"Hidden In Plain Sight"  

THE SECRET OF SECRETS 


by Carl de Borhegyi  Copyright  2017


"Hidden In Plain Sight": Is dedicated to the author's father archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi, who proposed a theory over 60 years ago of a Hallucinogenic mushroom cult among the ancient cultures of Mexico and Guatemala. Borhegyi 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.E., along with a "trophy head cult" associated with ritual decapitation and human sacrifice, and the pre-Columbian ballgame (Borhegyi de, S.F. 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1965a, 1965b).  The reader is also referred to de Borhegyi's more detailed publications on highland Maya archaeology and settlement patterns presented as syntheses in the Handbook of Middle American Indians, II, pt. 1 (see Borhegyi de, 1965a, 1965b).


"Hidden In Plain Sight", is also dedicated to the pioneering efforts of Robert Gordon Wasson, considered by many the father of "Ethno-Mycology" or Mycolatry. From the time of my father's and Wasson's initial meeting in Guatemala in 1953, until Stephan F. de Borhegyi's untimely death in 1969, the two scientists worked in close cooperation and shared a voluminous correspondence of over 500 letters (Harvard University, Wasson Archives). As the result of their collaborative efforts, as well as Wasson's extensive research into mushroom symbolism in Siberia and Southeast Asia, the two scientists surmised that if the mushroom stones of Guatemala 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.  



INTRODUCTION:  


Exactly a half century ago ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson, author of Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality (1968, 1971), and Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Marco Allegro, author of The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (1970), both independently proposed the idea that the pursuit of immortality by the ancients, revolved around the covert ingestion of the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom. The mushroom being the medium through which one achieved ecstasy and thus communion with the gods. 

According to Wasson the religious use of the Amanita muscaria mushroom was widespread in both the Old World and the New World. This remarkable mushroom as Wasson has demonstrated (1968, 1971) was the mysterious divine inebriating plant deity called Soma worshiped by the Indo-European peoples who called themselves Aryans who invaded India from the north around 1500 BCE. The Aryans introduced a way of life that was to persist for centuries.

            Quoting Ethno-Mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson:

"I think that all the religions of Eurasia and the New World sprang out of cults that employed natural plant products [hallucinogenic mushrooms] as a mighty medium for reaching a state of ecstasy" (High Times, Issue 14, Oct. 1976 p. 26)


In the Rig Veda, the Soma beverage was 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 gods. The rite of sacrifice lay at the heart of Aryan religion. Supposedly, the gods consumed the Soma beverage in order to sustain their immortality. Soma itself was one of the Aryan gods. 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.

             Quoting Wasson:

" 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" (Wasson, 1968). 


According to Allegro, who first went public with his idea in 1967 (Irvin 2008, p.95), he proposed that contemporary Judaeo-Christian tradition may be traced back to primitive fertility cults associated with the adoration of the Amanita muscaria mushroom, or "fly agaric" mushroom as it is often called.

In Allegro's controversial but thought-provoking study of psychotropic mushroom rituals in early Judeo-Christianity, he 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 Dead Sea Scroll scholar, 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 mushroom 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." (John Allegro, Sunday Mirror, April 19, 1970, p. 35).


Above is a 12th century altar frontal, depicting Christ and the Twelve Apostles (Collection of Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, http://www.museunacional.cat/en/colleccio/altar-frontal-la-seu-durgell-or-apostles/anonim-catalunya-taller-de-la-seu-durgell/015803-000). Note that all twelve Apostles eyes are fixated or staring at what I would argue are encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms, "Hidden in Plain Sight" in the robe and legs of our Lord Jesus Christ....)  (photograph of Amanita muscaria mushrooms by Karen Kaminski)



Mycolatry:
 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). 

Entheogen:

A term meaning “God within us” is the preferred term for those plant substances that, when ingested, give one a divine experience. This semantic distinction distinguishes their role in the early history of religions from their abuse and vulgarization by the “hippie” sub-culture of the l960's and 1970s. 



According to Allegro:


" The fungus recognized today as the Amanita muscaria, or Fly Agaric, had been known from the beginning of history. Beneath the skin of its characteristic red and white-spotted cap, there is concealed a powerful hallucinatory poison, its religious use among certain Siberian peoples and others has been the subject of study in recent years, and its exhilarating and depressive effects have been clinically examined. These include the stimulation of the perceptive faculties so that the subject sees objects much greater or much smaller than they really are, colours and sounds are much enhanced, and there is a general sense of power, both physical and mental quite outside the normal range of human experience" (Allegro 1970)



Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, France, completed in 1260, depicts a stained glass image of Jesus Christ emerging from an Amanita muscaria mushroom (photograph by Carl de Borhegyi)  (photograph of Amanita muscaria mushrooms by Alex Hyde)



Soma was a bridge between the mortal world and that of the gods. It has been postulated, that the very concept of god may have arisen from the entheogenic effects of certain mushrooms.  

             

            According to Allegro (1970)


"Above all, the sacred fungus, the Amanita muscaria, gave them the delusion of a soul floating free over vast distances, separate from their bodies, as it still does to those foolish enough to seek out the experience. The Christians put the matter thus: “If the Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead through sin, your spirits are alive through righteousness.


"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you” (Rom 8:xo,ii). Not only could the drug contained under the skin of the sacred fungus give to the initiate at will this illusion of spiritual resurrection, of victory over death, but in the conception and growth of the mushroom he could see a microcosm of the whole natural order. Before his eyes the cycle of life and death was enacted in a matter of hours. The Amanita muscaria was the medium of spiritual regeneration and at the same time in itself the supreme example of the re-creative process in the world of Nature. No wonder the fungus attracted so much awesome wonder among the ancients, or that it inspired some of literature’s greatest epics.




Robert Gordon Wasson and his wife, Valentina Pavlovna Wasson, 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, they believed, was early man's discovery of the mind-altering effects of various hallucinatory substances found in nature, among them the Amanita muscaria mushroom. 

Unfortunately Dr. Valentina Pavlovna Wasson, did not live long enough to see the many important results deriving from the research she conducted in collaboration with her husband R. Gordon Wasson. 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) ( Mushrooms, Russia and History  (1957).


            Quoting Wasson:

"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)  


In 1957 Wasson included Stephan de Borhegyi's mushroom stone monograph as an addendum in his monumental book, Mushrooms, Russia and History. In the monograph, Borhegyi identified the existence of an ancient mushroom stone cult that could have begun as early as 1000 B.C.E. and lasted as late as 900 C.E.  Borhegyi 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. The majority of the images appeared to emerge from the stem of the mushroom (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.)



            Quoting ethno-archaeologist Peter T. Furst:


"In its pages [Mushrooms, Russia and History ] Borhegyi and Wasson suggested a connection between the sacred mushrooms of Mexico and the prehistoric stone mushrooms of Guatemala, the first time that such a possibility had been considered in print."  



             Quoting Wasson (1957):


"Dr. Borhegyi's chart suggests to us that hallucinatory mushrooms were the focus of a cult in the highland Maya world that goes back at least to early pre-classic times, to B.C. 1000 or earlier, the earliest period when technically such artifacts could be carved in stone. Thus tentatively we trace back the use of the divine mushroom in Middle America to the earliest period from which a record could be expected to survive. Beyond that horizon may we project the mushroom agape back through millennia, to the Eurasian home-land whence our Indians' ancestors migrated?


            Quoting Wasson (1957):

"Dr. Borhegyi later combed the Quiche and Kakchiquel chronicles and legends for references to mushrooms. There come down to us from early times two native narratives of the Highland Maya, one in Quiche and the other in Kakchiquel, the Popol Vuh and the Annals of the Kakchiqnels. Written in the native languages, they have been translated into Spanish and English. Dr. Borhegyi discovered in each of them one reference to mushrooms, and in each case mushrooms are associated with religious observances. 



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)



Inspired by my father's, and Wasson's theories, I discovered that mushrooms are not only frequently identifiable in the prehistoric art of both the Old 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.


Mesoamerica (Paul Kirchhoff, 1942) 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" (Charles Gallenkamp, 1959, revised 1985 p.3) 


Admittedly I have bypassed the traditional route of doctoral studies in New World archaeology, art history, and religion. That being said, it should be noted that I am far from the first layman to make some significant contributions to Mesoamerican scholarship. The important contributions to our understanding of Maya glyphic writing by the late Soviet lay scholar, Yuri Knorosov, comes immediately to mind. It is, in fact, in partial tribute to him and to his discoverer, Maya archaeologist, Dr. Michael D. Coe, author of "Breaking the Maya Code", that I have titled my book, "Breaking the Mushroom Code" .



Quoting Michael D. Coe, author of "Breaking the Maya Code" and today's unofficial  "Dean of Maya studies"

"I do not exactly remember when I first met Gordon Wasson, but it must have been in the early 1970's. He was already a legendary figure to me, for I had heard much of him from the equally legendary and decidedly colorful Steve Borhegyi, director of the Milwaukee Public Museum before his untimely death. Steve, who claimed to be a Hungarian count and dressed like a Mississippi riverboat gambler, was a remarkable fine and imaginative archaeologist who had supplied much of the Mesoamerican data for Gordon and Valentina Wasson's Mushrooms, Russia and History, particularly on the enigmatic "mushroom stones" of the Guatemala highlands. His collaboration with the Wassons proved even to the most skeptical that there had been a sort of ritual among the highland Maya during the Late Formative period involving hallucinogenic mushrooms" (from the book; The Sacred Mushroom Seeker: tributes to R. Gordon Wasson, 1990 p.43) 



It is strange that, in the more than half century after Stephan de Borhegyi published his first article on Maya mushroom stones and proposed their use in connection with Maya psychogenic mushroom ceremonies, little attention was paid to this intriguing line of research. It wasn't as if Borhegyi’s proposal of a mushroom cult wasn't well grounded in substantial, verifiable evidence. Besides citing his own and others’ archaeological studies, Borhegyi referred frequently to writings by the early chroniclers who witnessed and recorded what they saw of native mushroom ceremonies during the early years of the Spanish Colonial occupation. Their first-hand reports tell us that the Aztecs ate mushrooms or drank a mushroom beverage in order to induce hallucinatory trances and dreams. During these dreams they saw colored visions of jaguars, birds, snakes, and little gnome-like creatures (Manuscript of Serna 1650) (Quest for the Sacred Mushroom, Stephan de Borhegyi 1957).

It may well be that this denial is related to the worldview classification scheme established by Wasson, in which he distinguished between peoples and cultures that liked mushrooms (mycophiles) and those that feared them (mycophobes) (Wasson, 1980: XV). This classification might be extended to include all psychogenic or mind-altering substances with the exception of alcohol. Their use in the Western world is still considered to be objectionable, immoral and, for the most part, illegal. In any event, it is clear that, while the Pre Columbian peoples of Mesoamerica were decidedly mycophilic, the majority of archaeologists who have studied them are mycophobes. As a result, their centrality to ancient Mesoamerican religious rituals has been either shunned or, at best, barely acknowledged.


            According to Wasson (1957):


"There must have been a potent reason why from western Europe to Eastern Greenland people have believed down to our own days in the demonic nature of mushrooms, and we think that reason lies in the strange hallucinatory powers of certain species. From Eastern Siberia to France these mushrooms are linked with 'flies', i.e., the insect world that is itself saturated in demonic mana."


"Is not the odd phenomenon of mycophilia vs. mycophobia a latter-day echo of early man's shattering experience when he discovered the potent mushrooms, a response, positive and negative, divine and diabolic, to these holy miracle-workers? The toad of our 'toadstool' is that daemon which the Great Lightning Bolt seeded in the mother earth and which sprang forth in the little mushrooms."

"Europe is sharply polarized, mycophagously speaking. At opposing ends of the Continent there are two areas where the folk knowledge about mushrooms is prodigious, sometimes truer than the manuals, and where the affection for them is wide and deep. There are also two areas of Europe, poles apart, where mushrooms are generally ignored or loathed. In between are all the other peoples, with varying degrees of knowledge and subtle gradations of feeling.



In 1969 Stephan de Borhegyi died in an automobile accident. Wasson, no longer able to continue his fruitful collaboration with Borhegyi on Mesoamerica, continued his earlier studies of mushrooms in East Indian religion and mythology.  While by this time many anthropologists and archaeologists had accepted the  idea that mushrooms and other hallucinogens were used in ancient Mesoamerica, their use was, in most cases, dismissed as relatively incidental and devoid of deeper significance in the development of Mesoamerican religious ideas and mythology. With a few exceptions, notably the research and writings of ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst, further inquiry into the subject on the part of archaeologists came to a virtual halt. Fortunately, a few mycologists, most notably Richard Evans Schultes, Bernard Lowy and Gaston Guzmán, (2002:4; 2009) continued through the years to make important contributions to the scientific literature. To this day, the subject remains relatively little known and generally missing from the literature on Mesoamerican archaeology, art history, and iconography.

            
           Quoting Richard Evans Schultes author of  The Plant Kingdom and Hallucinogens:

"Criticism of the mushrooms was particularly vehement, however, perhaps because, as mycophobes, their religious fanaticism could easily be directed in disgust towards a despised form of plant life which, through the vision-giving properties, held the awe of the Indian by permitting him to commune directly and very colourfully with the spirit world. To the Indian mind, nothing that Christianity had offered was comparable. These mushrooms most certainly represented a great obstacle to the spread of the new religion" (United Nations Bulletin on Narcotics Vol. XXI No. 3. July-September 1969, page 12)

                   


The author's research proposes that the cult of Soma, as well as other Vedic traditions, migrated to the Americas sometime around 1000 B.C.E.,with the rise of the ancient Olmec, and that the Indians of the New World modeled their religion on Vedic beliefs and ritual practices. Mushrooms were so cleverly encoded in the religious art of both the New World, and the Old World, "Hidden in Plain Sight" that prior to this study they virtually escaped detection.
(see C. de Borhegyi and  S. de Borhegyi-Forrest, 2013 The Genesis of a Mushroom / Venus Religion in Mesoamerica: Entheogens and the Development of Culture, pp. 451-518) 

            According to 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." 



In the Rig Veda the mysterious plant called Soma was the source of an intoxicating drink of divine immortality known by the same name. Soma is described in the Rig Veda as being the "father of the gods", the "supreme being created before the three Vedas". "Soma, the supreme dappled bull", is the "father of the diversity of existences" (Larousse World Mythology, 1965 edition, p. 232, 233). 

"Soma is a very difficult deity for many outside of India to comprehend. He works on numerous levels, all of which are tied together rather strangely. Soma is firstly a plant. He is also an intoxicating drink which was brewed from that plant. As the blood of animals and the sap of plants, Soma courses through all living things. He is Inspiration to those who seek it, and so is the god of poets. He is also the god of the moon. He is the dwelling place of the venerated dead, as well as the divine cure for evil. The ancient Hindus did not differentiate between these divergent aspects; all were the god Soma."  (from SOMA /CHANDRA -GOD OF THE MOON)



According to Richard J. Williams author of "Soma in Indian Religion" Etheogens as Religious Sacrament (2009 p.2 Introduction): "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". 


" With the aid of certain magical herbs 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" (Richard J. Williams 2009 p.7). 

The Aryans religious beliefs and ritual practices were already perfected before they began to move out of the steppes of Central Asia about 2000 B.C.E.  The thousand year period, from 1500 to 500 B.C.E. is generally called the Vedic age, when the fundamental principles of Hinduism were being laid down. The earliest of the four Vedic books, the Rig Veda, is a collection of prayers, incantations, and instructions for sacred rituals, that  were composed in a complex poetic style and passed along by memorization and recitation.

In the Vedic Soma-yajna known as the vajapeya, the self sacrificer swallows the drink of strength (Soma), places their foot on the sacrificial pole that connects the three worlds, and in triumph announces "I have become immortal" (Religious Traditions of the World, 1993 p.800). 




Quoting  Stavros D. Kiotsekoglou:

"It goes without saying that the mushroom comprises the expression of immortality, the birth with no seeds (parthenogenesis) and the continuous rebirth, a fact that surprised the ancient people even more when the consumption of some entheogenic mushrooms caused visions, inspiring thus the religious sentiment to the man who felt restricted by new invisible powers, that were interpreted as contact with the deity. (source: 2015, Stavros D. Kiotsekoglou: Thracian Megalithic Sanctuaries from the Prefecture of Evros  Greece)


The Amanita muscaria mushroom is described in most scientific literature as a deadly poisonous mushroom, and yet very little is ever mentioned of it being a powerful hallucinogen known from Paleolithic times in northern Europe and Asia. The substances muscarine and ibotenic acid are responsible for this mushroom’s powerful psychoactive effects. To call this species a narcotic mushroom is misleading, one should realize that the Amanita muscaria mushroom is not even illegal in the United States, and most of the world because we have been told over and over again by people we trust that this mushroom is extremely poisonous and causes certain death to those who eat them.  

Tabu or Taboo: The prohibiting of a social or religious custom, or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing (Wikipeda).


            According to Wasson:

"Among the Aryans, only the Brahmans were privy to the secret of Soma; they alone knew how it was prepared and imbibed. Similarly, in the Valley of the Ob, in Siberia, the Vogul laid down a severe tabu on the ingestion of the fly agaric: only the shaman and his acolyte could consume the mushroom with impunity, all others would surely die" (Peter T. Furst 1972,  p.195). 


In 1968 Wasson traced the mushroom tabu back to the Vedic Soma: 

"That which is tabu is both feared and loved, unclean and holy, shunned and worshipped. As the old beliefs slowly faded away, each cultural community, no longer able to maintain alive the balanced tensions of the original involvement, clung to one face or the other of the primitive emotions, either rejecting the mushroom world or embracing the strange growths with a quasi-erotic devotion."(Wasson &Wasson,1957)


            According to Wasson:


"Until lately it [the Amanita muscaria mushroom] 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)




Quoting Joe Szimhart: Author of Bolond Gomba: "Speculation about a mushroom's relationship to Genesis, Soma, Jesus and Santa Claus"

"The sacred mushroom probably became a recreational drug, perhaps killing or harming many users by misidentification or over indulgence, thus earning the divine prohibition voiced in the Garden of Eden: Do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you do you will surely die."

"The reasonable truth might be that an ancient mushroom cult had deteriorated into ritual abuse, therefore use was “forbidden” to the common man. Seekers and devotees may have sought many visions and developed a psychotic path, not unlike an addict. Was the suppression of the Amanita an ancient version of prohibition? The high priests or shamans representing God (Elohim?) continued strict ceremonial use of the substance that gave them the “knowledge of the immortals,” and this enabled them to “know” good and evil in ways impenetrable to the layman or slave. Eventually the priests ceased using drugs as they too noted the ill effects and limited insight from drug dependency. They found drugless means to gnosis, the immediate knowledge of the Sacred.


Quoting Carl A. P. Ruck, Professor of Classics at Boston University

"It is appropriate for a sacred plant to be taboo and supposedly repulsive, shielding it from profane use" (John A. Rush, 2013  p.18)


"...Soma, immortal sacred plant, is life transcending and reveals visions to humans of the other world, the realm that is not created and therefore is not subject to change (Religious Traditions of the World, 1993 p.743)  


In Vedic Mythology..."The thing that makes the transposition possible is the intoxication of ecstasy... and that is what the gods seek" "Only when the gods, especially Indra have drunk of it, and thus cast off the inherent limits of their specific nature, can they accomplish the highest missions with which they are charged"...(Larousse World Mythology, 1965 edition, p. 232, 233). 


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


            Quoting psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who founded analytical psychology: 

"The Soma drink is an apotropaic drink...When one drinks this, one cannot die; that medicine comes from the land of the dead, moonland, the moon-tree, it is the medicine of immortality. Gilgamesh travels toward the Westland, to the land of the setting sun. Then there is the myth of the Babylonian Utnapishtim, which antedates the Noah legend by a thousand years. They both cross over a great flood and are removed to the Westland, to live an eternal life. They are seeking immortality in the land of the dead " (Dan Merkur 2013, p.541).


Of the ten books of hymns which make up the Rig Veda there is one book that is devoted entirely to the glory of Soma. The Rig Veda describes Soma, as a small red plant having no leaves, and lacking both roots and blossoms. In the Rig Veda, book 9, hymn 109:  

                                                           "Flow onward, Soma, as a mighty sea, as Father of the Gods to every form".


Soma, as the amrita or nectar from which the gods derive their strength, became known as the all powerful primeval deity, healing all diseases, bestower of riches, and even the supreme god himself, even above Indra, who without Soma had no strength. Indra is the hard-drinking storm god and warrior god of the Aryans who has an insatiable thirst for Soma. Indra is celebrated in more Vedic hymns than any other deity.  He is the heroic conqueror of enemies and demons. "Fortified with Soma, Indra has the energy to regulate the heavens and the days, the months and the seasons. Indra's love for and dependence upon Soma are increasingly dwelt upon in the Vedas". Closely associated with Indra as a storm and lightning god, and chariot-driving warrior god is Vayu, the god of wind and warfare. Vayu was the first of the Vedic gods to drink Soma. Vayu was also the Vedic god connected with fate and cults of the dead. Over time the ritual use of Soma as an intoxicant died out, and was explained by a myth which related that Brahma cursed intoxicants after drunkenly committing incest with his daughter (Indian Mythology, 1967 p 17, 20).



In the Greek Eleusinian mysteries, dedicated to the god Dionysus, there included a communion rite involving a ritual beverage which the initiates drank to gain salvation or immortality by death and rebirth. 



Quoting Wasson:

"The Eleusinian Mystery, a sacred rite of purification and initiation related to deities of the earth, was celebrated in September or early October, the season of the mushrooms in Europe.  At the heart of the Mystery of Eleusis lay a secret. In the surviving texts there are numerous references to the secret, but in none is it revealed. Yet Mysteries such as the one at Eleusis played a major role in Greek civilization, and thousands knew the experience" (Furst 1972, p.193).


According to Carl A. P. Ruck, Professor of Classics at Boston University and authority on the mystery rituals of the god Dionysus, "that Greek wine may have been diluted with hallucinogenics at the Dionysian Anthesteria festival that celebrated the completion of the wine's fermentation. That specific mention was made of a drug in the wine that was responsible for opening graves and allowing the departed spirits to return to Athens for a banquet with the living" (Ruck 2006, p.96).

In his groundbreaking book, titled Mushrooms, food of the gods (1957, pp.73-77), Robert Graves writes that the followers of Dionysus 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)". Graves believed that psychedelics provided a source for much of the world of classical and pre-classical mythology. Graves speculated that the cult of Dionysus held mushroom orgies (Marcus Boon 2002 p.254).  Graves writes that the formula 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).

Above is a Classical vase painting of the Greek god Dionysus, the god of Vine, and Wine-making, and god of Ritual Madness, and dispenser of divine ecstasy. Note the encoded mushrooms in the image above, emerging from the two-handled vessel held by Dionysus,  a clue "Hidden in Plain Sight" suggesting a mushroom based ritual beverage.   


    

The archaeological remains from the mystery sanctuaries are the characteristic two-handled drinking vessels like the two in the photo above. The features of the Dionysian ecstasy are enraged stimulation, sexual arousal, remarkable muscular strength, prophetic vision, identification with the deity, and that the Dionysian festival was actually an ecstatic festival which had to do with visions of the dead (source: 2015, Stavros D. Kiotsekoglou: Thracian Megalithic Sanctuaries from the Prefecture of Evros  Greece)     


Like the Soma and Haoma deities of the ancient Indo-Aryans and Iranian people, the Ciconians an Early Iron Age tribe, on the south coast of Thrace (in modern day Greece) also worshipped an Amanita muscaria mushroom god named Sabazius. Sabazius was a Mystery God of the Thracians (Phrygians) who mythically was another version of Dionysus. According to Stavros D. Kiotsekoglou, the deity Sabazius was adopted by the Greeks around 1450-1200 BCE., and incorporated into the deity known as Dionysus (source: 2015, Stavros D. Kiotsekoglou: Thracian Megalithic Sanctuaries from the Prefecture of Evros  Greece).


           Quoting  Carl A. P. Ruck, 2015 The Mushroom Stones. Dionysus, Orpheus,and the Wolves of War:

Ancient Thrace was seen as the origin of the cult of Dionysus. Thrace was known for its wine whose potency was of epic proportions. In the Odyssey, it required dilution with twenty parts water to tame its intoxication. In the Roman period, it still was so potent that the consul appointed to the region reported that it required eight parts of water for dilution to render it safe to drink."


Quoting 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)



The famous Greek biographer and essayist, Plutarch (CE 46 – CE 120) writes that the Jews also worshipped Dionysus, and that the day of Sabbath was a festival dedicated to Sabazius. The Byzantine Greek encyclopedia, Suda (10th century?), flatly states Sabazios ... is the same as Dionysus. Dionysus acquired this form of address from the rite pertaining to him; for the barbarians call the bacchic cry "sabazein". Hence some of the Greeks too follow suit and call the cry "sabasmos"; thereby Dionysus [becomes] Sabazios. Later Greek writers, like Strabo, a historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire, in the first century CE, linked Sabazios with Zagreus. The story has it that Dionysus in his incarnation as Zagreus is the son of Zeus and Persephone. (Wikipeda).  

The mushroom ritual was like Holy Communion in which the initiates gained salvation by death and rebirth, similar to the mystic death, rebirth, and resurrection rituals in Mithraism. 



Quoting Donald E. Teeter (2005 p.8):


"It is well known that Mithraism, which was very widespread throughout the late Roman Empire, had a profound impact on early Christianity with Mithra’s birthday, Dec. 25th adopted by Christianity as Christmas or Christ’s birthday and the adoption of Mithra’s day of the week, Sunday as the day of worship and rest, instead of the Hebrew Sabbath of Saturday. The sacred wine of Mithra was a type of Haoma not alcoholic wine since it was said to posses exceptional properties compared to ordinary wine. It is reasonable to believe that the original Eucharist wine of early Christianity was identical to the Mithraic wine.



In the Mithraic initiation rites, it was not until one attained the status of the initiatory degree known as “Lion” that the neophyte could partake of the oblation of bread, wine, and water, which was the earthly counterpart of the celestial mystical sacramental banquet. The sacred wine gave vigor to the body, prosperity, wisdom, and the power to combat malignant spirits and to obtain immortality.” (from the Encyclopedia Britannica (1991, vol. 26, pg. 789, Rites & Ceremonies)



            According to Carl A. P. Ruck Professor of Classics at Boston University:

"Mithraism was the way that Zoroastrian monotheism spread the mushroom haoma sacrament of the Persians into Europe as an element in the sevenfold stages of its secret drug-induced initiation" (Ruck 2013,  p.367)



In the past fifty years new evidence has made many of Allegro's assertions seem less shocking and outrageous. His writings are now being re-evaluated and, rather than simply being dismissed as sacrilegious nonsense, are again being considered worthy of consideration.


            According to Allegro:


"It is not surprising that the mushroom should have become the centre of a mystery cult in the near east which persisted for thousands of years. There seems good evidence that from there it swept into India in the cult of Soma some 3,500 years ago; it certainly flourished in Siberia until quite recent times, and is found even today in certain parts of South America" (Allegro 1970).  



According to Wasson, "as early as the first millennium B.C., the real Soma plant disappeared from Vedic ritual and the name came to be applied to various substitutes, of which none had the same psychic effects as the original Soma, and all of which were known at least to the priestly caste to be substitutes" (Furst, 1976 p.98).  The same in the case with the Haoma plant in ancient Iran. Thus we do not actually know what plant the original Soma was. We know that Soma was the focal point of Vedic religion, and that drinking Soma produces immortality, and that the gods drank Soma to make them immortal.  

The abandonment of the true Soma plant and its replacement by surrogates likely occurred because the original Soma plant became taboo due to abuse, or maybe because it was difficult to obtain, or was no longer available once the proto Indo-Iranians or Aryans migrated from their original homeland. Wasson theorized that Soma was only available in the mountains, and would have been scarce in the Indus Valley where the Indo-Aryans came to reside (Kevin Feeney 2013 p.294).



            Quoting Claude Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology, 1983 Volume 2 p.231:

"...the Soma of the Rig-Veda does not constitute an isolated episode in the history of the Asiatic world, but the ultimate manifestation of a widespread Eurasian cult, perpetuated almost everywhere, by legends about the Tree of Life and the Herb of Immortality. From there one can obviously go very far. Far enough, for example, to see in the Tree of Knowledge and the Forbidden Fruit of Genesis the image, fabulous but still recognizable, of the sacred Siberian birch, the host, on its trunk, of the fire mushroom; and, at its foot, of the Amanita giving access to supernatural knowledge. Wasson goes further still when he toys with the idea that the religious phenomenon itself, taken as a whole, could have its origin in the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms". 


Above  "Hidden in Plain Sight",   is an example of how Orthodox Christian churches pay homage to the Amanita muscaria mushroom symbolically as the Tree of Life. The mushroom being the portal  door or  Holy Spirit of the Holy Trinity (see image of dove in upper right corner.).  


            Quoting Paul Johnson, author of  A History of the Jews, 1988:

"As it becomes more understood the entheogenic theory on the origins of religion will come to be seen as much of a threat on organized religion, as much as Darwin's theory of Evolution was to the myths of the Creation in Genesis. In that it reveals the shamanic and plant based origins of religions themselves. The Gates to Eden our open"...  



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. 

 
According to James Arthur, author of Mushrooms and Mankind, 2003:

"The substances that Jesus referred to are not communion wafers and grape wine. The Amanita muscaria mushroom had long before Christianity been known as “the flesh of the gods” and “the blood of the gods” and this is what Jesus meant"

"The discovery that, although the Sacramental substance is unquestionably present, the organizations themselves have obscured the knowledge of it, it was an enigma. That is, until the political nature at the roots of religion itself had been uncovered. Today's religions do not answer this important question. They explain it away as purely symbolic, or of no importance. Religion has polluted itself by denying its own source, and by removing the individual's ability to experience the effects produced by the substance that imparts GNOSIS (the joining together of the consciousness with the consciousness of the Divine). By the removal of this key knowledge, religions themselves become lies; especially when the same systems inspired by Entheogens condemn their usage" 


"Many questions should be asked about this cosmopolitan idea of the "Sacramental Substance". Unfortunately, the religious experts shun the notion, insisting that the entire idea is nothing more than symbolic. A symbol points at something else, not usually at another symbology. The Catholic church, in the early 1100's, decided to have the final word on this subject by establishing (under Emperor/Pope Innocent III) the "Doctrine of Trans-Substantiation". This it whereby, the Priests, by their assumed holy power, claim to be able to say some magical words, and turn ordinary bread into the literal "Body of God". This event is one of the biggest evil deceptions of all time, is an undermining of the basic esoteric aspects of the religion, and is, arguably, the most horrible and damning event to ever happen to Christendom, and as such the entire human race  (James Arthur,, Mushrooms and Mankind 2003). 


The Roman historian, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus commonly known as Suetonius, who wrote during the early Imperial era of the Roman Empire wrote that the Greeks called mushrooms "food of the gods".  The divine mushroom (note handkerchief skirting around its stem) was holy and therefore unclean for all, save the King or Pope. 

"...today the Pope is said to be Jesus' special representative on earth"..."Jesus, like Soma, was a personification of the sacred food and drink of the Eucharist." (Clark Heinrich, 2002 p.114).


Allegro studied the beliefs and rituals of the Essenes of Qumran, and discovered that the Dead Sea Scrolls tell a story of a leader of the Essenes who they called the "Teacher of Righteousness" who was crucified on a cross in 88 BCE. for leading a failed revolt a hundred years before Jesus, and who had similar teachings. "Allegro boldly claimed that this was the proto-Jesus, reinvented and restructured circa 30 C.E. to appeal to gentiles in a time of persecution by Rome and the orthodox Jewish religious establishment" (Clark Heinrich 2002 p.23). 


           Quoting Julie Anne Brown, May 2005 from...JOHN ALLEGRO AND THE CHRISTIAN MYTH:

"The obvious links between the practices at Qumran and those of Jesus' disciples are well known. They include the Council of Twelve, the communal meal, healing and exorcism, sharing possessions, baptism, antagonism towards the main Jewish sects, looking to the end of the world and the coming of a messiah."

"If we compare the Christian story with other contemporary writings and also with recurrent themes in the mythology of other cultures, we see it in the context of a much older and deeper current of religious thought. And if we observe this as students of human thought rather than as devotees of a particular religion, it is not to belittle Christianity as a phenomenon of history but to strengthen it as an expression of human understanding" . 


The ancients who worship the Amanita muscaria mushroom believed that this mushroom opened the gates to another plane of existence, a gate that some believe, leads directly to Heaven and God. It is surprising to me that researchers have paid so little attention to the role of these hallucinatory agents in the ancient cultures of both the Old World and New World.


There is still a great deal of debate concerning the true identity of Soma the mystery plant mentioned over 100 times in the Rig Veda, the only plant / beverage known to have been deified in the history of human culture, (Furst, 1972:201). Wasson's identification of Soma as the Amanita muscaria mushroom has not been universally excepted by scholars. His arguments for the Amanita muscaria, were based on coded poetic references which describe the Soma plant as lacking seeds, roots, branches leaves and blossoms, but having a stem that is juicy and meaty,  a perfect description for the Amanita muscaria mushroom (Furst, 1976 p.97). While the hymns about Soma have come down to us through time, the botanical identity of Soma still remains a mystery. 



            According to Michael Ripinsky-Naxon, author of "The Nature of Shamanism: Substance and Function of a Religious Metaphor"

"Sometime in the second millennium B.C. the "original" Aryans had marched into India from the northwest, sweeping across the land in their great military and cultural conquest, bringing with them new customs and sacred traditions, some of which have survived to this day in the Vedic texts, such as the Rigveda. It is distinctly possible that the ancestors of the Ob-Ugrian Ostyaks and Voguls, who still today imbibe the Amanita drink on the banks of the Yenisei, had passed the secrets of Soma to the Indo-Iranians, who apparently developed improved methods for the ritual preparation of this substance by removing successfully the toxic ingredients, and thus bypassing the occasional need to rely on the urine of those with apparent immunity. In this "recycled" state, Soma loses its toxicity without forfeiting its effects"  (Michael Ripinsky-Naxon 1993, p.164)


"Muscimol, the psychoactive element of Amanita muscaria, remains active in urine for up to seven re-ingestions (Jason Fitzgerald, Amanita muscaria and Cannabis Sativa, Keys to Christianity). Apparently these active substances are even more potent in the urine than in the original material. The Rig Veda refers to urine drinking in the Soma ritual:

"The swollen men piss the flowing Soma, full bladders, piss Soma quick with movement" (Schultes & Hofmann p.83) 

In Siberia 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)  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. According to Wasson, The Parsees, descendants of the Zoroastrians, drink bull's urine in there rites to this day (source Soma of the Aryans: an Ancient Hallucinogen?). According to Ruck, elite warriors among the Persians called the haoma-wolves, and as late as the fifth-century BCE, a Greek doctor recorded that the Persian king drank urine to access ecstasy, like that of King Kotys (source Carl P. Ruck,  2015 The Mushroom Stones. Dionysus, Orpheus,and the Wolves of War).


"The ecstatic rapture transforms a person into a god, and in this state of ecstasy the essential knowledge of the divine can be attained. Henceforth, through this state of being a god, one can understand the mystery that is god (Michael Ripinsky-Naxon 1993, p.206).  


The Amanita muscaria mushroom contains the powerful hallucinogen muscimol, which is known to cause euphoria and the feelings of increased strength and stamina. Wasson believed its ingestion, either purposeful or accidental, may even have provided the spark that lifted the mind of early man from mundane to sublime awareness of another level of consciousness. 



            Quoting Wasson:


"The divine mushroom stepped up our drab existence to heights of great poetry and music. Those who commune with them find opening before them the portals to the playing fields of the gods" (Wasson, 1980 p. 119).




Quoting Michael Ripinsky-Naxon:


"Since the appearance of R. G. Wasson's "Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality", different writers have published a divergence of postulates and hypotheses, some new and others not, concerning the identification of the Vedic Soma and the Avestan Haoma. In the main, they try to disagree with Wasson's conclusions, but fail to do so convincingly. Some are unsuccessful in properly accounting for, while others ignore completely, the significance of the psychotropic urine, something that rightly is very fundamental to a segment of Wasson's theory. In fact, we are presented with inapt research and forced reasoning by a few who thrive on controversy rather than profoundness" (Ripinsky-Naxon author of,  "The Nature of Shamanism: Substance and Function of a Religious Metaphor"  1993,  p.248)






Soma in the Americas: "Hidden in Plain Sight"



Mesoamerica (Paul Kirchhoff, 1942) 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" (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.


Diffusionists will argue that the best piece of evidence for trans-Pacific contact, is that both India and Mesoamerica shared a similar calendar, and that the sophistication in both calendars could not have been a duplicate invention. Maya Epigrapher David H. Kelley (1960) and anthropologist Paul Kirchhoff (1964) detail a large number of exact correspondences between the Hindu and Mexican calendars and their religious and mythological associations, suggesting diffusion s from India or Southeast Asia to Mexico (Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts: 1971, p. 36-37).


Like Wasson and Allegro, the author's own study would strongly suggest that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was one of the principal entheogenic (God-producing) substances through which humans aspired to ecstasy and communion with the gods. Like the god plant Soma of ancient Vedic-Hinduism, the ancient god myths of Mesoamerica contain a  sacramental food or beverage associated with a "Tree of Life" self sacrifice and immortality. 


The author has found plenty of visual evidence in the art of Mesoamerica and South America to identify this sacramental food as an hallucinogenic substance, most notably, the Amanita muscaria  mushroom. Gordon Wasson identified this colorful mushroom as the God plant known as Soma from the Rig Veda, the world's oldest known religious texts (ten books) consisting of over a thousands sacred hymns (mid second millennium B.C.E.). As such, the author will demonstrate that the sacred mushroom of immortality was encoded in the religious art throughout the Old World and the New World,"Hidden in Plain Sight", and that the Soma of the Rig Veda was in fact the inspiration of religion in both the Old World and the New World. 


The Buddhist prophet named Gautama Buddha, like the Vedic god Soma, was a personification of the sacred mushroom, as can be seen above, "Hidden in Plain Sight". Is it just a coincidence that the Vedic god named Soma had a son named Budha (spelled Budha) (source http://www.crystalwind.ca/mystical-magical/pantheons-and-myths/hindu/soma-chandra-god-of-the-moon). 

The meaning of Buddha is "the Enlightened" or "Awakened one" and it was not a name but a title. According to legend, Buddha eventually reaches enlightenment, or Nirvana under the bodhi tree but only after eating a poisonous mushroom. 


            According to British biochemist, historian and sinologist Joseph Needham, Ph.D (1900–1995) author of Science and Civilization in China:

"Whereas theorists speculate as to the identity of the Soma, there is no doubt that Chinese Taoists rarely hesitated in consuming "magic mushrooms"..." in the quest of immortality"  (from Frederick R. Dannaway March 2009)



The Amanita muscaria or fly agaric mushroom and the psilocybin mushroom appears not only to have played a role in the early history of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, 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.  



The prevailing anthropological view of ancient New World history is that its indigenous peoples developed their own complex cultures independent of outside influence or inspiration.  Any suggestions to the contrary have been generally dismissed as either fanciful, racist, or demeaning. The peoples of the New World, scholars have argued,  were fully capable of developing their own civilizations as sophisticated as any found in Asia or the West. Today trans-oceanic contact between the hemispheres is still considered highly unlikely despite the exception of the Viking outpost discovered in Newfoundland in the 1960's, and the recent awareness that early humans reached far distant Australia by boat as many as 50,000 years ago. After viewing the visual evidence presented below, readers of this study may wish to challenge this outmoded view of New World history with a more open-minded acknowledgement of the capability of ancient peoples to explore their environment and disperse their intellectual heritage to its far corners.  

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.


Above on the left is a 7th century sandstone sculptural relief of Jina Parsvanatha the 23rd of the Jain saints originally adorned a temple at Gyaraspur, in central India. 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 "Tree of Life" and the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Buddha eventually reaches Nurvana or enlightenment, under the bodhi tree but only after he dies from eating what we are told was a poisonous mushroom. The legend of the Buddha is that his conception and birth were miraculous. His mother, coincidentally named  Maya, conceived of him in a dream, and gave birth to him while standing and grasping a tree.  (Drawing on the right by Rory Eade Arte) 



According to Wasson (1957) in China, long before the Buddhist era, in the Taoist philosophy of Lao-Tse, there is the legend of the ling-chili: wherein 'ling' means spiritual or potent or divine, and 'chih' is a word for 'mushroom'. According to the legend as it survives today, the ling-chih was a mushroom that bestowed immortality on the eater.


Soma, the god plant of ancient India, attained an exalted place in the religious ceremonies of the ancient Aryans, who, 3500 years ago, swept down from the north into the Indus Valley, bringing with them the cult of Soma. The Soma cult eventually died out and the original plant was forgotten, and the identity of Soma remained a mystery for two thousand years. 




Mushroom Suicide in Ancient India:


Above is the Doddahundi Nishidi hero stone from the Doddahundi (Mysore) period 890 AD. According to independent researcher, and photographer Thomas Alexandar, "the stone carvings depicts the event of sallekhana, a Jain ritual performed by the Ganga King Nitimarga in 869 AD. The king was a devout Jain who committed Sallekhana (ritual death). These memorial stones, also called "Hero Stones", were raised in medieval India to honor noted Jains who committed Sallekhana (photograph by Thomas Alexandar). There are similar suicidal practices in other Vedic inspired religions like Prayopavesa in Hinduism, and Sokushinbutsu in Buddhism.

In Jainism, the term nishidhi (with variants called nisidhia, nisadhi or nistige) is the spot where the person, such as an ascetic, king or queen died voluntarily, or was cremated or bone relic buried. Such places were held in high regard, a pedestal (vedika) created and prayers (puja and pratishtha) offered regularly.[6 (Wikipeda)

           Nowhere does it mention King Nitimarga's mushroom suicide... 

"...the historian Sarma, the Doddahundi nishidhi stone has its frieze set inside a square panel whose borders are etched to create the impression of flames that further accentuate the grave event. The dying king, who exudes a calm countanence, is lying on a couch with his head on a double pillow and is attended to by his personal guard Agarayya. An agitated Prince Satyavakya stands behind the king with a dagger and sword. The inscription below the frieze reads "bee at the pair of lotus feet of Arhat Bhattaraka" (referring to Jinasena, the kings guru and author of the Jain text Adipurana).[7](Wikipeda)



The great religions of the Old World are derived from Vedism, the Vedas being the sacred texts that were introduced into the Asian subcontinent around 1500 BCE. by the so called Aryans (Sanskrit for noble) that postdated the Harappa/Indus civilization. Harappan civilization, the earliest in South Asia flourished approximately 2500-1500 BCE.  The Vedas being the sacred texts of the Aryans, covering the hymns of esoteric knowledge and rituals based on supernatural revelations, dating back to approximately 3500 BCE., that include the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda, and the Yajur Veda.  


            Quoting 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 Peter T. Furst, 1976 p. 103).


Above is a rubbing of a Bas Relief at the temple of Angkor Wat" (12th century) in Cambodia, that depicts the Hindu god Shiva holding what appears to be an Amanita muscaria mushroom in his right hand.  In Hindu mythology, Shiva is known as the "destroyer and the transformer" within the the Hindu Trinity. The Vedic inspired Hindu concept of a Trinity of gods, called the Trimurti, personified the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction as the deities Brama, Vishnu, and Shiva. (image of rubbing from Trinfinity & Beyond by Dr. Kathy J. Forti).



Parallel to Mesoamerican mythology, the early Vedics, Hindus, Buddhists, and Persian Zoroastrians, all had a similar belief in four great eras or world periods that ended in cataclysm prior to the present, fifth, and final world. 



           According to Ethno-archaeologist Dr. Robert Heine Geldern:

"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" (from "Man across the Sea" Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, published in 1971, Third Printing 1976)




Above on the left is a sculpture of a Hindu Goddess, holding what appears to be an Amanita muscaria mushroom  (Soma) in her right hand. Relief of Alasa Kanya at Vaital Deul, Bhubaneswar India (Photograph from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). On the right is a doorway entrance to Padmanabhaswamy Temple, 16th-century, located in Thiruvananthapuram India. The elaborate doorway is believed to be a portal guarded by deities 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 divine resurrection and immortality.

Above on the left is a Seated Buddha meditating 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.E.


In both the Old World and the New World the sacred mushroom evokes an imaginary world of little people more or less the size of mushrooms (Wasson 1980 p.52). 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) (Schultes & Hofmann p.84).



Above on the top right is a close up of a hero stone (Varagallu in Kannada, Natukal in Tamil) that depicts a person under what appears to me to be a giant mushroom, in this bas relief scene at the temple of Tripurantaka, built around c. 1070 CE in the historically important town of Balligavi, modern Shivamogga district, Karnataka state, India.  These memorial stones, called "Hero Stones", were raised in medieval India to honor noted Jains who committed Sallekhana (photograph by Thomas Alexandar). There are similar suicidal practices in other Vedic inspired religions like Prayopavesa in Hinduism, and Sokushinbutsu in Buddhism.



Above is a close up view of the carved relief panel Mahabalipuram India, depicting a dwarf like figure holding what I would argue is a encoded mushroom and not an umbrella or parasol ? The word for mushroom in Sanskrit means parasol "chattra" (letter, Wasson to de Borhegyi 5-7-1953 Harvard Archives) 

We know that the Soma plant in its preparation as an intoxicating potion was pressed between stones and its juice was mixed with milk. 

            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) 




In today's society it has become taboo to expand ones consciousness by the use of drugs, or plants in any sort of positive light. I believe there are several reasons for this lamentable gap in our understanding of Old World and New World entheogenic magico-religious origins. One has to be the universal human trait of selectively “seeing” primarily what is of interest to us, and what we are already disposed to believe. Another is the well known Western bias against any mind-altering substance other than alcohol, combined with a great distaste for the widespread experimentation with psychedelic substances in the 1960s and 1970s that followed Wasson’s re-discovery of mushroom ceremonialism among the Mazatec Indians of Highland Mexico.    

The famous Mazatec shaman, Maria Sabina, described the god-given powers of the divine mushrooms, that she uses in her ceremonies...

"There is a world beyond ours, a world that is far away, nearby, and invisible. And there is where God lives, where the dead live, the spirits and the saints, a world where everything is known. That world talks. It has a language of its own. I report what it says. The sacred mushroom takes me by the hand and brings me to the world where everything is known. It it they, the sacred mushrooms, that speak in a way I can understand. I ask them and they answer me. When I return from the trip that I have taken with them, I tell what they have told me and what they have shown me " (Schultes & Hofmann p.86).



I found this letter in my father's archives, it's from Christian missionary and anthropologist Eunice V. Pike, an American linguistic student and Bible translator who had been living for many months each year since 1936 among the Mazatec Indians, with her headquarters in Huautla. In it she writes that Christian missionaries had difficulty in converting the Mazatec Indians of Mexico, because they equated hallucinogenic mushrooms with Jesus Christ, and that some Oaxacan Indians say God gave them the sacred mushrooms because they could not read and it was necessary for him to speak to them directly through the mushrooms. In the letter Eunice Pike elaborates on the subject of the mushroom and Jesus Christ: (March 9, 1953, de  Borhegyi archives, Milwaukee Public Museum) (Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi - Milwaukee Public Museum)

"I’m glad to tell you whatever I can about the Mazatec mushroom.  Someday I may write up my observations for publication, but in the meantime you may make what use of it you can. The Mazatecs seldom talk about the mushroom to outsiders, but belief in it is widespread.  A twenty-year old boy told me, “I know that outsiders don’t use the mushroom, but Jesus gave it to us because we are poor people and can’t afford a doctor and expensive medicine.” Sometimes they refer to it as “the blood of Christ,” because supposedly it grows only where a drop of Christ‘s blood has fallen. They say that the land in this region is “living” because it will produce the mushroom whereas; the hot dry country where the mushroom will not grow is called “dead.” They say that it helps “good people” but if someone who is bad eats it “it kills him or makes him crazy.” When they speak of “badness”   they mean “ceremonially unclean.” (A murderer if he is ceremonially clean can eat the mushroom with no ill effects.) A person is considered safe if he refrains from intercourse five days before and after eating the mushroom.  A shoemaker in our part of town went crazy about five years ago. The neighbors say it was because he ate the mushroom and then had intercourse with his wife. When a family decides to make use of the mushroom they tell their friends to bring them any they see, but they ask only those who they can trust to refrain from intercourse at that time, for if the person who gathers the mushroom has had intercourse, it will make the person who eats it crazy."

    

Above is an Altar frontal (A.D. 1465) made in Nuremberg Bavaria, that portrays the savior Jesus in association with mushrooms, displaying the bloody wounds from his Crucifixion (Textile ca. 1465, made in Nuremberg: Cloisters Collection, 1991).  According to Wasson the Mazatec Indians of Highland Mexico speak of the sacred mushrooms as being the blood of Christ, because sacred mushrooms were believed to grow only where a drop of Christ's blood had touched the earth.



(Photo of convent mural by Higinio Gonzalez of Puebla, Mexico)


Above is a mural dated 1558, that was painted in a convent in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. According to the photographer of this mural Higino Gonzalez, "they say the mural was heavily destroyed and it was reconstructed in a neoclassic style in 1897. 


In the mythology of ancient Mexico, there is a Nahua (Aztec) legend of a paradise of nine heavens that was dedicated to the Wind God Quetzalcoatl, 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).    



I believe that the origin of religion and the key to this entire belief system lies, as proposed by Wasson, in early 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 the contemplation of another reality.    


In the course of my studies I not only found mushroom related symbolism throughout Mesoamerica, (Mexico and Central America), but also in the art of the Inca, Mochica, Chavin, Chimu, and Paracas cultures of South America. The author's discovery, of the Fleur de lis symbol encoded in pre-Columbian art as a symbol of immortality, has lead the author to conclude that, in addition to the ancient mushroom cult first proposed by the author's father, other Old World traditions migrated to the Americas long before Columbus.   

 No researcher to my knowledge has ever presented evidence of the Old World Fleur de lis symbol encoded in pre-Columbian art and iconography, representing the same symbol of "Lord", and a trinity of gods, linked to a Tree of Life, and its forbidden fruit, the mushroom of immortality. The mushroom, or mushroom beverage (Soma) being the medium through which one achieved ecstasy and thus communion with the gods.  

Spanish chroniclers recorded that the Aztecs drank or ate certain mushrooms to induce hallucinatory trances and dreams during which they saw colored visions of jaguars, birds, snakes, and little gnome-like creatures (Manuscript of Serna 1650) (Quest for the Sacred Mushroom, Stephan de Borhegyi 1957).

Above are images from native manuscripts, called codices, that link the Fleur de lis symbol with the sacred mushroom, and a beverage of immortality. These pictorial documents contain much valuable information pertaining to native history, mythology, and ritual, related to a pantheon of supernatural gods. 

Above is a scene from page 20 of the Codex Selden, also known as the Codex Anute. On the right are what appear to me to be three Fleur de lis symbols encoded onto a  trio of mushrooms. This esoteric symbolism is I believe code for immortality, the Tree of Life, and a Trinity of Gods. The footprint motif is a common one in pre-Columbian art, symbolizing "a journey", and in this case alluding to a very long journey into the underworld by the "bemushroomed".

           According to Wasson:


"The successive scribes who copied the manuscript of Dioscorides [Old World Byzantine Codex] seem to have followed various traditions in their illustrations, imitating the predecessor whose work lay before them. The earliest mushroom miniature known to us is in the 9th century codex of Dioscorides now lying in the Bibliotheque Nationale.192 There the mushrooms look like balloons or cherries or gooseberries. In the same library there is an nth century (or slightly later) Arabic manuscript of Dioscorides, and it is clear that here the miniaturist was working in the same uninspired tradition, if indeed he was not copying from the 9th century manuscript directly" (Wasson and Wasson, 1957)






Chronicled in the Mexican archives of the holy Inquisition are manuscripts that tell of the meticulous and systematic manner in which the users of psychoactive plants were persecuted under the premise that they were instruments for communicating with the devil. Father Lorenzo de Monterroso several times had to punish the Indians, severely for making blood offerings to some stone images they kept hidden in their cornfields, of which they worshiped to bring rain for the corn (Inga Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests).

In the Highlands of Guatemala, and in southern Mexico and El Salvador, archaeologists have been digging up stone figures with what appear to be umbrella-like hats, that archaeologists now believe represent mushroom effigies (see Borhegyi de, S.F. 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1965a, 1965b).         



            Quoting Ethno-Mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson:


"In examining these mushroomic artifacts we must keep in mind that they were not made for our enlightenment. They were iconic shorthand summarizing a whole bundle of associations ,--whatever those associations were. The Christian cross is to be found in endless shapes, including the "effigy cross" or crucifix, and all stem back to a complex of emotions, beliefs, and religious longings. The crucifix would reveal to an archaeologist eons hence more than, say, a Maltese cross. So with the mushroom stones, the subject matter of the effigies holds the secret".




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). More from the Spanish chroniclers a bit later.


In 1656, a guide for missionaries denounced Indian idolatries, including mushroom intoxication. Not only did the Spanish reports condemn the use of mushrooms (teonanacatl means "God's Flesh" in the language of the Aztecs) but so did the illustrations, for example the image above from the Magliabechiano Codex in which we see the devil enticing an Indian to eat the demonic mushrooms.             


Quoting Wasson (1957):

"The illustration [from the Magliabechiano Codex] offers us three elements - mushrooms, a man eating mushrooms, and behind and over him a ghost. The reader will notice that the man holds a mushroom in each hand. According to Professor Jimenez Moreno, the ghost is probably Mictlantecuhtli, Lord of the Underworld, who is depicted on other pages of the same Codex. How far removed from the Spaniard's conception is the Indian's! Not only is the craftsmanship of these artists, contemporaries of each other, poles apart; their message is likewise. The Spaniard reports rather prosaically the existence of a demonic mushroom to his European public. The Indian, though undoubtedly a baptized Christian, conveys a sense of the awe that he still felt in the presence of the mysterious teo-nanacatl. That the mushrooms in this miniature are green should not disconcert the mycologist: green, the color of jade, meant in Mexican iconography that the object so depicted was of great worth". 


I believe that in Mesoamerica the mushroom or a mushroom beverage was consumed in rituals of human sacrifice and self sacrifice. In both the Old World and the Americas, I have notice the esoteric pattern of encoding mushrooms and the Fleur de lis symbol in scenes of decapitation associated with rituals of resurrection. Wasson proposed that the origin of ritual decapitation may lay in the mushroom ritual itself, that in many languages instead of the "cap" of the mushroom, people speak of the "head". (Wasson 1968 pp.45-46). 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" (Kevin Feeney 2013, p. 296). Since the greatest gift one could offer the gods was one’s own life, the purpose of human sacrifice was to preserve life rather than destroy it. I believe strongly that this concept of life from death via decapitation was Soma-inspired. It is likely that in Mesoamerica the notion of divine immortality via Underworld decapitation was inspired by the mushroom ritual itself. 

Archaeological artifacts from Mexico, and Central America called "mushroom stones" associated with the ancient cultures of the Maya, and Olmec, have been interpreted as evidence for the usage of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Mesoamerican religion spanning almost 3,000 years (S.F de Borhegyi 1961). That the Amanita muscaria mushroom was used in Mesoamerica in Pre-Conquest times, is also suggested by early dictionary sources which describe a mushroom the ancient Maya called xibalbaj okox meaning “underworld mushroom”  (The Ancient Maya: Morley, Brainerd, and Sharer, Fourth Edition 1983, p.484).      

 



            Quoting Wasson:


"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”  (Hugh Thomas, 1993 p.644 11-17n).




I would like to gratefully acknowledge the valuable database of photographs by Justin Kerr, using a roll-out technique which he pioneered that allows the viewing of vessels as vase paintings. His work, and the vast inventory of pre-Columbian artifacts made available online by F.A.M.S. the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies have given me the opportunity to explore fully these images in great depth.


          Photograph  © Justin Kerr


Maya Vase painting K2797 from the Justin Kerr Data Base, represents a great example of mushroom-inspired art. The individual on the far left clearly holds what can only be a sacred mushroom in his hand. The Maya god just to the right of this individual being offered a mushroom has been identified by scholars as God K. Maya glyph expert 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). The Maya god K'awil is commonly recognizable by the smoking tube, (and obsidian mirror, or axehead) that penetrates his forehead. These attributes are metaphors of the power to penetrate, or enter, into the Underworld. In Maya mythology K'awil who is often depicted as a one legged god, symbolic of a mushroom and bolt of lightning which, by penetrating the ground and entering the underworld, could create new life in a place of death and decay. 


Photograph  © Justin Kerr 


Above is a Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900)  Maya vase painting, photographed in roll-out form by Justin Kerr. I propose that this Maya vase painting depicts the offering of an Amanita muscaria mushroom, and that the drinking vessel itself may have been used in a mushroom ceremony. 




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, Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi, 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.

Now, after more than a half century of virtual denial by the anthropological community, the author is able to present undeniable visual evidence of the centrality of hallucinogenic substances, and in particular the Amanita muscaria mushroom, in religion and iconography. The two species of hallucinogenic mushrooms most illustrated or encoded were the Amanita muscaria mushroom and the psilocybin mushroom. Both mushrooms are discussed in relation to their veneration in both the Old World, and the New World, and their relationship to the symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis. 





The Ancient Mushroom Cult of Sumer: 


The Sumerians were the creators of the first high civilization in Mesopotamia. Famous Sumerianologist Samual Noah Kramer, in his book (1944) "Sumerian Mythology", writes that "the Sumerians were a non-Semitic, non-Indo-European people who lived in southern Babylonia from 4000-3000 B.C.E. they invented cuneiform writing, and their spiritual beliefs influenced all successive Near Eastern religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam."   


According to 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". 


Historians propose that Sumer was settled between 4500 and 4000 BC  and that ancient Sumer was known as the "land of the civilized kings". The Sumerian word for "Lord" is apu, the same exact word for "Lord" used by the ancient Inca civilization of Peru (Quichua language of Peru) (Hugh Fox, 2005 p.7). 

The first written records of religious practice are from ancient Sumer dating to c. 3500 BCE. The first written record of a plant of immortality is also from ancient Sumer, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, datable before 2000 BCE. The Epic tells the story of Gilgamesh's adventures, and heroic deeds, one of which was a visit to the island abode of Utnapishtim, the so-called Babylonian Noah, who had survived a great flood, by constructing a boat to save his family and various animals, and saves humankind and in return was rewarded with eternal llife by the gods. Its Utnapishtim who tells Gilgamesh where to find a plant that can restore his lost youth, but once he finds the plant that holds the secret of eternal life, it is stolen from him by a serpent. 


According to both Allegro and Wasson, in the epic, the hero Gilgamesh, 5th king of Uruk, (also spelled Erech) and "lord of Kullab", goes on an obsessive quest for immortality, but after he has finally acquired the secret plant to everlasting life (a plant that restores youth) a guardian Serpent steals the herb that grants immortality from Gilgamesh, and its the Serpent who acquires immortality by eating a magical plant. The Bible story of Adam and Eve, takes a different twist on the story: the Serpent offers the herb to Eve and she to Adam, but as Wasson points out, both stories have the three essential props in the legend, there is the Tree of Life, the Marvellous Fruit of the Tree, and the Serpent.


Allegro linguistically linked the SOMA (Greek=Body), the Manna (Sumerian = Mushroom), (of which there are two kinds), the names Jesus, James, and John, the Fruit of the tree of Knowledge, and the symbol of the cross, to the Amanita muscaria mushroom, by stating that all of these names and terms (and others) were synonyms and wordplay for the hidden identity of the mushroom.



According to British biochemist, historian and sinologist Joseph Needham, Ph.D (1900–1995) author of Science and Civilization in China:

"The idea of a herb of immortality was not at all a new invention of Indo-Iranian cultures, for we can find it already in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, datable before 2000 BCE. What relation that legend had to hallucinogenic mushrooms or other plants remains completely in the dark, but an extrapolation backwards would make such a connection not at all implausible" (Joseph Needham 1974).


The loss of eternal life and the quest for immortality is the central theme in Mesopotamian myth, and can be traced back to Sumerain times, in the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh dating back to around 2000 BCE. 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 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" a paradise where the gods lived. The scene above is from the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which god's guardian deity Humbaba is decapitated by Enkidu and Gilgamesh. Its my belief that the artist who carved this cylinder seal encodes the secret plant of immortality as a divine mushroom, encoded in the heels of the deity Humbaba, to which Enkidu and Gilgamesh quest for.  


The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh mentions that Mount Hermon split after Gilgamesh killed Humbaba, the Guardian of the Cedar Forest. One translation of Tablet V states, "The ground split open with the heels of their feet" [18]Wikipeda...Note that the artist for some reason encodes what appears to me to be mushrooms in the heels of Humbaba. Most importantly, the three essential props in the Gilgamesh legend, are depicted in this cylinder seal scene, there is the Tree of Life, a serpent and the Marvellous Fruit of the tree, encoded as possible mushrooms. 


Its worth mentioning that Soma is portrayed in the Rig Veda as a lightning-born mountain god, and an elixir of health and strength, as well as being praised for as the direct means of communion with the Divine. "As a mushroom, the Amanita muscaria does not disseminate seeds as plants do, but ejaculates microscopic spores which create a threadlike fungal network at the base of conifer trees from which thunderstorms elicit more mushrooms (Jason Fitzgerald, Amanita muscaria and Cannabis Sativa Keys to Christianity)".       


As mentioned the first written records of religious practice are from ancient Sumer dating to c. 3500 BCE. Historians propose that Sumer was settled between 4500 and 4000 BCE. by a non-Semitic people and that ancient Sumer was known as the "land of the civilized kings". 

In one of the eleven Nippur tablets and fragments utilized to decipher the epic poem, it mentions that Gilgamesh, as the lord of Kullab, in his wish to become immortal performs heroic deeds for the goddess Inanna...     

         

The Sumerian goddess Inanna (above) the "Lady of Heaven", and goddess of the morning and evening star (the planet Venus) was worshiped in ancient Sumer (c. 4000 BC – c. 3100 BC), and appears in more myths than any other Sumerian deity (Wikipeda). In the image above the goddess Inanna, known as Ishtar among the Babylonians and Assyrians, is portrayed as the World Tree, or Tree of Life under two stars that likely alludes to the duality of the planet Venus, as both a Morning star and Evening star.  She also appears in this scene with what looks to me like psilocybin mushrooms emerging from her shoulders and back?

Above is a fragment of a stone plaque from the temple of Inanna at Nippur (c. 2500 BCE.) that portrays the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Inanna was also worshiped by the Assyrians, Akkadians, and Babylonians as a Venus Goddess under the name Ishtar, and the Levant's Astarte, who is equivalent to the biblical Ashtoreth, an ancient Phoenician goddess of love and fertility.  Once again Inanna appears to me to have psilocybin mushrooms emerging from the back of her shoulders ?




Storm and Lightning Gods and Mushrooms:



Wasson (1957) writes about the extraordinary range of the archaic belief in lightning as the generative agent for mushrooms:. 


"We documented this belief in ancient India, Greece, and Rome, and in modern Kashmir, Persia, and the Pamirs. Outside the Indo-European world, we found it among the Semitic Bedouin, the Chinese, and the Polynesians of New Zealand. Now, thanks to the experienced handling of our difficult informant by Robert Weitlaner, we rediscover this self-same belief in a Zapotec village where the ancient Zapotec culture strongly survives. And in this Zapotec recension we pinpoint it with greater precision than elsewhere: for Don Aristeo and his people the divine mushrooms are the progeny of coitus between the lightning bolt and our mother earth.



According to Wasson (1957) in ancient Greece there was a mushroom that bore the name κεραύνιον. This word, like joudre in French, conveys the idea of both thunder and lightning, and the mushroom designated by it was therefore the 'thunderbolt-fungus'. 


             Quoting Wasson (1957):


"Many ancient writers refer to the common belief that thunderbolts made this fungus grow plentifully. Galen speaks of it. Plutarch in his Convivial Essays devotes a table conversation to the question why thunder should engender 'thunderbolt' fungi, an essay both graceful and unenlightening. Pliny the Elder in his Historia Naturalis, in Book XIX, is careful to distinguish between the influence of the rain and of the thunderbolts: it is not the rain but the thunder that makes the mushrooms grow. Pliny sounds as though he were simply repeating a tiresome adage, after the manner of those who say it is not the heat but the humidity that causes distress in summer. Juvenal in Satire V: 116 speaks of the longed-for thunder in springtime that replenishes the table with mushrooms." 




In Old World folklore the toad is linked to mushrooms, and that the "toadstool" mushroom was linked with the gods of thunder and lightning in the Indo-European world. The earliest reference to mushrooms and lightning or the "thunder-mushroom" in Sanskrit literature, is in Kalidasa's lyrical poem Meghaduta, 'The Cloud Messenger', written about A.D. 400. According to Wasson (1957) in verse 11 the exiled yaksha or demigod addresses the rain-cloud drifting northward over India:... and when they hear thy sweet-sounding, fertilizing thunder, which is able to cover the earth with mushrooms. The Rig Veda even asserts that "Parjanya, the god of thunder, was the father of Soma. Of the more than 1000 hymns in the Rig Veda, 120 are devoted exclusively to Soma (p.82).


           Quoting Wasson (1957):


"No mycologist thinks that lightning causes or encourages mushrooms to grow. It is therefore impermissible to suppose that the various branches of the human family arrived independently at this notion by close attention to nature. (We must not wholly exclude the possibility that the mycologists will change their minds. Scientists are as dogmatic about the knowable as churchmen about the unknowable, but there is a difference: the dogmas of the Church are immutable, whereas men of science change theirs daily without a blush.) Perhaps someone will suggest that just as men of science, unknown to each other, often hit on the same idea at about the same time, so archaic cultures may hit on the same mythic beliefs. But the analogy in its application to our enigma is invalid. Scientists are working in a closely integrated, homogeneous intellectual atmosphere, and even if two workers have never heard of each other, they handle identical data and ideas. But who will assert that cultures far removed from each other in time and space must inevitably, in an early phase of their evolution, link lightning with fungal procreation? Surely independent genesis is highly improbable."


"But how about a simple diffusion of the idea? Today students of the neolithic and later cultures know that cultural communication was active in those early times over large areas. Technological discoveries, artistic and magical motifs, and certain kinds of products would spread quickly to distant parts, thanks to contacts from village to village or to travelers plying the trade routes. The alphabet was invented only once, in the Near East, and by diffusion, that first alphabet led to the birth of scores of alphabets elsewhere. When tobacco was released from the New World, it penetrated everywhere in a few years, faster than explorers and geographers could travel. But was it not always the new idea or gadget that spread thus by diffusion, rather than mythic beliefs as old as the hills? Sometimes with the birth of a new and aggressive religion, its mythology would burst forth like a tidal wave and inundate an area before its strength was spent. But if anyone is bold enough to say that the link between lightning and mushrooms was a belief propagated in this way, at what point in time did the diffusion take place and from what focus;"




In my examination of pre-Columbian art, I found that storm gods, rain gods, and lightning gods are also esoterically connected with psychotropic mushrooms. The idea of mushroom spores traveling to earth on lightning bolts hurled by powerful gods was also a common theme in the Old World. The ancient Mayas believed that this phenomenon was related to a magical alliance with the mushroom. Today the natives say that Amanita. muscaria is born in the place where lightning strikes, and that is the reason why mushrooms have such great power (Gaston Guzman,  Vol. 50 . No. 1 . January - June 2016).


In Mesoamerica the rain, wind and lightning gods Tlaloc, and Quetzalcoatl are not only associated with rain, wind, and lightning, but they are also closely associated with decapitation and mushroom rituals associated with the planet Venus as a resurrection star. 


In Mesoamerica, both the Mexican god Tlaloc, and Quetzalcoatl are commonly depicted in art wielding lightning bolts, as well as an axe. Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso believed that the cult of Tlaloc was so popular that it influenced all the cultures of Mesoamerica. In Aztec/Toltec mythology the gods Tlaloc, Xolotl, and Tezcatlipoca are all aspects of Quetzalcoatl as the Evening Star, and thus represent gods associated with sacrifice and rebirth and resurrection from the underworld. Its not surprising that the gods Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl, shared the same temple (twin temple) at the great city of Teotihuacan in the highlands of Mexico., where the remains of some 200 sacrificial victims, have been found buried under the twin temple, a ritual practice that was also very popular in ancient China at the time of the Cho Dynasty 1028 to 256 B.C.E.. (Human Sacrifice 1981 p.38). 


Known as "The Master", the Mexican god Tlaloc as a rain and lightning god, was also known as “he who made things grow”, because he provided the sustenance needed for everlasting life, in return for the shedding of human blood on earth. The Quiché Maya of the Guatemala Highlands describe the Amanita muscaria mushroom as supernatural, and call this lightning mushroom, in Quiche Mayan  cakulja ikox, ikox, and relate this supernatural mushroom with the Lord of Lightning, Rajaw Cakulja (Furst, 1976 p.82).  


Ethno-mycologist Bernard Lowy, reported in 1974, "Amanita muscaria and the Thunderbolt Legend in Guatemala and Mexico" page 189, that cakulha was not only the Quiché term for thunderbolt but is also the Quiché Maya name for Amanita muscaria mushroom. Evidence of a trinity of gods among the ancient Maya was also supplied by Lowy, who linked sacred mushrooms with lightning and a creation myth, and a trinity of creator gods, associated with divine rulership.


            Quoting Ethno-mycologist Bernard Lowy.....


"Maya codices has revealed that the Maya and their contemporaries knew and utilized psychotropic mushrooms in the course of their magico-religious ceremonial observances" (Lowy:1981).


  "In the Quiché Maya pantheon the god Cakulja, he of the lightning bolt, one of a trilogy of supreme gods, is revered above all others, and in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book in which the traditions of the Quiche people are recorded (Edmunson, 7), his position of ascendancy is made clear".    (from Lowy, Revista/Review Interamericana, vol. 11(1), pp. 94-103, 1980)





The Canaanite Storm God Baal ? 



Canaanite religion was centered on the worship of the god Baal. He was a storm-god like the Aramean god Hadad, and like Yahweh of the Israelite s all associated with lightning and fertility. Canaanites chose the bull as their fertility symbol, and both Soma and Baal were associated with the animal. Ashtoreth, Baal's wife was the Canaanites principal goddess, she was the personification of fertility and the reproductive principal in nature. Ishtar was her Babylonian name; Astarte her Greek and Roman name. temples of Baal and Ashtoreth (Astarte) were usually together. The worship of Baal, Ashtoreth, and other Canaanite gods consisted in the most extravagant orgies. Ashtoreth (Astarte/Ishtar) was the  deification of the sex passion, where her temples were centers of prostitution. Priestesses were temple prostitutes, and Sodomites were male temple prostitutes. The cult of Baal was once so widespread among the Israelite's that even Solomon (973-933 BCE) worshiped Baal. The prophet Ezekiel, just before the Jewish exile in Babylon in 597 BCE., complains that the children of Israel have slain their offspring to honor Baal. (Nigel Davies 1981, p.64-65). 


Various temples dedicated to Baal, can be found on the slopes of Mount Hermon, and that there is a sacred building or temple made of stone blocks on the summit of Mount Hermon, one of the highest known temples of the ancient world (Wikipeda).  The Vedas' repeatedly mention that the mystery plant Soma grows high in the mountains, in the higher altitude where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance. Once again the Mushroom god Soma is portrayed in the Rig Veda as a lightning-born mountain god, and an elixir of health and strength, as well as being praised for as the direct means of communion with the Divine.  

Thirteenth century  B.C.E. cuneiform clay tablets found in the 1920s at the ruins of Ras Shamra, an ancient port city in northern Syria, tell the stories about the Canaanite god Baal, a storm god associated with lightning and fertility. In these texts written in Ugaritic script, and translated by C. Virolleaud, Baal represents the personification of the lightning and rain needed by the earth to produce its divine fruit, the magical means for communicating in grave circumstances with the Almighty Powers ?  

The stories of Baal include, The Myth of Baʿal Aliyan and The Death of Baʿal.  In one story Baal is addressing "his messengers", his sister Anat, and his daughters. They are asked to perform a specific rite, and that she will give them and Baal "the secret of the lightning", on the hill of Zephon. Anat replies that she would only perform the rite if Baal should set his thunderbolt in the sky and flash his lightning (Baal Cycle, Wikipeda).

In Canaanite mythology there were twin mountains Targhizizi and Tharumagi which hold the heavens up above the earth-circling ocean (Wikipeda)
Above is a cylinder seal depicting the Hyksos/Canaanite Storm God Baal Zephon, portrayed with axe and lightning bolt, standing over twin mountains.  Note the sailing vessel with what appears to me to be sacred mushrooms encoded on the sail (above drawing is from http://www.bibleorigins.net/MapofPihahirothEthamShurYamSuph.html). The cylinder seal was 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 BCE. and introduced the horse and chariot to the Egyptians.  Another theory is that the Egyptians were invaded from Asia. The name Hyksos is really a corruption of two Egyptian words hyk and khwsht meaning "rulers of foreign lands" (John Gray 1962, p.72). 


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 above depicts the Storm god Baal of Saphon or Zephon, a Hebrew name which means 'lord of the north'.  Second millennium B.C. stone and gold artifacts excavated from Hittite burials at Alaca Huyuk resemble mushroom headed figures. The Hittite hieroglyph for "King" found on royal seals also resemble mushrooms. 

According to Canaanite belief, when Baal had sex, his semen fell to earth in the form of life-giving rain. The word Baal is a Canaanite word for "Lord" or "Master" (Unger's Bible Dictionary p.665) 

In the Hebrew Bible and in later books, the name Baal is changed to Baalzebub meaning "Lord of the Dung" or "Lord of the Flies". It's worth noting that many hallucinogenic mushrooms, among them Psilocybe and Panaeolus genera mushrooms, are referred to as dung-rotters, because they grow in the dung of herbaceous quadrupeds like the deer, moose, cows, horses, sheep and goats, making these animals extremely sacred in mushroom rituals. Mushrooms found growing in the dung of domesticated animals were easy to find and relatively safe to consume.  Psilocybin mushrooms are also easy to cultivate and easy to store, making them a great commodity for the purpose of trade. In fact the wide distribution of psilocybe cubensis throughout the world is attributed to the movement of domesticated cattle across the globe (Greg Marley 2010, p. 172).

It has been hypothesized that the fly agaric mushroom got its name because it attracts flies, and that fly agaric's were used as an insecticide, suggesting that flies intentionally seek out the fly agaric for its intoxicating properties.  Quoting Wasson once again (1957): 

"There must have been a potent reason why from western Europe to Eastern Greenland people have believed down to our own days in the demonic nature of mushrooms, and we think that reason lies in the strange hallucinatory powers of certain species. From Eastern Siberia to France these mushrooms are linked with 'flies', i.e., the insect world that is itself saturated in demonic mana."


Another theory proposes that the term fly- refers not to insects as such but rather to the feeling of flying resulting from consumption of the fly agaric mushroom. The mythology of reindeer taking flight reflects the supposed effects the reindeer experiences after eating the fly agaric mushroom. In the shamans ecstatic trance the soul is believed to leave the body and ascend to the sky or descend into the underworld. Shamans in their spiritual journeys, act as an intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, through the use of psychoactive plants, and in this state the shaman travels to the supernatural realm and back again protected by many animal spirits. 

According to Wasson, in Central Asia in several of the Uralic languages a person inebriated on mushrooms is said to be "bemushroomed", and that the tribes speaking those languages before the arrival of the Russians seem to have not known alcoholic inebriation. Wasson also noted that in Nahuatl the language of the Aztecs, the Nahua have a similar word for mushroom inebriation, ipan mjtoa monanacavia, meaning "he is bemushroomed" (Wasson 1980  p.52). According to Wasson, the drinking of Soma provides great physical strength and the power of flight, to go beyond the limits of heaven and earth (Furst, 1976 p.97).

            Quoting R. Gordon Wasson: 

“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;  Borhegyi, 1962)


The origin of the Phoenicians is 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 worship of 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 most famous of all the Phoenician settlements was the city of Carthage, founded by a Phoenician Queen named Dido in 825 B.C.E. Carthage 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 ( Human Sacrifice, Nigel Davies 1981, p.63). There are a number of carved stelae at Carthage inscribed in Phoenician script, that were erected over the graves of children who were probably sacrificed to Baal, a practice noted by several Greek and Roman authors. The Phoenicians, is a Greek term for the Canaanites who moved north and developed a new civilization on the coast of what is now present day Lebanon. Carthaginian inscriptions record sacrifices to Baal that are identical to those of the Canaanites (Human Sacrifice, Nigel Davies 1981, p. 63-64).  


The custom of child sacrifice also had deep roots among the Hebrews...

"For all the firstborn of Israel are mine, both man and beast" (Book of Numbers).  

"The first of thy sons shalt thou give unto me" (Book of Exodus). 

This custom is implied in the story of the prophet Abraham and of his first born son Isaac, whom Yahweh orders to be sacrifice. In the story of Abraham and Isaac, Abraham took  Isaac to the appointed mountain, than bound him on the wood that he brought, and laid him on an altar in a prescribed manner, indicating that Abraham was clearly following a familiar ritual. It should be mentioned that in Mesoamerica children sacrificed to the Storm God Tlaloc were also taken to a mountain tops.

According to Stephen Perks, author of the book, Baal Worship Ancient and Modern 2010, "in the period following the death of King David the people of Israel became deeply entrenched in a syncretistic form of religion that fused elements of the worship of Yahweh with the ancient fertility cults of Canaan, identifying Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with the pagan god Baal. This corrupt form of worship, which predated the monarchy but had again become ingrained in the religious practices of the people following Solomon’s own example of idolatry, lasted up until the exile. Reforms instituted by good kings barely touched the religion of the people, whose cultic practices operated at the syncretistic folk-religion level, not in terms of the religious practices of the temple and the priesthood established in the Mosaic law, which was frequently forgotten, at times even completely lost". 

After the ceremony on the mountain the Lord said to Abraham , "I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore"

In the story of Genesis the prophet Abraham hears the voice of God "Yahweh", this time the voice is a Mountain God, telling him to leave his home in Ur in Chaldea, and go to the land of Canaan. Yahweh tells Abram "You will have innumerable descendants and own all the land of Canaan" (Clark Heinrich 2002, p.71). 
With this call, a covenant was established between Abraham and his descendants and his god. Abram, whose name is later changed by Yahweh to Abraham, is descended from the prophet Noah and in direct line of Adam. 


Above is a mural depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac by the prophet Abraham. Note what I  believe are three cleverly encoded mushrooms in the robe of  Abraham. 

Above are  Amanita muscaria mushrooms in the foreground of the painting titled, "The Sacrifice of Isaac", by Alesandro Allori ca. 1607. Florence, Italy. Was the prophet Abraham under the spell of the Amanita muscaria mushroom when he heard the voice of God telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac ? The failed sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham has been interpreted as the symbolic moment in which human sacrifice was rejected by God. 

          Yahweh says...

"For your part of the bargain, I want you to cut off your foreskin, and the foreskin of all your descendants and anyone else who comes into your household and theirs, even if they are not related to any of you. The scars on your organs will prove to everyone forever after that we made this covenant. Any male whose foreskin is not cut off from his penis will be cut off from his people" (Clark Heinrich 2002, p.71).

Above  encoded in stained glass, is the profit Abraham in association with what I propose are psilocybe mushrooms and the Fleur de lis symbol, as the Tree of Life .







Manna from Heaven: "Hidden in Plain Sight"

The Bible talks about sacred “Manna” that the Israelite's ate in the desert. The Hebrews of the Old Testament refer to the manna given to them by Moses or Moshe in Hebrew, as a sign of God's promised covenant. The Bible says Manna was a small round edible object that appeared on the ground after dew had fallen.


The Bible never tells us exactly what manna was and where it came from, but there are many Old Testament passages which describe its physical qualities and conditions associated with its appearance. Manna easily fits the description of psilocybe mushrooms. The Bible's first reference to manna is in the Book of Exodus as the children of Israel are fleeing from Egypt and following Moses into the wilderness. After six weeks of wandering, they began complaining to Moses that they are tired and hungry. What happens next is truly extraordinary: (Manna from Heaven, by Steve Kubby)


            Quoting James Arthur:


The Mannas are described in detail by Jesus in the book of John. In this story Jesus attempts to make clear; of manna, there are two different ones/kinds. He describes the manna that he is giving the disciples (last supper) as the Manna that bestows immortality".


"Manna is directly associated with the fruit of the Tree of Life in the 2nd chapter of the book of Revelation. It is the reward for those who overcome (the lies of the world). The "Fruit of the Tree", the "Hidden Manna" and the "Small White Stone" are spoken of separately, but in the same context. All of these are symbols for the Amanita muscaria"  (Mushrooms and Mankind 2003).



John Allegro linguistically linked the SOMA (Greek=Body), the Manna (Sumerian = Mushroom), (of which there are two kinds), the names Jesus, James, and John, the Fruit of the tree of Knowledge, and the symbol of the cross, to the Amanita muscaria, by stating that all of these names and terms (and others) were synonyms and wordplay for the hidden identity of the mushroom (James Arthur, Mushrooms and Mankind 2003). Jesus regarded Manna as a shadow of himself, John 6:31-58.


Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will vain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or no (16:4).

And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground (16:14). And when the children of Israel saw if, they said one to another It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.






Archaeologist John Gray writes 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 Philistines who are described in the Bible, for their conflict  with the Israelite s, may have been a development of the Canaanite culture. The Philistines are known to have settled on the southern coast of Canaan, but are also known to be among the so-called "Sea Peoples" who  destroyed the Hittite empire around 1180 BCE., and later threatened Egypt until Ramses III defeated them around 1190 BCE.  After 1180 BCE. no more information is available from Hittite sources. 


Sri. A. Kalyanaraman, an Indian author who has studied the Vedas, strongly 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.  


Some have argued that it was the Phoenicians who discovered the Americas, and that the Indians of Mexico, Central America, and South America describe their civilizers as "bearded white men" who arrived in ships from the east. (Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts: 1971, p.263).


It should be mentioned that several rock inscriptions found in the New World have been attributed to the Phoenicians (Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts: 1971, p.30).


The Carthaginians, like their Phoenicians predecessors, may have sailed to the New World, landed in Central America, giving rise to the legend of Votan (Quetzalcoatl?) who was said to have sailed from the East and founded the great Maya city known as Palenque (Thompkins, 1976 p. 78).  


It just so happens that the Phoenician (successors of the Hittites) and their successors the Carthaginians, have several (Aryan) traits very similar with those of the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico, 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.  


Here may be the "Scythian-Phoenician Soma / Haoma connection" explained by the fact that the Hittites were associated with Canaanite tribes and that the Scythians or Sakas may have inherited many of their religious traditions. We can assume that Scythians and Saka are the same people that Scythian comes from the Greek skythai, while their Persian name was Saka. One of the Saka tribes called the Haomavarga Saka, or "Haoma-drinking/Haoma-consuming Saka". that occupied the region on the eastern border of the Persian Empire, called "Sakastan", were apparently very fond of Haoma, Haoma being an intoxicating beverage and the name of both a plant (mushroom?) and a deity in the Zoroastrian religion. 




Trans-oceanic contact between the hemispheres prior to the voyages of Columbus is still considered highly unlikely despite the exception of the Viking outpost discovered in Newfoundland in the 1960's, and the recent awareness that early humans reached far distant Australia by boat, possibly as early as 50,000 years ago. Most modern-day scholars still deny the possibility that Phoenicians, Canaanites, or  their successors the Carthaginians discovered the Americas before Columbus did, their claim being that there is little evidence of a Phoenician or Carthaginian presence in the New World. 


Above are two Carthaginian breastplates both encoded with what appears to me to be a Fleur de lis symbol emerging from the head of the Storm god Baal Hammon as the Tree of Life  (Museum of Carthage ). Carthaginians who were worshippers of the Storm God Baal sacrificed children to him on a massive scale. Carthaginian inscriptions record sacrifices to Baal that are identical to those of the Canaanites (Human Sacrifice, 1981, p. 63-64).  

It's worth mentioning, that American archaeologist Ross T. Christensen proposed that the Mulekites, who are mentioned in the Book of Mormon, were most likely of Phoenician (Canaanites) origin. The Bible also refers to the Phoenicians as the "princes of the sea", Ezekiel 26:16.  The Book of Mormon speaks of three groups coming from the Old World.

These groups of people written about in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites, Lamanites, and Mulekites would have known the customs and traditions of the Canaanites. Most Book of Mormon scholars believe that the Jaredites culture was the early Olmec culture of ancient Mexico dating approximately 1500 to 300 B.C.E. The Olmecs are the oldest known civilization in Mesoamerica, The Jaredites, the oldest culture referred to in the Book of Mormon, are said to have left the Old World for the New World at the time following the Tower of Babel incident, that resulted with the confusion of languages and a dispersal of peoples over the earth.

"Mulek (/ˈmjuːlɛk/),[1] according to the Book of Mormon, was the only surviving son of Zedekiah, the last King of Judah, after the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon states that after escaping from Judah, Mulek traveled to the Americas and established a civilization there. The word "Mulekite", after Mulek, is commonly used to refer to his group. It is one of four groups (the others being the Nephites, the Lamanites, and the Jaredites) described in the Book of Mormon as having settled in the ancient Americas. However, the existence of any of the four groups is not accepted by mainstream archaeology.[2]Wikipeda



Quoting Diane E. Wirth, author of Parallels: Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon 2004


"One of the theories of our time in the field of archaeology and anthropology is the theory of diffusion, which happens to be an unpopular theory except for Latter-day Saints and several small research groups. But this theory is gaining support among several scholars from universities. Most prefer to believe that the Old and New Worlds developed in isolation, and any similarities between them are merely coincidental. They believe that people came from Siberia through the Bering Strait and filtered down through the Americas. But when we talk about diffusion and of world races, we speak of a scattering of races, a circulation of peoples over the continents and an expansion of cultural traits. It is the opinion of those who support the theory of diffusion that ancient people came to the Americas not only across the Bering Strait from Asia but also by way of the sea, from both the east and the west. This theory will take time to grow and develop, and it is getting stronger every year."





The Fleur de lis, Forbidden Fruit, and the Tree of Life :


In both hemispheres the symbol we recognize as the Fleur de lis is associated with a World Tree, or "Tree of Life", linked to a fruit of immortality, kingship, and a trinity of creator gods. The Tree of Life is a common motif found in Sumerian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hittite, and Hebraic art, and mentioned in both the Books of Genesis and Revelations. 

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. The Book of Genesis never mentions apple, or forbidden fruit, only the "fruit of knowledge" and the "fruit of everlasting life". Gordon Wasson, and other notable scholars strongly propose that the "mythological apple" the so-called forbidden fruit, is a symbolic substitution for the Amanita muscaria mushroom.   


Above is a fragment of a bronze helmet, 9th century BC to the 6th century BC, from Argishti I's era, discovered during the excavations of the fortress of Teyshebaini on Karmir-Blur (Red Hill) (Wikipeda), in the  kingdom of Urartu, which corresponds to the biblical mountains of Ararat also referred to as the Kingdom of Van, because the kingdom centered around Lake Van, in eastern Turkey.  Archaeological excavations and surveys carried out in Van province indicate that the history of human settlement in this region goes back at least as far as 5000 BC. The helmet fragment portrays a male and female figure holding ritual buckets at the Tree of Life, the branches encoded with what looks to me like  psilocybin mushrooms.  


Mentioned earlier, according to Wasson, "as early as the first millennium B.C., the real Soma plant disappeared from Vedic ritual and the name came to be applied to various substitutes, of which none had the same psychic effects as the original Soma, and all of which were known at least to the priestly caste to be substitutes" (Furst, 1976 p.98). The same in the case with the Haoma plant in ancient Iran. Thus we do not actually know what plant the original Soma was. We know that Soma was the focal point of Vedic religion, and that drinking Soma produces immortality, and that the gods drank Soma to make them immortal".  


Note the photo above on the lower left, of a gold chalice from ancient Iran that may have once contained the Haoma elixir. Haoma being cognate with Soma, and Iranian being cognate with Aryan. The gold chalice appears to depict what looks to me like psilocybin mushrooms in association with the Tree of Life. The Haoma elixir was used in the Zoroastrian rituals of the Yasna, where the mystery plant, or possible mushroom was pounded in a mortar partly filled with water and then its juice squeezed into a cup to be drank by a Zoroastrian priest. 


In Zoroastrian cosmology Haoma grows in the World Tree, which stands in the middle of the world sea. The Haoma beverage of immortality  was connected in myth with a Tree of Life that inspired the prophet Zoroaster to create a new religion (the Mazda religion) that became the state religion of the Persian Empire. Like Soma, the 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 Book of Genesis, the Garden of Eden story is considered to be a mythological paradise, although in Genesis Chapter VIII 4, the writer suggests an Eden, near the mountains of Ararat (cognate with Aryan ?) in Armenia, (Urartu) a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, bordered by the country of Turkey to the west.

  


In the King James Version of the Old Testament there are 33 verses that contain both the words "tree" and "fruit", most frequently in the books of Genesis, Leviticus and Jeremiah. 

According to Allegro (1970):


"In the case of the Tree of Life, whose fruit made Adam and Eve like gods, the apocryphal writing says it had “the height of a fir, leaves like a carob, and fruit like a vine-cluster”.


"Each of the comparisons bears upon the sacred mushroom, the Amanita muscaria. The “fir” because it is a denizen of the conifer forests ; the “carob” because this “pod” name was given to both the mushroom and the food of pigs and “Prodigal Sons” ; and the “vine-cluster” because the red cap of the fungus was so pictured".



Above on the left is the Plaincourault Fresco circa 1291, Plaincourault Chapel Merigny, France that encodes the Amanita muscaria mushroom as the "Tree of Knowledge"  (see Wasson and Allegro on the Tree of Knowledge as Amanita, by Michael Hoffman 2006).  Above on the right is a fresco of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge, superimposed over an encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom cap. The fresco is from the ceiling of St. Michael's Church, Hildesheim Germany 1192 AD.  Photograph of Amanita muscaria mushroom by mycologist John W. Allen. 



            Quoting Allegro, “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross”

"The cunning reptile prevails upon Eve and her husband to eat of the tree, whose fruit ‘made them as gods, knowing good and evil’ (Gen 3:4). The whole Eden story is mushroom based mythology, not least in the identity of the ‘tree’ as the sacred fungus, as we shall see.

Even as late as the thirteenth century some recollection of the old tradition was known among Christians, to judge from a fresco [above left]  painted on the wall of a ruined church in Plaincourault in France. There the Amanita muscaria is gloriously portrayed, entwined with a serpent, whilst Eve stands by holding her belly.”(Allegro p. 48)


            

            Quoting R.  Gordon Wasson:


"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?"  "In Genesis, is not the serpent the self-same chthonic spirit that we know from Siberia?" (from Peter T. Furst,1972, p.212)


According to Wasson, throughout the forest belt of Siberia the tribes all have great reverence for the birch tree, and that the birch tree is considered the tree of the shaman. The Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in mycorrhizal relationship with the birch tree. The birch is the Tree of Life , the Axis Mundi, the Piller of Heaven and the Amanita muscaria or fly agaric mushroom is the Marvellous Herb "(Wasson 1968). In Siberia the Barisaa, or "prayer tree, is a shaman's shrine next to a sacred tree which establishes the contact between the spiritual and the physical world. It is a convergence point of all worlds, times, and potentialities. (source: Religion of the indigenous people of Siberia

 


           According to Wasson (1957):


"We discovered startling parallels between the use of the fly amanita in Siberia and the divine mushrooms in Middle America. In Mexico the mushroom 'speaks' to the eater; in Siberia 'the spirits of the mushrooms' speak. Just as in Mexico, Jochelson says that among the Korjaks "the agaric would tell everyman, even if he were not a shaman, what ailed him when he was sick, or explain a dream to him, or show him the upper world or the underground world, or foretell what would happen to him." Just as in Mexico on the following day those who have taken the mushrooms compare their experiences, so in Siberia, according to Jochelson, the Korjaks, "when the intoxication had passed, told whither the 'fly-agaric men' had taken them, and what they had seen," In Bogoras we discover a link between the lightning-bolt and the mushroom. According to a Chukchee myth, lightning is a One-Sided Man who drags his sister along by her foot. As she bumps along the floor of heaven, the noise of her bumping makes the thunder. Her urine is the rain and she is possessed by the spirits of the fly amanita.

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. 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, 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 close up from a page in the Codex Selden, a pre-Conquest Mixtec manuscript from Highland Mexico, painted sometime around A. D. 1500. Its my belief that the 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.  



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. The name of the Aztec-Toltec-Maya god  Quetzalcoatl can be translated to mean Feathered Serpent. 

In both hemispheres serpents are associated with the Tree of Life as well as immortality by virtue of renewing themselves through the shedding of their skin.  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. (for a documentation of Snake or Serpent symbolism in Mesoamerica, signifying wisdom and knowledge see Ixtlilxochitl, 1952: I, 21)




The Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl, is one of the oldest and the most important deities of Mesoamerica. In Aztec accounts, the Feathered Serpent, Quetzalcoatl, turns himself into a serpent and then back again into a god with human attributes and form. The Mexican God-king 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 Kukulkan.


According to researcher Diane E. Wirth, 2002, in her book titled, Quetzalcoatl, the Maya Maize God, and Jesus Christ; she writes that "Many scholars suggest that Quetzalcoatl of Mesoamerica (also known as the Feathered Serpent), the Maya Maize God, and Jesus Christ could all be the same being." Wirth writes that several stories in the native chronicles like the Popol Vuh, coincide with stories of the savior Jesus Christ in the Bible, such as the creation and the resurrection. She demonstrates that the role that both Quetzalcoatl and the Maya Maize God played in bringing maize to humankind is comparable to Christ's role in bringing the bread of life to humankind. Wirth draws attention to certain similarities in post-Spanish conquest manuscripts for example that Quetzalcoatl was the Creator, that he was born of a virgin, and that he was a god of air and earth (in his manifestation as the Feathered Serpent) that he was white and bearded, and that he came from heaven and was associated with the planet Venus. She mentions that Quetzalcoatl raised the dead, and that he promised to return again. 


For more read The Return of Lord Quetzalcoatl: How the Symbol of the Fleur de Lis Changed the Course of New World History... ( http://www.mushroomstone.com/the-fleur-de-lis-conspiracy)


Much more on the Mesoamerican God-king Quetzalcoatl a bit later... 



Regarding the Tree of Life, and its forbidden fruit, while reading through one of my father's letters to Gordon Wasson, I found that my father had discovered an interesting passage from one of the native chronicles written sometime around 1554, that mentions a connection between trees and mushrooms, and to the indigenous use of mushrooms in Guatemala, from The Annals of the Cakchiquels,  (1953:82-83), records:

           

Here is the passage in the Annals of the Cakchiquels,  (1953:82-83) translated from the original by Adrian Recinos and into English by Delia Goetz:


"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.?


Here is the passage in the Popol Vuh, as presented in the English text by Delia Goetz and Sylvanus Griswold Morley:


"And when they found the young of the birds and the deer, they went at once to 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 priests and the sacrificers came, when they came to bring their offerings. And they did the same before their symbols, burning pericon and holom ocox. [University of Oklahoma Press, 1950, p. 192]



The Spanish friars and Conquistadors who reported on the religious use of mushrooms among the Aztecs 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.

            According to Wasson:

"The Nahua [Aztecs] before the Spaniards arrived called them [referring to the mushrooms] "God's flesh", teonanacatl. I need hardly draw attention to a disquieting parallel, the designation of the Elements in our Eucharist: "Take, eat, this is my body ..."; and again,  "Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of  thy dear son..." But there is one difference. The orthodox Christian must accept on faith the miracle of the conversion of the bread into God's flesh: that is what is meant by the doctrine of transubstantiation. By contrast, the mushroom of the Nahua carries its own conviction: every communicant will testify to the miracle that he has experienced (Peter T. Furst 1972,  pp191-192).



Allegro an Oxford-educated scholar was assigned to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran in 1947. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was extreemly important because the scrolls predate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ leaving their interpretation to have a profound impact on the history of Christianity. 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. 

"The very name Christmas.. Is a Holiday name composed of the words …Christ (meaning the Anointed with the Magical Substance) …Mass (a special religious service/ceremony of the Sacramental ingestion of the Eucharist, the Body of Christ.) In Catholic Tradition this Substance (Body/Soma) has been replaced by the doctrine of Trans-substantiation, Whereby (in magical ceremony) The Priests claim the ability to transform A cracker into the literal Body of Christ.. IE. Substitute/Placebo (Lee Sayer Dec. 25, 2014)  



Allegro’s research on mushroom religious symbolism, along with his reputation as a scholar, was thoroughly disparaged at the time his work was published. Many of his assertions, such as the claim that Jesus did not exist as a historical figure, did indeed challenge conventional religion. Allegro claimed that the scrolls tell a story of a leader of the Essenes who they called the "Teacher of Righteousness" who was crucified on a cross in 88 BCE. for leading a failed revolt a hundred years before Jesus, and who had similar teachings. "Allegro claimed that this was the proto-Jesus, reinvented and restructured circa 30 C.E. to appeal to gentiles in a time of persecution by Rome and the orthodox Jewish religious establishment" (Clark Heinrich 2002 p.23). 


            According  to Allegro:

"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" (Allegro 1970)


According to Allegro (1970) the secrets of the mushroom cult was an oral tradition, forbidden to be written down, but between 66 and 74 AD, the cult was all but wiped-out in a Jewish rebellion that the Roman authority crushed, brutally, and mercilessly.

            According to 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 cult of the sacred mushroom, then, was a manifestation of necromancy, “divination by the dead”. This extraordinary practice, attested all over the ancient world, lives on in various kinds of spiritualism. The root of the idea is that, since the souls left their bodies and returned to the bowels of the earth, they are in closer touch with the “waters of knowledge”, as the subterranean abyss was called" (Allegro 1970)




According to researcher Julie Brown, May 2005...JOHN ALLEGRO AND THE CHRISTIAN MYTH:


"John Allegro observed the way the Jesus story echoed events and ideas in Gnostic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Old Testament, and he identified the doctrine of divine light as the unifying theme. This is expressed in myth and imagery and is a key to understanding a range of mythologies – including Christianity. 


Adoration of the Magi, 1569-1649 by Juan Bautista Maino of Spain (Wasson 1957).           



Adoration of the Christ child under an encoded Amanita Muscaria mushroom ? St-Martin-Chartres-Cathedral, France 12th century A.D.

Above are easily recognizable mushrooms encoded in the mosaics at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built around 350 A.D. over a cave that Christians believe marks the birthplace of Jesus. The Basilica was commissioned by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena.




"Dead Sea Scroll Conspiracy" ? 


"A number of similarities between the Essenes mysticism and the story of Christ perplex scholars of the scrolls. The use of the term, "Son of God", was found to have been used long before the time Christ was presumed to have lived and was often used in the imagery of the Essenes. There is also mention of a council of Twelve, a communal meal, baptisms, healings, and the coming of a messiah; all analogous to the story of Jesus". Allegro also points to Christianity's obsession with consuming Christ's body or becoming one with God by consuming the "body of Christ." Could the consumption of the body have actually been the consumption of the mushroom as sacrament?" ( Dead Sea Scroll Conspiracy By: Gaia Staff | Sept. 29th, 2017)




Above is a quote from ethno-botanist Clark Heinrich author of the book  " Magic Mushrooms in Religion and AlchemyHeinrich (2002) has presented a great deal of evidence supporting his theory that the alchemist's pursuit of immortality originally revolved around the covert ingestion of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.


Allegro proposed 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. The Amanita muscaria mushroom being the medium through which one achieved ecstasy and thus communion with god. Wasson proposed that the "mythological apple" the so-called Forbidden Fruit of Genesis from the Tree of Knowledge was a symbolic substitution for the Amanita muscaria mushroom.    
 

The Eucharist, also called Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper, is a Christian rite of receiving bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ. It was regarded as the substance of Christ himself..  

" Christianity adopted as its most sacred rite an act of self-proclaimed cannibalism, a form of god-eating that goes back to those early cults of the deity who died a violent death and whose body was transformed into food and consumed by his worshipers" (Nigel Davies 1981 p. 164-165)     



Thus Christians (Pope Innocent III 1198-1216) officially declared the concept of transubstantiation, and the elevation of the host, when the priest raises the bread and wine for all to see in the Mass and physically changes the wafer and the wine into the body and blood of Christ.   



             Jesus says at the Last Supper.....


“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever” (John 6:51)


“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whosoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:53-54)?



Quoting James Arthur, author of “Mushrooms and Mankind” 2003:


"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 Last Supper” portrayed in the Church of St. Martin, Nohant-Vic, France ca. 1120.  


According to researchers Jerry B. Brown, and Julie M. Brown,  authors of  Psychedelic Gospels, 2016; they have identified what they propose are encoded mushrooms in the robes of several disciples beneath the table of the Last Supper, and suggest that several of the objects on the supper table as being sliced up mushrooms (photo by Julie M. Brown). 


             According to James Arthur:


"The Mannas are described in detail by Jesus in the book of John. In this story Jesus attempts to make clear; of manna, there are two different ones/kinds. He describes the manna that he is giving the disciples (last supper) as the Manna that bestows immortality" (Mushrooms and Mankind 2003)


Jesus asserts that the manna from heaven was from God and not from Moses, and that the people who ate the divine manna were nourished on their journey but ultimately died. In contrast, according to the gospel, Jesus offered living bread, and whoever ate this bread would have eternal life or immortality (Wikipedia, Manna). 

Gospel of John 6:48-51 reads, "I am that bread of life. 6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Was “the true bread, the bread from heaven” the Amanita muscaria mushroom ?  

A close-up view of “The Last Supper” mural portrayed in the Church of St. Martin, Nohant-Vic, France ca. 1120. clearly depicts a figure on the left cutting down a mushrooms with a knife, and on to the right, the probable sliced up mushrooms on the table of the Last Supper.


  

Once again the substances that Jesus referred to are not communion wafers and or grape juice or wine. The Amanita muscaria mushroom had long before Christianity been known as “the flesh of the gods” and “the blood of the gods” and this is what Jesus meant. 





THE HOLY GRAIL

The 13th century image of Jesus esoterically encoded with the Amanita muscaria mushroom, from Notre Dame Cathedral de Laon France 1215 A.D..




            Quoting Allegro (1970):


"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" 

"Paradise was for none but the favored few. The incantations and rites by which they conjured fourth their drug plants, and the details of the bodily and mental preparations undergone before they could ingest their god, were the secrets of the cult to which none but the initiate bound by fearful oaths, had access" (Allegro 1970).

Above is an image of the Holy Trinity, that I propose esoterically encodes the red and white spots of the Amanita muscaria mushroom, "Hidden in Plain Sight".  A common depiction of enlightenment is a glowing halo that resembles the mushroom.


The church of All Saints, North Street, Early 15th Century, located in the center of the medieval city of York in northern England. The stained glass above is fantastic example of encoded mushroom imagery "Hidden in Plain Sight" (image courtesy of mycologist Eric Osbourne)  


Above and is a portion of the Rose window at Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral, constructed between 1194 and 1220 that encodes sacred mushrooms in its iconography, in association with the Fleur de lis symbol.



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, a Trinity of gods, and a mushroom of immortality. 


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


The pre-Conquest Quetzalcoatl, the banished god of ancient Mexico, was to return some day from the east and it is said that Moctezuma II expected him and his followers to be white (Wasson, 1980 p. 137). 


In Mesoamerica the trefoil symbol we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis, signified nothing less than the divine symbol of the Toltec-Aztec god-king Quetzalcoatl, who is described in  post-Conquest literature as being of fair skin, with long hair and a black beard (Mexico, 1994, M.D. Coe p.123). 


I believe that the reason that the Fleur de lis symbol, above all, signaled the fulfillment of Moctezuma's prophecy of Quetzalcoatl's return is that the trefoil, or Fleur de lis, had for centuries been a Mesoamerican symbol for "Lord", with a history dating back as far as the ancient Olmecs 1200 BCE to 400 BCE. I propose that it was this symbol alone that made it was possible in 1519 for a small band of 450 Spanish conquistadors under the command of Hernán Cortés to conquer the vast and powerful Aztec empire. For more read The Return of Lord Quetzalcoatl: How the Symbol of the Fleur de Lis Changed the Course of New World History... ( http://www.mushroomstone.com/the-fleur-de-lis-conspiracy)



According to ancient legend, the Aztecs expected their god Quetzalcoatl, who had departed their land many years earlier, that he sailed into the east on a raft of serpents, claiming to return to his people on the anniversary of his birth date. Such an event had been foretold by the Aztec priests. According to their divinations the "Children of the Sun, would come from the east to cast down their god and to annihilate the Aztec nation" (Diego Duran 1964, The Aztecs: p.139). Their returning god would be white-skinned, would have a black beard and would be dressed in black (Alma Reed, 1966 p.140).  



One of the first Spanish chroniclers to arrive in the New World shortly after the conquest was Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, who recorded several incidents of baptisms, made by followers of Quetzalcoatl. In one of them the officiant said "... Now he lives again and is born again, once again he is purified and cleansed. . . "(Sahagun 1956, II, 207). Fray Sahagun also refers to hallucinogenic mushrooms several times in his Chronicles written between 1529 and 1590. Sahagun books have been translated and edited by Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble.


John Taylor who was the third president of the Mormon church from 1880 through 1887, wrote the following statement... (from Jerry Stokes, Did Jesus Christ walk the Americas in Precolumbian Times ?)


"The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being".

We know from the early chronicles that Quetzalcoatl (known in the Maya area as Kukulcan and Gucumatz) was a Toltec ruler, who was apotheosized as the planet Venus. Both Quetzalcoatl and Christ are associated with the planet Venus as a Morning Star (3 Nephi 1:21, annals of Cauchtitlan 7). Both Quetzalcoatl and Christ were considered creators of all things (Mosiah 4: 2, Saenz 962: 19,40) Both Quetzalcoatl and Christ were born of virgin women (Alma 7:10, Gamiz 95) Both Quetzalcoatl and Christ are described as having a white complexion (3 Nephi 1: 8, Torquemada 47) Both Quetzalcoatl and Christ performed miracles and healings (3 Nephi 26:15, Sejourne 137,137) Both Quetzalcoatl and Christ taught the ordinance of baptism (3 Nephi 11:23, Irwin 1963: 170) Both Quetzalcoatl and Christ prophesied about the future (3 Nephi 16: 1, Sejourne 1962), and both Quetzcoatl and Christ promised that they would return again for the second time (2 Nephi 6:14, Sahagun 1:40) (Es QUETZALCÓATL JESUCRISTO cuando visitó AMÉRICA en sus viajes? Estudios así LO AFIRMAN)

Additional attempts have been made to associate Quetzalcoatl with Jesus Christ, by P. M. Hanson, 1949, " In the land of the Feathered Serpent: Jesus Christ among the ancient Americans" 


The chroniclers of pre-Hispanic Mexico tell us of a culture hero, who was not only a governor, but also the high priest of the city of Tula, or Tollan, who at birth (in the year one reed) was known as the Plumed Serpent, Quetzalcoatl Ce Acatl Topilzin. This Quetzalcoatl may have been the originator of auto-sacrifice and of penitence. We know that other high priests also bore the name Quetzalcoatl, at the cities of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, Cholula Cempoala, and in other areas where priests were dedicated to his religion (B. C. Hedrick, 1971, p. 258) (see Vaillant 1951, p. 182).


The mushroom religion dedicated to the God Tlaloc-Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl, was so sacred that, if one gave one's own life in sacrifice, the act emulated Quetzalcoatl, himself. Appropriate initiation rituals likely included bloodletting or self-torture, or baptismal rites by the use of holy water, or purification rites with copal incense ( the "blood" of the copal tree ) and the ceremonial consumption  of sacred mushrooms, or teonanacatl, believed to be "the flesh of god" (Borhegyi, 1971, p.90)


            Quoting Stephan de Borhegyi:


"Through these individualized initiation rites...through auto-sacrifice and self-immolation of the Orpheus-like redeemer god, Quetzalcoatl-Nanhuatzin-Xolotl (the living and deified Quetzalcoatls), the peoples of Classic Mesoamerica were now able to hope for a compensation in the present, and for a happy continuation of life after death (Borhegyi de, 1971, p.90)



Spanish chronicles tell us that the Aztecs and Toltecs attributed their enlightenment to Quetzalcoatl. In the 16th century Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun recorded in his Florentine Codex, a multi-volume compilation of priceless Mexica ethnographic information, that the Toltecs were, above all:

"thinkers for they originated the year count, the day count; they established the way in which the night, the day, would work; which sign was good, favorable; and which was evil, the day sign of wild beasts. All their discoveries formed the book for interpreting dreams."


"They [the Toltecs] 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.



Fray Sahagun, writes that the emissaries of Moctezuma II thought that Quetzalcoatl had returned, and describes Moctezuma as saying "He has appeared! He has come back! He will come here to the place of his throne and canopy, for that is what he pronounced when he departed". All the signs and news given by the Castilians [conquistadors] suggested without doubt that the great emperor Quetzalcoatl had come, "he who had for a long time gone away over the sea where the sun rose and who had allowed it to be said that in time he had to return". One of the sign of Quetzalcoatl's return was when Cortés landed his ships on the eastern shores of Mexico in 1519, he dressed in black because it was Good Friday, coincidentally one of the colors of Quetzalcoatl (Conquest, by Hugh Thomas 1993 p.185).  Sahagun is said to have reported that Moctezuma said “O our lord” at his first meeting with Cortés.


“thou hast arrived on earth, thou hast come to thy noble city of Mexico. Thou hast come to occupy thy noble mat and seat, which for a little time I have guarded and watched for thee…Lo, I have been troubled for a long time. I have gazed into the unknown whence thou hast come, the place of mystery. For the rulers of old have gone, saying that thou wouldst come to instruct thy city, that thouwouldst descend to thy mat and seat; that thou wouldst return. And now it is fulfilled: thou hast returned ….Arrive now in thy land. Rest, lord; visit thy palace that thou mayest rest thy body. Let our lords arrive in the land!” (Sahagun General History, vol. 12, p. 42)


Spanish chronicles document that when the Aztecs spoke of their history it was always said that they had been preceded by a marvelous people who called themselves Toltec.  According to the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiché Maya of highland Guatemala, the migration of the Quiché Maya tribes was led under the spiritual “guidance” of the god Tohil, their patron deity. The god Tohil, has been identified by scholars as a Quiché variant of the god-king Quetzalcoatl the Plumed Serpent. Like the Aztecs and Itzas of Yucatan Mexico, the Quiche people also believed that they were led by Lord Plumed Serpent from Tollan /Tula. He led his people eastward to the “land of writing” to a sacred mountain top citadel called Bearded Place, and it was there that the Quiche people settled down to live. This brave leader was described as a bearded white man “whose face was not forgotten by his grandsons and sons” as described on page 205 by Tedlock (Tedlock: 1985: 205. 213). 



Surprisingly as I discovered, the emblem of the Fleur de lis in pre-Columbian art and iconography carries the same symbolism of "King" or "Lord", and is linked to a triad or Trinity of gods, a World Tree, or Tree of Life, and a mushroom of immortality.

Above on the left is a 14th century pre-Conquest Mixtec manuscript, page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis, also known as the Codex Vienna, that depicts the Wind God Quetzalcoatl carrying what appears to be a white skinned bearded mushroom god on his back, bestowing this god to his children mankind. Much more from this codex page a bit later on. The image above on the right has been reproduced from the pre-Conquest Codex Borgia, a Mixtec manuscript that predates the Spanish Conquest, one of five codices, or divinatory manuals in the Codex Borgia group now in the Vatican in Rome. The God-king Quetzalcoatl can be identified by his trademark conical hat, that in this case is adorned with a harpy eagle, and Fleur de lis symbol. He wears the red mask of the Wind God, and the wind-jewel breast-plate, a trademark symbol of Quetzalcoatl, called ehecailacacozcatl, the "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. Self sacrifice by means of ritual bloodletting was likely the most important ritual among the Mesoamericans. The act of bloodletting was so sacred 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). 



According to Mexican archaeologist Alfonso 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 Codex Borbonicus, written by Aztec priests in the early years after the Spanish Conquest, depicts Quetzalcoatl wearing his trademark bird mask, and wind-jewel, and holding a serpent scepter with a stylistic Fleur de lis symbol.

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 what I will demonstrate are three Fleur de lis symbols, that represent the symbol of Quetzalcoatl's mushroom religion. Descripcion de la ciudad y provincia de Tlaxcala, Historia de Tlaxcala Mexico: 1585, Manuscript of Glasgow. Reprographics: Marco Antonio Pacheco / roots.



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. 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).

            According to Franciscan friar Diego de Landa:

"We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which there were not to be seen superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction" (The Ancient Maya 4th Edition 1983, p. 513) 


Throughout the 16th century historian friars accumulated long manuscripts giving excellent details of the conquered Indians history, religion and ritual customs. Very few of these manuscripts were ever published and most were hidden away in archives to hide from the world the disgrace of what the conquerors had done to the inhabitants and culture of the New World. The Catholic Church had given orders to destroy everything they could find of native culture, and burn all native documents pertaining to history, myth, and legend. Only the writings that glorified the church and its doings were worthy of publication.


Although a few culturally curious friars defied the ban to write detailed accounts of native history and religion throughout the16th century, their manuscripts remained hidden from public view in the archives of the holy Inquisition. So it was that the religious use of sacred mushrooms remained unnoticed for centuries.  Fortunately for history and anthropology, a number of these early chronicles have since been discovered and translated. 


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. 

One of the first twelve missionaries 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).


            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 de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin)



According to Motolinía the Indians of New Spain regarded Quetzalcoatl as one of their principal gods. They called him the God of air and wind and built temples to him. Motolinia goes on to say that "Quetzalcoatl initiated the scarifying of ears and tongue, not, as was claimed, to serve the Demon, but to perform penance for the sins of evil speech and hearing. 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. 

Above is a page from the Tlaxcala Codex (Lienzo de Tlaxcala), a mid Sixteenth Century Mexican manuscript of the history of the Tlaxcaltecas and the Spanish in their wars against the Aztecs and the evangelical battle for Christianity. The Caption in Náhuatl the language of the Aztecs, describes how people are killed in the "house of the devil". The scene depicts a human sacrifice ceremony observed by Hernando Cortes at a temple dedicated to Lord Quetzalcoatl adorned with what I propose are six Fleur de lis symbols (Lienzo de Tlaxcala Folio 239r). (Lienzo de Tlaxcala http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/exhibns/month/jan2003.html) 


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 coast lands. 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. In the Madrid Codex according to Dibble Barrios, there was a prelude to the ceremony of eating mushrooms in which they sacrificed a quail and offered incense to the four directions, all of which I found depicted in the Lienzo de Tlaxcala Folio 239r.


In the Lienzo de Tlaxcala Folio 239r,, the artists depicts a scene of human sacrifice and the ritual decapitation of quail birds, witnessed by Cortes and his men, at the temple steps adorned with six Fleur de lis symbols. In the scene the artist depicts the offering of quails, the burning of incense, and the sacrifice of a human being to the four cardinal directions (note the four attendants), to a mushroom inspired Death God of underworld resurrection. 


The eating of mushrooms according to Fray Sahagun 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. Spanish chronicler Fray Bernardino de Sahagun, reported that mushrooms were eaten on the occasion of the accession of the famous Aztec King Moctezuma II to the throne, in the year 1502. 


            According to 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)


Above is close up image from a Mixtec pictogram, known as the Lienzo de Zacatepec  1540-1560 AD, also called the Códice Martínez Gracida, now in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, in Mexico City.  


It's my belief that the scene above in the Lienzo de Zacatepec, depicts the probable act of ritual self sacrifice, and that it portrays the Mexican god Tlaloc as a death god responsible for the act of underworld decapitation. Thus Tlaloc as the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus, represents the god of underworld resurrection. Those who died for Tlaloc, and in this case willingly by decapitation, were under his watchful eye, and went directly to his divine paradise of immortality called Tlalocan. The footprints in this scene represents a long journey by one of the royal figures above. I believe this journey is to the underworld, via sacred mushrooms, where the soon to be willing victim, or victims of ritual decapitation, resurrect from the underworld. Note the flint knife at the foot of the temple steps, that esoterically represents the ritual of decapitation. The encoded Fleur de lis symbol in the glyphs above next to the one of the figures, is I believe code for immortality and divine resurrection. Note that the victim's severed head below, is portrayed with mushrooms, on top of what is likely a sacred mountain or hill, that marks a sacred portal to the paradise of Tlaloc called Tlalocan, described by Fray Sahagun in the sixteenth century (Sahagun, 1946: I, 317-318) as the second of the nine resting places of the deceased, on the arduous road or journey (note footprints) to the Mictlan, the ninth and final resting place of the Aztec dead. With the lightning bolt Tlaloc engenders the divine mushrooms.  


             Quoting Wasson (1957):


"If we were to postulate mushrooms in pre-Conquest art in Mexico, we would direct our search precisely to frescos dealing with Tlaloc and the Paradise of our mushroomic visions, to the very frescos where we have found mushroomic shapes.



Its worth mentioning again of the Nahua (Aztec/Toltec) legend of a paradise of nine heavens that was dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, 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 (Hugh Thomas 1993, p.474).


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. The followers of Quetzalcoatl, I believe, came to the conviction very early on that, under the influence of the sacred mushroom, a divine force actually entered into their body--a state described as "god within".  Because mushrooms appeared to spring magically over night  from the underworld, apparently sparked by the powers of lightning, wind and rain, it would have been easy for these ancients to conclude that they were divine gifts brought to them by the wind god Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, and the rain god Tlaloc, both of them one and the same and avatars of the planet Venus.


Its my belief that Tlaloc, who is also known as a Rain and Lightning God, provided the sustenance of divine mushrooms mankind needed for everlasting life, in return for the shedding of human blood on earth. It's my belief that in Mesoamerica there was a belief that the stars in the night sky represented the decapitated heads of deified ancestors.


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 (Susan Milbrath 1999:51).

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" (Susan 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.

Above is a pre-Columbian figurine now in the Denver Museum, holding 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).  The ballgame was played at the completion of a time period in the sacred calendar, which always ended on the day Ahau, also spelled Ajaw.

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) that I propose is the Fluer de lis symbol. The idealized Venus cycle always ended on the day 1-Ahau, (Milbrath, 1999 p.170). Ahau in the Mayan language means "Lord", and its worth mentioning that the word for God or "Lord" in the Zoroastrian religion of ancient Persia, was Ahura....Its tempting to think that Ahura, could have been an ancient loan word, both Ahura and Ahau sound the same and they both have the same meaning of Lord or God. 

Spanish chronicler Jacinto de la Serna, in 1650 pointed out that the Aztec calendar was called the "count of planets". Serna, 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.  Serna, a cleric who in the middle of the 17th century composed a guide for the clergy entitled Manual de Ministros de Indios para el Conocimiento de sus Idolatrías y Extirpacio de Ellas.

Astronomical knowledge of the movement of Venus as both a Morning star and Evening star was recorded in the Venus Almanac of the Dresden Codex. These Venus Tables were recorded with the first date in the first row corresponding to the superior conjunction of Venus. The second date is 90 days later, corresponding to Venus's rise as an evening star. The third date is 250 days later,  when Venus disappears at inferior conjunction. The fourth date, 8 days later, corresponds to the rising of Venus as a morning star on the day Ahau,  an event by which time was measured. The next cycle always began with another superior conjunction. Five of these synodic cycles of 584 days (the modern value is 583.920 days) equals eight 365 day solar years to the day.

Above are symbols and names for the 20 day signs in the Mesoamerican calendar, note that the symbol in the Aztec calendar above center, is referred to as a flower and representing the number 20. This symbol is identical in shape to the Old World Fleur de lis symbol. Its my belief, that this Aztec symbol that represents the number 20, is really a symbol for divinity, or "Lord" and represents esoterically the flower or 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". Isquitl or Quitzuchilis is flower in the Nahuatl language, the language of the Aztecs. 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. 

The carved Maya vessel above (K5420), photographed in roll out form by Justin Kerr, depicts what I believe is an esoteric (mushroomic) scene of creation, taking place in the Underworld. I am proposing that the bearded deity with serpent hands, on the right represents the god Quetzalcoatl or the Feathered Serpent. Its my belief that Quetzalcoatl is portrayed in this scene with a Fleur-de-lis symbol emerging from his forehead that symbolizes lord and divinity.  In both Nahua (Aztec) and Maya mythology a dwarf often accompanies the deceased into the Underworld. A dwarf is depicted sitting in front of the bearded deity just below what appears to be a monkey. The monkey imagery in this creation scene may allude to the Five Suns cosmogonic accounts 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 (Mary Miller and Karl Taube 1993; p.118).




Spanish chronicler Fray Diego Duran reported that mushrooms were eaten on the occasion of the accession of the famous Aztec King 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).



            According to Spanish chronicler Fray Diego Duran ...(Duran, 1971)

“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”.            



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”.


            According to Duran ...(Duran, 1971)
 
“The Indians made sacrifices in the mountains, and under shaded trees, in the caves and caverns of the dark and gloomy earth. They burned incense, killed their sons and daughters and sacrificed them and offered them as victims to their gods; they sacrificed children, ate human flesh, killed prisoners and captives of war....One thing in all this history: no mention is made of their drinking wine of any type, or of drunkenness. Only wild mushrooms are spoken of and they were eaten raw.” 

...“It was common to sacrifice men on feast days as it is for us to kill lambs or cattle in the slaughterhouses.... I am not exaggerating; there were days in which two thousand, three thousand or eight thousand men were sacrificed...Their flesh was eaten and a banquet was prepared with it after the hearts had been offered to the devil.... to make the feasts more solemn   all ate wild mushrooms which make a man lose his senses... the people became excited, filled with pleasure, and lost their senses to some extent."
 

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 is his famous Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana, written between 1547 and 1582. Known as the Florentine Codex, it is a collection of well documented ethnographic information, organized into twelve books consisting of over 2400 pages and over 2000 illustrations drawn by native artists. Sahagun was the first to record that the Indians were using wild mushrooms (Teonanacatl) in religious ceremonies, where it was believed by the Indians to be the flesh of their god, and that the mushrooms produced powerful visions and voices that were from God. 

            Quoting  Fray Bernardino de Sahagun:

"In this land there are certain little mushrooms that are called teonanacatl. They grow beneath the grass in fields or moors. They are round, have a long little stem, thin and round. When eaten they have a bad taste, hurt the throat, and inebriate. They are medicinal for fevers and the gout. Only two or three are to be eaten, not more: those who eat them see visions and feel palpitations of the heart. The mushrooms incite lust in those who eat many, or even be they few. To wild or mischievous youngsters people say that they have eaten nanacatl." 

"One mushroom is called teo-nanacatl. It grows in the waste places, under the grass. The cap is round, the stem is elongated. By its bitterness it hurts, it hurts the throat. It intoxicates one, makes one dizzy, makes one violent. It helps in fevers, gout. Only two or three are to be eaten. It makes one suffer, causes affliction, makes one restless, causes one to flee, frightens one, makes one hide. He who eats many, many things sees. He terrifies people, makes them laugh. He strangles himself, hurls himself from high places, cries out, is afraid. When he eats it in honey he says, I eat mushrooms, I bemushroom myself. Of the boaster, the braggart, the vain one it is said, "He bemushrooms himself."


Above is a illustration from Book 11, of the Florentine Codex, by Frey 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 that sits atop the world tree in Mesoamerican mythology. 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 and from the underworld.


Pre-Columbian drinking vessel that encodes a celestial bird, and the forbidden fruit from the legendary World Tree or Tree of Life as sacred mushrooms (Source: Metropolitan Museum 1978.412.113). 

The illustration above is from Book 11 of Frey Bernadino de Sahagun's sixteenth-century Florentine Codex, of the divine sacrament known as "teononacatl", the hallucinogenic mushroom of the Aztecs (Sahagun,1950 p. 517). The illustration depicts a seated figure wearing a white robe, and drinking from a goblet or chalice next to, two severed mushroom caps. 


Spanish chronicler Jacinto De La Serna, also drew the analogy between the Christian Eucharist and the Aztecs eating of hallucinogenic mushrooms; 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). 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).


In a manuscript written by Hernando Ruiz de Alarcon between 1617-1629, called "Treatise on Indian Superstitions"  known today as Treatise on the heathen superstitions that today live among the Indians, which records in great detail the religious beliefs and rituals among the Aztecs.  Ruiz de Alarcon reported that the indigenous peoples believed that their sacred plants were gods, and described a tawny-colored mushroom made into a drink from its pressed-out juices.


             Spanish chronicler Hernando Ruiz de Alarcon:


 "Although I think that it will not be held against me to speak of my opinions about why these heathen customs and superstitions have remained and have been continued for so long in these natives after baptism, and even some that were not permitted to them in their heathen state, such as drunkenness-- which in their heathen state, had the penalty of death. And the others have a weak foundation, because a tradition of their false gods is hardly found among their stories as much because they did not know how to write as because one has not been able to find absolute clarity even about how they have come to inhabit this land or by what route." 


 "Thus the religion and devotion to their gods had few or no roots and the drunkenness which at present runs among them is so injurious and such a cruel enemy of Christian customs that it is today the worst of their vices.  This is the cause of the total destruction of the health of their bodies and consequently the sufficient and principal barrier to their preservation and increase. And although one offers me the objection that, since it has not been possible to prevent the lesser, neither will it be possible to remove the greater which is idolatry relative to drunkenness"  (Treatise on the heathen superstitions that today live among the Indians, p.39)



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

            
            Quoting Wasson (1957):

"The Nahua [the Aztecs] did not know they were dealing with a mere drug, as we say, a chemical compound with a known molecular structure and a known impact on the human mind. They were dealing with a miraculous, a divine gift" (Wasson, The Wondrous Mushroom; 1980  p.80-81)


On the left is a scene from the Codex Bodley, a Mixtec manuscript from Highland Mexico, painted sometime around A. D. 1500. I would strongly argue that the artist intentionally encoded a Fleur de lis symbol, as a symbol of divine immortality on top of a sacred mushroom, and that the three dots below the Fleur de lis is code for the sacred number three, and also for a trinity of creator gods. On the right is a close-up image from the pre-Conquest Codex Borgia, of a drinking vessel encoded with the Fleur de lis, which is symbolic of the Soma beverage, and "the mushroom of immortality". 



The abandonment of the true Soma plant and its replacement by surrogates likely occurred because the original Soma plant became taboo due to abuse, or maybe because it was difficult to obtain, or was no longer available once the proto Indo-Iranians or Aryans migrated from their original homeland. Wasson theorized that Soma was only available in the mountains, and would have been scarce in the Indus Valley where the Indo-Aryans came to reside (Kevin Feeney 2013 p.294). Soma was described as a liquid that could be squeezed out of a reddish plant and then drunk by priests.  Many candidates for the so-called mystery plant have been put forward, among them the Amanita muscaria mushroom, by Wasson, however to this day the leading candidate after considerable scholarly debate still remains Ephedra procera.







In 1952 archaeologists working at the Maya site of Kaminaljuyu on the outskirts of Guatemala City found a tripod stone carving in the shape of a mushroom bearing the effigy of a jaguar on its base. Sure that it corroborated the existence of a pre-Columbian mushroom cult, Gordon Wasson consulted American Museum of Natural History archaeologist Gordon F. Ekholm, who put the Wassons in touch with Stephan de Borhegyi, better known in the archaeological world, as Borhegyi.  

It so happened that Borhegyi, was in Guatemala at the time organizing the vast archaeological collections acquired over the years by the Carnegie Institution of Washington archaeological team. He had discovered many mushroom-shaped sculptures in the collections and found them so intriguing that he prepared a monograph about them. When Gordon Wasson heard about Borhegyi’s research he contacted him and the two began a close collaboration, (over 500 letters) sharing information that led them to conclude that a mushroom cult based on the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom had existed in Guatemala as early as 1000 B.C.E.


Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi, an emigrant from Hungary with a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology and Egyptology from the Peter Paszmany University in Budapest, 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.

While at work on these collections Borhegyi came across a number of small, unprovenanced carved stone effigy figures that resembled mushrooms to such a degree that they were called "mushroom stones."


Preclassic mushroom stones from the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu in the Guatemala Highlands. Both sculptures depict a mushroom emerging from the back of a crouching jaguar. Mushroom stones with a double edge or groove on the underside of the cap, have been dated to the Late Pre-Classic period about 300-100 B.C. by Stephan F. de Borhegyi based on the few mushroom stones that have been excavated in context at Kaminaljuyu (Borhegyi, Stephan De: "The enigmatic mushroom stones of Mesoamérica," M. A. Research Records III. New Orleans, 1959). 



            According to 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 1 December 1960 )




Borhegyi's mushroom studies revealed that mushroom stones first appeared in the Preclassic period in the highlands of Guatemala and at sites along the Pacific slope.  In 1957  he published a typological breakdown of mushroom stones according to their chronology and distribution (Wasson and Wasson, 1957) noting that the mushroom stones from the lower altitudes were of the late type and either plain or tripod. While mushroom stones are absent from the Classic period, he believed that they may have been re-introduced to Guatemala and El Salvador in the Post Classic period by the Pipils, another group like the "Tajinized Nonoalca", or Olmeca-Xicallanca  from the Mexican gulf Coast. Taking this into consideration Borhegyi postulated that these late type, plain or tripod mushroom stones may have represented a secondary manifestation of the original idea (Borhegyi to Wasson, June 14th 1953). Mushroom stones that carry an effigy of a human (god?), bird, jaguar, toad and other animals, occurred earlier in time and 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. It  is more than likely, therefore, that this mushroom was the inspiration or model for the earliest mushroom stone carvings.

There is evidence that the mushroom stone cult lasted well into the Colonial Era. According to testimony recorded in 1554 in the Colonial document entitled El Titulo de Totonicapan (Land Title of Totonicapan), the Quiché Maya revered mushroom stones as symbols of power and rulership, and before them they performed rituals (of blood sacrifice) to pierce and cut up their bodies. (Sachse, 2001, 186).


"  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."

Archaeologists in the volcanic highlands of Guatemala where the majority of mushroom stones have been found, and where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance, 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).

It's likely that the connection to the number nine goes back to the Nahua (Aztec/Toltec) legend of a paradise of nine heavens, that was dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, 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 (Hugh Thomas 1993, p.474).









Soma in the Americas: "Hidden In Plain Sight" 


Above, "Hidden In Plain Sight,"  the ceramic pre-Columbian mask 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 ritual decapitation, jaguar transformation, and spiritual resurrection. An Amanita muscaria mushroom (actual specimen shown in the photo on the right) is 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) 



Over the years the author has 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. In the New World, just as Soma was the Vedic god who came down from the heavens and manifested himself in the form of a god and a plant and beverage of immortality, so in the New World it was the culture hero, Quetzalcoatl who brought the sacred mushrooms and the hope of immortality to the natives of Mesoamerica. Spanish missionaries reported that among the Aztec the ceremony that called for the most attention was a mushroom inspired Holy Communion similar to the consecration of bread and wine, in the Holy Communion, practiced in the Catholic Church. The Aztecs called their Holy mushroom teonanacatl, signifying “God´s flesh.”   
         

In Mesoamerica as in the Old World, the Amanita muscaria mushroom is later replaced in the Soma ritual by several different species of psilocybin mushrooms, in the areas where the Amanita muscaria mushroom was not available. Wasson theorized that Soma was only available in the mountains, and according to Spanish missionary, 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).



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, 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)

Hernandez included illustrations of his mushrooms in his manuscript, but those precious illustrations according to Wasson (1957) were apparently lost in the Escorial fire. After describing a lethal species named citlalnanacáme, Hernandez goes on:


... "others when eaten cause not death but madness that on occasions is lasting, of which the symptom is a kind of uncontrolled laughter. Usually called teyhuinti, these are deep yellow, acrid, and of a not displeasing freshness. There are others again which, without inducing laughter, bring before the eyes all kinds of things, such as wars and the likeness of demons. Yet others are there not less desired by princes for their fiestas and banquets, of great price. With night-long vigils are they sought, awesome and terrifying. This kind is tawny and somewhat acrid.

 


Dr. Hernandez studied the native traditions and also concluded that the Indians already believed in the Holy 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 ".






The Rig Veda states that the gods consumed the Soma beverage in order to sustain their immortality, and a few hymns in the Rig Veda make a clear reference to healings, and the increased life spans of Soma users. Was Soma the secret to immortality, the "secret of secrets of the ancients" ?



"This here is Soma, never restrained, active, all conquering bursting forth, a Seer and Sage by sapience. All that's bare he covers over; all the sick he medicines, the blind man sees, the cripple walks." (Rig Veda 8LXVIII 1,2)



We are told that drinking Soma provides great physical strength and stamina, enough so, to pick up the earth itself, and the power of flight, to go beyond the limits of heaven and earth (Furst, 1976 p.97). Several hymns in the Rig Veda contain references of healing and increased life spans of Soma users. Vedic worshipers partook in the Soma ritual because it reportedly produced a divine sense of power and inspiration. They believed that the gods themselves joined in the ritual drinking.  By pleasing the Vedic gods with sacrifice, song, drink and food, the devotees hoped to gain the support of nature and win favor with the gods. The Soma beverage, and the Soma sacrifice, was the focal point of Vedic religion. According to the Rig-Veda, sacrifice was both a symbol of fear and one`s affection towards the gods.


The identity of the original Vedic "Soma plant" has been lost for centuries, however in the last two centuries scholars have been trying to identify the original "Soma Plant" their research became a quest to answer the Soma Question. The identification of the Amanita muscaria mushroom as the lost original "Soma plant" was first presented by Wasson in 1968. 

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 (Rig Veda 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 nine miniature mushroom stones Early and Late Preclassic period (1000 B.C.-A.D. 200), now in the Nottebohm collection, found buried together in a Maya tomb at the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu, along with nine miniature stone metates and manos (Soma stones?) used in the preparation of a ritual mushroom beverage. The taller jaguar mushroom stone was  excavated from the Pre-Classic Miraflores E-III-3 tomb at Kaminaljuyu.

        


            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).



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. 


           Quoting Maya archaeologist 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).


            According to Ethno-archaeologist Peter T. Furst:


"The connection between these [mushroom] sculptures and the historic mushroom cults of Mesoamerica has not always been accepted. Though many mushroom stones are quite faithful to nature, they were, until recently, not even universally thought to represent mushrooms at all, and a few die-hards even now, in the face of all the evidence, reject this interpretation." (Furst, 1972)



We know from surviving pre-Conquest manuscripts that before the Conquest ceremonial mushrooms were used in religious observances in the Guatemalan Highlands, where most of the mushroom stones have been found. According to Wasson, (1957) 

"the presence of a divinatory mushroom is rare in human cultures: would it not be extraordinary to find a mushroom cult in the same area with the mushroom carvings - themselves unique - and yet unrelated to them? Whereas in the past no one was suggesting a mushroomic explanation for the mushroom stones, we think that the presumption favors such an explanation now, and that the burden of the argument must be on those who oppose it." 



(click above)



Despite the reluctance of the archaeological community to accept Borhegyi's theory of a mushroom cult among the ancient Maya, he supported his theory with a solid body of archaeological and historical evidence.  As the result of Borhegyi's and Wasson's collaborative efforts, the two 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 Wasson (1957):

"Dr. Borhegyi's chart suggests to us that hallucinatory mushrooms were the focus of a cult in the highland Maya world that goes back at least to early pre-classic times, to B.C. 1000 or earlier, the earliest period when technically such artifacts could be carved in stone. Thus tentatively we trace back the use of the divine mushroom in Middle America to the earliest period from which a record could be expected to survive. Beyond that horizon may we project the mushroom agape back through millennia, to the Eurasian home-land whence our Indians' ancestors migrated?


"If the 'mushroom stones' were accessories in a mushroom cult, it is fair to ask why that cult disappeared long ago from the Maya highlands. We do not know, but the social institutions of the Maya world suggest an answer. Let us look again at the Mexican evidence. In the remote Mije country we found that the use of the sacred mushrooms was secular. Everyone there knows the mushrooms, and gathers and uses them. No curandero is needed for them. In the Mazatec country we find a dual cult. There was the superb performance by the Seilora, sharing the mushrooms with her coven and leading it by song and dance; and there was an intricate divinatory rite celebrated by Don Aurelio, with the aid of divers accessories, according to a complicated liturgical sequence. Don Aristeo in the Zapotec country followed the Señora's procedure, but withheld the Element from his congregation. Do we not discern here, in contemporaneous celebrations, the distinct phases of a cult that might mark a chronological evolution and in certain circumstances lead to its extinction? The sacred mushrooms with their miraculous powers could have been bathed in mana from an early time, and become the exclusive privilege of the priesthood, and ultimately of the highest priest-kings. As the mushrooms are not habit forming, there was no popular addiction to them that would have been an obstacle to this trend. When the regime of the priest-kings toppled over, the secret of the mushrooms, like so many other secrets of the Maya theocrats, disappeared with them".



     








"Soma"  Mushroom of Immortality "Hidden In Plain Sight"



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 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 Mexico and Guatemala, known as Maya "mushroom stones."    

The reason that mushrooms have for so long escaped identification by the anthropological community as sacred symbols is the fact that, for the most part, the images of mushrooms were simply not seen because they were encoded, hidden from the eyes of the uninitiated. On many vase paintings, murals and figurines, the images of mushrooms were so cleverly encoded and so intricately interwoven with other complex and colorful elements of Old World and New World 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. It suggests that visionary mushrooms were held with such religious reverence, "the secret of secrets",  that they were encoded in the religious art to escape detection. 

While at first glance the face of the "Weeping God" above gives the illusion of a deity with dangling eye-balls. However as the author discovered, if you look closely at the Weeping God 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.)


             According to Mesoamerican archaeologist 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)




            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." (Wasson and Wasson, 1957)




Much of our understanding of Mesoamerican religion has been pieced together from Spanish chronicles and pre-Hispanic and Colonial period manuscripts called codices. Above is page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis, also known as the Codex Vienna, its believed to be a 14th century Mixtec manuscript, that depicts the Wind God Quetzalcoatl bestowing mushrooms to his children mankind. 


Above is a page from the Codex Ríos, a Spanish colonial-era manuscript, now in the Vatican library (also called Codex Telleriano-Remensis), attributed to Pedro de los Ríos, a Dominican friar working in Oaxaca and Puebla between 1547 and 1562. The codex itself was likely written and drawn in Italy after 1566. The "bearded" deity above wearing what I would argue is a psilocybin mushroom inspired headdress is most likely the god-king Quetzalcoatl, who bestowed sacred mushrooms and the secret of immortality to his children, mankind. The drinking vessel in Quetzalcoatl's right hand encodes what I propose is a Mesoamerican version of the Fleur de lis symbol, depicted emerging from a sacred beverage with what appears to me to be two psilocybin mushrooms, as the artists clue to the content of the sacred sacrament involved.


In Mesoamerica as in the Old World, the Amanita muscaria mushroom is later replaced in the Soma ritual by several different species of psilocybin mushrooms, in the areas where the Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina mushroom are not available or not abundant, as apposed to the psilocybin mushroom which are found in abundance as reported by Sahagun in the sixteenth-century.


     
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). Fray Diego Durán who was one of the first Spanish chroniclers to write about mushroom ceremonies, was a firm believer that 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" (Histories of New Spain (1537—1588)


              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".


" 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 attrib"ute 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). 



The Book of Mormon tells of an Ancient Hebrew People who came to America, leaving Jerusalem around 650 BCE. Like the Hebrews, the Aztecs considered themselves to be a "chosen people", and like the Aztecs, suffered plagues and wondered in the desert for many years before reaching their so called promised land.

John Taylor who was the third president of the Mormon church from 1880 through 1887, wrote the following statement... (from Jerry Stokes, Did Jesus Christ walk the Americas in Precolumbian Times ?)


"The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being"
 


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.  


Not surprising, Duran’s writings were locked away and were 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.


 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). 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."



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.                                                       


            

           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 ".



Archaeological evidence of a trinity of creator gods among the ancient Maya, appear at numerous archaeological sites including Palenque, Cerros, Uaxactum, Caracol and at Tikal, during the Early Classic Period 250-400 C.E. (Proskouriakoff 1978:116) (Milbrath 1999:102). According to Maya scholars David Freidel and Linda Schele:


"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. " (A Forest of Kings 1990 p.245)


Above is a three-sided figurine head from Veracruz Mexico, (from Ekholm) and below is a carved stone stela from Western Mexico, both representing a three-in-one deity, or Holy Trinity in Mesoamerica. 


All Pagan religions from the time of Babylon have adopted in one form or another — a trinity doctrine or a triad or trinity of gods. In Babylon it was Nimrod, Semiramas and Tammuz. In Egypt it was Osiris, Isis and Horus. In Plato’s philosophy it was the Unknown Father, Nous/Logos and the World Soul. The Greek triad was composed of Zeus, Athena and Apollo. Romans had their trinity of Jupiter, Mercury and Venus. The Hindus had their trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.” — The Essential Teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong

Above is a ceramic incense burner portraying a trinity of gods, from the Olmec-Maya ruins at Comalcalco, near the modern day city of Villahermosa in Tabasco State of Mexico.  


The mystery surrounding the ancient city of Comalcalco is its use of fired clay bricks for construction as opposed to the quarried limestone common in the vast majority of Classical Maya sites. In the 1950s, archaeologist Gordon Ekholm excavated several of the buildings at Comalcalco and removed some of the mysterious bricks. The excavations appear to indicate that the Maya, or the Olmec before them, employed fired brick technology, and that Indic motifs seem to have been inscribed on some of the bricks. Its even been proposed that Brahmi script may have once existed at Comalcalco. 


Evidence of a trinity of gods among the ancient Maya was also supplied by the late Ethno-mycologist Bernard Lowy, who linked sacred mushrooms with lightning and a creation myth, and a trinity of creator gods, associated with divine rulership. As mentioned a bit earlier, Lowy reported in 1974, "Amanita muscaria and the Thunderbolt Legend in Guatemala and Mexico" page 189, that cakulha was not only the Quiché term for thunderbolt but is also the Quiché Maya name for Amanita muscaria mushroom. In the Popol Vuh, the mushroom gods of the Quiche Maya were named Thunderbolt Hurricane, Newborn Thunderbolt, and Raw Thunderbolt, alluding to a Trinity of gods also named in the Popol Vuh as Tohil, Auilix, and Hacauitz.  The ancient Mayan word for stone, cauac, comes from the word for lightning.


           Quoting Ethno-mycologist Bernard Lowy:


"During a visit to Guatemala in the summer of 1978, I stayed in the village of Santiago de Atitlan, a community where Tzutuhil [Mayan] is spoken and where ancient traditions and folkways are still maintained. There I learned that in Tzutuhil legend mushrooms are intimately associated with the creation myth.  In the Quiché Maya pantheon the god Cakulja, he of the lightning bolt, one of a trilogy of supreme gods, is revered above all others, and in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book in which the traditions of the Quiche people are recorded (Edmunson, 7), his position of ascendancy is made clear".    (from Lowy, Revista/Review Interamericana, vol. 11(1), pp. 94-103, 1980)



The Popol Vuh is the sacred book of the Quiché Maya, written sometime around 1550, it has a reference to the Old World as a point of departure, and of coming from "the other side of the sea" (Alma Reed, 1966 p.9).


Anthropologist Dennis Tedlock who translated the Popol Vuh into English in 1985, mentions that the principal gods among the Quiché Maya are listed “again and again” as Tohil, Auilix, and Hacauitz (beginning on p. 171 and ending on p.222) and calls these three gods, "the three Thunderbolts". As mentioned earlier, the god Tohil, has been identified by scholars as a Quiché variant of the god-king Quetzalcoatl.


Tedlock who has identified five episodes in the Popol Vuh involving underworld decapitation and self-decapitation in the Popol Vuh 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, as well as among some present-day highland Guatemalan shamans (Tedlock, 1985, P.V. p.250).  In one episode, in the Popol Vuh, the ball playing Hero Twins decapitate themselves in the underworld in order to come back to life.

According to the Popol Vuh (Mary Miller and Karl Taube 1993:136) the four founders of the Quiche lineages,  "journeyed to Tulan Zuyua, the mountain of the seven caves, and there they received the gods, whom they then carried home in bundles on their backs....Balam Quitze received Tohil, who gave humans fire, but only after human sacrifice to him had begun."  

Above is a close up of Page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus, that I would argue depicts the God-King Quetzalcoatl as the Wind God with a mushroom god on his back, "whom they [ the Quiché Maya tribes]  then carried home in bundles on their backs".

Many parallels can be found between the legends of the Hero Twins, as told in the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh, and those of the Ashvin Twins in the Rig Veda. One of the Twins named Yama from the Rig Vida is a primal being who, as the first to die,  becomes the lord of the dead. In a similar story in the Popul Vuh, the HeroTwins, whose father was also a twin, is decapitated in the Underworld where he remains the Lord of the Underworld. Yama's name actually means "twin."  The name "Quetzalcoatl"  can also be translated as "Precious Twin". 



Diffusionist Gordon Ekholm postulated another wave of influence during the Late Classic period (600-900 CE.) and Postclassic (1200-1400 CE.) periods in Mesoamerica, from the Hindu-Buddhist civilizations of India and Southeast Asia.



            Quoting the late archaeologist 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)



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 that was essentially related to cosmic forces such as wind, rain-lightning, 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 oldest postulated trans-Pacific contact with the New World is for the Early pre-Classic period, corresponding to the Early Bronze Age in China during the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 BCE.) (source, "Man across the Sea" Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, published in 1971, Third Printing 1976). Its at this time that 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). This is most likely when the mushroom of immortality cult was first introduced to the New World.



  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......" 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, pp. 48, 79)."



Archaeologists Gordon Ekholm and Betty Meggers, have suggested that Olmec culture was inspired by China. Ekholm proposed that visitors from the Shang Dynasty are said to have crossed the Pacific to teach the ancient Olmec how to write, build monuments, and worship a feline god" (Charles C. Mann 2005, p.233)



Above is a pre-Shang Dynasty mushroom-headed jade figurine from the Shijiahe culture 2,300 BCE Yangtze river China. 



  
Both the Maya (all Mesoamericans) and Chinese attributed magic powers to jade and considered it the most precious of materials, and was worshipped as a symbol of everything precious and divine. Both the Maya and Chinese placed jade in the mouth of the dead, as a symbol of resurrection, and both painted their funerary jades with red cinnabar (Miguel Covarrubias 1954 p. 104).
         


 
          Quoting Mexican art historian Miguel Covarrubias:

"So many are the points of coincidence between China and Mexico on the use, the manner of carving and polishing jade, the artistic styles, and the beliefs in the supernatural powers of the stone that it is difficult not to believe in a common origin"(1954:104).
       

                      

Diffusionists argue that many of the cultural similarities found in the New World are far to complex in their manifestation and associations to have evolved independently without the influence of Old World civilizations



          Quoting late great Mexican art historian Miguel Covarrubias:

"...the scientific world is now sharply divided into "diffusionists" (those who believe in an early diffusion of Asiatic and Pacific cultural traits through America) and "isolationists" (those who claim that all Indian culture was a local development). (from The Eagle, the Jaguar, and the Serpent: Indian Art of the Americas 1954)


Many of these cultural parallels were pointed out by such prominent art historians and archaeologists as Fenollosa, Osvald Siren, Leonhard Adam, Berthold Laufer, H.G. Creel, Carl Hentze, and particularly, Gordon Ekholm, Carl Schuster, Dr. Robert von Heine-Geldern and Miguel Covarrubias. In September of 1949, American Ethno-archaeologist Gordon Ekholm, in conjunction with German Ethno-archaeologist Robert Heine-Geldern, presented a list of cultural traits that the two believed linked Asia historically with pre-Columbian America (Heine-Geldern and Ekholm, 1951). Among American anthropologists, there seemed to be a growing skepticism about the possibilities of any contact between the hemispheres. Man was seen as coming across the Bering Strait in Pleistocene times, bringing little in the way of cultural baggage.



Quoting Diffusionist Dr. Robert von Heine Geldern: 

“ Future research will probably indicate that Asiatic influences changed the whole structure of native society and transformed the ancient tribal culture [Mesoamerica] 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)       


Most American scholars still scoff at the idea of transoceanic contact, insisting that the oceans were too wide to have been crossed before Columbus. When the Spaniards arrived in the New World they found among the Aztecs many religious practices that greatly resembled Christian rites, among them was a mushroom inspired Holy Communion similar to the consecration of bread and wine in the Catholic Eucharist., and a kind of baptism which to a great extent was the same as the one practiced in the Catholic Church.

              According to Mariano Veytia (1718-1778), a Catholic Friar and Mexican historian:

"It is known that through all the country was established a kind of baptism which changed, as to the ceremonies, in various places, yet remained the same everywhere in all essentials, a bath of natural water, reciting over the baptized some formulas, such as prayers and orations, imposing a name; and all this was considered as a rite of religion." (from Was the Apostle St. Thomas in Mexico 1881, p.421)


The Vedic-Hindu religion of East India, and the religions of Mesoamerica both venerated a Trinity of creator gods, as well as recognizing hundreds of other named gods. Both cultures knew of the corbel arch, shared sacred numbers, and the development of a place-value system using the concept of zero.


The late Maya archaeologist and epigrapher David H. Kelley, 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). Kelley also noted that half the names and animals of the Aztec days recur in Eurasia in correct sequence as the same or related animals in the constellation list (Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts 1971, Third Printing 1976, p.229 notes). 

"Kelley’s (1970) basic thesis are as follows: (1) The animal names of the Mesoamerican calendars are similar in nature, in sequence and absolute position to those of Eurasian animal cycles. (2) The sequence Twin-Death-Deer-Rabbit-Water and the opposition Rain in Middle America reflects the Hindu deity sequence. (3) The Mesoamerican days (and World Ages) of Wind, Fire, Earthquake, and Rain correspond to the complex Eurasian concepts of the World Ages and the Four Elements. (4) The use of an era in Mesoamerica, the association of colors with World Ages and the deities of the lunar mansions point directly to India" (From,  REVIEW ARTICLE The Evolution and Diffusion of Writing The Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs. HUGH A. MORAN and DAVID H. KELLEY. 1969 p.301).

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

                       Quoting the late Maya archaeologist and epigrapher David H. Kelley:

"New data and new techniques of analysis will eventually show that a great many contacts have occurred between far separated cultures, and more sophisticated analyses of the processes of cultural change will eventually allow clear-cut positive or negative conclusions about many cases that now remain in doubt." 
                       
            
                  
  Mendut is a ninth-century Buddhist temple, near Borobudur in Java, Indonesia      


Below is an excerpt explaining the divine nature of Soma, from a Hindu publication  SOMA /CHANDRA -GOD OF THE MOON:

"Soma was one of the more important gods in the Rig Veda; 120 hymns and one entire book are dedicated to him. He has many different forms. He is seen as a celestial bull, a bird, a giant rising from the waters, the lord of plants, and as an embryo. He rarely is seen as a fully grown human."


"As a drink, Soma is the ambrosia of the gods. It was due to this influence that they could rise above all obstacles to achieve their goals. Indra was a great drinker of the substance; before his confrontation with Vritra, he drank rivers of it to gain the strength needed to overcome the fearsome dragon. Agni also consumed it in large amounts. Soma was what gave the Vedic gods their immortality. It was also a drink for mortals, a golden-hued nectar which was derived from the Soma plant, which may be a species known as ephedra vulgaris to botanists. This drink brought hallucinations and ecstasy to those who consumed it. It helped warriors to overcome their fears in battle, and it helped poets to become inspired to create. Soma was a bridge between the mortal world and that of the gods. This drink is the same as Haoma in Persian mythology."


"As the moon, Soma became equated with the god Chandra, who originally was the moon deity. The moon was considered the cup which held the drink Soma for the gods, and one reason that the moon waxed and waned was due to this fact. When the moon waned, it was because the gods were drinking down all the Soma; as it waxed, the god was re-creating himself, only to be consumed again once the cup was again full. As the Vedic age ended and the Brahmans asserted themselves, the power of the gods no longer came from Soma but instead from sacrifices made by humans; Soma came more and more to be just a god of the moon. In later times, the waxing and waning of the moon was due to a curse put on Soma. Soma had twenty-seven wives (who correspond to the twenty-seven stations of the moon). They were all the daughters of Daksha. Daksha felt that Soma was paying too much attention to one of his daughters, thereby neglecting the rest. He cursed Soma to die a withering death. But Soma's wives intervened, and so the death became only periodic; during half the month, the moon slowly dies away, but is reborn and comes around again to full vigor." 


(source http://www.indianetzone.com/12/chandra.htm) (and from http://www.crystalwind.ca/mystical-magical/pantheons-and-myths/hindu/soma-chandra-god-of-the-moon)


 
Quoting Rig Veda scholar Wendy O'Flaherty:

“In deed, if one accepts the point of view that the whole of Indian mystical practice from the Upanishads through the more mechanical methods of yoga is merely an attempt to recapture the vision granted by the Soma plant, then the nature of that vision—of that plant—underlies the whole of Indian religion, and everything of a mystical nature within that religion is pertinent to the identity of that plant " (O’Flaherty, Wendy. D. quoted in Smith, 49). 

The Monkey God Hanuman above right, is portrayed holding an Amanita muscaria mushroom in his left hand. Hanuman is the ever-living (immortal) son of Lord Vayu the Wind God, and is one of the more popular deities in Indian mythology, and one of the central characters in the various versions of the epic Ramayana. Besides being a popular deity in Hinduism, Hanuman is also found in Jainism and Buddhism. The earliest mention of a divine monkey, interpreted by some scholars as the proto-Hanuman, is in hymn 10.86 of the Rigveda, dated to between 1500 and 1200 BCE. (Wikipedia)


Above is a sculpture of a Hindu Goddess, holding what appears to be an Amanita muscaria mushroom in her right hand. Relief of Alasa Kanya at Vaital Deul, Bhubaneswar India. Photograph from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.   

                           
Amanita muscaria mushrooms (Soma) encoded in heads of Harappan fertility goddesses. The use of mushroom imagery in connection with the head in areas as far distant as Southeast Asia and Central Mexico, is both striking and intriguing. 

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, is just a coincidence "Hidden in Plain Sight"  there are other, more complex, similarities to follow that suggest possible transpacific contacts between the two areas.

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 that encode Amanita muscaria mushrooms. 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).


In Zoroastrian religion, the same sacred plant god was known as Haoma. Like Soma, this plant deity played a major role in Persian culture and mythology. Exactly what plant Haoma originally might have been is the subject of much debate. It has long been established that Haoma was also a psychoactive beverage like Soma (Bennett and McQueen 2013, p.64) (Stein 1931, Falk 1989, Brough 1971, Rudgley 1998). 


Above on the right is a Maya figurine (300-900 C.E.) photographed by Justin Kerr (K656a).  The figurine wears a headdress that I believe encodes the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The figurine's contorted face depicts the "Olmec snarl", a common motif in Olmec art that I believe metaphors the mushroom's effect of jaguar transformation and the soul's mythical underworld journey.  The figurine holds in his hands a concave mirror.  Mirrors were used by shamans who had extraordinary spiritual powers to see into the past and future and communicate with ancestors and gods. Under the influence of visionary mushrooms, shamans employed those powers to influence the human world.



                                              Mirrors were a common ritual object in Central Asia, and China, as well as in the Americas. 

Han Dynasty, ancient China (206 BC – 220 AD). Painted Pottery 'Sichuan' figurine, holding a mirror and wearing a headdress encoded with Amanita muscaria mushrooms. In ancient China polished mirrors were more often used for magical purposes and were often buried in graves to provide light for the dead.

           Quoting 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) 


Above is a pre-Columbian vessel from Peru, South America that depicts a ruler, or priest, or maybe even a foreigner wearing what looks to me like a fez cap, and holding a mirror in one hand, and an Amanita muscaria mushroom in the other.


Above is a pre-Columbian mirror, Chimu culture 1100?1470 CE, Peru South America. The mirror portrays a ruler, priest, or even a deity holding what appears to be divinatory mushrooms in both hands, and not axes for ritual sacrifice as most Andean scholars would have you believe. (David Bernstein Pre-Columbian Art N.Y.)

Above are figurines from Asia and the Americas that encode mushroom imagery in association with magic mirrors and mirror gazing. For documentation of mirror gazing in the Old World see Laufer 1915, J. Hastings, 1951: IV, 780-782). For documentation of mirror gazing in Mesoamerica see T. Besterman, 1965,: 73-77; Museum of Primitive Art, 1965)

There is a worldwide tradition of the use of mirrors in divination--scrying and catoptromancy (Besterman 1965). According to Laufer the Chinese used concave mirrors of metal, metallic stone and other minerals during the Chou Dynasty (1027 to 223 B.C.), as well as later, both to ignite sacred or ceremonial fires and for magical and medicinal purposes. The earliest Chinese mirrors found outside of China are two Huai mirrors, one of which was found in a sixth century BCE. kurgan (grave) Pazyryk culture, high in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. 

Ethno-archaeologist Gordon Ekholm (1973) describes two accounts of Mexican rulers from the time before the Spanish conquest using magical obsidian mirrors to foretell the future, one of these rulers being Moctezuma who is said to have seen his fate and the conquest of the Aztec Empire in a mirror (John B. Carlson 1981, p.127)

According to archaeologist John B. Carlson (1981 p.128) there is evidence from both Maya inscriptions and iconography that shows there was probably a "mirror ceremony" involved with the transfer of royal lineal power, heir designation, or accession to rulership.

In 1955, archaeologists excavating at the Olmec ceremonial site of La Venta in the state of Tabasco Mexico, discovered two complete concave mirrors in two separate dedicatory offerings, numbered 9 and 11 (Drucker et al. 1959), radiocarbon dates the offering at about 800 B.C.E.  It's very clear that magic mirrors were high-status objects and were traded extensively in Formative times (John B. Carlson 1981 p. 124). Both concave mirrors were fashioned with a high degree of polish as to maximise specific optical properties, and according to archaeologists, both mirrors had drilled holes for the purpose of attaching a cord,  to be worn around the neck (Heizer and Gullberg, 1981 pp.109-112). Gullberg suggested several possible purposes or uses for the mirrors: a burning mirror or fire starter, a camera obscura, and a magnification devise for self-contemplation, and or divinatory purposes.
 
Greek vessels like the ones above appear to encoded mushrooms in scenes involving the use of mirrors.  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. The Greek vessel on the left (4th century B.C.) is now in the Archaeological Museum of Florence, and Greek skyphos (deep drinking cup) on the right, (mid-4th century BC.) is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 1958, Robert Graves drew attention to an Etruscan bronze mirror in the British Museum that he believed depicted two toadstool mushrooms at the feet of  Ixion the legendary king in Greek mythology, who was also linked with fire and lightning. 


 
                Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst (1976, p.80-82) identify mushroom headdresses on Moche portrait vessels from Peru (200-700 A.D.) 



              Quoting Peter T. 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).


The Andean portrait vessel on the left is from Peru, South America, Moche culture 100-700 A.D. now in the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera's private collection in Pueblo Libre. The Moche portrait vessels above clearly encode the Amanita muscaria mushroom in the headdress of these warriors or High Priests.


In Mesoamerica, Maya inscriptions tell us that the movement of the planet Venus and its position in the sky was a determining factor for waging a special kind of warfare known as Tlaloc warfare or Venus "Star Wars." 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)  These wars, waged against neighboring city-states for the express purpose of taking captives for sacrifice to the gods, thus constituted a form of divinely-sanctioned "holy" war. Those who were sacrificed to the gods, or who died in battle went directly to Tlaloc's paradise called Tlalocan, and were blessed with immortality.


One of the most renowned Spanish chroniclers, Fray Diego Duran, wrote in his Histories of New Spain (1537—1588)  mentions that the word for sacrifice, nextlaoaliztli, in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, meant either "payment", or the act of payment. He writes that young children were taught that death by the obsidian knife was a most honorable way to die, as honorable as dying in battle or for a mother and child to die in childbirth. Those who were sacrificed by the obsidian knife were assured a place in Omeyocan, the paradise of the sun, the afterlife.

Seated figurine of a shaman with mushroom inspired head, Jalisco culture (200 B.C.-300 AD.) Jalisco Mexico.
Above are male figurines of shamans from Western Mexico Zacatecas culture 2nd century CE, in which the artist has encoded the Amanita muscaria mushroom, as the sacred sacrament of the shaman. (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.)
 

Franciscan friar Diego de Landa recorded that the Maya drank intoxicating beverages 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,  fourth edition, 1983, p.484).


According to Landa:

"The Indians are very dissolute in drinking and becoming intoxicated, and many ills follow their excesses, in this way. They kill each other; violate their beds, the poor women thinking they are receiving their own husbands; they treat their own fathers and mothers as if they were in the houses of enemies; they set fire to their houses and so destroy themselves in their drunkenness"...."Their wine they make of honey and water and the root of a certain tree they grow for the purpose, and which gives the wine strength  and a very disagreeable odor (Yucatan Before and After the Conquest, 1978  p35).


One of the ritual drinks that more than likely became the substitute for the Soma beverage in the New World, was called balche, an intoxicating beverage made from fermented honey and the bark or root of the balche tree (Lonchocarpus longistylis). Anthropologist Thomas Gage reported that the highland Maya (Pokomam) of Guatemala added toads (Bufo marinus) to their fermented beverages to strengthen the results (The Ancient Maya,  fourth edition, 1983, p.483-484).



Photographs © Justin Kerr: Above are two Late Classic (600-900 A.D.) Maya figurines, of warriors wearing what appears to be mushroom encoded headdresses

Spanish chronicler Fray Sahagun, who was the first to report mushroom rituals among the Aztecs. Sahagun also speaks of a medicinal virtue in the mushrooms: he says that the teo-nanacatl were good for gout and fevers (Wasson and Wasson 1957). Sahagun 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. 

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 worshiped 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. 

             According to Maya archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi explains:
  
" I think that the story is as follows: the priest king Quetzalcoatl /Kukulcan, (Gucumatz) was expelled by his enemies from Tula (Tollan), sometime around 960 A.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, de  Borhegyi to R. Gordon Wasson, April 1954 Harvard Archives ).



The events of this period, which bridges the gap between prehistory and history, as well as the gap between disputed dates in the Maya calendar and dates recorded in the European calendar, are far from clear. In order to distinguish the semi-historical Quetzalcoatl from Quetzalcoatl as the Feathered Serpent or Wind God deity,  the Toltecs prefixed his birth date to his name, Ce Acatl,  meaning "One-Reed." One-Reed, coincidentally the same year when Cortés landed his ships on the eastern shores of Mexico in 1519, dressed in black because it was Good Friday. 

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.  






    

BEYOND THE BALLGAME:           


  

 
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). The pottery mushroom was found near the figurine of an acrobat suggesting that mushrooms may have been consumed to induce the super-heroic athletic ability and agility. It's important to note that the pose of the 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  were likely used in bloodletting rituals. (Photographs copyright de Borhegyi)
 

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.


Pottery mushrooms have also been excavated at Pre-Classic Maya Lowland sites like El Mirador and Berriozabal, and in 1962 archaeologist Richard E. W. Adams reported finding several pottery mushroom specimens in the Maya Rain forest at the Olmec influenced site of Altar de Sacrificios (Borhegyi, 1963 Vol.28, No.3, p.330).


The famous bronze statue on the left, of a young women sporting a club-like hand, is from Harappa, early Indus civilization and thought to be about 4,500 years old. The standing female figurine on the right, represents a female ballplayer from ancient Mexico wearing a protective helmet, and club-like glove and wears what may be  a mushroom-inspired ballgame protective cup and belt.  (For more on "knuckle dusters" or  ballgame hand stones and ballgame gloves see de Borhegyi, 1961: 129-140. (photograph of Xochipala female ballplayer from Whittington, 2001). 



The female ballplayer figurine comes from the archaeological 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).


Throughout Mesoamerica during the Preclassic period (1500 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 ritual decapitation (S.F. de Borhegyi 1980)

Stone objects like the ballgame hacha and palma pictured above, were likely used for ceremonial purposes and not worn during actual play.

Above on the left, is a miniature stone hacha  (Late Classic Period, 600-900 C.E.),  the Spanish word for axe, from Veracruz, Mexico ( photograph from Whittington, 2001). In Mesoamerica, it was believed that both stones and mushrooms were created from lightning. Stone hachas, like the one depicted above on the left, fit into the belt or stone yoke worn by ballplayers in the Mesoamerican ballgame. The hacha above represents a decapitated trophy head of a wrinkled faced and toothless old man wearing what appears to be a cone-shaped hat. The wrinkled face and toothless mouth suggest the Old Fire God (Xiuhtecutli), however a closer look at the trophy head 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 who bestowed sacred mushrooms, and thus immortality to his children, mankind. Nahua manuscripts (Annals of Cuauhtitlan) record that it was Lord Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl who invented the ballgame (Irene Nicholson, 1967 p.117). 

The photograph on the right of a ballgame palma also called a palmate stone, 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.. The palma, encodes a stylized trefoil that I believe represents a pre-Columbian version of the Old World Fleur de lis emblem. The palma is now in the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum. It should be noted that the stone palmas popularly used in connection with the Mesoamerican ballgame in Mexico (especially on the Gulf Coast) during Classic times seem for some reason to be curiously absent in both the highland and lowland Maya areas (Borhegyi 1971, p.87). 

For a comprehensive description of the pre-Columbian ball games and its various and occasionally regional uses of ball-game paraphernalia, and on the "trophy head" cult as related to the games, see (Borhegyi de, S.F. 1960a, 1961c, 1963b, 1965a: 22-23, nn. 23, 28, 1965c, 1968a, 1968c, 1980


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