symbolized mushroom immortality.                                             

 

   

Above are all close up views from the pre-Conquest Codices, that depict vessels that I will demonstrate are New World versions of the Fleur-de-lis symbol, metaphorically tagging the ritual beverage as a symbol of divine immortality and a trinity of creator gods.

                   

 

                

Above is an Aztec figurine now in the collection of the National Museum in Mexico City, of the Aztec god of flowers Xochipilli, whose name in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, means "Prince of Flowers."  This figurine clearly holds what I will argue are Amanita muscaria mushrooms in each hand.

The Aztec deity Xochipilli, may have been an aspect of a young Quetzalcoatl, and the patron deity of sacred mushrooms and hallucinogenic plants. Xochipilli was also known as Macuilxochitl, meaning "five flowers". Note the headdress of Xochipilli which contains two adornments of five plumes each--a possible reference or code to what scholars call the "fiveness" of Venus, referring to the five synodic cycles of Venus identified in the Venus Almanac of the Dresden Codex.

         
Above is a closeup view of a Late Classic Period (600-900 C.E) Maya vessel K5390, that I would argue encodes the Amanita muscaria mushroom, stylized in the shape of a Fleur de lis emblem.

               

           

Above, left, is a closeup image of a two-handled vase filled with psilocybin mushrooms. On the right, a page from  the Codex Mendoza, an Aztec codex created just after the Spanish Conquest, shows tribute collected by Aztec civil servants from the province of Tochtepec.  Included in the tribute were the aforementioned psilocybin mushrooms (second image from left on next to bottom row). The enlarged image shows the mushrooms emerging from  a Fleur-de-lis emblem. The Aztecs called these mushrooms Teonanacatl, meaning "flesh of the Gods."      

   

                  

Above is a close up scene from the Codex Vaticanus that depicts a sacrificial victim (painted blue the color of sacrifice) emerging from a ceremonial bundle, holding an axe in one hand encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol, and what appear to me to be sacred mushrooms in the other hand.   

 

                            

Above is a close up from page 35 in the Codex Vaticanus that depicts a ritual beverage encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol, and a victim in the act of self decapitation. 

 

The story of creation and destruction, death and rebirth appears frequently in pre-Columbian art. When we look at pre-Columbian art and see images that celebrate death, we must keep in mind that death to all Mesoamericans was just a prelude to rebirth--a portal to divine immortality.

                                 
                                     

In Mesoamerica the Fleur de lis is a symbol of immortality and divine resurrection via  decapitation (Codex Borgia).           

    

                         

The scene above is from the pre-Conquest manuscript known as the Codex Laud (Plate 24) that depicts the improbable act of self-decapitation. Note that the blood that flows from the severed head encodes an upside down Fleur de lis, symbol referring to the sacred act of decapitation and Underworld resurrection.  

                             

                          

                                     

Above is a painting from the Codex Borbonicus c. 1525, that depicts a decapitated figure, the victim's hair encoding a stylized Fleur de lis symbol, code for divine resurrection.  (source http://steveinmexico.blogspot.com/2013/12/putting-sore-into-sorry.html)  

 

           

Above is a page from the Historia General de Las Cosas de Nueva España (General history of the things of New Spain) is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex.

 

 

                

The scene above from the Codex Laud depicts the Aztec goddess Mayahuel, goddess of the maguey plant, in a scene depicting the divine act of self sacrifice. In her right hand she appears to hold a ritual beverage stylized with a Fleur-de-lis emblem symbolizing divine immortality or divine portal to immortality. Note the serpent and turtle below the so-called "World Tree" or "Tree of Life". Both the turtle and serpent act as a sacrificial altar, and both are avatars of the god Quetzalcoatl and the planet Venus as the Morning Star.   

          

The scene above is from one of the pre-Hispanic Mixtec codices now housed in the British museum. The seven surviving Mextec codices depict the religious ceremonies that were at the core of Mixtec civilization. The scene above depicts two important figures performing a ritual ceremony, the figure on the left being the Mixtec king named 8-Deer. 8-Deer was born in the year 1011 A.D. and became king of the Mixtexs at the age of 19 after the death of his father. We are told that 52 years later after loosing a battle or a ballgame, 8-Deer takes his own life, at the end of the 52 year calendar round, and emulating the god-king Quetzalcoatl he commits suicide at the age of 52. The scene  depicts a ceremony involving a ritual drink, possibly one made from the juices of hallucinogenic mushrooms I propose were taken before battle and or before the ballgame. The important figure portrayed on the right is named 13-Serpent, and he is portrayed crowned with the Fleur de lis symbol. The name 13 Serpent, may allude to the 13 levels of the upper world, and the planet Venus as a divine resurrection star, and the incarnation of a young immortal Quetzalcoatl (source Ancient America by Jonathon N. Leonard 1967, p.69).

The Venus-mushroom religion connected with Quetzalcoatl goes back as far as Olmec times. We know from early chronicles that in the Postclassic, Quetzalcoatl was revered both as a god and as a Toltec ruler. We are told by the Aztecs that the human culture hero Quetzalcoatl died in the year 1-Reed, one 52 year cycle from his birth. It is further recorded in 1570 in the Nahua manuscript known as the Annals of Cuauhtitllan, that he was apotheosized as Venus and transformed into the Morning star in the “land of writing,” which has been interpreted by scholars as being the Maya area  (Milbrath 1999:177).  

 

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Above is a close up images from page 89, in the Codex Vaticanus that depicts a large vessel with a twisted rope, that containes a  ritual beverage encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol associated with mushrooms and blood sacrifice.


According to Gordon Wasson (1962 p.38) a Nahuatl poem translated by Angel Maria Garibay, titled, "Dolor en la Amistad" (c. 1600) "mentions expressly the Sacred Mushrooms". In other poems from the same collection, titled Xochimapictli, coleccion de Poemas nahuas, 1959, the word xochi, "flowers" is used in a way that suggests it was a metaphor used for sacred mushrooms.  This reference is reinforced by Alonso de Molina's lexicon (Vocabulario en Lengua Castellana y Mexicana 1571) where xochinanacatl is translated honguillos que embeodan, "little mushrooms that inebriate"  (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, p. 37 1962).

(From "Dolor en la Amistaad" (A.D. 1600) Anonymous, translated by Angel Maria Garibay. No. 37 in Xochimapictli, coleccion de Poemas nahuas. Mexico City, 1959)

 

        Quoting Ethno-mycologist  R. Gordon Wasson...

"The flowers took them to another world where they sang their Aztec poetry to the music of their Aztec instruments, a world that they called their Tlalocan (or sometimes their Tamoanchan), a world of strange and wondrous beauty, where they reveled in sensations beyond imagining".

 

(Compare the genesis myth the Nasadiya, the Rig Veda's "Hymn of Creation" (X:129)  with the,  Rig Veda Americanus, Sacred songs of the ancient Mexicans, with a gloss in Nahuatl, edited, with a paraphrase, notes and vocabulary, by Daniel G. Brinton 1890.

 

After the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in 1521 the Catholic Church ordered the burning of all native manuscripts. Called codices, these pictorial documents contained much valuable information pertaining to native history, mythology, and ritual, related to a pantheon of supernatural gods. Unhappily, due to Spanish intolerance of indigenous religious beliefs, only eighteen pre-Conquest books attributed to the people of Highland Mexico have survived to the present day.
 
At the time of the conquest, Spanish historians concluded that the Indians of the New World must have been the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, who sailed (as related in the Old Testament) to the New World after their expulsion from Samaria by the Assyrians around 721 B.C.(Charles Gallenkamp 1959 p.40).

Duran wrote in his Histories of New Spain (1537—1588) that  he believed the Aztecs were the decedents of the Lost Tribes of Israel, writing that the Indian traditions with which he was familiar with, were similar with the ancient Jewish customs and beliefs that were described in the Old Testament (J.H. Parry 1976, p.318). Duran writes...

" Because of their nature we could almost affirm that they [the Aztecs] are Jews and Hebrew people, and I believe that I would not be committing a great error if I were to state this fact, considering their way of life, their ceremonies, their rites and superstitions, their omens, and false dealings, so related to and characteristic of those of the Jews" (Duran 1964 The Aztecs: p.3). 

 

Duran writes that the Indians were ignorant of their origins and beginnings, but they  have traditions regarding a long and tedious journey, and that they were led by a great man who gathered a multitude of his followers and persuaded them to flee from persecution to a land where they could live in peace. This great leader was said to have gone to the seashore with his followers, and fleeing his enemies, he parted the sea with a rod that he carried in his hand, and his followers went through the opening. The pursuing enemies seeing this opening of water followed them in only to have the waters return to their place, and the pursuers were never heard from again (Duran The Aztecs, 1964, p.149).  Duran writes...

"I am convinced, and wish to convince others, that those who tell this account heard it from their ancestors; and these natives belong, in my opinion, to the lineage of the chosen people of God for whom He worked great marvels. And so the knowledge and the paintings of the things of the Bible and its mysteries have passed from father to son. The people attribute them to this land and say that they took place here, for they are ignorant of their own beginnings"  (Duran The Aztecs, 1964, p.5). 

 

Duran writes that the Christianization of the Aztecs would remain arduous, and that the "heathen" religion of the Aztecs, and "the whole of their culture is impregnated with the old values."  Duran mentions that his writings would most likely go unpublished claiming, “some persons (and they are not a few) say that my work will revive ancient customs and rites among the Indians”, and “that the Indians were quite good at secretly preserving their customs”. 

Duran tells us that the Catholic Church, in its zeal to obliterate all aspects of native culture which could threaten Christian religious belief, ordered the destruction of  all native documents pertaining to history, myth, and legend. The Church also banished all aspects of native religion in favor of Christianity, and made no attempt to study or further record mushroom rituals.  

Duran’s writings were locked away and was more or less unknown to scholars until the 19th century, when it was discovered in the Madrid Library by José Fernando Ramírez. In 1848 Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg an ordained priest, came to the Americas in search of rare manuscripts and religious artifacts and while visiting Mexico City, Bourbourg obtained permission to have the Church archives opened to him, where he discovered a copy of Fray Diego Duran’s, Histories of New Spain.          

In 1651 the physician to the King of Spain, Dr. Francisco Hernandez, wrote a guide for missionaries in the Spanish colonies, Historia de las Plantas de Nueva Espana. In it he stated that there were "three kinds" of narcotic mushrooms that were worshiped. After describing a lethal species of mushroom, (Amanita muscaria ?) he stated that other species of mushrooms when eaten caused madness, the symptom of which was uncontrolled laughter. Other mushrooms, he continued " without inducing laughter, bring before the eyes all kinds of things, such as wars and the likeness of demons".   (Wasson, 1962: 36; see also Furst, 1990 rev. ed., 9)

Bishop Bartolome de Las Casas also believed the Aztecs were descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel. Trying to prove Las Casas's theory, Lord Kingsborough, (1831-48) spent years and a fortune in the publication of his colossal work Antiquities of Mexico (Miguel Covarrubias, 1954 p.10). 

Most Book of Mormon scholars propose that Olmec culture relates to the Jaredite culture, referring to customs and traditions of those in and about Jerusalem and Egypt (Diane Wirth 2007) The Book of Ether (1:33) tells us that the Jaredites, Jared and his people, left the Middle East when the languages were confused at the tower of Babel, sometime around 2500 B.C., and that they voyaged across the ocean to the Promised land.            

The Book of Mormon also tells of an Ancient Hebrew People who came to America,  leaving Jerusalem around 650 B.C.                    

 

Quoting Diane E. Wirth author of Why “Three” is Important in Mesoamerica and in the Book of Mormon © 2012)    
 "The Popol Vuh of the Quiché Maya speaks of three creator gods, and many Mesoamerican sites had a triad of gods. Each polity had a different set of names for their three deities. Some speculate that is why Christianity was accepted so readily by the natives. After the Spanish Conquest, a Spanish priest by the name of Francisco Hernandez studied the natives and concluded the Indians already believed in the Trinity. He sent a letter to Bartolome de las Casas, a Bishop of Chiapas in the mid 1500’s, and las Casas reported what Hernandez wrote":
   
"They knew and believed in God who was in heaven; that that God was the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. That the Father is called by them Icona [Içona in the Spanish text] and that he had created man and all things. The Son’s name was Bakab who was born from a maiden who had ever remained a virgin, whose name was Chibirias, and who is in heaven with God. The Holy Ghost they called Echuac ".                                                

In a manuscript written in Quiche in 1554 by several Maya Indians, its Spanish translator, Padre Dionisio-Jose Chonay, had this to say: "It is supposed in the manuscript that the three great Quiche nations mentioned in particular are descendants of the Ten Tribes of the Kingdom of Israel, whom Shalmaneser reduced to perpetual captivity, and who, finding themselves in the confines of Assyria, decided to emigrate ."

   

Above is a Crown with Fleur de lis symbols from a cache of Jewish religious artifacts seized by officials in Damietta, Egypt, April 18, 2014 – Photo: AP.... The Fleur de lis was one of the sacred symbols of the true Hebrew bloodlines.  http://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/1.586252

                          

Above is the Hebrew symbol from the Old World, of the Star of David encoded with a Fleur de lis symbol at center.

 

                                              

Above is the Hebrew symbol of the Star of David perched above a Maya symbol called the "feathered tail" the symbol above is from the Maya city of Uxmal  in Yucatan Mexico. (drawing from, The Ancient Past of Mexico, by Alma Reed 1966 p. 12)

 

Most of what we know about the Maya from Spanish reports after the conquest comes from Fray Diego de Landa of the Order of San Francisco. The only writer to leave a detailed account of the religious beliefs of the Mayas of Yucatan at the time of the conquest. Unfortunately the original copy of his famous book, Relacion de las cosas de Yucatan was lost and what we have are parts of a copy, written by three different hands, and perhaps made in 1616 according to Inga Clendinnen (Ambivalent Conquests 1987 p.  117). She writes, “it is possible that the unknown copyists, not only omitted or abbreviated sections, but also rearrange the order of the original, there are curious breaks and alternations in tone and subject matter”.   

“Landa recorded that alcoholic beverages were drunk at every ritual occasion”. “The drunkenness, reported by the Spanish was undoubtedly related to an aspect of Maya ritual not well described in the ethnohistorical documents”. “The ancient Maya also seem to have used substances that altered the individual’s normal state of consciousness, although certainly as part of divinatory ritual. Thus, the ingestion of narcotics, hallucinogens, and other psychotropic substances was seen as a way to transform existence and to meet or communicate with unseen powers”. Several painted pottery vessels graphically depict the use of an enema apparatus in apparently ritual settings; the direct introduction of alcoholic or hallucinogenic substances into the colon results in immediate absorption by the body, thereby hasting the effects”.   (From Morley and Sharer, 1983; p.  483:)
 

The ritual use of intoxicating enemas for spiritual transformation has been described in the earliest Spanish accounts of native customs. This ritual use of enemas, although poorly understood, is commonly represented in Maya vase paintings. 

  

Photograph © Justin Kerr Kerr

Maya vase K5172, photographed in roll out form by Justin Kerr, most likely depicts an enema ritual associated with the ballgame.  On the left the ballplayer wears a deer headdress and a ballgame belt or yoke. The ballplayer crouches on one knee, and holds an Amanita muscaria mushroom in one hand and an enema apparatus in the other.  

 A mushroom infusion administered by means of an enema would have a much quicker and more powerful effect on the body than one ingested orally.

         Quoting R. Gordon Wasson….

“There is nothing incompatible between the mushroom stones and the ball game. Those who have mastered the mushrooms arrive at an extraordinary command of their faculties and muscular movements: their sense of timing is heightened. I have already suggested that the players had ingested the mushrooms before they entered upon the game. If the mushroom stones were related to the ball game, it remains to be discovered what role they played”. (Wasson, from Mushrooms Russia & History, p. 178)

     


Spanish chronicler Fray Diego Duran writes that mushrooms were eaten at the ceremony commemorating the accession of the Aztec King Moctezuma in 1502. After Moctezuma took his Divine Seat, captives were brought before him and sacrificed in his honor. He and his attendants then ate a stew made from their flesh.

"And all the Lords and grandees of the province…all ate of some woodland mushrooms, which they say make you lose your senses, and thus they sallied forth all primed for the danceWith this food they went out of their minds and were in worse state than if they had drunk a great quantity of wine. They became so inebriated and witless that many of them took their lives in their hands. With the strength of these mushrooms they saw visions and had revelations about the future, since the devil spoke to them in their madness".

 

 

Spanish chronicler Jacinto de la Serna, 1892 (The Manuscript of Serna) described the use of sacred mushrooms for divination:

"These mushrooms were small and yellowish and to collect them the priest and all men appointed as ministers went to the hills and remained almost the whole night in sermonizing and praying" (Quest for the Sacred Mushroom, Stephan F. de Borhegyi 1957).

 

Serna (1892) also writes that the people of Mexico "adored and made more sacrifices to the sun and Venus than any other celestial or terrestrial creatures", and that it was believed that twins were associated with the sun and Venus (The Manuscript of Serna).

All Mesoamericans believed that the greatest gift one could offer the gods was one's own life; in return for immortality, a concept of eternal life from death. It is likely that in Mesoamerica the notion of divine immortality via Underworld decapitation was inspired by the mushroom ritual itself.

In Mesoamerica, rituals of self-sacrifice and decapitation, whether in real life or in the Underworld, are a metaphor that allude to the sun's nightly death and subsequent resurrection from the Underworld by a pair of deities (twins) associated with the planet Venus as both the Morning Star and Evening star. This dualistic aspect of Venus is why Venus was venerated as both a God of Life and God of Death. It was said that, they [the Quiche Maya] gave thanks to the sun and moon and stars, but particularly to the star that proclaims the day, the day-bringer, referring to Venus as the Morning star (The Title of the Lords of Totonicapan, 1953 third printing 1974, p. 184).

The name Quetzalcoatl has been interpreted to mean "Precious twin," indicating that the Morning Star and Evening Star are one and the same (Caso, 1958:.24; Duran:325).   

In the religion of the ancient Maya, various twins or brothers represent the dualistic aspects of the planet Venus. Maya creation stories record that twins were responsible for placing the three stones of  creation into the night sky at the beginning of this world age. These three stones, which represent the three original hearthstones of Maya creation, refer to a trinity of gods responsible for creating life from death. One of these gods, known as First Father, the Maize God, ruled as the Sun God in the previous world age. He was decapitated by the Lords of Death after being defeated in a ballgame. His twin sons, (Venus?) after finding his bones buried under the floor of the ballcourt, resurrected him from the underworld and placed him into the night sky as a deified ballplayer. I believe that the Maya could see this resurrected decapitated ballplayer, in the night sky, still wearing his ballgame belt, as the constellation of Orion. As the planet Venus, Quetzalcoatl in his impersonation of Tlaloc, rules the underworld, and was responsible for ritual decapitation.
 

 

            


Photographs © Justin Kerr

The Maya vase painting above, K4565 with drawing, depicts what is probably an image of the Maize God as the planet Venus resurrecting from the underworld as the Morning Star. The Maize God can often be identified in pre-Columbian art by his elongated head, which is shaped like an ear of corn.  Maize foliation, like that shown on the figure above, is often depicted on his headdress.  Every culture has its own story of genesis. David Freidel and Linda Schele write that the Maize God, named Hun-Nal-Ye, "One-Maize-Revealed", oversaw the new Creation of the cosmos, and that the ancient Maya recorded this birth day of the contemporary cosmos at 13.0.0.0.0  4 Ahaw 8 Kumk'u  (Maya Cosmos 1993, p.61-63).  David Kelley identifies the Maize God with the father of the mythical Hero Twins from the Popol Vuh. He is named Hun Hunahpu, a name incorporating the sacred day 1 Ahau. This day in the Venus Almanac of the Dresden Codex corresponds to the heliacal rise (first sighting) of Venus as Morning Star and suggests that the uncle of the Hero Twins, Vucub Hunahpu, may represent the Evening Star aspect of Venus (Milbrath:159).  If the plate above is turned up-side-down, the Maize God appears as a diving god. It thus could also represent the Evening Star aspect of Venus. 

In the Popol Vuh, the father of the Hero Twins, Hun Hunahpu, who was decapitated at the place of ballgame sacrifice, is not resurrected from the underworld. He is, in fact, left behind by his sons to rule the underworld. His sons, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, are transformed into the Sun and Moon. This could mean that the Hero Twins, when they journeyed into the underworld, represented the planet Venus. The Maize God above is depicted with what appears to be a scorpion tail. The end of the tail forms the characteristic partial loop that I believe is an esoteric symbol of Venus worship and mushrooms and represents the religion.  A close look reveals that the Maize god's legs and arms resemble long-stemmed mushrooms. These mushroom-inspired arms and legs form a quincunx, identified as a Venus symbol by Herbert Spinden. Spinden also believed that it represented the Morning Star aspect of Venus.

The mushroom-inspired arms and legs of the Maize God, Hun Ahau, in Maya vase K4565, is an esoteric reference to a portal of divine transformation. This mushroom portal, like the moment of death, opens the axis of the universe, through which spirits and gods move from one level to another. The mushroom imagery is also a symbolic reference to the self-sacrifice and death of Quetzalcoatl who, on his 52nd birthday, took his own life.

Fray Sahagun (in book 9 of 12) refers to mushrooms with a group of traveling merchants known as the pochtecas, meaning merchants who lead, because they were followers of  Quetzalcoatl who they worshipped under the patron name Yiacatecuhtli or Yacateuctli, Lord of the Vanguard. The pochteca journeyed down from Central Mexico into the Gulf lands and into the Maya region carrying merchandise as well as spreading the religion of Quetzalcoatl.    

Its my belief that the mushroom was linked to a concept I refer to as  jaguar transformation, and that the image of the were-jaguar was a metaphor for the journey into the underworld where as the Underworld Sun God would go through the process of divine transformation, from death, Underworld decapitation to rebirth to resurrection. The passage or portal into, and out from the Underworld that assured the decapitated victim divine resurrection, was esoterically encoded in art with the Fleur de lis symbol and linked to a ritual beverage that likely contained hallucinogenic mushrooms.    

                
      

      

Above is a close up image from the Codex Ríos that depicts a deity who, although apparently bearded,  has been identified as the Aztec goddess Mayahuel, the goddess of the maguey plant. The codex, a Spanish colonial-era manuscript now in the Vatican library (also called Codex Telleriano-Remensis), is attributed to Pedro de los Ríos, a Dominican friar who worked in Oaxaca and Puebla between 1547 and 1562. The codex itself was likely written and drawn in Italy after 1566. Based on the beard and mushroom encoded headdress, the deity probably represents an aspect of the god-king Quetzalcoatl, who bestowed sacred mushrooms to mankind and instructed humans on how to perform sacrifices in exchange for the gift of fire and immortality. Note that his crown consists of a stylized Fleur-de-lis symbol from which emerge three psilocybin mushrooms.  Note also that two probable psilocybin mushrooms emerge from the Fleur-de-lis emblem within the drinking vessel held in his right hand. The implication is that the vessel contains a psilocybin-based beverage .         


              
 

Quetzalcoatl delivers mushrooms to mankind:

It has long been known that page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis (see below), concerns the ceremonial role of mushrooms among the Mixtecs of Highland Mexico. In 1929 Walter Lehmann noted the resemblance to mushrooms of the objects portrayed in the hands of many of the characters depicted below in this Codex.  Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso later provisionally identified what he called "T-shaped" objects in the manuscript as mushrooms (Wasson 1980, p. 214). Heim later published this page in color and accepted without hesitation its mushroomic interpretation. In summarizing the significance of page 24, Gordon Wasson concluded that it showed "the major place occupied by mushrooms in the culture of the Mixtecs".       

   

Above is page 24 from the Codex Vindobonensis, also known as the Codex Vienna., believed to be a 14th century Mixtec document, the original of which is now held in the National Library of Vienna, Austria.  The codex is one of the few Prehispanic native manuscripts which escaped Spanish destruction. It was produced in the Post Classic period for the priesthood and ruling elite.  A thousand years of history is recorded in the Mixtec Codices, and Quetzalcoatl is cited as the great founder of all the royal dynasties. 

In the second row from the top, the last figure on the right wearing a bird mask has been identified as the Wind God, Ehecatl. an avatar of Quetzalcoatl.  He is shown bestowing divine mushrooms to mankind.  According to Aztec legend,  Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl created mankind from the bones he stole from the Underworld Death God, whose decapitated head Quetzalcoatl holds in his hand.  Note the tears of gratitude on the individual sitting immediately opposite Quetzalcoatl.  This individual, and those who sit behind Quetzalcoatl on the left also hold sacred mushrooms and all appear to have fangs.  Fangs suggest that, under the magical influence of the mushroom, they have been transformed in the Underworld into the underworld jaguar. 

In the middle of the page on the right side Quetzalcoatl is depicted gesturing to the god Tlaloc, (or incense burner venerating the god Tlaloc), directly in front of him, to open the portal to the underworld.  According to  Furst  who describes this  iconography, the scene depicts the divine establishment of the ritual consumption of sacred mushrooms" (1981, pp.151-155).  He identifies the triangular or V-shaped cleft in the basin of water on the left as a cosmic passage through which deities, people, animals and plants pass from one cosmic plane to another. 

On the bottom left,  two figures stand beside another V--shape portal of Underworld resurrection. The figure on the left who points to the sky, also has fangs. He appears to be a human transformed at death into the Underworld Sun god, or mythical "were jaguar".  This gesture probably signifies resurrection from the Underworld. The two-faced deity in front of him holds what appear to be sacred psilocybin mushrooms similar in shape to the Fleur-de-lis symbol of the Old World.

This two-faced deity is, in all likelihood, the dualistic planet Venus and the god of Underworld decapitation and resurrection. Note that the two-faced deity is painted black (signifying the Underworld) and wears a double-beaked harpy eagle headdress (signifying the sun's resurrection). The five plumes in the harpy eagle's headdress refer to the five synodic cycles of Venus. The three mushrooms in his hand refer to the Mesoamerican trinity:  the three hearthstones of creation. ie., the sun, the morning star and the evening star.

The circle below the feet of the figure on the left is divided into four parts, two of them dark and two light, each with a footprint.  The Fursts, Peter and Jill, have identified this symbol as representing the north-south axis or sacred center as the place of entry into the Underworld.  This symbol also appears in the scene above in association with a figure plunging through the V-shaped cleft into the Underworld.  

       

Above is a painting from the Borgia Codex one of five codices, or divinatory manuals in the Borgia group (now in the Vatican), that predate the Spanish Conquest. Quetzalcoatl can be identified in this codex image by his trademark conical hat (note harpy eagle), that in this case is adorned with a Fleur de lis symbol. He wears the wind-jewel breast-plate, a trademark symbol of Quetzalcoatl, called ehecailacacozcatl, or "breastplate of the Wind God". Note that a trefoil or Fleur de lis symbol appears to emerge from bloodletting instruments in his hand and headdress. The act of bloodletting was so sacred in fact that according to Michael D. Coe, today's unofficial  "Dean of Maya studies", that the perforator itself was worshiped as a god (from Olmec Bloodletting: An Iconographic Study 1991). 

The planet Venus is perhaps best known in Mesoamerican studies through its connection with the special kind of warfare called Venus-Tlaloc warfare. These wars or raids were timed to occur during aspects of the Venus astronomical cycle, primarily to capture prisoners from neighboring cities for ceremonial sacrifice (Schele & Freidel, 1990:130-31, 194). Those who died in battle went directly to Tlaloc's paradise called Tlalocan, and were blessed with immortality.   

Also known as "The Master", the god Tlaloc shared the same temple as Quetzalcoatl (Twin temple) at the great city of Teotihuacan, and as a Rain and Lightening God, Tlaloc provided the sustenance needed for everlasting life,  in return for the shedding of human blood on earth.

 

     

The drawing above is from a Classic period (200-650 CE.) Teotihuacan drinking vessel. It depicts the Teotihuacan god Tlaloc crowned with a trefoil or Fleur de Lis symbol, or it may be a ruler impersonating or dressed in the guise of Tlaloc. Note that he carries an axe, and that he is surrounded by footprints alluding to a very long journey. The so-called footprint motif, common in pre-Columbian will also be discussed later.

The rulers of Teotihuacan established a vast empire that reached as far south as Kaminalyuju, a large Maya city in the highlands of Guatemala. Wherever the Teotihuacanos went they took their religion and their god of war, Tlaloc with them.  Tlaloc the Rain and Lightening God, provides the sustenance for life and the after life if the shedding of human blood is reciprocated. The figure holds a bloody axe in his left hand and three spears in his right hand.  His elaborate feathered headdress encodes what appears to be a Mexican year sign directly below a Classic period Teotihuacan version of the Fleur de lis emblem (Drawing from Kubler 1967, fig. 14).

       Quoting Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi...

"When one studies Teotihuacan and the far-reaching cultural influences of this great Mesoamerican tollan, or metropolis, it becomes tempting to compare it with the impacts of Hellenism on the various Oriental civilizations that once ruled Anatolia [ancient Turkey], Syria, Persia, India, Egypt, and North Africa" (from Man Across the Sea: Problems of PreColumbian Contacts; S.F. de Borhegyi, 1971 p.81-82)  

 

The Classic period in Mesoamerica (250 A.D. to 900 A.D.), is generally characterized by the strong influence of Teotihuacan, a religious metropolis, located about 40 km. northeast of Mexico City.  Especially during the years, around 400 A.D. to 650 A.D., Teotihuacan exerted a tremendous amount of religious and commercial influence throughout Central America. Teotihuacan influenced ceremonial vessels and ceramic incense burners adorned with the Teotihuacan patron deities of Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc are found throughout the Maya area of Guatemala, and Yucatan Mexico. The power and religious influence of Teotihuacan declines suddenly around 600-650 A.D. after the burning and subsequent destruction of that great city, by "barbaric" Chichimecs or Otomi invaders from northern Mexico. With the fall of Teotihuacan, it seems that a revival of ball game rituals associated with Preclassic Olmec fertility rites (mushroom rituals?) of bloody human decapitation once again took center stage in the great ceremonial centers.   

    

The god known as Tlaloc can be easily identified by his trademark goggled eyes, feline fangs, and handlebar mustache. Note the artist has encoded what I propose are mushroom inspired ear plugs. Those who died for Tlaloc were under his watchful eye, and went directly to his divine paradise of immortality called Tlalocan. 
 
 
The god Tlaloc is depicted above in the pre-Conquest Codex Borgia, one of the few remaining pre-Conquest codices. Tlaloc once again is recognizable by his trademark goggled eyes, and feline fangs. Although the Spanish sources never refer to Tlaloc as a mushroom god, I believe that his  goggled eyes reflect a mushroom's vision of paradise called Tlalocan, the fourth level of heaven and a place of endless spring. Those who died and went to Tlalocan were blessed with immortality.

   Photograph © Justin Kerr

Above, K6777, are a pair of Tlaloc's magic goggles carved from sea shell and shaped to form twin  plumed serpents, metaphorically linking Tlaloc with Quetzalcoatl and the duality of the planet Venus.  The goggles I believe represent a metaphor in which the goggles worn by the  "bemushroomed"  can see beyond death into the paradise of Tlaloc called Tlalocan. The Maya also compared Venus to an eye, naming the planet Nohoch Ich, "Great Eye". 

 

                      

Above is a Classic Period Teotihuacan inspired Maya plate, that depicts Tlaloc at the sacred center. Note Tlaloc's mushroom-shaped ear flairs. Tlaloc is surrounded by four Fleur de lis symbols, within a symbol the late Maya archaeologist J. Eric S. Thompson identified as the quincunx, a variant of the Central Mexican Venus sign. The design of this symbol symbolize the four cardinal directions and a central entrance to the underworld where the World Tree is located. The symbol of the quincunx is of great antiquity, having been found at the Olmec site of San Lorenzo on Monument 43 dated at 900 B.C. The quincunx design also appears on Maya Venus Platforms. The Olmec and Maya believed that It was through this portal that souls passed on their journey to deification, rebirth and resurrection. According to Maya archaeologist David Freidel, the Maya called this sacred center, mixik' balamil,  meaning "the navel of the world" (Thompson,1960:170-172, fig. 31 nos.33-40; Freidel & Schele, 1993:124)                

 


The mushroom-Venus/Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc religion, as I see it, was spawned by early man's fear of death and his hopes for resurrection, if not in this life, then in another reality. Through shamanic rituals, very possibly springing from the discovery of the mind-altering effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms, he hoped to transcend the former and assure himself of the latter. (Wasson,1980). The shamans, in turn, looked to the most powerful forces in the natural world—the sun, the moon, and the stars, wind, lightning and rain, and such fearsome creatures in their environment as the jaguar, eagle, serpent, and shark—as a means of understanding the place and fate of human beings within this divine framework. In time the shamans unraveled the mysterious but ultimately knowable and predictable movements of the stars and planets, and interpreted these movements as an avenue for understanding man’s relation to time, space, and immortality.

 

These beliefs, over time, spawned a great variety of gods bearing different names in different culture areas but with numerous identifiable similarities linked to divine rulership associated with lineage and descent. Westernized efforts by archaeologists and art historians to sort out and catalog the many overlapping names and identities have been frustrated by the fact that ordered and demarcated categories run counter to the fluidity that characterizes native American belief systems. A multiplicity of identities is a basic feature of the Mesoamerican supernatural realm.       
                        

The Mexican god Tlaloc was clearly connected with a warrior cult associated with the planet Venus as Star of the Evening and the ritual of decapitation. This Tlaloc-Venus warfare cult spread from the great metropolis of Teotihuacan into the Maya area during the Early Classic period when Teotihuacan was at its apex. The Mexican god Tlaloc, who is easily recognizable by his trademark goggled eyes, shared the same temple in the great metropolis of Teotihuacan with the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl. Their duality as the Evening Star and Morning Star aspects of Venus suggests that they were both the patron deities of Teotihuacan connected with the ruling dynasty. 

 

Venus, the brightest star (actually a planet) in the sky, was visible to early sky watchers even, at times, during the day. What must have seemed truly fascinating about Venus is that it appears as both a Morning Star and an Evening Star. As the Morning Star, rising before dawn, it may have seemed to "resurrect" the Sun from its nightly sojourn through the Underworld. At night, as the Evening Star, it appears after the Sun's daily "death" and descent into the underworld. For this reason it became closely associated with death and resurrection in the Underworld.

Venus also appears to die and rise again from the underworld with great regularity. Every eight years it can be predicted that Venus will return to the "same position in the sky, at the same time of year in the same phase every eight years" (Milbrath 1999:51).  The "fiveness" of Venus, 5 synodic cycles, comes from the fact that five Venus cycles of 584 days each equal eight solar years to the day, and that 584 days is the time it takes for Earth and Venus to line up with respect to the Sun.  This day was a period ending day in the sacred 260 day calendar (almanac) and always ended on the day Ahau or Ajaw. Ahau means Lord. Ballplayers wore knee pads with the symbol of Ahau, theorizing I guess that the game was played at the completion of a time period in the sacred calendar, like a katun ending (20 yr. period) for example which ended on the day Ahau.

          

Most of Mesoamerica shared the same calendar. Above is the Mayan Tzolkin calendar which has the same cycle of 20 day names. Each day has a glyph to represent it, and the glyph at the bottom right, Ajaw also spelled Ahau: means ruler, king or "Lord", and is the counterpart for the central Mexican day sign "flower" (Xochitl).  The idealized Venus cycle always ended on the day 1-Ahau, (Milbrath, 1999 p.170).

                                 

               

Above is a pre-Columbian figurine now in the Denver Museum, holding what I would argue is an Amanita muscaria mushroom. Note the figurine's large god eyes, and three Ahau icons,  one on each knee, and one on his belt called a ballgame yoke. There is plenty of evidence that ballplayers from the Gulf Coast area wore kneepads with the Ahau glyph design, a symbol of Maya kingship (S.F. de Borhegyi 1980, p.8).   

In the creation story of the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh, we are told that there was a previous world that was created, destroyed, and re-created before the present creation. In the previous world age, twin brothers known as Hun Hunahpu and Vucub Hunahpu represented the Morning Star playing a ballgame on the eastern horizon. The new world was created on the day when the first word was uttered. According to Maya inscriptions at Coba and Quirigua, that day was 4 Ahau 8 Kumk'u, the day in the Mayan calendar when Venus rises from the underworld as the Morning Star. Considered the completion day or starting point in the Maya Long Count, it set all the cycles of the calendars in motion. There is a repeating cycle of 20 named days in the 260 day calendar each day represented by a unique symbol or glyph, the 20th day named Ahau, which means Lord, or Ruler. The 20th day name in Quiche is Hunahpu, a name we find in the Popol Vuh which means "the One Master of Magic Breath" (Gates, 1978 p.53). 

   

The religion of the ancient Olmec was grounded in sacrifice, and the need to offer men, women, and children to the gods. The ritual custom of decapitation and its relationship to the pre-Columbian ball game goes back to Olmec times (S.F. de Borhegyi 1965, p.26). Olmec religion set the tone for many of the future religious beliefs in the New World.   

 

                   Quoting Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi...

                       " the ballgame, and cultural diffusion may be in order"

"While human decapitation was a widespread custom throughout both the Old and New Worlds as early as the Paleolithic period, its association with ancient team games seems to have occurred only in central and eastern Asia, Mesoamerica, and South America (for ballgames in Southeast Asia, see Loffler, 1955). The use of severed human heads in the polo games of Tibet, China, and Mongolia goes back at least as far as the Chou Dynasty (approximately 1100 B.C. -250 B.C.) and possibly to Shang times (about 1750 B.C. -1100 B.C.). By the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), the polo game in China had become more refined and human heads were apparently replaced by balls. However, the custom of using "trophy heads" in the game must have survived in modern form in marginal areas, as evidence by the fact that the present day Tajik tribesmen of Afghanistan still use the head of a goat as a ball during the game (Abercombie, 1968). While more studies are needed along this line, it is tempting to suggest that the custom of using human heads in competitive ballgames be added to the growing Pre-Classic inventory of "trans-Pacific contacts". (S.F. de Borhegyi 1980, p.25)

 

Throughout Mesoamerica during the Preclassic (2000 BC to AD 250) and Late Classic period (600-900 C.E) ), depictions of human heads as trophy symbols occur on ball game paraphernalia and ball court wall panels, and that an overwhelming majority of these stone artifacts are of Preclassic and Late Classic origin (S.F. de Borhegyi 1961, p.133 and footnote 21). In Preclassic times the ritual ball game seems to be obsessively connected with jaguar and serpent symbolism associated with bloody fertility rites and decapitation.                                 

Ethno-mycologist Gordon Wasson believed that the origin of ritual decapitation lay in the mushroom ritual itself. 

There are numerous historical reports as well as visual images that link mushroom consumption to the ritual of  self sacrifice and ritual decapitation. These include blood letting, penis perforation, and even the improbable act of self-decapitation. Scenes of Underworld Jaguar transformation not only contain mushroom imagery, but are often preceded by scenes of decapitation. I believe that mushrooms were so closely associated with death and jaguar transformation, and Venus resurrection, that I conclude that they must have been believed to be the vehicle through which both occurred. With so much visual evidence suggesting that hallucinogenic mushrooms were consumed prior to ritual decapitation, it seems reasonable to propose that they were considered essential to the ritual itself, whether in real life or symbolically (self decapitation) in the underworld or in the ritual ballgame.      

                                   

      

Above is a Monument celebrating ritual ballgame decapitation, Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900) Cotzumalhuapa culture, located on the Pacific piedmont of southern Guatemala, in the Escuintla Department, on the outskirts of Guatemala City. This area near the border of Mexico and Guatemala, is most likely where the mushroom cult got it's start, based on the numerous mushroom stones found in this area. During the Late Classic period, Cotzumalhuapa was a major city that extended more than 10 square kilometres (3.9 sq mi), encompassing three major compounds, two of them known as El Baúl, and Bilbao (Wikipedia), important archaeological sites that were excavated by Stephan de Borhegyi and fellow archaeologist Lee A. Parsons, in the early 1960's.

It was in this region that the decapitation of human heads and the dismemberment of body parts reached new levels. Stephan de Borhegyi, surmised that victims or captives for sacrifice were decapitated by priests or ballplayers dressed in were-jaguar attire after which the decapitated heads of both ballplayers and jaguars were hung up by ropes over ballcourts or temples. Borhegyi proposed that the stone heads and later stone rings set in the walls of formal ballcourts were a symbolic replacement for the trophy heads of earlier times (Borhegyi,1980:20, 24). These trophy heads were venerated as sacrificial offerings, and may even have been used during certain ballgames in lieu of balls. 

Anthropologist Dennis Tedlock who translated the Popol Vuh into english has identified five episodes involving underworld decapitation and self decapitation in the Popol Vuh. He notes that, based on evidence discovered by Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi, he does not rule out the presence of an Amanita muscaria mushroom cult in the Popol Vuh (Tedlock,1985: 250).  In one episode the ball playing Hero Twins decapitate themselves in the underworld in order to come back to life.

 

                                                                                      

Above is a miniature stone hacha, the Spanish word for axe, from Veracruz, Mexico (Late Classic Period, 600-900 C.E.) ( photograph from Whittington, 2001)

 

In Mesoamerican art ballplayers are often depicted wearing these stone objects. These stone objects like the ballgame palmas below, were likely used for ceremonial purposes and not worn during actual play.  Hachas, like the one depicted above, fit into the belt or yoke worn by ballplayers in the Mesoamerican ballgame. This hacha was probably used in ceremonies associated with the ballgame. The hacha represents a decapitated trophy head of a wrinkled faced and toothless old man wearing a cone-shaped hat. The wrinkled face and toothless mouth suggest the Old Fire God (Xiuhtecutli), while a closer look reveals the image of a sacred psilocybin mushroom encoded in the cheek and hat. The conical or cone-shaped hat, in this case mushroom-inspired, is a trademark attribute of the Mexican god-king Quetzalcoatl and of his priesthood.

The ritual ball game can only be explained as a cross cultural phenomenon, for it transcended all linguistic barriers in Mesoamerica. The earliest known archaeological site from which actual ball game paraphernalia has been recovered is El Manati on the on the Mexican Gulf Coast. Excavations (Scott JF, 1976, no.46 pp.25-48) have uncovered a stone yoke and a serpent-shaped scepter (early Preclassic 900 B.C.) indicating an early relationship between the ball game and serpents. Gerard Van Bussel (Van Bussel 1991 Ibid pp. 256-57) analyzed the relationship between the Maya words for blood and semen, and concluded that the ball game may be an allegory of life through dynastic succession, and that the serpent-shaped scepter found at El Manati may be an insignia of power and kingship.

In Mesoamerican art, ballplayers are also depicted wearing these curious stone objects depicted below called "palmate stones" or palmas. Palmate stones were likely used for ceremonial purposes and not worn during actual play. Nahua manuscripts (Annals of Cuauhtitlan) record that it was Lord Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl who invented the ballgame.
 

                

The photograph is from the 1963 publication "The Rubber Ball Game of Ancient America",  written by my father Dr.  Stephan F. de Borhegyi, and my mother Dr. Suzanne de Borhegyi-Forrest. The ballgame palma, is from Veracruz, Mexico, dating to the Late Classic Period, 600-900 C.E. and depicts a stylized trefoil that I believe represents a pre-Columbian version of the Old World Fleur de lis emblem. The palmate stone is now in the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum.
 

     

                                  

Above is a drawing (by Rynyha J. Gibbs) of Stela 9, from Mound C-III-6, carved around 500 B.C.E. The monument is from the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu, located just on the outskirts of Guatemala City. This powerful city controlled trade of the obsidian deposits of El Chayal since Early Preclassic times (1000 BC) and Kaminaljuyu's strategic location opened up trade networks between the rich cacao plantations on the Pacific Coast, and the rich jade deposits in the Motagua River valley. The Kaminaljuyu stela portrays an important figure crowned with what appears to me to be a Fleur de lis emblem, in an art style coined Olmecoid Substyle, or Post-Olmec (Lee A. Parson, 1981 p. 264-265).

        

        
Above on the right is a winged Olmec jadeite figurine, known as the Arroyo Pesquero figurine, dated around, 900-300 B.C.  The Olmec winged deity appears to be crowned with a trefoil symbol of divinity similar in shape to the Old World Fleur-de-lis symbol.                            

      
    

          

Above, is a Preclassic Olmec (800-500 B.C) relief panel from the south coast of Guatemala, that depicts a feline god-king crowned with a stylized Fleur-de-lis symbol encoded in his headdress.

Note the trademark "Olmec snarl", and footprint motif on the monument, and that the Olmec god-king wears a T-shaped medallion around his neck, a symbol associated with the Wind god Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl, and the Maya Storm god Chaac (also spelled Chac, and designated God B by Schellhas). This T-shaped icon is known as the Ik glyph, and is similar in shape to the Aryan Tau cross.   

 

Interpretations of Olmec political organization range from that of an empire (Caso 1965; Bernal 1969a; M. Coe 1968b), to a state (Heizer 1960), to a cheifdom, (Sanders and Price 1968) (Philip Drucker 1981, p.29). The powerful unitary religion of the Olmec, appears to spread quickly throughout the New World with certain elements of the belief system that spread as far as the Andean area of South America. We know this culture by its powerful art style featuring adult and baby "were-jaguars;" an art style so pervasive that it led the late archaeologist Matthew W. Stirling in 1955 to call the Olmec the "people of the jaguar." He speculated that the Olmecs believed that at some time in their mythical past a jaguar had copulated with, and impregnated, a human female.
 
 
                         

Above is a Olmec jade figurine (900-300 B.C.) that depicts the familiar "Olmec snarl", symbolism of the Underworld Jaguar God, or Underworld Sun God, the so-called "were-jaguar". Note that the Olmec artist encodes an ear of corn or maybe even a pine cone into a stylized Fleur de lis symbol. (photo from, http://www.antiques.com/categories/380/Ancient-Unknown-)     

 

Olmec jadeite carving 900-300 B.C. The jadeite carving above depicts an Olmec ruler or deity with the familiar "Olmec snarl", symbolism of the Underworld Jaguar God, or Underworld Sun God. I will demonstrate that the trefoil crowned above this ruler or deities head is a New World version of the Old World Fleur-de-lis symbol.  Note that there are encoded footprints on the Olmec jadeite carving, a common motif in Olmec art, that refers to a journey, and will be noted throughout.

 

                                           

                                         Drawing of Olmec jadeite celt by Jill Leslie Furst

 

The worship of animal spirit companions and the concept of human-animal transformation is so ancient, that the origins of these beliefs appear to predate the development of agriculture. Since these beliefs are also present throughout North and South America that they may very well have been brought there by the first hunters and gatherers to reach the New World. However we do find the first evidences of these shamanistic rituals in Mesoamerica in the art of the ancient Olmecs along with the development of agriculture, food production, and settled village life.   
 

          Quoting the late anthropologist Dr. Robert Heine Geldern...    

 "Those who believe the ancient peoples of Asia were incapable of crossing the ocean have completely lost sight of what the literary sources tell us concerning their ships and their navigation. Many of the peoples of Southeastern Asia had adopted Indian Hindu-Buddhist civilizations."
 
"The influences of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of southeast Asia in Mexico and particularly, among the Maya, are incredibly strong, and they have already disturbed some Americanists who don't like to see them but cannot deny them.... Ships that could cross the Indian Ocean were able to cross the Pacific too. Moreover, these ships were really larger and probably more sea-worthy than those of Columbus and Magellan....Ships of the size that carried Fahien from India to China (through stormy China water) were certainly capable of proceeding all the way to Mexico and Peru by crossing the Pacific. One thousand years before the birth of Columbus Indian ships were far superior to any made in Europe up to the 18th century."
                              (Quote from http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Pacific.htm )                          


 

Chinese records indicate that emperor Shih Huang sent thousands of men and woman on a voyage to the so-called Isle of the Immortals known as "Fu-sang", to find the mushroom of immortality for the ailing emperor.

           Quoting David Pratt 

"By the 3rd century BC, the Chinese were building oceangoing merchant vessels up to 80 feet long and weighing up to 60 tons. According to the Shih Chi chronicle, in 219 BC, during the reign of Emperor Shih Huang, a fleet of ships, led by Captain Tzu Fu, left China for Fu Sang, a far-off land to the east, also known as the Isle of the Immortals. The purpose was to bring back the legendary ling chih mushrooms for the ailing emperor (source davidpratt.info May 2009).

 

The Chinese voyagers never returned from the expedition, and the Chinese emperor died in the year 207 B.C. without obtaining the mushroom of immortality (D.H. Childress,1992 p.561).

In her book Pale Ink (self-published c. 1958), anthropologist Henriette Mertz noted two Chinese expeditions to America. Both expeditions are in the Chinese records, one in the fifth century A.D., and the other, much earlier in the twenty-third century B.C. (Peter Tompkins 1976 p.352-353). The 5th century Chinese expedition is described by Hwui Shan a Buddhist monk who reported on the travels of five Buddhist missionaries to a country far to the east called "Fu-sang", which Mertz and several other historians have identified as Mexico. According to Mertz, "this 5th century visit to Mexico changed the entire course of Mexican history" (from Peter Tompkins 1976 p.352-353).   

 Anthropologist Gunnar Thompson theorizes that Chinese explorers sailed down the coast of Central America between 500-300 B.C., in search of divine mushrooms to take back to China (D.H. Childress,1992 p.62).  Early Chinese texts use the language chhiu, meaning “searching for” , the herb or plant of immortality, often described as a fungus (source: Frederick R. Dannaway, Entheogenic Traces in Islamic Mysiticism).      

 

Evidence of early Olmec culture in the Maya area has been established at numerous archaeological sites along the Pacific coast on the same fertile cacao-growing plain where archaeologists have found a number of mushroom stones.  These and other archaeologists  suggest that the Olmec were the first to set up cacao plantations in this fertile region later called the Soconusco by the Aztecs. The Olmec exploited the local resources, including both cacao and mushrooms, and eventually established the "south-coast trade routes that became part of an even larger economic network connecting Mexico with southeastern Central America, and beyond. This north-south Olmec trade network was later controlled by the ruling elites of the ancient Maya. Maya archaeologist Robert Sharer considered it  no accident that the earliest examples of Maya hieroglyphic writing and sculptural style have been found at Late Preclassic southern Maya centers. These southern Maya centers displayed the first flowerings of Maya civilization centuries before the rise of the Classic lowland sites.(Sharer, 1983, 63-66)

It was in the region near the border of Mexico and Guatemala, that the first calendrical inscriptions are found in the Maya area.  At the Olmec influenced site of Takalik Abaj, Stela 2 portrays a bearded man surrounded by dragon masks and scrolls and has a date but unfortunately the stela is missing the glyph that identifies the period and cycle of the Long Count. The monument credited with the earliest Long Count date in the Maya area is from the archaeological site of El Baul in Guatemala, a site excavated in the 60's by my father Stephan de Borhegyi and fellow archaeologist Lee A. Parsons. The monument at El Baul known as Stela 1, has a Long Count date of  7.19.15.7.12, a using the GMT correlation, would read A.D. 36 in our present day calendar.

This area near the border of Mexico and Guatemala, is most likely where the mushroom cult got it's start, based on the numerous mushroom stones found in this area. It was in this region that the decapitation of human heads and the dismemberment of body parts reached new levels. Borhegyi surmised that victims or captives for sacrifice were decapitated by priests or ballplayers dressed in jaguar or were-jaguar attire after which the decapitated heads of both ballplayers and jaguars were hung up by ropes over ballcourts or temples. Borhegyi proposed that the stone heads and later stone rings set in the walls of formal ballcourts were a symbolic replacement for the trophy heads of earlier times (Borhegyi,1980:20, 24). These trophy heads were venerated as sacrificial offerings, and may even have been used during certain ballgames in lieu of balls.

 

 

Above is a stone ballgame yoke fragment with footprint that was excavated by J. Eric Thompson along with a tripod mushroom stone from a pit in front of Monument 3 at the Pacific coastal site of El Baul in Guatemala. Thompson described the piece as a huge mushroom-like object that some anthropologists thought to be stone stools.

     

                Quoting Sir J. Eric S. Thompson.... 

"I had heard of the theory that these stones might represent a narcotic mushroom cult, but I would think it a difficult theory to prove or disprove... I know of no reference to their use among the Maya, ancient or modern" (Thompson to de Borhegyi, March 26,1953, MPM Archives). 

Stephan de Borhegyi's, proposal of an ancient Maya mushroom cult met with limited, highly skeptical acceptance at best, among his archaeological colleagues. Few in the Mesoamerican archaeological community seriously considered the possibility that the mushroom sculptures had an esoteric religious significance.   

 

 

Above, and most likely from El Baul on the Pacific Piedmont of Guatemala, is a probable ballcourt marker depicting what appears to be an ancient sun disc, with the four cardinal directions, and rays of the sun encoded as divine mushrooms in profile. For the Hindus, the sun is the "eye of the world". In the Indian epic, the Mahabharata, the revolving ring or wheel protects the Soma of the gods, on which their existence depends (The Mahabharata (Adi Parva), Sections xxxiii-iv..)

 

     

The wheel-like solar disc motif (typically four or eight spokes in number) occurs throughout the ancient world, appearing in petroglyphs several millennia before the invention of spoked wheels.
 

In China, stories about the moon rabbit date back as far as  475-221 BCE. In both Chinese mythology, and Mesoamerican mythology the moon rabbit is the companion to the moon goddess.  

 

             

Above on the left is the Maya Moon Goddess and her companion the Moon Rabbit found on ancient graffiti at the Maya ruins of Nakum, located in the department of Peten in northeastern Guatemala. On the right is another image of the Moon Goddess and her companion rabbit from a page in the pre-Columbian Dresden Codex.

In Chinese mythology the rabbit in the moon makes the elixir of immortality, depicted below at the Tree of Life.

                            

Above is a Tang dynasty (618-906 AD) era mirror depicting a rabbit mixing the elixir of immortality at the Tree of Life. Source: Hiart/Wikimedia Commons

 

                                      

                              (Chinese fabric, source, Secret Drugs of Buddhism)                             

 
In pre-Conquest Mexico, the moon rabbit was closely identified with the intoxicating drink known as pulque, an elixir derived from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave) plant. The first representations of pulque intoxication in Mesoamerica appear at the site of Teotihuacan, where the earliest building date to about 200 BC. and we see the appearance of the quetzal serpent at the Temple of Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc (Miller and Taube 1993, p.142 and 138).
 

               

Above is a page from the post-Conquest Florentine Codex Book 4, f. 13v, that depict men drinking an elixir from the body of a rabbit. 

 

 



 

 

     

         THE FLEUR-DE-LIS ENCODED IN HINDU AND BUDDHIST ART

                          

Buddhist cave frescoes from the East Turkestan Bezeklik, depicting a Fleur de lis symbol.

     

                          

                  Modern day image of a phoenix (eagle) crowned with a Fleur de lis emblem. 

 

The Phœnix, is a mystical bird said to live 500 or 600 years and then builds for itself a funeral pyre, to which it sets fire by fluttering its wings over it, once consumed by the fire the Phoenix rises again from it's own ashes renewed in youth and gorgeous plumage.

"The Phœnix is believed by the Chinese to uphold their Empire and preside over its destiny; it is also worn as a Talisman for Longevity and Conjugal Happiness; whilst in the mystic sense it typifies the- whole world, its head the heavens, its eyes the Sun, its beak the Moon, its wings the wind, its feet the earth, and its tail the trees and plants".

 (source.. http://japanesemythology.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/on-the-trail-of-the-toriis-origins/)         

      

 

In 1886, William Thomson a U.S. Naval officer and Easter Island's first scientific researcher visited Easter Island. According to Heyerdahl, Thompson found many representations of catlike figures symbolizing their supreme god, a Sun God they called Make-Make. He noted that this was remarkable because there were no members of the cat family on Easter Island or anywhere else in Polynesia. 

                              

The "Olmec were-jaguar" is similar to the one from Easter Island both representing a crouching feline with human head, the Olmec were-jaguar was excavated from Monument F.b,  at the Olmec site of Tres Zapotes (photo from National Geographic Society).

Cave artifacts discovered by Easter Island archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl and his team include numerous stone trophy heads, and figurines that resemble were-jaguars. Cave ritualism on an elite level is evident as early as 1000 B.C. at the Olmec influenced site of Chalcatzingo, near the Valley of Mexico (Pasztory, 1997:90).  Carbon dating of many of these Easter Island artifacts suggests an occupation of Easter Island around A.D. 380 A.D, about a thousand years earlier than scientists previously speculated. According to Heyerdahl the legends of these people claim that the first inhabitants of the island arrived from the east. Heyerdahl's work,  although, initially discounted, gained some support after he presented his studies at the Tenth Pacific Science Congress in Honolulu in 1961.

 

                      

The petroglyph drawing below the Maya Venus glyph, is by Lorenzo Dominguez (1901-1963), and is from Easter Island, and when asked what the symbol meant, the Easter Islanders said that it represented "Make Make" their creator god.

The author, while no expert on Easter Island archaeology, has been struck by the similarity of some Easter Island rituals such as monument building, and monument mutilation, with those of the ancient Olmec culture that appears to come from out of nowhere in full bloom at the site of San Lorenzo, in Veracruz, Mexico. Evidence of cannibalism from household refuse appears very early on at San Lorenzo. As mentioned earlier Carbon 14 dates place Olmec civilization at San Lorenzo at 1200 B.C. E. (M. D.  Coe, 1970, p.21). 

        

        

Above is a Preclassic stela from the archaeological site of Izapa, located on the Pacific coast, near the border of Guatemala, in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Archaeologists have theorized that Izapa may have been settled as early as 1500 B.C. making Izapa as old as the Olmec sites of La Venta and San Lorenzo. Maya researcher Vincent Malmstrom proposes that the origin of Mesoamerica's Ritual 260 day calendar is from Izapa, and that he places the calendar's origin at 1359 B.C. (Susan Milbrath 1999 p.64).            
    

The stela above clearly depicts a bearded man in a boat, maybe even a foreigner from the Old World, who voyaged to the New World bringing with him the symbol of the cross, the Fleur de lis and a trinity of gods (see drawing below). Note that the boat is shaped or encoded like the Maya Ik glyph, (a capital T) a symbol in Mesoamerica of the Wind God, similar in shape to the Old World tau cross. According to the late Dr. Herbert J. Spinden, one of the great scholars of Mesoamerican art and archaeology, and author of,  A Study of Maya Art,  writes..." It seems quite likely that Quetzalcoatl was a Mexican adaptation of one of the principal Maya deities, probably the Long-nosed God". 

    

Dr. Herbert J. Spinden, curator of Mexican archaeology and ethnology at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University...

"Many authorities consider God B to represent Kukulcan, the Feathered Serpent, whose Aztec equivalent is Quetzalcoatl "(A Study of Maya Art 1975 p.62).

 

                          

The Ik glyph, above, shaped like a capital T, is similar in shape to a mushroom in profile,  and the Indo-Aryan Tau cross.

 

      

Referring back to the Izapa stela, see drawing above, we see a long-lipped, or long-nosed deity depicted in the sea below,  crowned with an emblem similar in shape and meaning to the Fleur de lis, along with an X-symbol encoded in his head, a common attribute of the Maya god Chaac.
 
Chaac is a Maya deity derived from a serpent, and is the most frequently represented god in the four pre-Hispanic Maya codices, and in the Colonial texts Chaac is referred to as the god of cornfields, as a manifestation of water, in the form of rain, lakes, rivers, and the sea. In Mesoamerica, this X-symbol is clearly linked to the dualistic nature of the planet Venus as a death and resurrection star.   Many of the monuments at Izapa portray winged deities and a religious theme of a World Tree or Tree of Life.

          

                   

                        

Above is a Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) Maya vase painting K3060, that depicts a  long-lipped bearded deity with a bulbous nose, and serpentine eye, encoded with an X-symbol in his head associated with the four cardinal directions and its sacred center. The attributes associated with this deity are linked to a god Maya archaeologists have named Chaac, (also spelled Chac), known also as "God B," as designated by Schellhas. The image of vase painting K3060, appears to me to be intimately linked with mushrooms, alluding to sacred portals at the four cardinal directions, and its cosmic center. A page in the Dresden Codex portrays four Chaacs seated in the "World Trees" located at the four cardinal directions of time and space.  A fifth Chaac is seated in a cave representing the cosmic center of the world. This configuration of five, identified as the quincunx, is a reference to the central portal of Venus resurrection, identified with Quetzalcoatl and the spirit world. It should be noted that the number 5 was specifically associated with Quetzalcoatl and that the quincunx associated with Venus.  According to J. Eric Thompson the idealized Venus cycle always ended on the day 1-Ahau, (Milbrath, 1999 p.170). The synodic revolution of Venus, from Morning Star to Morning Star is 584 days, and that these revolutions were grouped by the Nahuas in fives, (see Maya  Dresden Codex) so that 5 x 584 equaled 2,920 days, or exactly eight solar years (Nicholson, 1967 pp. 45-46). 

It's my belief that both GI and GII of the Palenque Triad, represent aspects of the planet Venus as a divine resurrection star, as both Morning Star and Evening Star.  GI of the Palenque Triad, was born on 9 Ik, meaning "9 Wind," which is the same birthday as the Wind God Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, also born on 9 Wind. In the Dresden and Madrid codices the T-shaped Ik glyph is used to portray Chaac's eye. Both GI and Quetzalcoatl are associated with the planet Venus and the ritual of Underworld decapitation (Schele and Freidel, A Forest of Kings, 1990 p.245). G I, of the Palenque Triad has been identified as a shark-toothed anthropomorphic god whose attributes include a Spondylus shell ear-flare and shell diadem in his headdress that also encodes an X-symbol, that represents a sacred portal that leads to the underworld, at the center of the universe.   

                  

Above is a close up of a Late Classic Period (600-900 C.E) ceramic incense burner from the ancient Maya city of Palenque, in Chiapas Mexico. Palenque is home to a trinity of Maya gods known as the Palenque Triad. The god-king that's portrayed on the incense burner, with feline attributes wears a crown encoded with two X-symbols, and two Fleur de lis symbols, one on ether side of a deity that may represent G-I of the Palenque Triad.                        

 

   

Above is an Etruscan ceramic helmet head dated 650 B.C. Compare how similar  the iconography is above and below of the Fleur de lis symbol, deity head and X-symbol.

 

 

 

 

Evidence of pre-Columbian contact between Teotihuacan and China was presented in 1962 by Dr. Gordon F. Ekholm,  Dr. Robert von Hein-Geldern, Dr. Paul Kirchhoff, and Dr. Eulalia Guzman at the International Congress of Americanists held in Mexico City.

    

Gordon Ekholm noted a striking resemblances between the cylindrical tripod vases of Teotihuacan and Chinese vessels of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 220), and Heine-Geldern who noted striking similarities in the Maya architecture of Chichen Itza and Chinese sculptural reliefs and friezes.

 

         Quoting Dr. Eulalia Guzman...

"Three of the four sections of  the old Winter Palace in the heart of Peking are the same as those of the Palace of Atetelco at Teotihuacan. Exact parallels are to be seen in the two constructions". (The Ancient Past of Mexico 1966, Alma M. Reed p.42).

 



    

 I found mushroom imagery in a number of ceramic figurines both from China, and India, Harappa/Indus Valley civilization (2600-1900 BCE.) that encode what I have identified as the Amanita muscaria mushroom "Hidden in Plain Sight", in the headdress of the Earth Goddess.      

    

Hunnic cauldrons have long claimed the attention of archaeologists because of their mushroom shaped handles, which until 1896, (Reinecke 1986) were classified as Scythian cauldrons... Note the mushrooms encoded on the cauldrons and Hunnic diadems or crowns encoded with a trefoil symbol similar in shape and meaning to the Fleur de lis..It should be noted that "a passage in Jordanes' Getica 30 seems to betray some knowledge of the Huns in their ancient sites in the East. Jordanes writes: "Scythia is formed like a mushroom, at first narrow and than broad and round in shape, extending as far as the Hunni, Albani, and Seres." (source..The World of the Huns:Studies in Their History and Culture:  page 445, 1973) 

     

"We have drunk the Soma and become Immortal; we have attained the Light, and found the Gods". (Rig Veda, 8.XLVIII.3)

 

Quoting Ethno-mycologist R. Gordon Wasson, (from Peter Furst, 1972, p.212)    

 "the Soma of the Rig-Veda becomes incorporated into the religious history and prehistory of Eurasia, its parentage well established, its siblings numerous. Its role in human culture may go back far, to the time when our ancestors first lived with the birch and the fly-agaric, back perhaps through the Mesolithic and into the Paleolithic" (from Furst, 1976 p. 103).       

"In Genesis, is not the serpent the self-same chthonic spirit that we know from Siberia?"     

 

          
The Fleur de lis motif in the ancient art of India, and China, symbolizes  a divine portal (Nirvana), an esoteric metaphor for the Tree of Life and the mushroom of immortality. Above is a carving from India of the Buddha meditating in a portal, under a Fleur-de-lis symbol.  Nalanda Site Museum, Bihar, India.


  

Buddhism is named for its reputed founder Gautama also known as Siddharatha Gautama, who came to be known as the Buddha, an Indian prince of the 6th century B.C. The legend of the Buddha is that his conception and birth were miraculous. His mother, named  Maya, conceived of him in a dream, and gave birth to him while standing and grasping a tree. Buddhist legend holds that during Gautama's lifetime he left footprints in all the lands where his teachings would be acknowledged.
 
            
Above is a limestone carving 1st century B.C.E. now in the British Museum in London, titled the enlightenment of the Buddha. Note the footprints under the bodhi tree, and  what looks like two encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms.
Footprints of the Buddha, encoded with Fleur de lis emblems as a symbol of a Trinity.

              
The closeup of the "Footprint of the Buddha", on the top row is 1st century, and is from the ancient kingdom of Gandhara, in modern-day northern Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan. Like many other footprints of the Buddha, they are encoded with a trefoil or known as the "Three Jewels" or "Precious Triad" and represents a symbol of the trinity. The so-called "Wheel of Dharma"  above and below the three trefoil symbols, represents an esoteric symbol of the Buddha, and his path to Nirvana in Indian Buddhism. The Buddha reaches Nirvana only after he eats a deadly mushroom. Note the similarity of the "Wheel of Dharma" and the underneath image of the Amanita muscaria mushroom cap.   

 

 

The footprint motif is a common one in pre-Columbian art, symbolizing "to journey", which leads me to speculate that Guatemala may have been called "the land of the Gautama", one of the many lands visited by Buddhist monks in pre-Columbian times ?

In Chinese religion, the word "tao" means road or path. The Aztecs called their divine mushroom, teonanacatl, "teo" meaning God, teonanacatl, meaning "God's flesh"

According to researcher Hugh Thomas (Conquest; 1993 p.14) "The mushrooms of the Mexica (Aztecs), the most important of these plants, came from the pine-covered slopes of the mountains surrounding the valley." The Amanita muscaria mushroom lives in symbiotic relationship with pine trees and birch trees.   

          

     

 Above is a photograph taken by Phil Bendle, of the underside and lamellae (gills) of the Amanita muscaria mushroom. 

 

 

As the story goes, Buddha becomes enlightened while sitting under the Bodhi tree. The word bodhi which means enlightenment, is I believe a metaphorical reference to the sacred mushroom and the Tree of Life or Tree of Knowledge. It should be noted that Buddha eventually reaches enlightenment, or Nurvana under this tree but only after he dies from eating a mushroom. 

 
                                      

 

Quoting researcher Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein......

"In the legendary biographies of some Buddhist adepts from the 2nd- and 9th-centuries there are some clues which can be interpreted to reveal that the adepts were consuming psychedelic Amanita muscaria, 'fly agaric', mushrooms to achieve enlightenment."  (from Hajicek-Dobberstein 1995, Soma siddhas and alchemical enlightenment: psychedelic mushrooms in Buddhist tradition)   

 

            

"The Awakened One", Buddhist mural depicting Buddha sitting under the Tree of Life encoded as the Fleur de lis  (from Po Win Daung, Myanmar).

 

   

The ancient Maya venerated the Ceiba tree as their so-called  World Tree, or Tree of Life. According to Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi, in a letter to Gordon Wasson...(April 8th, 1954 Wasson archives)

"the ceiba tree when young definitely has short spikes and I think that the spiked incensarios in the Maya area are related in concept to the spiked ceiba tree, which was the sacred tree of the Maya".  

 

 

Above and below are Chinese jade Bi, pronounced "bee",  that are flat disks often depicting celestial symbols of the four cardinal directions. The extremely sacred objects (the round hole symbolizing a divine portal), were used in ceremonies by early Chinese kings to venerate the celestial spirits. 

 

Jade Bi, are commonly found in Chinese royal graves. Similar jade disks with holes and celestial symbols have been found in the royal graves of Maya kings.

 

     

The wheel-like solar disc motif (typically four or eight spokes in number) occurs throughout the ancient world, appearing in petroglyphs several millennia before the invention of spoked wheels.
   

13th and 14th century..Buddhist Mameluks coins.....Budist kültürde Lotus, Hıristiyan kültüründe Zambak ve Türk kültüründe Gonca-Rumi motifi adı verilen Hayat Çiçeği İkonografisi..(source Nuray Bilgili 2015)                                            

                  

                                        

Above is a Magadha Janapada (c.600-500 BC) coin encoded with astronomical symbols in association with mushrooms and the Tree of Life.

 

                 

              
Magadha Janapada silver coins,(c.600-500 BC) depicting mushroom-like symbols in association with a Tree of Life.  
  

 

          

         

Above are Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)  'Sichuan' figurines with smiling faces, wearing headdresses that I propose are encoded with Amanita muscaria mushrooms. 

 


In the Rig Veda the term Maya, refers to the power of Soma, with which the gods possessed to create and maintain the physical universe, and to assume various material forms. Maya is the power that brings all reality into being as it is perceived by human consciousness. Therefore, all the natural phenomena contained within this material world are products of maya. We are even told that the gods themselves were described as Mayin.
 

Alma M. Reed author of The Ancient Past of Mexico, 1966, p. 13, writes that a member of the Chinese National Assembly holds that a Chinese monk named Fa Hsien landed in Mexico in A.D. 412, and that he became the Toltec culture hero Quetzalcoatl, symbolized by the "plumed serpent".

Reed mentions (page 27) that the identity of the Toltecs poses one of the most confusing problems in the legendary and documented history of Mexico. She writes that, 

 

"the fierce warrior, the Toltec god-king Mixcoatl,  who has been called the "New World Genghis Khan" and who was deified by his own people, the Toltec hordes appeared with the suddenness of a cyclone, which the word "Mixcoatl" signifies". After burning and sacking Teotihuacan the energetic chieftain moved on, seeking a favorable site, finally settling on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco at Culhuacan ("The Place of the Turning" or "The Place of the Bent Ancient Ones"). According to the Anales de Cuauhtitlan he later moved the seat of the Toltec empire to Tula" (The Ancient Past of Mexico, 1966, p.27-28).

 


According to the Rig-Veda, Maya was the goddess, by whom all things are created by her union with Brahma. She is the cosmic egg, the golden uterus, the Hiramyagarbha (The Project Gutenberg EBook of Vestiges of the Mayas, by Augustus Le Plongeon).                                  

Is it just a  coincidence that the Buddhist prophet Gautama had a mother named Maya, and that the Vedic-Hindu god Soma had a son named Buddha ? Buddha's conception and birth were miraculous. Buddha's mother  Maya, conceived of him in a dream, and gave birth to him while standing and grasping a tree.

 
          

Above on the left is the image of Buddha under what appears to be an Amanita muscaria mushroom. On the right is a female figurine from the Maya ruins of Xelha in Quintana Roo Mexico, now in Cancun’s Maya Museum. It's tempting to think that the female figurine above on the right represents Gautama's mother  Maya ?                         

                                                       

In Buddhist art Queen Maya is portrayed as a beautiful woman in the prime of life. I wonder if this Maya figurine is one of those "oopart", or "out-of-place-artifacts" that actually depicts what it looks like, a Chinese woman. In fact I might take this one a step further, and propose that the female figurine from the Maya ruins of Xelha in Quintana Roo Mexico, is a possible portrait of Buddha's mother, Queen Maya, and that the name Guatemala, was said to be "the land of the Gautama tree",  the land where Soma grows in abundance.

 
In seeking the linguistic origin for the name Maya, or Mayan, and Guatemala, it should be noted that linguists have identified a number of Sanskrit words in Quechua, the ancient Andean language of the Inca of Peru, South America (Hugh Fox, 2005, p.118).    

 

       
The Makara (Sanskrit; Javanese: Makårå) often called "the water monster vehicle", or "sea dragon", is a Hindu-Buddhist mythological sea creature, often depicted with its trunk tilted up and its mouth spread wide open, and at times from which a deity emerge. The Makara is a common motif in Hindu and Buddhist iconography, generally portrayed guarding the entrance of many ancient temples in Indonesia. The drawing above the Makaras, is by the late Tatiana Proskouriakoff, taken from the palace at the ancient Maya ruins of Sayil, in Yucatan Mexico (1946: p.53).
           
In Hindu mythology the Makara is considered a guardian of gateways and portals, generally depicted as a half land creature, and half sea creature, the front half of its body resembling a crocodile or elephant, his rear end having an aquatic tail. The Makara is the vehicle (Sanskrit: ‘vāhana’) of the Hindu water god Varuṇa who in Vedic times was also the God of the Sea. Note the similarity above right, of the Maya Rain God Chaac, riding on the back of a long-nosed aquatic creature?

 
        
Compare the two scenes on the right of the Mexican Rain God Tlaloc, the Aztec-Toltec counterpart, of the Maya Rain God Chaac, who also represents the embodiment of lightning, rain and thunder is portrayed above in the pre-Conquest codices, riding on the back of a half-land, and half-sea creature

As I will demonstrate throughout, I discovered that the Ik glyph in Mesoamerican iconography, is intimately connected with the Fleur-de-lis symbol, linked to the resurrected Sun God and to the Sun Gods creator and decapitator, the planet Venus as Morning Star and Evening Star. The Ik glyph is also tied to the births of the Maya god GI, (Chaac ?) of the Palenque Triad, and the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind.
            
      

Above is another incense burner depicting the same bearded deity, wearing ear flares encoded with an upside down, or inverted Fleur-de-lis symbol,  that I believe is an esoteric reference to underworld resurrection. The deity may represent the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac, or GI of the Palenque Triad. The Maya god Chac the Maya counterpart of the Mexican god Tlaloc, can be identified here by the trademark Ik symbol or glyph encoded as Chac's tooth.

         

Late Classic Maya figurine of a ruler or deity wearing ear plugs encoded with the upside down, or inverted Fleur-de-lis symbol. (Palacio Canton Museo Regional de Antropologia)

           

The Ik glyph, which looks like a capital T, was one of the most sacred symbols among the ancient Maya, and is often depicted as Chac's eye in the Dresden Codex. The symbol signifies wind, breath (breath=Life) and spirit, and represents a sacred day in the Mayan calendar linked to the birth of GI of the Palenque Triad, and to the god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind. 

              

Above are glyphs from the Dresden Codex that depict the Maya god Chac, with the Ik glyph encoded as the eye. Chac is the most frequently depicted Maya god in the three surviving pre-Hispanic codices.

 

Above are seals from India, Kashmir 2nd century A.D. that encode the Indo-Aryan Tau cross.

                              

I found the Ik glyph in Mesoamerica to be intimately connected with the Fleur-de-lis symbol, and that its tied to the births of the Maya god GI, (Chac) and the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind.                                  

 

                                   

Above, is another Maya glyph from the Dresden Codex (possibly an eclipse glyph) that I propose depicts the Fleur-de-lis symbol associated  with the Ik glyph (shaped like a white capital T) in connection with the four cardinal directions.

                

         

In the drawing above of a Late Classic (600-900 C.E) Maya stucco relief (Maya ruins of Palenque, House B), the Maya artist has encoded the T-shaped Ik glyph in context with the Fleur-de-lis symbol depicting the four cardinal directions. They appear in conjunction with a step motif, a Mesoamerican symbol referring to the descent into the Underworld through which one is reborn and resurrected (drawing from A.Stone, Reading Maya Art, 2011; p.174).     


 

Above are Zapotec incense burners portraying a deity or ruler crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol. The incense burner on the left has a T-shaped Ik glyph, emerging from its center. The Zapotec incense burner on the right is dated Late Formative period; 400–200 BC. (Saint Louis Art Museum)
 

                     

Above is a jade mask from Palenque that portrays GI of the Palenque Triad with a  T-shaped Ik glyph encoded as the tooth of G I.  Note what looks like a Fleur de lis symbol encoded in Chac's head stylized as the Tree of Life.    

The Maya god Chac, like the Mexican god Tlaloc, is also associated with rain, lightning and thunder. Both Chac and Tlaloc are commonly depicted in pre-Columbian art wielding lightening bolts, or wielding an axe associated with Underworld decapitation.

       

Above are all Late Classic Period (600-900 C.E) images that depict the God of the Underworld and God of Underworld decapitation, wearing the inverted or  up side down Fleur de lis symbol. 

 

Although Maya god Chac is identified with the four cardinal directions, he was sometimes thought of as, "the one god" who resides at the center of the universe. The Quiche Maya of the Guatemala Highlands describe the Amanita muscaria mushroom as supernatural and call it lightening mushroom or in Quiche Mayan  cakulja ikox, ikox meaning underworld mushroom, and they relate this underworld mushroom with the Lord of Lightening, Rajaw Cakulja (Furst, 1976 p.82).  

                      

                        

Above is a Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900) Maya incense burner from Palenque, depicting dual serpents, and portraying the image of the Maya god K'awil. K'awil appears to have mushroom shaped ear-plugs, and he is crowned with a Fleur de lis emblem, symbolizing his connection with a divine Trinity, as god of lineages, divine sacrament and blood sacrifices. K'awil is the Maya god most frequently depicted emerging from the Double-headed Serpent Bar held by Maya rulers as a symbol of supreme rulership. The Double-headed Serpent Bar was an esoteric reference to the sacred portal associated with the World Tree, the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star, and sacred mushrooms for the journey of transformation.

K'awil also frequently appears as the Manikin Scepter held by rulers as a symbol of divine power. K'awil's serpent leg symbolizes divine immortality which, as a bolt of lightning, penetrated the ground and entered the underworld, thereby creating new life in a place of death and decay.

One-legged gods like K'awil and his Aztec counterpart Tezcatlipoca may, in fact, be an esoteric metaphor for a divine one-legged mushroom god (Soma of the Rig Veda) that was manifested from the power of lightning. The words "serpent" and "sky" are homonyms in the Mayan language.

According to David Freidel "the axe through the forehead, an attribute associated with K'awil, signaled that the person was in a state of transformation embodied by the power of lightning" (Freidel, 1993:194,199).

Dennis Tedlock's analysis of the Popol Vuh reveals that "the three q'abawil were wooden and stone deities called Cacula Huracan, Lightning One-leg"; Chipa Cacula, "Youngest or Smallest Lightning"; and "Sudden or Violent Lightning" and suggests that spirit is manifested within material objects (Tedlock,1985, 249-251). The ancient Mayan word for stone, cauac, comes from the word for lightning. Since it was believed that both stones and mushrooms were created from lightning, the spirit of K'awil entered into material objects through lightning. I propose that stones were carved to look like mushrooms in order to worship K'awil as a one-legged, long lipped god of divine transformation.                        

The Maya god K'awil is recognizable by his long upper-lip, (see Maya mushroom stone above) and a smoking tube, (and obsidian mirror, or axehead) that penetrates his forehead (see Maya vase painting K2797 below). These attributes are metaphors of the power to penetrate, or enter, into the Underworld. In Maya art K'awil who is often depicted as a one legged god, symbolized a bolt of lightning which, by penetrating the ground and entering the underworld, could create new life in a place of death and decay.

The Maya god K'awil, who I have proposed is a one-legged mushroom god, has been identified by scholars as the Maya counterpart to the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl, because they both share reptilian or snake-like appearances. Its likely that they are but different manifestations of the same god, also known as Kukulcan and Itzamna. The king's conjuring up of the Maya god K'awil manifested the spiritual world within the material world.

David Stuart (1987) found a syllabic spelling for God K's name which reads K'awil, meaning "sustenance" in Yukatek Mayan, but also meaning "idol" or "embodiment" in the Poqom and Kaqchikel Mayan languages (Freidel, Schele, Parker: 1993 p.410 n).

             

Maya Vase painting K2797 from the Justin Kerr Data Base, represents a great example of what I have identified as mushroom-inspired Maya art. The mushroomic scene is from a Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900) Maya vessel, that depicts a ruler or deity seated on the left, receiving or offering a sacred mushroom to the Maya god K'awil (God K), seated on the right with arms crossed. The ruler or deity on the left clearly holds  a divine mushroom in his left hand. 

 

        Quoting Andrea Stone, and Marc Zender....  

"the most ubiquitous god in Classic Maya art, K'awiil (God K), is also the most enigmatic, because of his proclivity to blend with other gods and his multifarious associations, among them transformation rites, agricultural fertility and royal rituals in general" (Reading Maya Art, 2011, p.49)      

 

                                     

Above is an incense burner lid depicting a ruler impersonating the Maya deity K'awil. The Maya god K'awil (also spelled K'awiil), has been linked to a triad of creator gods simply known as the Palenque Triad. The incense burner above with similar Fleur de lis emblem, is from the Petén region of Guatemala and dates between AD 250-900.

 

The same can be said of Classic period Teotihuacan rulers, who likely impersonated the god Tlaloc the counterpart of the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac, before entering the Underworld Because of Tlaloc's association with Underworld decapitation as the Evening Star aspect of Venus, Teotihuacan rulers likely portrayed themselves impersonating Tlaloc,  just as their Maya counterparts impersonated  Chac-Xib-Chac, or GI of the Palenque Triad.

 

                    The Feline and the Fleur de Lis

 

Much of the mushroom imagery I found was associated with an artistic concept I refer to as jaguar transformation. Under the influence of the hallucinogen,  the "bemushroomed" acquires feline fangs and often other attributes of the jaguar, emulating the Sun God in the Underworld. This esoteric association of mushrooms and jaguar transformation was earlier noted by by Borhegyi and Peter Furst,  together with the fact that a dictionary of the Cakchiquel Maya language compiled circa1699 lists a mushroom called "jaguar ear" (1976:78, 80) .

Mushrooms were so closely associated with death and underworld jaguar transformation and Venus resurrection that I conclude that they must have been believed to be the vehicle through which both occurred. They are also so closely associated with ritual decapitation, that their ingestion may have been considered essential to the ritual itself, whether in real life or symbolically in the underworld. 

 

                                    

          

In the ancient art of Mesopotamia the Underworld Sun God is often portrayed as a lion or a half man, and half lion deity often crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol. 


          

In the art of the Old World its common to see the Fleur de lis symbol encoded with feline deities associated with the Tree of Life. I believe the carving above from ancient Syria, depicts the resurrection of the (decapitated head ?) Underworld jaguar or Underworld Sun God from the Tree of Life. The symbol of the sun or Venus, is just to the left of the decapitated feline head, where the Tree of Life emerges.    

 

       

Above and below are more examples of feline deities encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol, in association with the Tree of Life in the ancient art of Syria and Turkey

        

 

        

Coincidence or evidence of pre-Columbian contact ? Above are two carved stucco friezes from the Maya ruins of Balamku, in Campeche, Mexico. The carvings portray the jaguar deity with a flaming Fleur de lis symbol encoded at the end of his tail (photo from mayanbeachgarden.com).       

          

Above is a Late Classic (600-900 C.E) Maya drinking vessel that depicts a flaming Fleur de lis symbol emerging from an Ahau glyph, a symbol meaning ruler or lord.   

 

                                           

Above is a piece of carved jade known simply as the Leiden Plate that portrays an elaborately attired Maya ruler trampling underfoot a captive, holding what has been described as a stylized Ceremonial Bar, or "Double-headed-serpent-bar". The Ceremonial Bar has been identified as being a symbolic representation of the "World Tree". The Leiden Plate which is thought to have come from the Maya city of Tikal, depicts two deities, emerging from each end of the Ceremonial Bar, both crowned with a symbol reminiscent of a  "flaming Fleur de lis" emblem.  The deity on the right emerging from the Ceremonial Bar also encodes an X-symbol in his headdress, which represents an esoteric symbol of divine resurrection.  Incised on the back side of the Leiden Plate is a Long Count date that corresponds to September 17th, in the year A.D. 320, according to the GMT correlation of the Maya calendar.

 

                    

In pre-Columbian art the jaguar has been identified as the alter ego of the sun, a notion that the sun at night is an Underworld Jaguar God (Milbrath 1999:96).   

          

Photograph © Justin Kerr                

Above is an incense burner that portrays a Maya ruler or a young Maya deity in the guise of the "were jaguar" or Underworld Sun God, crowned with a symbol that I refer to as a flaming Fleur de lis symbol.

 

                                           

Above is a close up of a Late Classic period (600-900 C.E) Maya vase K1250, that depicts an Underworld Jaguar God with Ajaw glyph (meaning Lord) above his head and wearing a scarf around his neck encoded with an upside-down Fleur de lis symbol, identifying the jaguar deity as the Underworld Sun God.

 

 

 

 

    

                

The ancient carving above depicts a bird deity, with wings that encode a Fleur de lis symbol. The Türk-Moğol carving is from the North Caucasus region on the Caspian Sea, in the Russian Republic of Dagestan also spelled Daghestan. (Türk-Moğol Altın Ordu Devletine ait Rölyefler. 1242-1502. Golden Horde Dağıstan)

       

The carving above is also from the North Caucasus region on the Caspian Sea, in the Russian Republic of Dagestan. (Türk-Moğol Altın Ordu Devletine ait Rölyefler. 1242-1502. Golden Horde Dağıstan)

The Dadestan carving depicts three quatrefoils, that each portray a ruler or deity (trinity?) with the central figure holding an X-symbol. Surrounding the quatrefoil at the cardinal directions are four Fleur de lis symbols. 

 

In Mesoamerica, the symbol of the quatrefoil, is a cartouche that also portrayed deities or deified ancestors, and it has a long history going back to the ancient Olmec and Maya, and it represents a divine portal into the Otherworld (Linda Schele and David Freidel 1991 p.308).

 

       

The drawing above is by Barbara Fash, and depicts a ball court floor marker carved in the shape of a quatrefoil, the Maya symbol of a portal, and symbol of the Underworld.  The ball court marker is  from the ancient Maya city of Caracol in present day Belize.  The two deities portrayed ("Hero Twins"?) hold ceremonial bars under their arm, symbolic imagery of the World Tree, and the deity on the right wears an  elaborate headdress, with what appears to me to be a Fleur de lis symbol emerging from the head of the Maya god Chac-Xib-Chac, known simply as Chaac from the later codices.  David Freidel writes that "the ballcourt was not only a place of sacrifice; it was an entry portal to the time and space of the last Creation" (Maya Cosmos 1993, p. 352)

 

Archaeologist David Freidel, writes. "that the quatrefoil door has symbolized the portal to the Otherworld from the beginning of civilized life in Mesoamerica"  (Maya Cosmos, 1993, p.215). And that the quatrefoil shape was used from Olmec times onward to represent the gateway to the Otherworld (Maya Cosmos 1993, p.352).

 

            

Above are four drawings from Classic Period Maya monuments, that depict the quatrefoil as a symbol of a divine portal. The two drawings at the top are by the late John Montgomery, and depict the Maya glyph Ajaw also spelled Ahau: and means ruler, king or Lord.

The quatrefoil on the lower right depicts at it's center, an Ik glyph, symbol of the Wind God, shaped like a capital-T, and similar in shape to the Old World Tau Cross. In the Old World the Tau Cross, was sacred to the ancient Aryans of India.      
   

The drawing above in the lower left hand corner is from the ancient city of Palenque, home to a trinity of Maya gods known as the Palenque Triad. The Palenque Triad consists of three gods who were born from the same divine ancestress, and who played an important role in the local creation myth, known to Maya epigraphers (glyph readers) simply as GI, GII, and GIII.  (Reading The Maya Glyphs, M.D. Coe, 2001 p. 111, and 118)

Maya epigraphers propose that GI of the Palenque Triad may be the same Maya god as the Maya god named Chaac from the pre-Conquest codices, designated "God B" by Schellhas. Chaac and GI have similar recognizable attributes like fins or barbells on each side of the mouth, and a Spondylus shell worn over the ear (M.D. Coe, 2001, p.111).

GI who was the first born of the Palenque Triad, was born on 9 Ik, meaning "9 Wind," which is the same birthday as the Wind God Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, also born on 9 Wind.

The inscriptions at Palenque tell us that the king was considered the incarnation of GI, of the Palenque Triad (Editors, Archaeology Magazine, Secrets of the Maya, 2004:109). It should be noted that Linda Schele and David Freidel believe that GI is Venus and that GIII is the sun (Milbrath 1999:102)

Its known that Maya rulers who impersonated the deity Chac-Xib-Chac at their death, resurrected from the Underworld not as Chac-Xib-Chac, but as the reincarnation of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau.

 

    

 

 

       


                                                            Soma                                           
                                              "Hidden in Plain Sight"

                     

The relief sculpture on the right is of a Hindu Goddess, holding what I propose is an Amanita muscaria mushroom in her right hand. Relief of Alasa Kanya at Vaital Deul, Bhubaneswar. Photograph from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.                                       

        

                  

                         (Copyright photograph: by ethno-Mycologist John W. Allen)

The sculpture above is from the ruins at Angkor Wat, located in present day Cambodia. It depicts three Apsaras, which are female deities in Hindu and Buddhist mythology who are able to change their shape at will. The sculpture depicts the Apsara on the far left, holding what appears to me and mycologist John W. Allen, to be a sacred mushroom in her left hand. This may infer that the Apsaras have three stylized Amanita muscaria mushroom caps encoded in their headdress, below what could be pine trees, which would be a symbolic reference to Soma, and of the World Tree, or Tree of Life, and that the number three would suggest a symbolic reference to the Hindu-Buddhist Trinity.
 
             

Above and below are female fertility figurines from the Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa Culture 3rd–2nd century B.C.  20.3 cm (8 in.) Terracotta, modeled face and hand-modeled body Classification: Sculpture Type, sub-type: Figure Indian, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, John Wheelock Eliot Fund Accession number: 27.135 Provenance/Ownership History: Purchased by the MFA in 1927.

          

The encoding of Amanita muscaria mushrooms in connection with the head in areas as far distant as India, China, and Southeast Asia, and the America's, is both striking and intriguing.

              

Above on the left is a female figurine from the Harappa culture, Indus Valley civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE). The female figurine on the right  is from Puebla, Mexico, Tlatilco an Olmec influenced culture, Early-Middle Preclassic period 1300-800 B.C.E. Both female figurines encode Amanita muscaria mushrooms in their headdress, and both depict what I believe are vulva shaped legs and hips.

Above on the right is a female figurine Tlatilco culture, Puebla, Mexico, Early-Middle Preclassic periods, 1300-800 B.C. Dimension: 6.75in x 0in x 0in 17.145cm x 0cm x 0cm
Purchased with funds provided by The Lake Family Endowment
2000.017.005 (http://sniteartmuseum.nd.edu/collection/aztlan/index_pages/aztlan_all.html) 
 
 
       
                 "Hidden in Plain Sight" mushrooms encoded in pre-Columbian art.

 

 

Quoting ethno-mycologist R. Gordon Wasson...

"It can of course be argued that the two great mushroom traditions, that of New World Indians and that of the peoples of Eurasia, are historically unconnected and autonomous, having arisen spontaneously in the two regions from similar requirements of the human psyche and similar environmental opportunities. But are they really unrelated?

 

          

 Photograph © Justin Kerr

Above on the left is the Amanita muscaria mushroom, and on the right a Maya figurine (300-900 C.E.) photographed by Justin Kerr (K 656a). The figurine wears a headdress inspired by the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Its contorted face depicts the "Olmec snarl", a common motif in Olmec art that I believe represents the mushroom's effect of jaguar transformation and the soul's mythical underworld journey. The figurine holds in his hands what appears to be a concave mirror. Mirrors were used by shamans in their rituals to see into the past and future and communicate with ancestors and gods. I believe that in many, if not most cases, this communication was conducted under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Mirrors were also a common ritual object in Central Asia, and China, and may have been introduced into Mesoamerica with the mushroom cult.  

 

                      

                        

Above is a pre-Columbian vessel from Peru, South America that I believe depicts a priest or shaman holding a mirror in one hand, and an Amanita muscaria mushroom in the other (Museu Nacional de Antropologia y Arqueologi, Lima/Pedro Rojas ponce)

For documentation of mirror gazing (captoptromacy) in Mesoamerica see T. Besterman, 1965,: 73-77; Museum of Primitive Art, 1965.

     

                                   

Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)  Painted Pottery 'Sichuan' figurine, holding a mirror and wearing a headdress encoded with Amanita muscaria mushrooms.  

For documentation of mirror gazing in the Old World see J. Hastings, 1951: IV, 780-782)

 

 

         
Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)  Painted Pottery 'Sichuan' figurines with smiling faces wearing headdresses encoded with Amanita muscaria mushrooms. 

                                          

             

            Gold figurines with mushroom imagery, Quimbaya culture Columbia, South America.

               

Gold mask with mushroom encoded headdress 200 BC-200 AD, Malagana culture Columbia, South America.

                     

           

             The Fleur de lis Symbol Encoded in Ancient Indian Coins ?

    I found very early representations of the Fleur de lis encoded in ancient Indian coins. 

              

                         

                      Nahapana's coin (119–124 CE) with possible Fleur de lis symbol ?       

            

 

                                 


Fleur de lis symbol on the coin above right from the Kshaharata dynasty 1st century C.E.

 

                                              

INDIAN COINS. Ancient, Satakarni I, Lead Karshapana from the Nasik region, bull and swastika, rev tree; Nahapana, Lead Karshapana, lion to right, rev vajra or thunderbolt. Note the symbol of the Fleur de lis on the coin above in the upper right hand corner. The  Satavahana Empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satavahana)  (photograph of coins from Baldwin's Auctions Ltd, Auction 71, 1322 )

 

 

                                     

Above is the image of the god-king Quetzalcoatl wearing a feathered serpent headdress with a symbol that I will demonstrate has the exact same meaning as the Fleur-de-lis symbol of the Old World. Quetzalcoatl is depicted on a throne wearing his trademark "Wind-Jewel" breast plate, a sacred symbol identified with the Wind God. The "Wind-Jewel," a half-sliced conch shell worn by High Priests or rulers, resembles the five pointed Mexican half-star that scholars have identified as a symbol for Venus.  Among the ancient Maya the Wind God personified the number three (Holy Trinity ?) (Stone and Zender, Reading Maya Art, 2011, p. 175). I believe that this image above depicts Quetzalcoatl as a Venus God. The harpy eagle staff at his side is a symbol of Venus as the Morning Star. Quetzalcoatl´s hand gesture signifies an opening or creation, identifying him as the God of Venus resurrection as both the Evening Star and Morning Star aspects of the planet Venus.  


The ancient myth of Quetzalcoatl’s creation of mankind was preserved for us by a Franciscan friar named Jeronimo de Mendieta in 1596. In his manuscript, Historia Eclesiastica Indiana, Mendieta writes that Quetzalcoatl was considered to be a Mexican Prometheus, a beneficent god of all mankind.  He descended to the world of the dead, gathered up the bones of past generations, sprinkled them with his own blood, and thus created a new humanity. (Caso, 1958: p.12)       


          Motolinía recorded...

“They had another way of drunkenness, that made them more cruel and it was with some fungi or small mushrooms, which exist in this land as in Castilla; but those of this land are of such a kind that eaten raw and being bitter they....eat with them a little bees honey; and a while later they would see a thousand visions, especially serpents, and as they would be out of their senses, it would seem to them that their legs and bodies were full of worms eating them alive, and thus half rabid, they would sally forth from the house, wanting someone to kill them; and with this bestial drunkenness and travail that they were feeling, it happened sometimes that they hanged themselves, and also against others they were crueler. These mushrooms, they called in their language teonanacatl, which means 'flesh of God'  or the devil, whom they worshiped.” (Wasson and Borhegyi, 1962) (Wasson, 1980, prelude XVII)

Motolinía also described the calendar and Venus as the star Lucifer, which he said the Indians adored above all others save the sun. They performed more ritual sacrifices for it than for any other creature, celestial or terrestrial. He concludes that "the final reason why their calendar was based on this star, which they greatly revered and honored with sacrifices, was because these misguided people believed that when one of their principal gods, called Topiltzin or Quetzalcoatl, died and left this world, he was metamorphosed into that radiant star." (Lafaye,1987 )

 

Above are two pre-Columbian gold figurines, the Aztec warrior on the right wearing what I propose is a  mushroom-inspired nose plug. 

Fray Bernardino de Sahagun, who was the first Spanish chronicler to report mushroom rituals among the Aztecs, also suggested that the Chichimecs and Toltecs consumed hallucinogens before battle to enhance bravery and strength (Furst 1972, p.12). Hallucinogens taken before battle likely eliminated all sense of fear, hunger, and thirst, and gave the combatant a sense of invincibility and courage to fight at the wildest levels. "This drunkenness lasted two or three days, then vanished"  (Thomas, 1993, p.508).

      

The Aztecs use of hallucinogenic mushrooms was reported by such prominent Spanish historians as the Dominican friar Diego Durán (Aztecs: The History of the Indies of New Spain, translated with notes by Doris Heyden and Fernando Horcasitas, Orion Press, New York, 1964, pp 225-6), by Fray Bernardino de Sahagun (Florentine Codex, Garibay translation, 1947,:239, 247), and Toribio Motolinía (Icazbalceta translation, 1858, Vol. I:23).

Spanish chronicler Fray Diego Duran reported that mushrooms were eaten on the occasion of the accession of the famous Aztec King and High Priest, Moctezuma II to the throne, in the year 1502.   

After Moctezuma took his Divine Seat, captives were brought before him and sacrificed in his honor. He and his attendants then ate a stew made from their flesh.  (Duran, 1964: 225).  

 
        Quoting Fray Duran...

“When the sacrifice was finished and the steps and courtyard were bathed with human blood, everyone went to eat raw mushrooms”.

“With this food they went out of their minds and were in worse state than if they had drunk a great quantity of wine. They became so inebriated and witless that many of them took their lives in their hands. With the strength of these mushrooms they saw visions and had revelations about the future, since the devil spoke to them in their madness”.

One of the great Spanish historians who was more sympathetic to the Indians and their culture than most of his colleagues was Fray Bernardino de Sahagun (1499-1500, History of the Chichimecas). Sahagun was probably the first to record the use of mushrooms, in his famous Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana, written between 1547 and 1582. Sahagun wrote that the Indians were using wild mushrooms (Teonanacatl) in religious ceremonies, where it was believed by the Indians to be the flesh of their gods, and that the mushrooms produced powerful visions and voices that were from God.  

                  

Florentine Codex (Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España), by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún,  between  A.D. 1547-1582.

 Both of the pages illustrated above are  from the Florentine Codex. They depict what I believe is the eating of sacred mushrooms before ritual decapitation. The page on the right depicts what appears to be the smiling faces of sacrificial victims, prior to their decapitation. Note that the sacrificial victim's capes have been turned around as bibs, maybe to be used after decapitation as a ritual bundle to wrap their severed heads in.

 Fray Bernardino de Sahagun arrived in Mexico in 1529 and made a devoted study of the Indians way of life. He taught the Indians to write in Latin script, so as to record what the Indians could remember of their culture that was passed down from generation to generation. Sahagun realized that the Aztec‘s way of life was coming to an end so he went to the oldest natives, learned their language and asked them to paint in picture writing, what they could remember about their history. Over a fifteen year period Sahagun compiled twelve volumes of what he called the history of ancient Mexico, a book of Aztec mythology, and history. When he wrote of the Spanish Conquest as told to him by natives who witnessed the events, Spanish authorities were furious and forced him to revise his story in favor of the victors. The original text is now lost, and only an incomplete copy survives to this day when it surfaced in 1808 during the French invasion of Spain.  

 Sahagun learned that the Mexica who I will refer to as the Aztecs, were a tribe which had only recently entered the Valley of Mexico in the middle of the thirteenth century and that they had moved into an area that had existed for over a thousand years inhabited by people the Aztecs called Toltec, meaning “artist or builder”. Sagahun mentions that the natives spoke of an earlier Toltec society, headed by Quetzalcoatl, which believed in only one god.   

Spanish chronicler Fray Toribio de Benavente, affectionately called Motolinia by the Indians was one of the first to report the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms, by the Aztecs. Motolinia recorded that the Indians of New Spain (known as the Mexica or Aztecs) regarded Quetzalcoatl as one of their principal gods. They called him the God of air and wind, and built temples to him.

Motolinia called into question the legends that described Quetzalcoatl as opposing human sacrifice, and writes that the Holy city of Cholula, was where human sacrifices were performed in honor of Quetzalcoatl. In his Memoriales, (chapter 29), Motolinia describes the great ceremony to Quetzalcoatl which lasted eight days. Coincidentally, this is the same number of days that, according to legend, Quetzalcoatl was in the underworld creating humanity by bloodletting on the bones of his father and the bones of past generations. He then emerged from the underworld as the Morning star. Motolinía describes a star,  (Venus) he calls Lucifer, of which he writes:

The sacrifice of one's own life was believed to be the greatest gift one could give the gods, because it emulated the ways of their god-king Quetzalcoatl, who in legend sacrificed himself (at Teotihuacan) so as to become the new fifth sun, and bring light back to the world: (M. D. Coe 1994:91) 

 
         Quoting Fray Motolina.....

"the Indians adored this star more than any other save the sun, and performed more ritual sacrifices for it than for any other creature, celestial or terrestrial....The final reason why their calendar was based on this star, which they greatly revered and honored with sacrifices, was because these misguided people believed that when one of their principal gods, called Topiltzin or Quetzalcoatl, died and left this world, he was metamorphosed into that radiant star." (LaFaye, 1987)

 The Aztecs, "knew on what day it [Venus] would appear in the east after it had lost itself or disappeared in the west; they counted the days by this and yielded reverence and offered sacrifices to it". (from A. Aveni, "Venus and the Maya," American Scientist 67, p. 274.)      

 

 The city of Cholula, near Puebla, Mexico has a pyramid honoring Quetzalcoatl covering an area of over 500,000 sq. feet, making it the largest pyramidal structure in the world (Hugh Thomas 1993 p.258). A mural at Cholula known as "The Drinkers", was discovered in 1969 by archaeologist Ponciano Salazar Ortegon while excavating Building 3-1-A.  The mural depicts several individuals in the act of consuming a very intoxicating, if not hallucinogenic, beverage.

I would argue that the followers of Quetzalcoatl came to the holy city of Cholula and, after drinking a toxic (mushroom?) beverage, gave their lives, in return for immortality as blood offerings to the god-king Quetzalcoatl. 

One could argue that the so called collapse of Classic Maya Civilization, was a Toltec invasion into the Maya region by Chontal Maya tribes, also known as the Putun Maya. These Chontal speaking tribes were devout followers of the god king Quetzalcoatl. The Classic Maya Collapse is a time period that takes place between A.D. 900 and A.D. 1000, when archaeologists see an abrupt halt of any new construction and that dated monuments with Long Count dates called stelae ceased to be erected. Its during this time period in the Central lowlands of Guatemala that archaeologist see a sudden decline in population or the abandonment of Maya cities.  

 

                  Quoting Maya Archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi....

 " I think that the story is as follows: the priest king Quetzalcoatl /Kukulcan, (Gucumatz) was expelled by his enemies from Tula (Tollan), sometime around 960A.D (Quetzalcoatl was accused with sodomy and incest.).  He left with a small group of his followers and went to Tlapallan, that is, the Laguna de Terminos region.  Here he apparently settled down.  It would seem that some of the Chontal tribes accepted the mushroom cult introduced by him and after a few years, the pressure of enemy tribes forced them to move on, led by descendants of Quetzalcoatl and his followers.  Some went northeast to Chichen Itza; others moved southward following the Usamacinta toward Guatemala" (Letter, Borhegyi to Wasson, April 1954).                                     

 

    

       Photograph © Justin Kerr   

The carved Maya vessel above K5420,  depicts an esoteric scene of creation taking place in the Maya  Underworld.  I propose that the bearded deity on the far right represents the god Quetzalcoatl.  He is depicted with the fleur-de-lis emblem above his forehead symbolizing lordship and divinity,  I also propose that the symbolism and iconography on the far left depicts a stylized mushroom emerging from the anus of an upside-down turtle (note carapace). The animal inside the carapace, however, may represent a sacrificed dog or deer or even a feline. In both Nahua and Maya mythology a dog or a dwarf often accompanies the deceased into the Underworld. A dwarf may be depicted on the right sitting in front of the bearded deity just below what appears to be a monkey.  In the event the animal inside the turtle carapace is a sacrificed deer, it should be noted that many hallucinogenic mushrooms, among them Psilocybe and Panaeolus genera mushrooms, grow in the dung of herbaceous quadrupeds such as deer, making the deer extremely sacred in mushroom rituals. Mushrooms found growing in the dung of deer were easy to find and safe to consume. They were also very easy to cultivate for the purpose of trade.

 The turtle carapace in the creation scene is somewhat reminiscent of Hindu mythology, in which a turtle acts as the central pivot point in the Vedic-Hindu myth of the Churning of the Milk Ocean.  The Churning of the Milk Ocean myth is told in several ancient Hindu texts. The  Vedic god Vishnu, depicted as a sea tortoise, is the pivot point or churning stick for Mt. Mandara. At the suggestion of Vishnu, the gods and demons churn the primeval ocean with the help of a serpent, in order to obtain Amrita, which will guarantee them immortality.  I would argue that Amrita is the Amanita muscaria mushroom. 

The Turtle has been identified with rebirth among the ancient Maya, and the carapace of the turtle with divinity. In the creation mythology of the ancient Maya the first created image was the turtle constellation Ac, identified as the three stars (hearthstones of creation) of the belt of Orion (Brennan,1998 p.93).  I would also propose that the turtle is an esoteric reference to the planet Venus as a divine resurrection star. In the vase carving above, I believe the symbolism of a deer sacrifice and the  ritual of decapitation can be inferred by the trident axe the artist has located on the stem of what appears to be a mushroom, alluding I believe to the creative powers of the turtle. The carapace is a divine portal to rebirth and, through the mediation of the mushroom, to underworld jaguar transformation. The trident blades used in ritual decapitation and the mushroom journey are both symbolic of divine portals of ancestor deification. I propose that in Mesoamerica there was a belief that the stars in the night sky represented the decapitated heads of deified ancestors. The Fleur-de-lis symbol in Maya, Olmec and Aztec art is likely an esoteric reference to the trinity of gods, identified in Maya hieroglyphs as the Three Hearth Stones of creation.These hearth stones separated the sky from the earth when the gods created the world at "Three Stone Place" (Orion). In the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh, these gods were named, Thunderbolt Hurricane,  Newborn Thunderbolt, and Raw Thunderbolt (see also Palenque Triad).

The skeletal demon in this scene represents the Evening Star aspect of Venus and presides over the death of the sacrificial animal (note symbolic turtle shell). The hands of death and creation are evident on the skeletal demon and the artist has also esoterically incorporated the creator serpent above the skeletal demon's elongated skull. The skull is tied to his head in a rulers' knot, reminiscent of the so-called "Toothache Glyph," which refers to the supreme act of tying the royal headband or bundle, the divine symbol of completion associated with period endings and the ritual act of decapitation. 

On the far right we see a scene in which a tiny human and monkey are created from the divine serpent hands (note hands) of Quetzalcoatl who represents the Morning Star of Venus in this scene. The monkey he creates represents the divine symbol of rebirth. Maya scholars point out that when the image of the monkey, known as God C, and meaning "divinity," is merged with another object it marks the image as "holy." In this case the holy image is the act of creation.

In Maya religion the monkey represents the first of the Nine Lords of the Night or Underworld. Called the Bolon Ti Ku, these gods were responsible for guiding the Sun (identified as an underworld jaguar), into the underworld to be sacrificed by underworld decapitation and reborn and deified as the new Sun.  The first god associated with re-birth was the Monkey (GI) and Quetzalcoatl (G9) was the last,  associated with death and completion. The word K'uh in Classic Maya glyphs was assigned to the monkey god and in glyphs his monkey profile was used to describe "holy" or "sacred," referring to "divinity" or "god" (M.D. Coe 2001, p.109).

The monkey imagery in this creation scene may also allude to the Five Suns cosmogonic accounts (Mary Miller and Karl Taube 1993; p.118), in which Quetzalcoatl in his guise as Ehecatl the Wind God presided over the second sun, ehecatonatiuh, the sun of wind, until it was destroyed by great winds. The survivors of that era were turned into monkeys and Quetzalcoatl was their ruler.  Archaeo-astronomer Susan Milbrath writes that (Star Gods of the Maya, 1999,p. 256 ), that an analysis of the Dresden Codex identifies the monkey as also related to Venus as the Morning Star. 

 

          The Birth of Quetzalcoatl ?

              

Various scholars, primary among them Mexican art historian Miguel Covarrubias, have interpreted the above image as depicting the birth of the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl. Beautifully carved on a jaguar bone, it was found in Tomb 7 at the site of Monte Alban near Oaxaca,Mexico. Here Quetzalcoatl, the central figure, wears what looks like the goggles of Tlaloc. He is still attached by his umbilical cord to what I believe is a mushroom-inspired World Tree. The head on the left wearing goggles and depicted as emerging from the jaws of a serpent, represents Quetzalcoatl’s rebirth and resurrection from the underworld. The tree, which bears mushroom-like blossoms is, in essence, a divine portal and metaphor for the spiritual journey of deified resurrection. This Mesoamerican metaphor links the place of creation at the center of the universe (place of ballgame sacrifice)  with the resurrection star that is the planet Venus. I believe the artist has encoded the mushroom-inspired World Tree as it would have been seen through the goggled eyes of the Mexican god Tlaloc, a god associated with the Evening Star, underworld jaguar transformation, and decapitation. According to Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso, a sculpture in the Berlin Museum of Ethnography depicts Tlaloc’s goggled eyes as being made up of two serpents intertwined to form a circle around his eyes. The serpent imagery, and its connection with the vision serpent or bearded dragon,  identifies Tlaloc’s link to Quetzalcoatl and K’awil, his Maya counterpart. (Drawing of the birth of Quetzalcoatl taken from Covarrubias, 1957:.266)

     

 

As mentioned earlier, the name Quetzalcoatl has been interpreted to mean "Precious twin," indicating that the Morning Star and Evening Star are one and the same (Caso, 1958:.24; Duran:325).  

               
Above are the Aztec gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca depicted in the Codex Borgia as being one and the same dualistic god. Note that Quetzalcoatl on the left has the trademark  smoking mirror foot of Tezcatlipoca and that Tezcatlipoca wears the trademark wind jewel (conch shell) of Quetzalcoatl. The wind jewel of Quetzalcoatl, like the Mexican half-star, depicts five points which may represent the planet Venus and its five sacred (synodic) cycles of 584 days. The hook at the center of the wind jewel is a symbol I have identified as the symbol of Quetzalcoatl's mushroom-Venus religion and represents the same esoteric icon used to identify the serpent eye of the vision serpent. 

In Aztec mythology Tezcatlipoca who symbolizes the night sky, is associated with the underworld and has been referred to as the black Tezcatlipoca like the drawing shown above. According to Alfonso Caso (1958:11), Quetzalcoatl occupied the place of a white Tezcatlipoca, (corresponding to the west) in a primitive myth. As the "Black Tezcatlipoca" (an aspect of the Black Quetzalcoatl) he was the patron god of sorcerers, and his name means "the mirror that smokes" which is why he was also the discoverer of fire.  According to Caso to understand Aztec mythology and the multiplicity of gods and their attributes one must understand that "Aztec religion was in a period of synthesis, in which there were being grouped together, within the concept of a single god (Quetzalcoatl?) different capacities that were considered to be related" (Caso, 1958: p.23). Quetzalcoatl for example was not only the Morning Star but he was also the god of wind, the god of life and death, of twins and monsters and so on, and because of his many attributes he was known by different names: Eh'ecatl, Ce Acatl, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, Tezcatlipoca and Xolotl. The gods Xolotl, Tlaloc and Tezcatlipoca are aspects of Quetzalcoatl as the Evening Star, and thus represent gods associated with sacrifice (underworld decapitation) and rebirth and resurrection from the underworld. Its not surprising that the gods Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl, being one and the same, shared the same temple at the great city of Teotihuacan in the highlands of Mexico.

    

 The drawing above is of a Classic period Teotihuacan III fresco from Teopanzalco, Mexico entitled "el altar del sol."  Encoded in the frieze on both the right and left are sacred mushrooms, to symbolize the journey of Venus into the underworld as the sacrificial were-jaguar. The two deities or priests impersonating deities in the scene represent I believe the twin aspects of the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star (note cheek mark). They appear to be offering their blood in sacrifice at an altar that symbolizes the death and resurrection of the underworld Sun God, of the present world (note twisted olin symbol in center of sun). The two priestly characters are dressed in jaguar attire or dressed as were-jaguars, their outfits decorated with numerous five-pointed stars which have been identified as Nahuat Venus symbols from highland Mexico.

Teotihuacan's influence over all of Mesoamerica  between A.D. 300-700, can be identified archaeologically by the widespread distribution of Teotihuacan ceramics, which depict Teotihuacan's patron gods Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc.  

 

In Aztec and Toltec mythology, Quetzalcoatl was the god-king who came down from the sky to bring humanity sacred mushrooms, and he instructed humans on how to perform blood sacrifices in exchange for immortality.

 

                            

Above and below are reproduced images from the Codex Vindobonensis (page 24), also known as the Codex Vienna, believed to be a 14th century Mixtec document, that depicts the Wind God Quetzalcoatl above and below delivering mushrooms to his children mankind.

 

                                                                   

Above is a closeup view of the god-king Quetzalcoatl bestowing sacred mushrooms to his children, mankind. The image is from page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis, and depicts Quetzalcoatl wearing a fanged red mask that identifies him as the Wind God, Ehecatl.

 

        

 

While at first glance the face of the "Weeping God" gives the illusion of a deity with dangling eye-balls. However as "I discovered", if you look closely at Quetzalcoatl, you will see that the dangling eyeballs are actually encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms "Hidden In Plain Sight." This bearded and fanged deity shared feline, serpentine, and bird-like features. Identified as a Feathered or Plumed Serpent by archaeologists in his earliest representations, he took on many additional guises and attributes over the years, and became known by a great variety of names throughout the New World. I have elected to refer to him, as did the Toltecs and Aztecs, as Quetzalcoatl.  (photo of a "Weeping God" above is from VanKirk, Jacques, and Parney Bassett-VanKirk,  Remarkable Remains of the Ancient Peoples of Guatemala,  Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1996.)                     


                           

                                         

Above is a Post-Classic ceramic incense burner from the ruins of Mayapán, the capital of the ancient Maya in the Yucatán Peninsula during the Late Post-Classic period from the 1220s until the 1440s. The incense burner portrays the Maya god Chac, commonly depicted with fangs and a long lip. He is depicted above holding a severed head in his left hand, and he wears a headdress encoded with a twisted X-symbol and Fleur de lis emblem (photo taken by Phillip Hofstetter).

 

                           

 Stela 21 from the archaeological site of Nim Li Punit in Belize portrays a Maya ruler wearing a Chac or Chac-Xib Chac headdress (GI of the Palenque Triad) and holding the God K Manikin Scepter (GII of the Palenque Triad) depicting the serpent-footed god K'awil. The ruler portrayed on the monument wears a pectoral with a double trefoil design similar in shape to the Old World Fleur-de-lis symbol. The Fleur de lis pectoral above is similar in shape to the "Double-headed-serpent-bar," or ceremonial bar, that has been identified as a symbolic representation of the "World Tree", or Wakah Chan, a sacred portal that leads to the supernatural world of immortality.

     

Above is a carved block from the Maya ruins of La Corona. The monument portrays a seated ruler wearing what has been called a Chac-Xib-Chac headdress, and wearing a royal chest pectoral depicting a similar Fleur-de-lis symbol.           

(Above photo from http://www.chromographicsinstitute.com/tag/mayans/)               

      


 

                     Decoding the upside down Fleur de lis in pre-Columbian art ?       

                                       

            Photograph © Justin Kerr

Above is a Late Classic period (600-900 C.E) Maya vase K1250, photographed in roll out form by Justin Kerr, that depicts a creation scene taking place in the Maya Underworld. Note that the jaguar deity on the left wears a scarf around his neck adorned with an upside-down Fleur de lis symbol, identifying him as the Underworld Sun God. The figure in the middle wielding an axe may represent the artist's conception of the Maya God, Chac-Xib-Chac, or GI of the Palenque Triad. Note that the Spondylus shell earflare and shell diadem in Chac's headdress are attributes of Chac. It may be that this scene is an early interpretation of the mythical "Resurrection of Xbalanque" (Yax Balam?) from the Post Classic Popol Vuh, in which the Hero Twin Xbalanque's avatar is the underworld jaguar.

The Chac-Xib-Chac impersonator holding the axe is likely a Classic period Maya version of the Hero Twin Hunahpu, Xbalanque's twin brother from the Popol Vuh. He may represent G I of the Palenque Triad. As mentioned earlier, Maya archaeologists have determined from inscriptions at Palenque that the king was considered the incarnation of GI, of the Palenque Triad (Editors, Archaeology Magazine, Secrets of the Maya, 2004:109) thus infering that the king was the incarnation of Xbalanque's twin brother, Hunahpu. Xbalanque, the Underworld Jaguar God, is related to G III of the Palenque Triad (Schele and Freidel, A Forest of Kings, 1990, p.416). The serpent deity depicted on the far right would then represent G II of the Palenque Triad or K'awil, who esoterically represents the divine portal of Underworld decapitation and Venus resurrection.  
 

                                

Above is a close up of a Late Classic period (600-900 C.E) Maya vase K1250, that depicts an Underworld Jaguar God wearing a scarf around his neck encoded with an upside-down Fleur de lis symbol, identifying the deity as the Underworld Sun God.    

          

                         

 Above is a ceramic Jaguar God, (Teotihuacan 450 AD - 650 C.E. ), a symbol of the Underworld Sun God, wearing a symbol around his neck that I propose is an upside down Fleur de lis emblem, symbolism of decapitation and Underworld resurrection. 

 

               

Above is a scene from the Codex Bodley, that depicts a figure on the right, in the guise of the underworld jaguar, and in the act of self sacrifice.                   


Quoting ethno-archaeologist Peter T. Furst:

" It is in fact a common phenomenon of South American shamanism  (reflected also in Mesoamerica) that shamans are closely identified with the jaguar, to the point where the jaguar is almost nowhere regarded as simply an animal, albeit an especially powerful one, but as supernatural, frequently as the avatar of living or deceased shamans, containing their souls and doing good or evil in accordance with the disposition of their human form" (Furst 1976, p. 48).

         

                

                           Maya archaeologists Stephan de Borhegyi, and Lee A. Parsons.   

    

Above on the right (b) is a pre-Columbian stone object formerly known as a "padlock stone" or "sling stone". The loop-handled stone object was later designated " ball-game handstone" by Maya archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi in 1961. Borhegyi "christened" the stone objects "ball game handstones" because of their archaeological association with such well-known Mesoamerican artifacts as palmate stones, stone yokes, and thin stone heads called hachas, clearly indicates their connection with pre-Columbian ball-game ceremonies or with the game itself (de Borhegyi 1964, Pre-Columbian Ball-game Handstones: Rejoinder to Clune, p.84).  

                

                

                According to Stephan de Borhegyi....

"The opposing teams may have represented the opposing forces (or dualism ?) of sun and rain (costumed as eagles or sun vultures and jaguars respectively) with the predictable outcome that the team representing rain and fertility would ultimately triumph. If the ball game were rain-producing pantomime enacted at the beginning of the rainy season to insure the growth of crops, it would help to explain its close association with such rain, wind, and fertility deities as Tlaloc, Quetzalcoatl, Xolotl, Xipe Totec, and Xochipilli, and its connection with death and rebirth through human sacrifice by decapitation or other methods. It is even possible that, at least during the Classic period, the game served primarily as a mechanism for selecting the proper person (s) for the annual spring and fall sacrifices. All this, of course, is pure speculation for we have no eyewitness accounts or  written records of the ball game as it was played in Classic or pre-Classic times" ( from de Borhegyi,  Pre-Columbian Ball-game Handstones: Rejoinder to Clune, 1964 p.86). 

 

                                                                  

Above is a stone hacha from Veracruz, Mexico, depicting what looks like a mushroom in profile, esoterically encoded in the figure's cheek, as a symbol of a divine portal.  Borhegyi believed that stone hachas, as well as anthropomorphic and zoomorphic vertically and horizontally tenoned stone heads, were symbolic of the human trophy heads of earlier times. Stone hachas were worn on ceremonial ballgame yokes, while the tenoned stone heads were set into the walls of formal ball courts. (1980:17) (photograph by de Borhegyi)

 

                        

 Ethno-mycologist Robert GordonWasson proposed that the origin of ritual decapitation lay in the mushroom ritual, itself. In a letter to Borhegyi, Wasson writes: The replica mushroom stone next to Wasson was a gift from Steve de Borhegyi.

           Dear Steve,

"The cap of the mushroom in Mije (or Mixe) is called kobahk, the same word for head. In Kiche and Kakchiquel it is doubtless the same, and kolom ocox is not “mushroom heads”, but mushroom caps, or in scientific terminology, the pileus of the mushroom. The Mije in their mushroom cult always sever the stem or stipe (in Mije tek is “leg”) from the cap, and the cap alone is eaten. Great insistence is laid on this separation of cap from stem. This is in accordance with the offering of “mushroom head” in the Annals [of the Cakchiquels] and  the Popol Vuh.   ( June 7, 1954, MPM archives).  

 

                 

               

Above is an ancient Greek vessel that depicts a decapitation scene at the foot of the Tree of Life. Note what are likely mushrooms encoded by the artist in the upper left hand corner of this esoteric scene. 

 

The quest for immortality, was the basis of the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.   

           

Above is a reproduced image from a Sumerian cylinder seal, 3rd millennium BCE, that depicts the decapitation of the Sumerian deity Humbaba,  "Guardian of the Pine/Cedar Forest". The scene is from the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which god's guardian deity Humbaba is decapitated by Enkidu and Gilgamesh. Its my belief that the Sumerian artist who carved this cylinder seal encodes the secret fruit of immortality, to which Enkidu and Gilgamesh quest for, as a divine mushroom, encoded in the feet of the deity Humbaba.


 

Above is a mural that depicts a biblical scene of decapitation at the Tree of Life. Note the Fleur de lis encoded in the Tree of Life in the 1st image, and what I believe are three encoded mushrooms encoded in the robe of Abraham in the bottom image, as an esoteric symbol of divine resurrection, and to a Holy Trinity.

 

        
 
Quoting Dead Sea Scroll scholar John M. Allegro...                           

"All roads in the Near East lead back to the Mesopotamian basin, to ancient Sumer. Similarly, the most important of the religions and mythologies of that area, and probably far beyond, are reaching back to the mushroom cult of Sumer and her successors"       

"Our present study [deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls] has much to do with names and titles. Only when we can discover the nomenclature of the sacred fungus [Amanita muscaria mushroom] within and without the cult, can we begin to understand its function and theology. The main factor that has made these new discoveries possible has been the realization that many of the most secret names of the mushroom go back to ancient Sumerian, the oldest written language known to us, witnessed by cuneiform texts dating from the fourth millennium B.C. Furthermore, it now appears that this ancient tongue provides a bridge between the Indo-European languages (which include Greek and Latin, and our own tongue) and the Semitic group,  which includes the languages of the Old Testament, Hebrew and Aramaic. For the first time, it becomes possible to decipher the names of gods, mythological characters, classical and biblical, and plant names. Thus their place in the cubic systems and their functions in the old fertility religions can be determined".  

 

 

         Quoting R. Gordon Wasson...

 "the use of mushrooms, if I am right, spread over most of Eurasia and the Americas, and as Stone Age Man has emerged into the light of proto-history these strange fungi may well have been the primary secret of his sacred Mysteries".          

 

 

In his groundbreaking book, titled "Mushrooms, food of the gods" (1957, pp.73-77), Robert Graves writes that the formulae for ambrosia and nectar in ancient Greece can be arrived at by writing down the insipid recipes given by the ancient writers,  discovering that the initial letters spell "mushrooms" (R.G. Wasson 1962 p.51). Graves writes that the followers of Dionysos consumed fly agaric [Amanita muscaria mushrooms] during the Dionysian festivals and mysteries, for it "bestows enormous physical power, erotic potency, delusional visions, and the gift of prophecy (Christian Ratsch: The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants)".

  

Quoting Robert Graves author of Greek Myths...

"I now believe that `ambrosia' and `nectar' were intoxicant mushrooms: certainly the amanita muscaria; but perhaps others, too, especially a small, slender dung-mushroom named panaeolus papilionaceus, which induces harmless and most enjoyable hallucinations. The `gods' for whom, in the myths, ambrosia and nectar were reserved, will have been sacred queens and kings of the pre-Classical era. King Tantalus's crime was that he broke the taboo by inviting commoners to share his ambrosia".(http://www.datapacrat.com/True/MUSHROOM/GRAVES.HTM)

 

Dionysus the Greek God of the Vine, and Winemaking, and Ritual Madness, and dispenser of divine ecstasy. Note what I propose are encoded mushrooms emerging from Dionysus chalice suggesting a mushroom based ritual beverage.

 

       Quoting Graves.....

"Sacred queenships and kingships lapsed in Greece; ambrosia then became, it seems, the secret element of the Eleusinian, Orphic and other Mysteries associated with Dionysus. At all events, the participants swore to keep silence about what they ate or drank, saw unforgettable visions, and were promised immortality".

 

The most popular of the ancient mystery cults in ancient Greece was the Eleusinian Mysteries, ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone, where a  beverage called kykeon was consumed that like the Soma beverage, promised immortality. 

      

 

Above on the left is a Scythian gold pendant representing the head of the goddess Demeter, 4th century B.C. (Kiev Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine). Note the encoded Fleur de lis / Tree of Life  symbolism in Demeter's headdress. Above on the right is a wall carving of Persephone and Demeter adoring the sacred mushroom of immortality, from the Temple of Eleusis 450 B.C. 

 


In the Popol Vuh the sacred book of the Quiche Maya, the Hero Twins after drinking a sacred beverage learned the secret to eternal life and Venus resurrection was from the act of self decapitation in the Underworld.

         

   Photograph © Justin Kerr

Maya vase K1230  depicts what may be a mythical scene from the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh. Here Hunahpu, the older Hero Twin, is shown in the act of self-decapitation in the underworld. His twin brother, Xbalanque, is likely represented as the underworld jaguar, who appears encircled by a serpent, surrounded by five Venus symbols (5 synodic cycles?), one of which is located on the axe suggesting decapitation in the Underworld is the portal to Venus resurrection from the underworld. The story suggests that, after the twins sacrifice themselves in the underworld in front of the Lords of Death, they become immortal and come back to life defying death as the resurrected Sun and Moon.

 




 

Spanish chronicler Fray Bernardino de Sahagun, tells us that...

 "the one that was perfect in the performance of all the customs, exercises and learning (wisdom) observed by the ministers of the idols, was elected highest pontiff; he was elected by the king or chief and all the principals (foremost men), and they called him Quetzalcoatl"... " In the election no attention was paid to lineage, but rather to the customs, exercises, learning and good (clean) living; (meaning) whether they led this life unalterably (steadfastly); kept all the rules, observed by the priests of the idols"  (Sahagun, The History of Ancient Mexico,  1932  p.202).  

 
 

"They [the Aztecs] could do practically anything, nothing seemed to difficult for them; they cut the greenstone, they melted gold, and all this came from Quetzalcoatl - arts and knowledge." - Fray Bernandino Sahagun.  

“They were very devout {Indians}. Only one was their god; they showed all attention to, they called upon, they prayed to one by the name of Quetzalcoatl. The name of one who was their minister, their priest [was] also Quetzalcoatl.  "There is only one god" [he is] Quetzalcoatl.”( Sahagún, 1950-75,10:160).

 

 Fray Sahagun describes the mushrooms effects and their use in several passages of his famous Historia General de tas Cosas de Nueva Espana, written between the years 1529 and 1590. Sahagun described how merchants called the pochteca, celebrated the return from a successful business trip with a wild mushroom party.

Based on a passage of the Madrid Codices worked on by Dr. Dibble and Sr. Barrios,  from Schultze Jena’s Gliederung des Alt-Aztekischen Volks in Familie, Stand und Beruf  (pp.207 ff.), the eating of mushrooms is part of a longer ceremony performed by merchants returning from a trading expedition to the coastlands. The merchants would only arrive on a day of favorable aspect. A feast and ceremony of thanksgiving were organized by the returning merchants, also on a day of favorable aspect. There was a prelude to the ceremony of eating mushrooms in which they sacrificed a quail and offered incense to the four directions. They made offerings of flowers and fragrant herbs to the gods in various temples. The eating of mushrooms took place in the earlier part of the evening, and the mushroom eaters did not at least then eat food. At midnight a feast followed, and toward dawn the various offerings to the gods, or the remains of them, were ceremonially buried.

 

     Quoting Fray Bernardino de Sahagun….

“For four days there was feasting and celebration and then on the fourth day came the coronation of Montezuma II, followed by human sacrifices in numbers”.

“At the very first, mushrooms had been served.  They ate them at the time when the shell trumpets were blown.  They ate no more food; they only drank chocolate during the night, and they ate the mushrooms with honey.  But some, while still in command of their senses, entered and sat there by the house on their seats; they danced no more, but only sat there nodding.  One saw in vision that already he would die, and then continued weeping, one saw that he would die in battle; one saw in vision that he would be eaten by wild beasts; one saw in vision that he would take captives in war; one saw in vision that he would be rich, wealthy; one saw in vision that he would buy slaves, he would be a slave owner; one saw in vision that he would commit adultery, he would be struck by stones, he would be stone; one saw in vision that he would steal, he would also be stone and saw in vision that his head would be crushed by stones-they would condemn him; one saw in vision that he would perish in the water; one saw in vision that he would live in peace, and tranquility, until he died; one saw in vision that he would fall from a roof top, and he would fall to his death; however many things were to befall one, he then saw all in vision: even that he would be drowned. And when the effects of the mushrooms had left them they consulted among themselves and told one another what they had seen in vision. And they saw in vision, what would befall those who had eaten no mushrooms, and what they went about doing.  Some were perhaps thieves, some perhaps committed adultery. Howsoever many things there were all were told-that one would take captives, one would become a seasoned warrior, a leader of youths, one would die in battle, become rich, buy slaves, provide banquets, ceremonially bathe slaves, commit adultery, be strangled, perish in water, drown.  Whatsoever was to befall one, they then saw all in vision.  Perhaps he would go to his death in Anauac. (Florentine Codex, Dibble & Anderson, Bk 9 pp.38-39)

 

Sahagún, Bernardino de. Florentine Codex. 12 volumes. Translated and edited by Arthur J.O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble. New Mexico: The School of American Research and the University of Utah, 1950.

Sahagun. Historia General de las cosas de Nueva España. 4 volumes. Edited Ángel María Garibay Kintana. Mexico: Editorial Porrúa, 1969.

 

Photographs © Justin Kerr

Maya vase K4932  depicts Maya merchants carrying large sacks over their shoulders filled with what appear to be mushrooms. 

The complex iconography along the rim of this vessel depicts what I believe represent cross cut  mushrooms; a symbol similar in shape to glyphs representing the planet Venus. The X-icon, which is a common symbol found on Maya vase paintings, most likely represents a sacred portal to the underworld. The fact that the X-icon above is twisted may be a reference to the symbol olin, meaning movement or motion. If so it may refer to the mushroom-Venus portal's movement of up and down, down into the underworld as a death star, and up from the underworld, and into the heavens as a resurrection star.       

 

                 EVIDENCE OF PRE-COLUMBIAN CONTACT

           

Above on the top row are images from the New World and the Old World that depicts what looks to me like psilocybin mushrooms emerging from the Fleur de lis emblem, esoterically alluding to the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Life.  

 


 

 

  


 


                

                               

 

                      


           

 

 


                          

         

 

                   Ethno-archaeologist Peter T Furst writes:

"that at the center of the Taoist Island of Paradise stood a giant immortal pine, amid the most beautiful flowers, and animals that symbolized eternal life; among these is a fungus of immortality, the legendary Ling Chih, whose real ancestor may have been the fly-agaric [Amanita muscaria] of Eurasiatic shamanism".

"the dwellers of this blessed island stayed eternally young by drinking from the fountain of life at the foot of the enormous, never-decaying pine, which reminds one of similar references cited by ethno-Mycologist R. Gordon Wasson, in connection with Soma and the origins of the Tree of Life" (Peter T. Furst, 1976 page 162).   

 

     

                               

A painting above is from early Hindu art, that encodes mushroom shaped lily pads beneath the Tree of  Life, alluding I believe to the mushroom of immortality.    

 

        

           

               (Photograph by Alex Hyde)

 

         Quoting R. Gordon Wasson...

"the Soma of the Rig-Veda becomes incorporated into the religious history and prehistory of Eurasia, its parentage well established, its siblings numerous. Its role in human culture may go back far, to the time when our ancestors first lived with the birch and the fly-agaric, back perhaps through the Mesolithic and into the Paleolithic" (from Furst, 1976 p. 103).

  "In brief, I submit that the legends of the Tree of Life and of the Marvelous Herb had their genesis in the Forest Belt of Eurasia". "The Tree of Life, is it not the legendary Birch Tree, and the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Life, what else is it but the Soma, the fly-agaric, [the Amanita muscaria] the pongo of the Ugrian tribesmen?" (from Furst,1972, p.212)

  "In Genesis, is not the serpent the self-same chthonic spirit that we know from Siberia?"
 
    Above is a doorway to the 16th-century Padmanabhaswamy Temple, located in Thiruvananthapuram India. The temple doorway depicts dual serpents and encodes the Fleur de lis symbol.
 
         

Above is a two-headed bird grasping on to two serpents;  Paracas culture of Peru, South America, (800 BCE - 100 BCE).

 Bicephalic or two-headed birds are a common theme in Hindu mythology as they are in Pre-Columbian art.  In Mesoamerica two-headed birds and/or two-headed serpents are linked to both accession and rulership, as well as to the dualistic nature of the planet Venus (see Codex Vindobonensis page 24). Two-headed birds and two headed feline-looking serpents commonly represent Quetzalcoatl as both the Morning Star and Evening Star. 

                             

The double-headed bird motif is a common emblem associated with the Habsburg Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman, and the Russian Empire. The two-headed bird motif can be found in the archaeological remains of the Hittite civilization, dating from a period that ranges from the 20th century BCE to the 7th century BCE.

 

                                          

Above is a Classic period (A.D. 200-600) Maya stamp from Highland Guatemala. depicting a two-headed bird (From Galería Guatemala: Sellos Preshipánicos (Guatemala: Editorial Galería Guatemala, 2011), 45.]http://blogs.uoregon.edu/mesoinstitute/about/curriculum-unit-development/arts-crafts/textiles/

 

 In the Codex Selden, depicted above, there is a scene that also depicts dual serpents, that I believe may represent a New World version of the Hindu creation myth known as The Churning of the Milk Ocean. The complex scene on the page is divided into three sections, separating the upper world, from the underworld, and the middle world from which the Tree of Life emerges.  The upper world is depicted and framed at the corners of the page with a sky band depicting disembodied eyes, which represent the soul of the deified ancestral dead as the stars above.  Framing in the bottom portion of the page is a two-headed feline/serpent, depicted with a stylized design of criss-crossing  bands which can be linked to a Maya verb jal, which means create, (Coe; p.163). The dual headed serpent which frames the bottom of the page also surrounds a body of water that I believe represents the so-called Milk ocean of Hindu mythology. Emerging from this sea of creation (note waves) is a tree depicting a single eye, and intertwined serpents, emerging from a sacred altar platform that depicts a band of stylized step glyphs, symbolizing the descent and emergence from the underworld. Its worth noting that verses in the Rig Veda refer to Soma as the  "single eye", the eye of the sun, symbolism, that can be clearly seen in the iconography above. Coiled around the trunk and branches of this sacred tree is a two-headed serpent, which depicts  feline fangs symbolizing the serpents descent into and out from the underworld. The serpents feline attributes represent the underworld transformation that takes place prior to the Sun God's resurrection from the underworld.  The central portion of the scene likely symbolize middle earth, from which the Tree of Life emerges. The codex scene depicts two main characters or deities sitting on opposite sides of  the tree. I believe they symbolize both the God of Life and the God of death. The God of Life and god of the upper world sits at the left of the tree. He appears to have emerged from the mouth of the serpent below him at left.  Opposite the God of Life, on the other side of the tree is the God of Death, who has emerged from the mouth of the serpent with the feline head. 

Both deities hold in their hands a ritual sacrament, to be eaten or offered as a gift to the Tree of Life, from which the Sun God is reborn and immortality is obtained.

At the top of the page we see the newly born Sun God emerge from a V-shaped cleft depicted in the upper branches of the Tree of Life. To the right of the Sun God in the upper right hand corner of the page is an icon that is shaped like a drinking vessel that bears a symbol of five points beneath the vessel that refers to the so-called  "fiveness" of Venus, referring to the planets five sonodic cycles, noted by scholars in the Dresden Codex. It should be noted that the number 5, was specifically associated with the planet Venus and the god Quetzalcoatl, and his quincunx symbol (Nicholson, 1967 p.45). I believe that this symbol is also linked to the Soma ritual and the sacred day Ahau, in the Venus calendar, when Venus is first visible rising from the Underworld as the Morning Star. I would argue that this Venus resurrection ritual is intimately connected with the Soma beverage and Soma sacrifices mentioned in the Rig Veda. The symbol to the left of the Sun God, and opposite the probable Soma vessel located at the left hand corner of the page is the year sign in the Aztec calendar.        

 Moving on to the middle portion of the scene, I believe the sequence of events, reads from right to left, and is as follows. Just to the right of the altar platform from which the Tree of Life emerges, there is a bleeding turtle just above a body of water I believe refers to the "Milk Ocean" in Hindu mythology. The bleeding turtle is located just below the deity identified as the God of Death and the Underworld.  The bleeding turtle in this scene represents the sacrificial victim, whose shell or carapace in this scene will be the sacred portal linked to immortality and divine resurrection. The turtle's bloody heart can be seen sitting on top of the altar platform just to the left of the tree, as a sacrificial gift to the Gods of Life and Death who are responsible at times completion for the death and daily rebirth and resurrection of the Sun God. Note that the three turtle carapaces depicted in the primordial sea moving from right to left, under the Tree of Life, is a reference to the three hearthstones of creation, and that the turtle carapace located on the far left just below Tlaloc's severed head appears to have a star symbol inside the shell, which likely alludes to the planet Venus and that the turtle represents Venus as a divine resurrection star.                                              

Just below the Tree of Life, underneath the altar platform is the carapace of the turtle with the head of a feline emerging, symbolizing the turtle's transformation in the underworld into the Underworld Jaguar. The sequence of events moves to the left, and then up, with the empty turtle carapace still in the sea, but just above and  to the left of the altar platform is a stylized severed head, associated with the ritual act of decapitation. The stylized severed head bears the image of the Mexican Rain and Lightening God Tlaloc, who also represents the God of the Underworld and thus he represents the god of underworld decapitation, as the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus. Tlaloc's severed head in this scene is stylized to represent a divine star reborn from the Underworld.  Tlaloc can be easily identified in this scene by his trademark goggled eyes, feline fangs, and handlebar mustache. Those who died for Tlaloc or were under his watchful eye, went directly to his divine paradise called Tlalocan.    

The Soma ritual was an integral part of Vedic-Hindu religion where Soma was drunk by the priesthood during sacrifices. Verses in the Rig Veda refer to Soma as the  "single eye", the eye of the sun, symbolism that can be seen encoded in the trunk of the Tree of Life, above in the Selden Codex, and above along the top border, in which the stars represent the disembodied eyes of deified ancestors who look down upon them from Tlalocan.

 

      


                Quoting Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Marco Allegro......

"The dream of man is to become God. Then he would be omnipotent; no longer fearful of the snows in winter or the sun in summer, or the drought that killed his cattle and made his children’s bellies swell grotesquely. The penis in the skies would rise and spurt its vital juice when man commanded, and the earth below would open its vulva and gestate its young as man required. Above all, man would learn the secrets of the universe not piecemeal, painfully by trial and fatal error, but by a sudden, wonderful illumination from within. But God is jealous of his power and his knowledge. He brooks no rivals in heavenly places. If, in his mercy, he will allow just a very few of his chosen mortals to share his divinity, it is but for a fleeting moment. Under very special circumstances he will permit men to rise to the throne of heaven and glimpse the beauty and the glory of omniscience and omnipotence. For those who are so privileged there has seemed no greater or more worthwhile experience. The colours are brighter, the sounds more penetrating, every sensation is magnified, every natural force exaggerated."

 "For such a glimpse of heaven men have died. In the pursuit of this goal great religions have been born, shone as a beacon to men struggling still in their unequal battle with nature, and then too have died, stifled by their own attempts to perpetuate, codify, and evangelize the mystic vision."    

 

                              

In Mesoamerica the "single eye" motif is a common icon, and can be found in almost all the pre-Hispanic codices, as well as in the iconography at the great city of Teotihuacan in the highlands of Mexico where as already mentioned, the god Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl the Feathered Serpent shared the same temple. The Sumerian God Enki was known as the "Lord of the Sacred Eye" in ancient Sumerian religion. The ancient Hebrews depicted the sun as an eye, and Hindus believe that the sun is the "eye of the world" (loka chakshus).

       

                             

Above is the "single eye" motif commonly seen in Egyptian art, better known as the Eye of Horus. The Eye of Horus, was also known as the Wadjet, aka, the "green one", whose watchful eye protected the pharaoh in the afterlife.

    

                         

The symbols above have been identified as a Venus glyphs from the Maya area (Gates, 1978, p.149) (Coe, 2001 p.163 Reading the Maya Glyphs) (Morley/Sharer, 1983, p.479). This glyph, which is linked to the color green (Yax), symbolizes the planet Venus as the divine underworld resurrection star. The ancient Maya associated the color green with the quetzal bird who sits atop the World Tree. The avatar of the serpent god Quetzal-coatl, is the quetzal bird, and the color green, yax, designates the central portal, the so-called Axis Mundi, located at the center of the universe, a divine portal of  up and down (Venus), where the Sun God and deified kings enter and resurrect from the Underworld.

     

  

                 

      Venus Tlaloc glyph? Drawing by Ian Graham of detail from Naranjo Stela 29.

 

                  

Mesoamerican scholars are now beginning to recognize that Venus was the centerpiece of Maya  mythology and cosmology. Priests in charge of the calendar plotted the stations of Venus over periods of 52 and 104 year cycles, and measured lunar phases, eclipses, solstices, equinoxes and other celestial movements, by which the Maya regulated their lives. Fortunately for scholars, the Maya recorded this information in the Dresden Codex (Milbrath 1999:51).  

 

 

   

           

 Above are Maya glyphs, E representing the planet Venus known as Nohoch Ek. (From Michael Coe's "The Maya", fifth edition p. 187)  

    

       Above are images portraying the Mexican god Tlaloc. On the left is an image taken from a mural at Teotihuacan that cleverly encodes a Venus symbol in Tlaloc's headdress. On the right is a large vessel or olla that depicts a fanged Tlaloc with Venus symbol encoded around his goggled eyes.   

     

               

 Above on the left is a carved image of Tlaloc with what I would argue is a Venus symbol surrounding the upper half of Tlaloc's goggled eyes that appear to me to end in serpent heads. Above on the right is a carving that depicts the duality of Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc as a symbol of Venus. The three dots and three monkeys may allude to a trinity of gods associated with the three hearth stones of creation.  

 

            

 Above on the left is a carved image of the Mesoamerican god Tlaloc, his goggled eyes encoded as a symbol of  Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star.  The symbol which extends down between Tlaloc’s eyes creating Tlaloc’s twisted nose, may be a reference to the Aztec symbol Ollin, which means movement, or motion and likely alludes to Venus’s movement in and out of the Underworld as both a Morning Star and Evening Star. On the right is a Classic period Maya bowl, (from the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum) which I believe attempts to depict both Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl merged into an image of the Fleur de lis. It should be first noted that both Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl shared the same temple at Teotihuacan.

                                  

I believe that the artist who painted the above bowl purposely designed the abstract image of a bird to encode an equally abstract image of the Mesoamerican gods Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc merged together to represent the dualistic planet Venus, signifying divine Venus resurrection from the Underworld. The name Quetzalcoatl has been interpreted to mean “Precious twin,” indicating that the Morning Star and Evening Star are one and the same (Caso, 1958:.24; Duran:325).

The Venus symbol as I see it, is esoterically formed by the wings of the bird which partly surround two hook-shaped symbols creating the overall appearance of Tlaloc, only with Quetzalcoatl’s serpentine eyes, a clever artistic substitute for Tlaloc’s trademark goggle eyes. I interpret the tail of the bird to esoterically represent Tlaloc’s trademark handlebar mustache, and fangs which link Tlaloc to the Underworld and the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus (compare with image of Tlaloc on the left).


In my examination of pre-Columbian art I have discovered that the gods that appear to be linked to mushroom imagery are clearly linked to the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star.  

It must have been a natural step for the ancients to associate this dualistic Venus God, Quetzalcoatl/Tlaloc, with both life in the upper world and death in the underworld. In his guise as the Evening Star, Quetzalcoatl/Tlaloc presided over the nightly death of the Sun God  as he sank beneath the horizon into the underworld. (Sharer, 1994:120)  Judging by an abundance of images painted on Maya funerary vases, I believe they thought he was then ritually decapitated and transformed into a baby jaguar or "were-jaguar."  According to Aztec legend, he was resurrected each morning by Quetzalcoatl/Tlaloc as the Morning Star, and ascended into the heavens on the wings of a harpy eagle. The harpy eagle was thought of as the jaguar of the day sky being the greatest avian predator of Mesoamerica. The harpy eagle was most likely the personified form of the katun period (a period of almost 20 years) among the Classic Maya becoming a symbol of the morning sky associated with human sacrifice and divine resurrection in nourishing the new born sun (Miller and Taube, 1993:82-83).                   

  In the Codex Chimalpopoca, Quetzalcoatl is referred to as a spirit of regeneration and as the Morning star. A passage from that Codex reads..."Truly with him it began...Truly from him it flowed out...From Quetzalcoatl all art and knowledge" (Neil Baldwin 1998 p.34).


                      

 The late Maya archaeologist J. Eric S. Thompson identified the Maya quincunx glyph (shown above, top row,  L-R, nos. 1, 3, 4, and 5; and in the head of the jaguar glyph (middle figure in second row) as a variant of the Central Mexican Venus sign. Both are of great antiquity, having been found at the Olmec site of San Lorenzo on Monument 43 dated at 900 B.C. The quincunx design also appears in Maya Venus Platforms. The design of these low altars symbolized the four cardinal directions and a central entrance to the underworld. The Maya believed that It was through this portal that souls passed on their journey to deification, rebirth and resurrection by the planet Venus in its guise as the Morning Star. According to Maya archaeologist David Freidel, the Maya called this sacred center, mixik' balamil,  meaning "the navel of the world".  (Thompson,1960:170-172, fig. 31 nos.33-40; Freidel & Schele, 1993:124)

                                    

          

  

                        

  Above is a Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900) Maya wall carving depicting three deities above a band of sky glyphs, that may represent the Maya Trinity, and two probable Venus symbols with deities emerging, just below the band of sky glyphs. 


   

                 

  Above are drawings of petroglyphs (rock art) found on Easter Island which I believe represent Venus symbols. The petroglyph drawing above on the right by Lorenzo Dominguez (1901-1963) is from Easter Island, and when asked what the symbol meant, the Easter Islanders said that it represented "Make Make" their creator god. The drawing of a petroglyph on the left from Easter Island is of a dual Venus symbol found by the expedition led by Thor Heyerdahl.  (cumulus.planetess.com/.../ch18.htg/make.jpg)  Both representations bear a strong resemblance to the Maya Venus glyphs. 

        

The photo and drawing above are of stone age petroglyphs found on the Pacific side of Hartstene Island off the coast of Washington State. These ancient petroglyphs in my opinion also resemble Maya Venus glyphs similar to those found in Mesoamerica and on Easter Island.  (Photo and drawing above are from the  GALLERY OF NORTHWEST PETROGLYPHS: SHAMANIC ART OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: © 2010 Daniel Leen

 

       Coincidence or Evidence of transoceanic contact with Easter Island?

 

                             

                                    Compare Indus Valley script with that of Easter Island.           

 Thor Heyerdahl was motivated by an ancient legend that a Peruvian culture-hero named Con-Ticci Viracocha had filled the sea with fish. He then left Peru and sailed out into the Pacific with his followers. This legend convinced Heyerdahl that ancient Peruvians were the original settlers of Easter Island.  He proved, by  his historic Kon-Tiki voyage, that merchants (Kon-Tiki) could very realistically have made it to Easter Island from South America. I would add my own speculations to this theory. We now know from both archaeological evidence and historic accounts that merchants traveled quite regularly between Western Mexico and the coast of Ecuador as early as 400 B.C.

According to archaeologist J. Eric S. Thompson, Heyerdahl had found several sites on the Galapagos Islands which suggested some continuity with Chimu and Ecuadorian coast pottery. He presumed that If these pre-Columbian people had sailed 800 miles to the Galapagos, they could have also gone as far as Easter Island and even to the Marquesas.

 The legendary god-king Viracocha was described in Peruvian legends as a ‘tall man with a long beard, pale skin and using a rod that "emitted thunder and lightning." If the giant moai statue are in fact symbols of Quetzalcoatl, the incarnate of the planet Venus, then I would argue that the religion of Easter Island  centered around the use of mushrooms and the  veneration of the planet Venus as a resurrection star. That would be an excellent subject for scholars more expert on this subject than I to study.    

                                       

                              Above is a bearded Moai statue from Easter Island.

                            (Above photograph from http://www.civilizadores.co/civilizators-english.htm)         

 

                 

Above on the left is a bearded Maya mushroom stone effigy from Highland Guatemala, and on the right is a giant Moai statue from Easter Island. To my knowledge I am the first to point out the obvious resemblance of the ear design in both the Maya mushroom stone and Moai statue from Easter Island.                                     

 

 

                      

Above on the left is a close up view of one of the giant Easter Island statues, one of many, called Moai, that have a mushroom shaped symbol encoded in their head and nose. Above on the right is a photograph of the Amanita muscaria mushroom, known throughout the ancient world as the "toad-stool mushroom". If the Venus/mushroom cult of Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc did reach Easter Island, by seafarers from the American mainland,  then the encoded mushroom might also represent the T-shaped Maya symbol ik, a sacred day in the Mayan calendar meaning wind, breath, and spirit, all attributes connected to the wind god Ehecatl/Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind.  In the Maya codices this T-shaped symbol is encoded as the eye of Chac, the Maya Rain God, who is also deeply connected with the underworld, and the ritual act of decapitation, as the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus. The Maya god Chac may be equated with the Maya god Kukulcan, who was the Maya/Toltec version of the god Quetzalcoatl. The word k'uh, means "holy spirit" or "god", (Freidel, Schele, Parker, 1993 p. 177) and the word chan or kan means both serpent and sky. Arguing for trans-pacific contact, the exact T-shaped symbol can be found in the Old World, called the Tau Cross, representing a symbol of the god Mathras of the Persians, and the Aryans of India.  

             

Above, is a pre-Columbian incense burner that depicts a bearded deity, wearing ear flares that I would argue are upside down Fleur-de-lis symbols. I suspect that the upside down  Fleur de lis symbol is an esoteric reference to the underworld, and underworld resurrection. The bearded deity may represent the Maya deity GI of the Palenque Triad, a Maya deity, who is the likely ccounterpart to the Mexican god Tlaloc, and the Maya Rain God Chac, also known as Chac Xib Chac.  Chac and G I of the Palenque Triad can be identified here by his tooth, an Ik symbol or glyph encoded as a T-shaped upper tooth. The Ik glyph, which looks like a capital T, was one of the most sacred symbols among the ancient Maya. The symbol signifies wind, breath (breath=Life) and spirit, and represents a sacred day in the Mayan calendar linked to the birth of GI of the Palenque Triad, and to the god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind. In the Old World the same symbol, known as the Tau Cross, was sacred to the ancient Aryans of India.  (photo from  http://www.milenio.com/cdb/doc/impreso/8121027)       

 

 

         Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst...

 "Little is known of the pre-Hispanic mushroom use in South America, with the single exception of an early Jesuit report from Peru that the Yurimagua Indeans, who have since become extinct, intoxicated themselves with a mushroom that was vaguely described as a "tree fungus" (Furst, 1976 p.82).

 

                                               

 Above is a Moche ceramic vessel (100-800 A.D.) that depicts the sacrifice of a child by a priest or ruler wearing a jaguar headdress surmounted by a sacred mushroom. Peter T. Furst was the first to note mushroom inspired headdresses in South American art, as well as other religious similarities with the Olmec and Maya of Mesoamerica.

                                                                              

                                      

 Above is a Moche  (100-800 A.D.) figurine of a warrior with encoded mushroom headdress undergoing jaguar transformation.

 

                           

 

 

                  

                               

 Above is a cave painting from Baja Mexico, dated as early as 1000 B.C. that portrays a ruler or deity or a foreigner wearing a headdress stylized in the shape of the Fleur de lis.                          

    

                                 

 Above is the Fremont petroglyph better known today as the McKee Springs petroglyph. This particular petroglyph portrays a deity on the far left holding an axe, and crowned with a symbol that I propose is a New World version of the Old World  Fleur de lis. I believe that this trefoil symbol was intentionally encoded in the sky deity's head to represent "Lord" and divine resurrection. Note that just below the encoded mushroom-shaped object there is a little figure holding what looks like a ritual bucket.
 
                               

 One of the more convincing cases for pre-Columbian contact with the New World is a third century A.D. terra-cotta head discovered in a twelfth century A.D. Tomb in Mexico (Jett 1971, p.30) (Heine-Geldern, 1967) "David Kelley, an archaeologist at Canada's University of Calgary stated that the bust was found 'sealed under three floors. It is as close to archaeological certainty as you can get".
http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/romanbust.htm

                                  

  Above is another figurine head, this one excavated from the ruins of El Mirador in the Lowlands of Guatemala, that looks to me like a bearded foreigner.

            

Above is a Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) Maya vessel K2025, photographed in roll-out form by Justin Kerr, that depicts what looks very much like an Etruscan or Roman spear tip. Note that the figure holding the spear is wearing a mask of a white bearded man with a large Roman-shaped nose. The Etruscans who spoke an Aryan language appear to be an original Turanian race which formed the underlying stratum of population over the whole world.

                                        

                    Above, the Etruscan necropolis of Monterozzi at Tarquinia, Italy (1000-750 BC)

                         (photo from http://ourtour.co.uk/home/etruscan-tombs-in-tarquinia/)      

 

                                    

                    

               

 Above are mushroom-shaped stones, many of which appear to be ritually decapitated at the Inca ruins of Chucuito in Peru South America.  (photograph copyright Keya Nador Judit)  

          

The late Gordon F. Ekholm writes in a letter to my father that archaeologists Marion and Harry Tschopik found what they described as mushroom stones in the general fill at a Late Inca site on the shore of Lake Titicaca (at the Inca ruins of Chucuito in Peru, not far from Lake Titicaca). This is where there is an Inca legend of white men with beards who inhabited the shores of Lake Titicaca, who built a great city, (Tiahuanaco ?), 2000 years before the time of the Incas. (Ekholm to Borhegyi, March 12, 1953, Borhegyi Archives, MPM) 

 Tiahuanaco civilization originated on the south shore of Lake Titcaca as early as A.D. 300.

 

                   

Above is a Tiahuanaco vessel A.D. 700-1000 now in the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum (Cat. no. 54685) That depicts two stylized Fleur de lis symbols flanking the head of a bearded deity (photo from Lee A. Parsons, 1974 Pre-Columbian America).

                         

Above is a Tiahuanaco "kero" goblet now in the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum (Cat. no. 56976) that depicts a light skinned mermaid from Old World mythology, playing a stringed instrument (photo from Lee A. Parsons, 1974 Pre-Columbian America).  

 

                                   

Above is a painted vessel in the Museo de Metales Preciosos Precolombinos, in La Paz, Bolivia (Colección Fritz Buck) Tiahuanaco culture, that clearly depict a light skinned Centaur, a mythological a half- horse, half- man, deity of Old World mythology.  The ruins of Tiahuanaco are located in western Bolivia, on the shores of Lake Titicaca where there is an Inca legend of white men with beards who built a great city on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

 

According to Robert Graves (1961), the followers of Dionysos consumed fly agaric [Amanita muscaria] during the Dionysian festivals and mysteries, for it "bestows enormous physical power, erotic potency, delusional visions, and the gift of prophecy (Christian Ratsch: The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants)".

Quoting Robert Graves.. (Deyá, Majorca, Spain, 1960)

"SINCE revisiting The Greek Myths in 1958, I have had second thoughts about the drunken god Dionysus, about the Centaurs with their contradictory reputation for wisdom and misdemeanour, and about the nature of divine ambrosia and nectar. These subjects are closely related, because the Centaurs worshipped Dionysus, whose wild autumnal feast was called 'the Ambrosia'. I no longer believe that when his Maenads ran raging around the countryside, tearing animals or children in pieces and boasted afterwards of travelling to India and back, they had intoxicated themselves solely on wine or ivy ale.

 

       

Mushrooms encoded with Centaur, in stained glass window, Chartres Cathedral Eure-et-Loir, France 1217.


The evidence, summarized in my What Food the Centaurs ate (1958), suggests that Satyrs (goat-totem tribesmen), Centaurs (horse-totem tribesmen), and their Maenad womenfolk, used these brews to wash down mouthfuls of a far stronger drug: namely a raw mushroom, amanita muscaria, which induces hallucinations, senseless rioting, prophetic sight, erotic energy, and remarkable muscular strength. Some hours of this ecstasy are followed by complete inertia; a phenomenon that would account for the story of how Lycurgus, armed only with an ox-goad, routed Dionysus’s drunken army of Maenads and Satyrs after its victorious return from India.

On an Etruscan mirror the amanita muscaria is engraved at Ixion’s feet; he was a Thessalian hero who feasted on ambrosia among the gods. Several myths are consistent with my theory that his descendants, the Centaurs, ate this mushroom; and, according to some historians, it was later employed by the Norse berserks to give them reckless power in battle.

I now believe that ‘ambrosia’ and ‘nectar’ were intoxicant mushrooms: certainly the amanita muscaria; but perhaps others, too, especially a small, slender dung-mushroom named panaeolus papilionaceus, which induces harmless and most enjoyable hallucinations. A mushroom not unlike it appears on an Attic vase between the hooves of Nessus the Centaur.

The ‘gods’ for whom, in the myths, ambrosia and nectar were reserved, will have been sacred queens and kings of the pre-Classical era. King Tantalus’s crime was that he broke the taboo by inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.

Sacred queenships and kingships lapsed in Greece; ambrosia then became, it seems, the secret element of the Eleusinian, Orphic and other Mysteries associated with Dionysus. At all events, the participants swore to keep silence about what they ate or drank, saw unforgettable visions, and were promised immortality. The ‘ambrosia’ awarded to winners of the Olympic footrace when victory no longer conferred the sacred kingship on them was clearly a substitute: a mixture of foods the initial letters of which, as I show in What Food the Centaurs Ate, spelled out the Greek word ‘mushroom’. Recipes quoted by Classical authors for nectar, and for cecyon, the mint-flavoured drink taken by Demeter at Eleusis, likewise spell out ‘mushroom’.

I have myself eaten the hallucinogenic mushroom, psilocybe, a divine ambrosia in immemorial use among the Masatec Indians of Oaxaca Province, Mexico; heard the priestess invoke Tlaloc, the Mushroom-god, and seen transcendental visions. Thus I wholeheartedly agree with R. Gordon Wasson, the American discoverer of this ancient rite, that European ideas of heaven and hell may well have derived from similar mysteries. Tlaloc was engendered by lightning; so was Dionysus; and in Greek folklore, as in Masatec, so are all mushrooms—proverbially called ‘food of the gods’ in both languages. Tlaloc wore a serpent-crown; so did Dionysus. Tlaloc had an underwater retreat; so had Dionysus.

The Maenads’ savage custom of tearing off their victims’ heads may refer allegorically to tearing off the sacred mushroom’s head—since in Mexico its stalk is never eaten. We read that Perseus, a sacred King of Argos, converted to Dionysus worship, named Mycenae after a toadstool which he found growing on the site, and which gave forth a stream of water. Tlaloc’s emblem was a toad; so was that of Argos; and from the mouth of Tlaloc’s toad in the Tepentitla fresco issues a stream of water. Yet at what epoch were the European and Central American cultures in contact?

These theories call for further research, and I have therefore not incorporated my findings in the text of the present edition. Any expert help in solving the problem would be greatly appreciated.

R.G.   [Robert Graves]

                                


                         
        

          Quoting the late ethno-archaeologist Gordon F Ekholm...

"There are, of course, many problems concerning the kinds of evidence that have been presented in the area of transpacific contacts, but the principal difficulty appears to be a kind of theoretical roadblock that stops short our thinking about questions of diffusion or culture contact. This is true in anthropological thought generally, but the obstruction seems to be particularly solid and resistant among American archaeologists." (From Man Across the Sea; Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, 1971, third printing 1976, Chapter 2, Diffusion and Archaeological Evidence, by Gordon Ekholm page 54)
 
        
(from Pics For > Mohenjo Daro Games )   
Archaeologists have noted the almost exact replica of an ancient board game played by the Aztecs called Patolli, with an ancient board game from Hindu India, called Pachisi (the so-called Pachisi-Patolli theory). Archaeologists like the late Gordon Ekholm argue that, because of the games layout and design, it could never have been developed independently on opposite sides of the worlds.  
 
Florentine Codex Book 8, depicts the Patolli game board, four bean dice, and several precious objects (copper bells, a jade bead and quetzal feathers) that are being wagered (Click on image to enlarge) 
For documentation of Patolli-Parchisi game in Mesoamerica and the Old World see Z. Nuttall, 1961,  S. Culin, 1898: 854 ff; S. Piggott, 1950: 190-191 
          

Above archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi examines a mushroom stone from Guatemala. Miniature mushroom stone or board game piece ?
(see de Borhegyi 1962 "Miniature Mushroom Stones From Guatemala" American Antiquity) (de Borhegyi 1960, "Mushroom stone Discoveries". Lake Amatitlan Field Report, MPM)
 

My father Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi, proposed the theory of an ancient Maya mushroom cult after finding a significant number of small, mushroom-shaped sculptures in the collections of the Guatemala National Museum and in numerous private collections in and around Guatemala City. A recent emigrant from Hungary with a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology and Egyptology from the Peter Paszmany University in Budapest, Stephan de Borhegyi had been invited to Guatemala to study American archaeology by the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Working under a grant provided by the then Viking Fund of New York (subsequently the Wenner Gren Foundation) his project was to catalog the extensive archaeological collections of the Guatemalan National Museum.                            

  

             

The famous bronze statue on the left, of a young women sporting a club-like hand, is from Harappa, early Indus Valley civilization. The figurine is thought to be about 4,500 years old. The standing female above right, represents a ballplayer from ancient Mexico wearing a protective helmet, ballgame glove and what I propose is a mushroom-inspired  protective cup and belt.  The figurine comes from the site of Xochipala, Mexico, Tlatilco culture in the western state of Guerrero, and dates to 1200-900 B.C.E  It is now in the  Princeton University Art Museum. Many of the clay figurines found at the Olmec influenced sites of Xochipala, Tlatilco, and Tlapacoya, in the Valley of Mexico depict ballplayers holding bats or paddles, or so-called "knuckle dusters" which are over sized hand gloves like the one depicted above on the female Xochipala ballplayer (de Borhegyi S.F. 1980, p.24). The earliest known archaeological site from which actual ball game paraphernalia (stone yoke) has been recovered is El Manati, on the Mexican Gulf Coast dating around 900 B.C.E.  Gerard Van Bussel (Van Bussel 1991 Ibid pp. 256-57) analyzed the relationship between the Maya words for blood and semen, and concluded that the ball game may be an allegory of life through dynastic succession, and that the serpent-shaped scepter found at El Manati may be an insignia of power and kingship. The "ritual ballgame" can only be explained as a cross cultural phenomenon, because it transcended all linguistic barriers in Mesoamerica. Note the symbolic reference to the number three in the Harappa figurine's necklace, and the number of rings on the Tlatilco figurine's ballgame glove and ballgame belt or yoke. (For more on "knuckle dusters" or  ballgame hand stones and ballgame gloves see Borhegyi, 1961: 129-140.   (photograph of Xochipala female ballplayer from Whittington, 2001).

                                       

       

          (Photographs copyright Borhegyi)

Pottery mushrooms dating to the middle or late Pre-Classic period have been found with  figurines of ballplayers at the archaeological sites of Tlatilco in Burial 154 (Trench 6), and at Tlapacoya in the Valley of Mexico ( Borhegyi 1980.).   A pottery mushroom (close up photo at right) was found near the figurine of an acrobat suggesting that  mushrooms may have been consumed to induce the super-heroic athletic ability and agility of a jaguar god or were-jaguar. 

The pose of the so-called acrobat, might represent an East Indian or Hindu yoga posture or a version of the “Dhanur Asan” “Vrischika Asan” which is an advanced yoga posture for people doing “Sheersh Asan”.  Pottery shaped mushrooms representing both the Amanita and Psilocybin mushrooms (Psilocybe mexicana), were likely used in bloodletting rituals. This blood-letting rituals was likely carried out after the consumption of sacred mushrooms, consumed before the ballgame and before the ritual of decapitation.

 

Pre-Columbian pottery shaped mushrooms are reported to have been found in El Salvador, and Guatemala in both the highlands and the lowland Maya rain forest and in Mexico in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and Veracruz.

For more on pottery mushrooms see Borhegyi de, S.F., 1963, “Pre-Columbian pottery mushrooms from Mesoamerica”,  in American Antiquity, vol. 28:328-338.

                    

                   Above on the left encoded with the Fleur de lis emblem, are stone objects called palmas, or palmate stones. In Mesoamerican art ballplayers are often depicted wearing these curious stone objects, both are from Veracruz, Mexico and were likely used for ceremonial purposes and not worn during actual play.  

                      
 

          Indus Valley Civilization and Mesoamerican wheeled animal toys

                

                                  

Above is a wheeled animal toy, from the Indus Valley Civilization, India, Harappa Culture from Chanhu- Prehistoric, now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The discovery of pre-Columbian wheeled toys, also called chariots (A.D. 300-900) in Mexico and El Salvador has caused some scholars to re-examine the notion that the principle of the wheel was not known anywhere in the Americas before Columbus. Researchers have already noted the similarities of wheeled clay toys dug up in Mexico with wheeled clay toys from Mesopotamia, Syria, China, and India. Wheeled animal figurines were commonly placed in Chinese tombs to represent sacrifices (Alice B. Kehoe, 2008, Controversies In Archaeology, p.160).

Transpacific diffusionist Gordon F. Ekholm believes that the wheeled toys were most likely derived from the better-known toy chariot cult, of the Bronze Age Near East (3300-1200 B.C.). Ekholm reported the discovery of wheeled effigies (American Antiquity 1946) that were excavated at the Olmec site of Tres Zapotes in Veracruz, Mexico. Tres Zapotes was an Olmec center boasting Colossal heads that was founded just a few centuries before 1000 B.C. The question remains, of whether the invention of the wheel could have been made independently in both the Old Word and the New World.    

 

                                                         

                   Above is a pre-Columbian Wheeled jaguar figurine.     

For documentation of wheeled animal figurines in Mesoamerica see G.F. Ekholm, 1946; C. Irwin,1963; 131-135, and for documentation of wheeled animal figurines in the Old World see H. G. May, 1935: 23-24. E. Speiser, 1935: I, 68ff.; R. S. Star, 1937: I, 425.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            

                        

 The Fleur de lis symbol also appears linked to divinity and immortality in Ancient Egyptian art.               

             


 

           Above are examples of encoded mushroom imagery in Hittite and Hykos art.

 


             
           
Above is a closeup of the seal of Tudhaliya IV (1237–1228 B.C.) sent to the king of Ugarit in Hittite hieroglyphics. Not surprisingly the two glyphs resembling mushrooms below the winged sun disc, and sun-wheel has been interpreted as a Hittite / Hattic symbol for "Great King" and lordship.   
 
 
                                          
Hittite relief carving dated around the 9th-8th century B.C. from Anatolia, in modern day Turkey. The relief carving depicts a scene of two figures following a horse drawn cart carrying what appears to me to be a sarcophagus encoded with three sacred mushrooms as an esoteric symbol of a Trinity and divine resurrection, and  that the wheel of the cart  is code for the resurrecting sun or sun disc.

             

 Above is a Sumerian cylinder seal, that depicts a scene from the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which the legendary Enkidu and Gilgamesh decapitate god's guardian deity Huwawa, (Humbaba in the Assyrian myth). Huwawa guarded a cedar forest in the Lebanon, a paradise where the gods lived. Ezekiel locates Yahweh's garden in the Lebanon, cf. Ez 28:14--19; 31:1-18). The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered the world's first great work of literature. In the epic, Gilgamesh and Enkidu undertake a long and perilous quest to discover the secret of eternal life. 


               

Above is another Sumerian cylinder seal, that depicts a similar scene from the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which god's guardian deity Huwawa is decapitated by Enkidu and Gilgamesh. I propose that the quest for eternal life by Enkidu's and Gilgamesh, is encoded above as mushrooms in the feet of Huwawa?

 

Above is a Sumerian clay tablet that appears to encode a Mushroom God in association with the Tree of Life.

 
                                      

Above is a carved Neo-Assyrian ivory panel, 8th century B.C. from Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), depicts the winged sun disc, while a bearded figure making an offering to the Sun God grasps what looks to me like the "Tree of Life" encoded with a Fleur-de-lis emblem (Source: Metropolitan Museum).   

      

Ceramic flask with Arabic inscriptions, and Fleur de lis symbol Hama National Museum/ICOM  

 

    

                        

                                   

A Minoan vessel from the island of Crete depicts what appears to be the World Tree encoded as a fleur de lis symbol surrounded by encoded mushrooms. Archaeological Museum of Herakleion Crete. Neopalatial Period 1650 BC - 1450 B.C.E.                         

                    

                                

                      (image above from http://members.tripod.com/lysergia_2/psychedelia/index.blog?start=1355095213)

                  

Its tempting to think that these Cabeiric cups or Kabeiros cups from the 5th-beginning of 4th century BC. are really Soma inspired drinking vessels. Note what appears to me to be mushroom inspired fruit hanging from the branches of the Tree of Life.  (from Sanctuary of Kabeiros and Pais, close to Thebes)

 

 

                         

 Above and below are ancient Greek Amphoras (Mycenaean period 1600-1100 B.C.) depicting scenes that I believe are mushroom inspired to symbolically refer to the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge and its forbidden fruit.  According to Gordon Wasson, the consumption of a sacred drink that contained a psychoactive substance, was a central aspect of the ancient cult of the Greek gods Demeter and Persephone (Gerrit J. Keizer, 2013 p.167).

                          

The swastika, a symbol of the resurrecting sun, is a common religious icon in both Hinduism and Buddhism, and can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization in ancient India. Although the swastika's origin is unclear, it appears in the religious art of the New World  in various cultures before the arrival of Columbus.

 

                 

                     

Above is a painted Greek vessel that I believe esoterically depicts the "Tree of Life" and encoded mushroom imagery in a scene involving the use of a mirror.

                    

Above is a Greek vase (4th century B.C.) now in the Archaeological Museum of Florence, that may also encoded mushroom iconography in a scene involving the use of a mirror.  

            

 

 According to Vedic literature, the Gods got together at the beginning of time and churned the ocean to extract a substance which would offer them immortality.

According to Richard J. Williams (2009 p.2 Introduction) author of "Soma in Indian Religion" Etheogens as Religious Sacrament: The Gods agreed to share this mighty elixir, calling it  Amrita, or Amrit which is a Sanskrit word for "nectar", a sacred drink, or Holy Ambrosia, that grants their gods immortality.              

                                                 

    

The Churning of the Milk Ocean, is told in several ancient Hindu texts, in which the avatar of the Vedic god Vishnu is the sea tortoise depicted in Hindu art as the pivot for Mt. Mandara, acting as the churning stick similar to the drawing below. At the suggestion of Vishnu, the gods, and demons churn the primeval ocean in order to obtain Amrita, which is a nectar that will guarantee them immortality. 

 

                      

 

The drawing above by Daniela Epstein-Koontz, is of a ball court relief panel from the archaeological site of El Tajin, in Veracruz Mexico. Upon noticing the turtle in this creation scene I knew right away that this ballcourt scene from El Tajin was a version of the Hindu/Buddhist myth known as "The Churning of the Milk's Ocean", a creation story often depicted in Hindu art. As it turns out I wasn't the first researcher to make the connection. Again noting that the late archaeologist and epigrapher David H. Kelley, noted the similarities years ago, but his work was often criticized for his insistence to carry on his studies of long range cultural contacts via trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic voyages. Kelley noted the striking similarities between the Late Chow decorative styles of China of 700-200 B.C.E. and those of the El Tajin culture of Veracruz, Mexico, of A.D. 500-1000 (Stephen C. Jett 1971, p.44) (Heine-Geldern, 1959a).  David Kelley also noted the similarity between the Mesoamerican calendar and the Hindu lunar mansions. He saw the resemblance between the Mesoamerican cycle of the Nine Lords of the Night, to the Hindu planetary week of nine days, and noted the parallel belief of four previous world ages and their cataclysmic destruction (Susan Milbrath 1999, p.292)  

 Although Soma's actual identity has been lost through time, Soma was described as a god, and as a  "heavenly liquor"  that was guarded by a Serpent.  Note that in the drawing above by Daniela Epstein-Koontzin of the Tajin ballcourt panel, that a dual headed serpent lurks below at the bottom of the scene, emerging from the ocean's depth. The turtle at the bottom of the scene, may indeed represents the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu who acts as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism which is composed of an intertwined serpent being pulled at both ends by sky deities (four cardinal directions) who create the new born Sun (Vishnu ?). Note that the tail of the serpent end directly above the symbol of the new born Sun just above the turtle in a three-lobed stylized design of the Fleur-de-lis emblem, esoterically alluding I believe to the trinity of creator gods. The three arrows penetrating the Sun in the scene alludes to the triad and the Sun's life giving rays of light. If this ballcourt scene does represent Hindu mythology, and I feel certain that it does, than the two deities behind the central characters hold containers or ritual buckets in their hands filled with the Soma beverage.     

 For documentation of motif of ritual bucket (bag?) held by figures in hieratic scenes in Mesoamerica see Drucker, Hiezer, & Squier, 1955: 198. For documentation of motif of ritual bucket (bag?) held by figures in hieratic scenes in the Old World see H. Frankfort, 1955: pl.83.

 

                    

A scene from a pre-Conquest codex depicts the offering of a divine sacrament in a pipe to the God of the Underworld.    

        

 Above (and below) is a scene from page 7 of the Codex Selden.  I propose that the scene depicts the journey (footprints represent the journey into the Underworld) and resurrection of the Sun God identified by the sun disc in which he emerges. The two figures on the left both hold a staff with obvious Venus iconography, identifying the two figures as the Evening Star and Morning Star aspect of the planet Venus, the figure on the far left representing Venus as the Evening Star and god of Underworld decapitation, identified by the severed head he wears on his back. The figure directly in front of him wearing the headdress of the harpy eagle, represents Venus as the Morning Star, and god of Underworld resurrection, identified by the fleur de lis he carries under his arm an object representing the tree of life encoded with sacred mushrooms.      

                                       

                        

Above is a closeup drawing of the two central figures from page 7 of the Codex Selden. Note that the young Sun God (or ruler in the guise of the sun) on the right is resurrected from the Underworld emerging from a sun wheel, or sun disc. Two flint knives or flint symbols emanate from the Sun God's mouth identifying blood sacrifice in the Underworld.  Note that the sun disc below the young Sun God is encoded with what I would argue are three encoded mushrooms of immortality, three being the esoteric reference to a Trinity of creator gods. I propose that the figure wearing a bird headdress on the left and holding a staff with probable Venus iconography (5 synodic cycles of Venus?) represents Venus as a resurrection star, and that he holds an offering or sacrament of immortality in his right arm, encoded with the fleur de lis symbol symbol of divine resurrection.  

                                   

  Above is a closeup scene from a page in the Codex Selden, that depicts what I believe is a scene of the Sun God's self sacrifice in the underworld. I propose that the sacrificial victim on his back is the Sun God or a ruler impersonating the Sun God. The figure directly in front of him holding an axe is I believe the same person. The figure on the far right of the scene holding a Venus staff in one hand and decapitated head in the other represents I would argue the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus.  The figure holding a flint staff and wearing a harpy eagle headdress, second from the right,  holds an object under his arm that  I believe is symbolic reference of sacred mushrooms and of the World Tree, and its encoded appropriately with the fleur de lis, as a symbol of the Sun God's divine resurrection.   

       

 Above is a closeup view from a page in the Codex Bodley, that depicts two deities diving from the stars above, representing what I believe are twin gods representing the duality of the planet Venus.  Both deities are depicted diving from the stars, the deity on the left escorting the sun (sun disc) into the Underworld. The twin deities carry weapons in their hands into the Underworld to decapitate the Underworld Sun. According to their name glyphs, the deity on the left is named "One Movement" , and the deity on the right is named "One Death" . Its my belief that all Mesoamericans believed that the stars in the night sky were in fact the decapitated heads and resurrected souls of deified ancestors.  Note that the diving deity on the right carry s a sun disc encoded with what I propose are four mushrooms symbolizing the rays of the sun from the four cardinal directions.   

                     

                 

                              

Above is an ancient Greek carving depicting two birds on a cross encoded with four Fleur de lis as a symbol of resurrection.

 

 The Assyrians and Babylonians also represented their Sun God as an eagle or as a sun disk having a cross inside, the cross as well as the eagle (dove in Christianity) being a symbol for the holy spirit that emanates from the sun and brings life to everything.  

 Above is a scene from the temple of Sippar of the so-called “Sun-god Tablet" about B.C. 900 (British Museum, No. 12,137.) The ancient Babylonian stone relief depicts what appears to be the resurrection or raising of the Sun God with ropes by a bearded deity wearing a conical-shaped hat. Note that the Sun God, or wheel of the sun, or sun disk, emerges from a Fleur de lis symbol on an altar next to a pillar, that most likely represents the Word Tree portal. Note that the pillar also encodes the Fleur de lis emblem as a symbol of divine resurrection.                        

    

 
         

       Hittite-Hattic seals, 9th-8th century B.C depicting what are likely mushroom inspired glyphs.

                           

                

Above is a Hittite relief ? 9th-8th century B.C.depicting the Tree of Life in the shape of the fleur de lis between two winged sphinxes, that I propose represent the dual aspect of the planet Venus as both an Evening Star and Morning Star and resurrection star.

  

    

 Detailed drawing of an Assyrian king receiving the insignia of power from the gods Assur, and Istar. The drawing is from the incised decoration of an Assyrian helmet in the Axel Guttmann collection (AG 504); drawing from H. Born and U. Seidl,Schutzwaffen aus Assyrien und Urartu, Mainz 1995, 25 fig. 22).            

   

     

Above are the Sumerian gods Enki and Enlil, sons of the god Anu that came down to Earth according to Sumerian mythology. Enki's attributes as seen above is a double-headed snake, often shown with the horned crown of divinity and dressed in the skin of a fish. Enki played the pivotal role in saving humanity from the global Deluge, and like the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl, who's previous world was also destroyed by flood, Enki is credited with the creation of mankind and bestowing the secrets of life and death.  Like Quetzalcoat, whose avatar is the Feathered Serpent, Enki's emblem was also the serpent or two serpents entwined on a staff—the basis for the winged caduceus, a symbol used by modern Western medicine. Note in the drawing above the offering of a sacred beverage to a female (fertility, or mother goddess?) with encoded Fleur-de-lis emblem. I conclude that the Fleur-de-lis emblem is an esoteric symbol of the Soma beverage and of divine immortality (http://www.alchemylife.org/Pages/bltav1_wpf/bltav1_wpf.html#_edn36)          

 

    Quoting the author, Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

" In Sumerian myths Enki of Eridu bears the Sumerian epithet ushumgal, meaning "great-serpent-dragon" and it is he who plants a great fruit tree in his garden at Eridu called the Mes-tree and another wonderous tree called the Kiskanu. He is described in Sumerian hymns "as the great dragon" (ushumgal) who STANDS in Eridu." His double-meaning words that confound and ensnare an unwary mankind (Adapa) are likened in hymns to the "poisonous venom of a great viper." He is portrayed as the creator of mankind and the god of wisdom, who bestows knowledge on mankind at Eridu (and at Nippur) and he allows man (in the form of Adapa) to obtain forbidden knowledge reserved for the gods but denies him and mankind immortality (cf. the Adapa and the Southwind myth). That is to say, Enki (Ea) is not only one of several prototypes that was later transformed into Eden's serpent, he is also one of several prototypes that was transformed into Eden's God, Yahweh-Elohim.  

 

Both the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl and the Sumerian god Enki both have the attributes of a double-headed serpent.  Both Quetzalcoatl and Enki are responsible for creating mankind and bestowing the secret of immortality through a ritual of self sacrifice.  

                  

 

                

The scene above from the Codex Laud depicts the Aztec goddess Mayahuel, goddess of the maguey plant, in a scene depicting the divine act of self sacrific. In her right hand she appears to hold a ritual beverage stylized with a Fleur-de-lis emblem symbolizing divine immortality or divine portal to immortality. Note the serpent and turtle below the so-called "World Tree" or "Tree of Life". Both the turtle and serpent act as a sacrificial altar, and both are avatars of the god Quetzalcoatl and the planet Venus as the Morning Star. 

 

        

         Photograph © Justin Kerr
 Maya vase K2781 which may depict a Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) version of the drama that takes place in the town of Rabinal in the department of Baja Verapaz, called the Rabinal Achí, and the Drink of Lords.

                     

 Above is a closeup drawing by Alexandre Tokovinine of Maya vase K2781, that strongly supports my theory that a ritual intoxicating drink was consumed prior to sacrifice and ritual decapitation.

         

                 

    Photograph © Justin Kerr   

Above are two Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) Maya drinking vessels with glyphs, and probable fleur de lis symbol.

                                      

                                        

                                        

 Above is a Hittite silver rhyton drinking vessel ca. 1400 B.C. The Hittites were an Indo-European speaking people in central Anatolia (modern day Turkey) who founded their ancient capital at Bogazköy (ancient Hattusha) in 1700 B.C. Metropolitan Museum.

 

 Photographed above in roll out form, the silver vessel depicts a ruler or deity holding an eagle or falcon and sitting in front of what may be an encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom. Assuming the Amanita muscaria mushroom is the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Life, the artist encodes the Tree of Life on the far right stylized as the Fleur de lis.

 

                   Displaying photo.JPG  

Above is a gold Mycenaean Vaphio cup dating 1500 BC depicting the sacred bull, and the Tree of Life encoded with the symbol of the Fleur de lis, encoded as a metaphor of immortality and divine resurrection.                       

 

                                           

Above is a Etruscan bronze kyathos (single-handled cup) with Fleur de lis symbol, 6th century B.C. (http://metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/253350)

             

Above is an Old World bronze drinking vessel encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol (sourcehttp://www.ancientresource.com/lots/medieval_crusades/crusaders_artifacts1.html)

 

          

                          

Above is a drawing, in roll-out form of a ceremonial drinking vessel painted in a classic Teotihuacan style (from Alarcón 1992:XV) depicting a harpy eagle, and the bearded god Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc (note goggled eye). In Mexican mythology the harpy eagle is a symbol of the upper world, and is the avatar of Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star aspect of Venus. The harpy eagle represents the symbol of Venus and the resurrected Sun God. The three abstract five-pointed half-stars depicted on the upper left, are symbols of Venus, identifing Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc as one and the same, the dualistic god of Venus, and the dualistic God of the Underworld resurrection. The stylized Fleur-de-lis emblem, which believe is encoded directly above Quetzalcoatl's speech scroll, is an esoteric reference to the creator gods Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc's and their divine role as twin deities, representing both the Morning Star and Evening Star, two of  the three triad gods who are responsible for the sacrifice and resurrection of the Underworld Sun God. Researchers studying the Mayan inscriptions at Yaxchilan Lintel 25, have decoded a glyph they believe represents "The Founder Glyph", depicting a double-headed serpent, bearing a ruler wearing a Tlaloc mask, and that this ruler seems to be a lineage founder connected with Venus and a goggle-eyed deity. There is also plenty of evidence at the ancient Maya city of Copan that the goggle-eyed Tlaloc is closely connected with the founder of the Copan lineages named Yax K'uk Mo,who is depicted on Altar Q,wearing the goggled-eyes of Tlaloc (Milbrath, 1999  p.196-197). 

 

                                        

Above is a censer lid that depicts Yax K'uk Mo, the Founder of the Copan lineages, wearing mushroom shaped ear plugs and wearing the goggles of Tlaloc.

              

                        

Above is a Classic Period  (200-650 C.E.) cylindrical tripod Teotihuacan drinking vessel, that portrays the goggle eyed Tlaloc in association with a harpy eagle. These Teotihuacan inspired cylindrical tripod drinking vessels have intrigued trans-Pacific diffusionists because of the vessels distinctive form and motifs that resemble Chinese drinking vessels made during the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.E. to A.D. 220). The Teotihuacan drinking vessel more likely portrays a ruler in the guise of Quetzalcoatl-Tlaloc. The five pointed star like symbol that surrounds the bottom of the vessel, have been identified as symbols representing the planet Venus, and the harpy eagle in Teotihuacan mythology represents the avatar of the god Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star aspect of the planet Venus. Like the phoenix, the harpy eagle, is a symbol of the Sun Gods rebirth and resurrection from the Underworld. The (photo from http://www.artvalue.com/auctionresult--teotihuacan-phase-tlamimilolpa-incised-tripod-brownware-vesse-2639006.htm)  

 

 

               According to ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst....  

"The discovery, by early migrants into Mexico, of a functional deer-mushroom relationship could, conceivably, have served to reinforce whatever ancient Asian traditions might then still have remained alive concerning the deer as source of supernatural power, and especially the visionary gifts of shamans."

 

       

 Above on the left is a ballgame hacha carved to fit into a ballplayers belt (yoke) representing a deer wearing the goggled eyes of Tlaloc. The goggled eyes of Tlaloc in this case symbolizes the sacrifice and resurrection of the deer on the ball court. Ballplayers are commonly depicted wearing the headdress of a deer,  and ballplayers are often depicted wearing the goggled eyes of Tlaloc. Tlaloc's goggled eyes are a symbol of sacrifice, and they represent a paradise of life after death. Note that Tlaloc's goggled eyes resemble the rings or hoops that we see mounted into the walls of Postclassic formal ballcourts.  Above on the right is a Late Classic (600-900 C.E ?) polychrome plate from Cholula, Mexico (on exhibit at the British Museum) which depicts a deer wearing Tlaloc's trademark goggled eyes and feline fangs.     

 

 

              

          Photograph © Justin Kerr  

Above, a close up of a Late Classic (600-900 C.E) Maya vase painting depicts sacred mushrooms in association with the sacrificial deer. 

                  

 Above is a close up view of a mural painting from Teotihuacan (200-650 C.E) depicting the goggled eyed lightening god Tlaloc portrayed as a five pointed star, that scholars identify as a symbol of Venus.  

    

                    

            


The photograph above is of a Maya mushroom stone on exhibit at the highland Maya site of Iximche, the ancient capital of the Cakchiquel Maya. This mushroom stone, and the images below depict the trademark goggles of the Mexican God Tlaloc,  which allow the "bemushroomed" a peak into the paradise of Tlalocan.     

        

 

         

 

                    

  

  

                 

                        

 

                           

                        

 Above and below are Moche portrait vessels from Peru, both wearing whet appear to be mushroom inspired headdress, encoded with what I propose are Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The Moche culture reigned on the north coast of Peru during the years 100-800 A.D. (Photograph courtesy of Todd Braum)

                                 

 

                      

              

 Above is a  piece of pottery from Peru, South America, Chavin Culture, with the image of what I believe is the Mexican god Tlaloc with his trademark goggled eyes. It has been dated at approximately 800 B.C. The five fangs jutting from the mouth of the jaguar or puma may be esoteric references to the five synodic cycles of the planet Venus.                           

                   

               

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  Scholars have identified the sculpture above from the Maya ruins of Dos Pilas, in Guatemala as the Maya Sun god K’inich Ajaw.  The Maya deity has an encoded Venus glyph surrounding his eyes, and wears a pectoral with Fleur-de-lis emblem encoded as a symbol of the Sun God's resurrection from the Underworld and a trinity of Maya creator gods. The Maya deity GIII of the Palenque Triad, has more or less the same facial features as Kinich Ajaw, but he has jaguar attributes, a symbol of the Underworld, and Kin glyphs encoded on his head and body symbolizing the Underworld Sun God.  

  

                        

  Above is a sculpture from the Maya ruins of Copan in Honduras, overlooking a large plaza that archaeologists call the "false ballcourt", an area that represents the Maya underworld. The sculpture portrays the God of the Underworld, or Underworld Sun God, who is linked directly to the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus as the Underworld Sun God's executioner. Note the two Venus symbols above (shown sideways) on either side of the bearded deity's head. Photo by Bob Klingenberg.

    

Photographs © Justin Kerr

 Maya vase K2284 in roll out form that depicts another possible scene from the Maya Popol Vuh, of the Hero Twins, in a scene of jaguar transformation and divine Venus resurrection. The character on the right, shown emptying the contents of an olla, has been identified as the young God A Prime. I propose that the jar is marked with a symbol of death, a glyph known as Ak'ab, or Ak'bal, which means darkness, and that the olla likely contains a mushroom beverage, that was mixed with honey, as suggested by the bees in the scene. The scene indicates that the contents from the olla  manifests the Maya god K'awil (God K or GII of the Palenque Triad) in the form of the vision serpent surrounded by Venus signs.  Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst (1976:80) mentions that in the Coto dictionary, there is name of a sacred mushroom called "jaguar ear". Note that the artist may have actually encoded a mushroom in the jaguar's ear above.

  

 

Photograph © Justin Kerr

  Maya vase K1652, shown above,depicts the underworld Sun God as an underworld jaguar surrounded by Venus symbols on his shoulder, back, knee, and under the tail of the serpent he carries in his arms.  The serpent represents the portal of Venus resurrection that is manifested by the Maya the god K'awil, (the Maya counterpart of Quetzalcoatl). The head of the god Kawi'l emerges from the serpent's tail, in a hook symbol, which can be identified throughout Maya religious iconography, and that I believe is code symbolizing the mushroom-jaguar transformation-Venus resurrection religion. Note that the three legs supporting the vessel are shaped to represent the Maya word Ik, a glyph which means wind or breath and thus life and spirit. This T-shaped Ik symbol is associated with the Maya god Chac, and Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind.

The upended toad at the far right represents a Maya metaphor or symbol for birth or rebirth. The skeletal god (known as God A) shown between the jaguar and the toad holds the sacrificial axe, with three blades, as a reference to death and rebirth in the underworld. The three blades on the axe represent the sacred number three, and allude to a trinity of creator gods known as the three hearthstones of Maya creation. 

   

Above is a Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) Maya vase painting K5186 in roll-out form from the Justin Kerr Data Base, that depicts what looks to me like a psilocybin mushroom (see photo below) emerging at both ends from a stylized Fleur de lis symbol.

               

 (Photo of psilocybin mushrooms, from http://mattovermatter.com/2011/09/magic-mushrooms-may-permanently-alter-personality/)

 

          

  The Late Classic Maya Vase painting shown above in roll-out form, Kerr No. 5390, depicts, I believe, an instance of deity impersonation taking place in the Maya Underworld.  The figure on the far left holding a spear and shield wears the headdress of the Maya God L, who in Late Classic times (600-850 C.E)  symbolized the Maya Lord of the Underworld.  In Maya cosmology the planet Venus was believed to be the sun from the previous world age. Before this world was destroyed it was ruled by God L.  A ballplayer, or ruler wearing jaguar attire, kneels in the posture of someone about to be sacrificed.  He holds a royal staff and with his right hand makes a  gesture which I interpret as code for the divine mushroom ritual. The dark-skinned figure standing directly in front of him wears the headdress of an underworld deity.  That he is associated with the grisly ritual of decapitation is clear from the trophy head he has tied upside-down to his staff. 

                           

Above is a closeup view of a Late Classic Maya vase painting, that I believe encodes the Amanita muscaria mushroom, in the shape of the Fleur de lis emblem.

  

               

 Above is an incense burner from the ruins of Mayapan in Yucatan Mexico, representing the Maya Rain God Chac (also known as God B). I would argue that the artist intentionally encoded dualistic Fleur de lis symbols into Chac's headdress as symbols of immortality (note mushroom shaped nose) and Venus resurrection, as well as a symbol of a divine trinity.              

                     

  

               

 Tikal Stela 9, Early Classic Period, 475 AD (stone), Mayan / Tikal, Peten, Guatemala / Jean-Pierre Courau / The Bridgeman Art Library    

Stela 9,  portrays the 12th ruler of the powerful ruling dynasty at the great Maya kingdom of Tikal. The Maya ruler most likely held the supreme rank of Kaloomte, a title comparable to the European understanding of “emperor” (Harrison,1999 p. 92).  The ruler holds a staff in one hand, and makes a hand gesture with the other. He wears an elaborate headdress crowned with three Fleur-de-lis insignias representing divinity, rulership and a trinity of creator gods (note the three jaguars on ruler's cape). This Tikal ruler’s name glyph depicts the head variant of a peccary with a kan-cross symbol, with trefoil, or what I propose is a Fleur-de-lis emblem, encoded above the peccary’s eye. We know this powerful ruler today as K’an Chitan, or K’an Ak, or by his nickname, Yellow Peccary.                             

             

                     

  The god identified with decapitation was particularly important to the highland Maya at the site of Kaminaljuyu. This drawing from Stela 10, a carved monument at Kaminaljuyu, depicts the trefoil-eyed god (upper left) wielding a sacrificial axe in a scene of ritual ballgame sacrifice. The two floating or suspended gods above may represent a Preclassic version of the Hero Twins from the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh.  The figure in the scene below wearing a ballplayer's yoke may represent Hun Hunapu, the Hero Twins father who is decapitated in the Underworld by the Lords of Death.  The three figures may also represent  the Palenque Triad (GI, GII, GIII).  Freidel and Schele (1998) have identified two of the Palenque Triad with the Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh. From inscriptions at Palenque, archaeologists have identified that the king was considered the incarnation of GI, (Editors, Archaeology Magazine, Secrets of the Maya, 2004:109) who began his mythical reign before the creation of the world on March 10, 3309 B.C.E. (GMT correlation) or 3569 B.C E.. using the Herbert Spinden correlation of the Mayan calendar. The figure at the bottom, representing a ballplayer (possibly First Father) is about to be decapitated by the deity above sporting a trefoil eye, who most likely represents GI of the Palenque Triad. The figure below wears a ballgame belt or yoke incorporating the three circles which I believe signify the three hearth stones of creation, the trinity of creator gods (Palenque Triad above), and the "place of ballgame sacrifice" which, in the Popol Vuh, is the Underworld. The scene suggests that, just as the Underworld Sun God is decapitated in the Underworld by a pair of  twins, the ritual act of decapitation assures divine resurrection. Inscriptions at Palenque and at Quirigua, tell us that twin deities are associated with the "three stones of creation" as the "three stone place", calling to mind Orion's belt and the constellation of Orion as a ballplayer.  We know that Quetzalcoatl and his twin brother Xolotl were known as both the Lords of the Ballgame, and Lords of the Underworld.  I would argue that, in ancient times, the Maya believed that the stars in the night sky were the decapitated heads of the deified ancestors, and that the constellation of Orion represented a resurrected decapitated ballplayer. 

 

                           "THE CHURNING OF THE MILK OCEAN"    

The Churning of the Milk Ocean, is told in several ancient Hindu texts, the avatar of the Vedic god Vishnu is the sea tortoise depicted below as the pivot for Mt. Mandara acting as the churning stick. At the suggestion of Vishnu, the gods, and demons churn the primeval ocean in order to obtain Amrita, which will guarantee them immortality. 

           

  I found a drawing by Daniela Epstein-Koontz, of a ball court relief panel from the archaeological site of El Tajin, in Veracruz Mexico.  When I saw the turtle in this scene I knew right away that this Tajin ballcourt scene was a version of the Hindu/Buddhist myth "The Churning of the Milk's Ocean", a creation scene often depicted in Hindu art. It should be noted that other scholars have also commented on the striking similarities between Late Chow decorative styles of China of 700-200 B.C.E. and those of the Tajin culture of Veracruz, Mexico, of A.D. 500-1000 (Stephen C. Jett 1971, p.44) (Heine-Geldern, 1959a).

Note the dual headed serpent at the bottom of the scene on the right and left, emerging from the ocean's depth. The turtle at the bottom of the scene, an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu acts as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism which is composed of an intertwined serpent being pulled at both ends by sky deities (four cardinal directions) who create the new born Sun (Vishnu ?). Note that the tail of the serpent end directly above the symbol of the new born Sun just above the turtle in a three-lobed stylized design of the Fleur-de-lis emblem, esoterically alluding I believe to the trinity of creator gods. The three arrows penetrating the Sun in the scene alludes to the triad and the Sun's life giving rays of light. If this ballcourt scene does represent Hindu mythology, and I feel certain that it does, than the two deities behind the central characters hold containers or ritual buckets in their hands filled with the Soma beverage. 

 For documentation of motif of ritual bucket (bag?) held by figures in hieratic scenes in Mesoamerica see Drucker, Hiezer, & Squier, 1955: 198. For documentation of motif of ritual bucket (bag?) held by figures in hieratic scenes in the Old World see H. Frankfort, 1955: pl.83.      

                   

                     

The photograph above K4880, from the Justin Kerr Data Base, is of a turtle depicting an incised  Venus glyph.      

        

The turtle carved from shell, was excavated from a burial in the Mundo Perdido of Tikal, Guatemala.  In Maya creation myths the first manifestation of creation is a Cosmic Turtle from which First Father is reborn.  The turtle artifact above is in the National Musuem of Guatemala. Museum no. 1875. length 4.5 cm.  In Mesoamerican mythology  the planet Venus, (aka Quetzalcoatl) is clearly linked with the creation of the universe, and an analysis of the Paris Codex (Milbrath, 1999; p.176) Zodiac pages 23-24, suggests that the turtle is closely linked with the constellation of Orion (see cosmic turtle, Bonampac murals room II) just like the turtle is in Hindu mythology. According to Mesoamerican scholars Mary Miller and Karl Taube, (1993:175) there are a number of Late Classic altars carved in the form of a turtle. One such turtle altar (Itzimte Altar 1), depicts Maya Kaban curls.  Legendary Maya scholar Linda Schele has deciphered that the Hero Twins father, Hun Hunahpu, is reborn (as Sun God?) from the Underworld through the back of a cosmic earth turtle. Resurrection myths in Mesoamerica are clearly linked to a cosmic turtle, the ritual ballgame and the belt of Orion. I believe that the turtle is linked to the planet Venus and thus Quetzalcoatl as both a Morning Star, and a feathered serpent. In the Quiche creation myth of the  Popol Vuh, Plumed Serpent swims in the sea before the dawn of creation. 

                                 

  The drawing above by Jenni Bongard is taken from the Madrid Codex, which depicts the three hearth stones of creation, placed on the back of the Cosmic turtle. The X-symbol depicted on each of the three stones likely represents the glyph jal, a verb according to Michael Coe, to create ( see Coe's, Reading the Maya Glyphs: 2001 p.163).

 

   THE CHURNING OF THE MILK OCEAN IN THE MADRID CODEX

                          


Above is page 19, from the Madrid Codex, also known as the Maya Tro-Cortesianus Codex, that depicts what may be elements of the same Hindu inspired myth The Churning of the Milk Ocean. Note that the deity above the turtle is painted blue, just like the Hindu god Vishnu is in Hindu art, and that the turtle below once again acts as the pivot point for the churning stick. The serpent's intertwined body is the mechanism by which the gods churn the milk's ocean. In the scene above the artist depicts the importances and creative forces of self sacrifice by substituting a rope for the serpents long body, depicting a blood letting ritual in which the rope (the serpents body) is being pulled through the penises of the gods above. The glyphs in the scene marked with the X-symbol, may represent the Maya word jal, a verb meaning to create ( see Reading the Maya Glyphs: 2001 p.163).  

   

  (drawing by Felipe Davalos G)

  Above is a drawing of a Mural from the Maya site of Tulum, Structure 5, in Yucatan Mexico, which depicts what I believe is a Post Classic Maya version of the Hindu myth, The Churning of the Milk Ocean. Note the intertwined serpents in the main section of the scene as well as a serpent swimming below in the primordial sea along with a fish and a turtle in the lower section. The turtle bears the so-called head of a god scholars call God N. David Stuart has suggested that God N and and the Maya Post Classic god Itzamnah known as God D from the codices, were manifestations of the same deity and that he was involved in the creation of the world.   

Inscriptions on Stela C at the Maya archaeological site of Quirigua tell us that the Maya god Itzamnah is one of three deities, like the Palenque Triad, involved with the activities of creation at the beginning of the new era.

Once again we see the turtle deity acting as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism, which is composed of intertwined serpents. The characters above likely depict the gods from the four cardinal directions representing both life and death, upper world and underworld.  The four deities use hand gestures to churn the Milk ocean, and together with the serpent and turtle, (both are avatars of the planet Venus), create and resurrect the reborn sun god.  (drawing of Mural 1 from Tulum from Milbrath).

     The carved Turtle God above is from the archaeological site of Topoxte, located on an island on Lake Yaxha in the Peten Basin of northern Guatemala.  Note the carved hole at the center of the Turtle Gods shell, that may have been the pivot hole for a churning stick.   

 

                           

Above is a ceramic image of a turtle depicting a face of a deity impersonating or representing the avatar of a turtle. In Hindu mythology the god Vishnu assumes the avatar of a sea turtle. Once again the hole at the center of the Turtle Gods shell, may have been the pivot hole for a churning stick.   
  
 
    
Above is a carved image of a ruler or deity wearing a serpent headdress and turtle shell, was found on the wall of a tomb at Zaachila, a powerful Mesoamerican city in what is now Oaxaca, Mexico.
 

              

A similar creation story can be found in Lenape (later called the Delawares) mythology in which a turtle once again acts as a central pivot point of the Lenape universe. The Tree of Life acts as a cosmic pillar of creation.

 

                  

 

                          

                                  

                                     Mushrooms encoded below the Tree of Life in Hindu art ?    

   

                                                  

 

                              

Above is a 14th century carved image of an Aztec deity or ruler holding a pine tree in one hand and two pine cones in the other.                          

  


                        

Above are joined figurines from Western Mexico, Nayarit culture 300 BC. that depict a seated man and woman, the man holding a cup in one hand and a probable mushroom in the other.  The bowl that sits between them may contain a ritual beverage like the Soma beverage of Vedic rituals. (19.7cm high 26cm wide. Gift of August L. Selig. photo image from http://biodiversity.ku.edu/galleries/west-mexico University of Kansas, Natural History Museum)  

 

Above are male and female Nayarit figurines that clearly encode the Amanita muscaria mushroom as the sacred contents of the ritual beverage she holds in her hand.  

                                   

  Above is another figurine from Western Mexico, Nayarit culture 300 BC. that depict a seated man holding two probable mushrooms in each hand. Note that his earplug looks similar to the cap of the red with white spots Amanita muscaria mushroom.  

 

                                      

 Above are female figurine from Western Mexico Zacatecas culture 2nd century CE, in which the artist I  believe has clearly encoded the Amanita muscaria mushroom as breasts.  

    

          

  Above are male figurines from Western Mexico Zacatecas culture 2nd century CE, in which the artist I would argue has clearly encoded the Amanita muscaria mushroom, as the sacred sacrament of the head of the shaman  "Hidden In Plain Sight".

 (The photograph on the left is from http://realhistoryww.com/ and the photograph on the right is from Flicker, photographed at the de Young Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California.)

 

 

                                

                 

                           Mushrooms encoded in Christian art ?

             

                

Quoting Dr. John A. Rush author of, The Mushroom in Christian Art (2010: 138-139).

 "Most people read Christian art as pictures, as snap shots representing historical events, but that is not what Christian art is about.  An icon is a representation of something that cannot be represented; icons are spiritual renderings of another world, a spiritual geography; what you see is not what you get.  A cross is not a cross, a book is not a book, an angel is not an angel, and a mushroom is not a mushroom.  This being the case the Apostle’s Creed is likewise an icon, a mega-icon because it encapsulates all others. Again, this is not history; it is an elaborate, artistic, spiritual attempt to explain and pay homage to the mushroom experience."

 

     

Christ and the Twelve Apostles, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, 12th century, note the Amanita muscaria mushrooms " Hidden In Plain Sight".   (http://christchurchmontrealmusic.blogspot.com/2009_07_01_archive.html)    

      

 

                   Quoting John Marco Allegro....

 "Thousands of years before Christianity, secret cults arose which worshiped the sacred mushroom — the Amanita Muscaria — which, for various reasons (including its shape and power as a drug) came to be regarded as a symbol of God on earth. When the secrets of the cult had to be written down, it was done in the form of codes hidden in folktales. This is the basic origin of the stories in the New Testament." 

                                

                                                 

                                         THE HOLY GRAIL ?   

                                                  

              

           Quoting R. Gordon Wasson...

"the Soma of the Rig-Veda becomes incorporated into the religious history and prehistory of Eurasia, its parentage well established, its siblings numerous. Its role in human culture may go back far, to the time when our ancestors first lived with the birch and the fly-agaric, back perhaps through the Mesolithic and into the Paleolithic" (from Furst, 1976 p. 103).

"We have drunk the Soma and become Immortal; we have attained the Light, and found the Gods". (Rig Veda, 8.XLVIII.3)

 

  "In brief, I submit that the legends of the Tree of Life and of the Marvelous Herb had their genesis in the Forest Belt of Eurasia". "The Tree of Life, is it not the legendary Birch Tree, and the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Life, what else is it but the Soma, the fly-agaric, [the Amanita muscaria] the pongo of the Ugrian tribesmen?" (from Furst,1972, p.212)

  "In Genesis, is not the serpent the self-same chthonic spirit that we know from Siberia?"      

 

       

Above is a medieval Italian fresco depicting Jesus and the serpent as the Tree of Life. Second, third and fourth century Christians believed that the tree of life was a symbol of Jesus Christ and the cross (Ron Anderson 1985, The Tree of Life as a Symbol of Jesus Christ p.21).

 

    

Fresco of Adam and Eve, and the serpent, from the Abbey of Montecassino, Italy (ca.1072) encoded with what appears to be mushroom imagery in association with the Tree of Life, and  the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.                        
           

             

 

                  

                            East entrance to the Basilica de San Vicente, in Avila, Spain.    

          

                           Bologna Italy circa 11th 13 th - San Stefano Monastery

         

Above, is a humeral veil used by the 17th century Dominican Cardinal, Thomas Howard, which encodes the Fleur de lis symbol below, circled in yellow, in association with an upended toad, a symbol of transformation and rebirth in both the Old World and New World.   

 

                             

Above is an image of Jesus Christ Crucified on a cross encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol. Andrew Gough, Saint Trinité Cira, Crest, Alquimia Alchemy, Trinité Cira 1400

Note that the image of the cross beneath the crown, once the white spots are added, appears to look very much like an encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom. Below is the fleur de lis which represents a symbol of heaven and resurrection. Note the green upended toad below the fleur de lis emblem, this symbol in Mesoamerica, and in the Old World represents rebirth and transformation. The Cardinal's veil now belongs to the Dominican Priory in Oxford. (Photo from http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/muhara-picture_ba-3573.html)      

                   

                     

                                  

Above is a painting of Adam and Eve and the serpent at the Tree of Knowledge, superimposed over an encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom cap.  The painting is from St. Michael's Church, Hildesheim Germany 1192 AD. (photo from Allegro, 1971)              

    

                        

Above is a mural painting of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge”. Mural from the apse of Sant Sadurní in Osormort Spain, 12th century (Image from April Deconick http://forbiddengospels.blogspot.com/2012/04/sabbatical-post-3-why-mushrooms.html) 

 

                              
   

 According to Genesis, God told Adam that he was forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge. God told Adam that if he ate the fruit he would die.  Later, Eve who was deceived by a serpent, ate the fruit which she then took to Adam and he ate it, knowing he had disobeyed what God had explicitly told him. God expelled them from the garden, and through this act, sin entered the world. We don't know what kind of  fruit this tree had, that would cause Adam and Eve to die, (some Amanitas are poisonous) but the idea that the deadly fruit was an apple was introduced by John Milton in his epic poem  Paradise Lost.

  Genesis never mentions apple or forbidden fruit, only the "fruit of knowledge" and the "fruit of everlasting life".  Ethno-mycologist Robert. Gordon Wasson, and other notable scholars have written that the mythological apple is a symbolic substitution for the Amanita muscaria mushroom.  Note below the obvious encoded mushroom imagery in association with the Holy Trinity, and  World Tree, and  "Tree of Knowledge".

    

   Photograph of Amanita muscaria mushrooms under a pine tree, courtesy of sagaciousmama.com.

 

                             

From a 12th century copy of the Herbarium of Apuleius, now in the Library of Eton College. The image depicts plants being dug up for medicines under the direction of a sage. I believe that the Fleur de lis symbol is code for sacred mushrooms.


            

Below is an Italian fresco; Affresco con Amanite a l'Aquila in Santa Maria ad Cryptas di Foss (1264 -1283) that encodes the fruit of the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge as the Amanita muscaria mushrooms.

                                 

                   

                 

           Quoting James Arthur, author of “Mushrooms and Mankind”  

 "The statement that Jesus makes ‘Unless you eat and drink you have no life in you’ would seem to condemn the replacement of whatever the real thing is with a placebo (substitute).”

“This is saying pretty clearly that the eating and drinking is physical. My body is flesh indeed, and my blood is drink indeed, and the added statement that when you eat, it is inside of you leaves little room for debate that this is a substance, not a phantom symbol alone. For those who choose to debate this I ask that they show me their substance because according to Jesus' words unless you eat and drink of ‘It’ you have no life in you.    

 

                       The Forbidden Fruit, Amanita muscaria

                  

    The Canturbury Psalter, 1147 AD, depicting Adam and Eve and the World Tree, the Tree of Knowledge, the forbidden fruit encoded as sacred mushrooms "Hidden in Plain Sight".  

        

   

 

Above is a close up view of the ceiling of the Karanlik Kilise or ''Dark Church'', in Göreme, Turkey. This beautifully painted (11th century) fresco reveals what I believe is World Tree imagery, in which the Tree of Life, and Tree of Knowledge, is esoterically encoded as a stylistic Amanita muscaria mushroom, the infamous red capped mushroom with white spots, the so called mushroom of immortality (R.Gordon Wasson: 1967) encoded with what I would also argue are tiny Fleur de lis emblems, which esoterically symbolize the World Tree, or Tree of Life, and a Trinity of creator gods.

      

Above is an 11th century work of art made of bronze, on the door of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany. The bronze artwork depicts the scene of "original sin", the so-called "Fall of Man", in which God banishes Adam and Eve from Eden for eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. Samorini (2001) and Gartz (1996) identify the mushroom tree as two tall Psilocybe semilanceata.

          

Above is a stela from the Burgos Museum in Spain that depicts the World Tree stylized to represent  the Fleur de lis symbol. Note what may be two Amanita muscaria mushroom caps encoded below the Tree of Knowledge symbolizing the fruit of everlasting life.

 

                Amanita Muscaria mushroom imagery encoded in stained glass?                   

                                St-Martin-Chartres-Cathedral, France 12th century A.D.             

                                            

                               "Three Wise Men" and two encoded Amanitas ?

 

                        

                                       Notre Dame Cathedral de Laon France, 13th century.

                                                        

Above is a stained glass scene of warfare and decapitation, in which mushrooms may have been encoded by the artist (below the horse) as a metaphor of resurrection.

                                   

                        Above and below are paintings that encode mushrooms in Christian art.                          

                             

           

  Christ's Entry into Jerusalem (fresco), French School, (12th century) / Church of St. Martin, Vic, Berry, France. Note the mushrooms in the upper right of the fresco emerging from a fleur de lis.  (http://bridgemanart.com/asset/95749/French-School-12th-century/Christ's-Entry-into-Jerusalem-fresco) 

     

                 

The Holy Trinity by unknown Portuguese master (16th cent.) (CC BY-SA 4.0 ).Note the encoded Fleur de lis symbol in the Father's crown above, and the skull of Adam below the feet of Jesus.

     

Above is an image of the Holy Trinity, encoded I believe, with the colors of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.    

 

 


 
Although the hallucinogenic mushroom cult, which has survived to this day among certain tribes like the Zapotec, Chinantec, and Mazatec Indians of Mexico, there has been little to nothing reported among the present day Maya. 

Its my belief that the Amanita muscaria mushroom cult may still survive in remote areas of Highland Guatemala, where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance.    

            

In 2009, I was surprised to find that the Maya Indians of the Guatemala Highlands were selling these tiny Amanita muscaria mushroom toys in the markets like the one depicted above.  Although the seller informed me that the Maya did eat this variety of mushroom, it is possible she may have been referring to the non-hallucinogenic Amanita caesarea, commonly sold in markets in Mexico and Guatemala and much appreciated for its delicate flavor (Guzmán, 2002:3)  I bought several of these toy Amanita muscaria mushrooms as gifts. They all have a quetzal bird sitting in a tree painted on the stem. Although clearly a child's toy produced for the tourist trade, they bear symbolism of great antiquity. In Mesoamerican mythology the World tree, with its roots in the underworld and its branches in the heavens,  represents the axis mundi  or center of the world. The branches represent the four cardinal directions. Each of the directions was associated with a different color while the color green represented the central place. A bird, known as the celestial bird or Principal Bird Deity, usually sits atop the tree. The trunk, which connects the two planes, was seen as a portal to the underworld. The Quetzal bird, now the national bird of modern Guatemala, was considered sacred because of its green plumage. I believe there is now clear evidence that the Amanita muscaria mushroom is a symbol of equal antiquity.  (Photographs by Connor de Borhegyi) 

                 

In summary, the mushroom inspired images I have presented, most of which are cleverly encoded by the artist, clearly  represent mushrooms and mushroom worship. I found that mushroom imagery occurred with such frequency and in such indisputably religious context that there can be no doubt as to their importance in the development and practice of indigenous religion. 

After viewing this evidence in favor of pre-Columbian contact, my hope is that historians will be more open-minded to the concept that the oceans, thousands of years ago, were highways not barriers, and that readers of this study will challenge the older view of New World history with a more open-minded acknowledgement of the seafaring  capability of ancient peoples to explore their environment and disperse their intellectual baggage to its far corners. 

 

         CONTINUE...... The Fleur de lis: Symbol of Quetzalcoatl, Lord of the Aztecs

       

The author's research site titled "Hidden in Plain Sight" is still undergoing editing and peer review, and will eventually be published in book form. Scholars will find an extensive bibliography of works consulted and cited at the top of  the page.

                      

                          Your thoughts, comments, and concerns are most welcomed.  

                                                        About Carl de Borhegyi                

                                                        deborhegyi@gmail.com

 

                          

     

                                       

In searching for the New world origin of the name Maya, or Mayan, I propose one should look at the strange coincidence that the Sanskrit word for the divine power, and enlightenment from Soma, the mushroom of immortality, who had  a son named Budha, was called Maya. We are told that the gods themselves were described as Mayin. It should be noted that linguists have already identified a number of Sanskrit words in Quechua, the Andean language of the Inca (Fox, 2005, p.118).     

  According to the New World Encyclopedia;   

In the  Rigveda, the term Maya, (maya)  is introduced referring to the power that devas (divine beings) possessed which allowed them to assume various material forms and to create natural phenomena.                

    Maya (Sanskrit māyā, from "not" and "this")  In early Vedic mythology, maya was the power with which the gods created and maintained the physical universe.

    Maya is the power that brings all reality into being as it is perceived by human consciousness. Therefore, all the particular things contained within this material world are products of maya.

   Soma (Soma),was considered to be the most precious liquid in the universe, and therefore was an indispensible aspect of all Vedic rituals, used in sacrifices to all gods, particularly Indra, the warrior god. Supposedly, gods consumed the beverage in order to sustain their immortality. In this aspect, Soma is similar to the Greek ambrosia (cognate to amrita) because it was what the gods drank and what helped make them deities. Indra and Agni (the divine representation of fire) are portrayed as consuming Soma in copious quantities. (Excerpt is from New World Encyclopedia)

      


                   

                     Quoting the late anthropologist Dr. Robert Heine Geldern...    

 "Those who believe the ancient peoples of Asia were incapable of crossing the ocean have completely lost sight of what the literary sources tell us concerning their ships and their navigation. Many of the peoples of Southeastern Asia had adopted Indian Hindu-Buddhist civilizations. The influences of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of southeast Asia in Mexico and particularly, among the Maya, are incredibly strong, and they have already disturbed some Americanists who don't like to see them but cannot deny them.... Ships that could cross the Indian Ocean were able to cross the Pacific too. Moreover, these ships were really larger and probably more sea-worthy than those of Columbus and Magellan....Ships of the size that carried Fahien from India to China (through stormy China water) were certainly capable of proceeding all the way to Mexico and Peru by crossing the Pacific. One thousand years before the birth of Columbus Indian ships were far superior to any made in Europe up to the 18th century."
                              (Quote from http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Pacific.htm )                          
                          
Hunnic cauldrons have long claimed the attention of archaeologists which until 1896, (Reinecke 1986) were classified as Scythian cauldrons... Note the mushrooms encoded on the cauldrons and Hunnic diadems or crowns encoded with a trefoil symbol similar in shape and meaning to the Fleur de lis..source...https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fbooks.google.de%2Fbooks%3Fid%3DCrUdgzSICxcC&h=VAQG9z8Kp
Researchers have proposed that Pharaoh Akhenaton's wife Queen Nefertiti may have been a Hittite princess, who came from the land of Mitanni, a small kingdom of Indo-Aryan people, just north of the Upper Euphrates, in what is today northern Iraq. Pharaoh Akhenaton is best known for introducing a new religion to Egypt, that was strongly supported by Nefertiti, that made the Aten, the sun disc, the center of Egypt’s religious life. She may have brought with her the worship of an intoxicating plant (Amanita muscaria mushroom) called Soma and a pantheon of Vedic Gods, like Indra, Mitra, and Varuna. After the death of Akhenaton sometime around 1334-1336 B.C. Egypt would return to its original pantheon of gods and religious beliefs. (Online source, Was Nefertiti, An Aryan Princess? by K. Gajendra Singh http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles...)

 Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi - Milwaukee Public Museum

                                                    (click above)

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1957b,  "Mushroom Stones of Middle America," in Mushrooms, Russia and History  by Valentina P. Wasson and Robert G. Wasson, eds. N.T.

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1959, : The Enigmatic Mushroom Stones of Mesoamérica. M. A. Research Records III. New Orleans.
Borhegyi de, S.F. 1960, "Mushroom stone Discoveries". Amatitlan Field Report, MPM.

Borhegyi de,  S.F., 1961, "Miniature mushroom stones from Guatemala,” American Antiquity, vol. 26: 498-504.

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1962,  “The Enigmatic Mushroom Stones of Mesoamerica”,  in Middle American Research Records, Vol 20, No.2,:40-52, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1963, “Pre-Columbian pottery mushrooms from Mesoamerica”,  in American Antiquity, vol. 28:328-338.

 

In the course of my research I have experienced more than one heart-stopping "Ahah!" moment. These moments, however, have usually come only after much time-consuming "digging"  followed by extensive analysis and checking of references in related scholarly research. In order to make them accessible to readers who are not scholars in Mesoamerican cultural history and iconography, I will endeavor to introduce them to the divine actors they will encounter in the images. I will also attempt to interpret, according to my understanding, the relationships they shared within the framework of Mesoamerican religious belief. Most of my interpretations are based on material that is already well known and generally accepted. Other aspects are original with me and come from my studies. I hope to make this distinction clear to the reader. I do not pretend, or even hope, to have gotten it all "right," and will welcome knowledgeable critiquing of my conclusions.

While I may be the first  to call attention to this encoded Fleur de lis  mushroom imagery, it can be viewed and studied with ease at “BREAKING THE MUSHROOM CODE”   http://www.mushroomstone.com/

This publication is still undergoing editing and peer review. Scholars will find an extensive bibliography of works consulted and cited at the top of  the page.

 

The images are presented for educational, scholarly, and artistic research purposes. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work on this page is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.   

                         

Background to Study:

My study, was inspired by a theory first proposed over fifty years ago by my father, the late Maya archaeologist Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi. His research had led him to believe that hallucinogenic mushroom rituals were a central aspect of Maya religion.   My father based his theory on his identification of a mushroom stone cult that came into existence in the Guatemala Highlands and Pacific coastal area around 1000 B.C. along with a trophy head cult associated with human sacrifice and the Mesoamerican ballgame. He supported this theory with a solid body of archaeological and historical evidence.  

In the course of my research I have experienced more than one heart-stopping "Ahah!" moment. These moments, however, have usually come only after much time-consuming "digging"  followed by extensive analysis and checking of references in related scholarly research. In order to make them accessible to readers who are not scholars in Mesoamerican cultural history and iconography, I will endeavor to introduce them to the divine actors they will encounter in the images. I will also attempt to interpret, according to my understanding, the relationships they shared within the framework of Mesoamerican religious belief. Most of my interpretations are based on material that is already well known and generally accepted. Other aspects are original with me and come from my studies. I hope to make this distinction clear to the reader. I do not pretend, or even hope, to have gotten it all "right," and will welcome knowledgeable critiquing of my conclusions.

While I may be the first  to call attention to this encoded Fleur de lis  mushroom imagery, it can be viewed and studied with ease at “BREAKING THE MUSHROOM CODE”   http://www.mushroomstone.com/

This publication is still undergoing editing and peer review. Scholars will find an extensive bibliography of works consulted and cited at the top of  the page.

 

The images are presented for educational, scholarly, and artistic research purposes. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work on this page is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.   

                         


 Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi - Milwaukee Public Museum

                                                    (click above)

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1957b,  "Mushroom Stones of Middle America," in Mushrooms, Russia and History  by Valentina P. Wasson and Robert G. Wasson, eds. N.T. 

Borhegyi de, S.F. 1960, "Mushroom stone Discoveries". Amatitlan Field Report, MPM.

Borhegyi de,  S.F., 1961, "Miniature mushroom stones from Guatemala,” American Antiquity, vol. 26: 498-504.

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1962,  “The Enigmatic Mushroom Stones of Mesoamerica”,  in Middle American Research Records, Vol 20, No.2,:40-52, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1963, “Pre-Columbian pottery mushrooms from Mesoamerica”,  in American Antiquity, vol. 28:328-338.

 

    Quoting Maya archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi......

 "My assignment for the so-called mushroom cult, earliest 1,000 B.C., is based on the excavations of  Kidder and  Shook at the Verbena cemetery at Kaminaljuyu. The mushroom stone found in this Pre-Classic grave, discovered in Mound E-III-3, has a circular groove on the cap. There are also a number of yet unpublished mushroom stone specimens in the Guatemalan Museum from Highland Guatemala where the pottery association would indicate that they are Pre-Classic. In each case the mushroom stone fragments has a circular groove on the top. Mushroom stones found during the Classic and Post-Classic periods do not have circular grooves. This was the basis on which I prepared the chart on mushroom stones which was then subsequently published by the Wassons. Based on Carbon 14 dates and stratigraphy, some of these  Pre-Classic finds can be dated as early as 1,000 B.C. The reference is in the following".....(see Shook, E.M. & Kidder, A.V., 1952. Mound E-III-3, Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala; Contributions to American Anthropology & History No. 53 from Publ. 596, Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. (letter from de Borhegyi to Dr. Robert Ravicz, MPM archives December 1st 1960 )

“BREAKING THE MUSHROOM CODE”   http://www.mushroomstone.com/   and

 

Above is a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Central Asia, that encodes the Fleur de lis symbol, from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran)         

 

 

Above is a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Central Asia, that encodes the Fleur de lis symbol, from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran)         

 

 

Above is a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Central Asia, that encodes the Fleur de lis symbol, from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran)         

 

 
     

 

Above is a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Central Asia, that encodes the symbol of the Fleur de lis. from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran)          
 
     

 

Above is a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Central Asia, that encodes the symbol of the Fleur de lis. from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran)          
 
     

 

Above is a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Central Asia, that encodes the symbol of the Fleur de lis. from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran)          
 
     

 

Above is a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Central Asia, that encodes the symbol of the Fleur de lis. from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran)