THE SECRET OF SECRETS


"Hidden In Plain Sight"


by Carl de Borhegyi  Copyright  2017


"Hidden In Plain Sight": Mushroom Symbolism in Art and Archaeology, is a research site dedicated to the author's father Mesoamerican archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi, who proposed a theory over 60 years ago of a Hallucinogenic mushroom cult among the ancient Maya of Guatemala and Mexico. 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 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.   




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 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. 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 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.

            
            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 Jesus Christ....)  (photograph of Amanita muscaria mushrooms by Karen Kaminski)        
       


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)


            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"...   



In Allegro's controversial but thought-provoking study of psychotropic mushroom rituals in early Judeo-Christianity, Allegro proposes the possibility that contemporary Judeo-Christian tradition may be traced to primitive fertility cults associated with the adoration of the fly agaric or Amanita muscaria mushroom.   

             

            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. 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).

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. 



           Quoting Wasson: 

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


" I believe that Soma was a mushroom, Amanita muscaria (Fries ex L.) Quel, the fly-agaric, the Fliegenpilz of the Germans, the fausse oronge or tue-mouche or crapaudin of the French, the mukhomor of the Russians. This flaming red mushroom with white spots flecking its cap is familiar throughout northern Europe and Siberia. It is often put down in mushroom manuals as deadly poisonous but this is false, as I myself can testify" (Wasson, 1968). 


Wasson expressed it best when he wrote this about the Amanita muscaria mushroom:

"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 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). 


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 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).





Forbidden Fruit: 


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. 



            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)





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).     



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".

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


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). 

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, 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)



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). 



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

" 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". (Williams 2009 p.7) 



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).


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).


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 what I propose are encoded mushrooms emerging from the chalice held by Dionysus,  a clue "Hidden in Plain Sight" suggesting a mushroom based ritual beverage.



            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).  




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 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.  

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


"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.


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 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).



Allegro surmised that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was the original sacrament of the Eucharist, that formed the basis of early Christian doctrines, including the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

 
Quoting 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). 


          

"...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).



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."




         Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality


"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)



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 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?).


"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)




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 it was the inspiration of many religious ideas throughout both the Old and New World. 



             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 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. 


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's research proposes that the Fleur de lis symbol, and 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.  


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.


The Amanita or fly agaric mushroom and the psilocybin mushroom appears not only to have played a role in the early history of Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrian, Judaism and Christianity, but also may be the metaphorical key to decoding the esoteric religions of ancient Mesoamerica, and South America, including Easter Island.  

In today's society it has become taboo to expand ones consciousness by the use of drugs or plants in a 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.    


I found this letter in my father's archives, it's from Christian missionary and anthropologist Eunice V. Pike. 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."

    

"Hidden in Plain Sight" An Altar frontal (A.D. 1465) 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.



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-Soma related symbolism throughout Mesoamerica, but also in the art of the Inca, Mochica, Chavin, Chimu, and Paracas cultures of South America. 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 on page 20 of the Codex Selden, also known as the Codex Anute. The three encoded Fleur de lis symbols tagged onto what I would argue are three sacred mushrooms is I believe code for immortality and divine resurrection and a Trinity of Gods. The footprint motif is a common one in pre-Columbian art, symbolizing "a journey", or in this case alluding to a very long journey into the underworld and beyond.



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.

Quoting Wasson:

"The Nahua (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)


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 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. 


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 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".

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).

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.


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.



            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).



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: 


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". 


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, one of which was a visit to the island abode of Utnapishtim, the Babylonian Noah, in search of the secret of eternal life, which Utnapishtim was supposed to posses (Henery H. Halley 1951 p. 76). 


According to both Allegro and Wasson, in the epic, the hero Gilgamesh, 5th king of Uruk, (also spelled Erech) 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.


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".              

The Sumerian goddess Inanna (above) 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, and Babylonians as a Venus Goddess under the name Ishtar. Once again Inanna appears to have psilocybin mushrooms emerging from the back of her shoulders ?




Storm and Lightning Gods and Divine Mushrooms:


In my examination of pre-Columbian art, I found that storm gods, rain gods, and lightning gods are esoterically connected with psychotropic mushrooms. 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. 


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) 



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, 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'.  

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.

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 (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. 


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. 

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).



Manna from Heaven:

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.

Above are probable mushrooms (manna from heaven?), encoded in stained glass, in association with the Fleur de lis symbol. 

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."

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. 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).


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.  


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.  


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.

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


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). 


Today 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 ). 





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. 

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".


"It is the same imagery of the “vine-mushroom” that described Jesus as “the true vine” (John i:i, s)’ and in Jewish—Christian literature as “the Vine of David”.



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 on the left is the infamous Plaincourault Fresco circa 1291, Plaincourault Chapel Merigny, France that clearly encodes the Amanita muscaria mushroom (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.  



            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



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 he 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:


"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.?



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. 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" .


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.


Above are not so easily recognizable mushrooms, stylistically encoded in a resurrection scene of Jesus Christ, "Hidden in Plain Sight",  in the Chapel of the Orthodox church in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. 



"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)




Ethno-botanist Clark Heinrich author of the book  " Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy"





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". Quoting mycologist  Eric Osbourne:  "It is difficult to see anything except mushrooms" (personal communication 2016)


Above and below 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 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). Sahagun books that 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)


Quetzalcoatl's mushroom religion was so sacred that, if one gave one's own life in sacrifice, the act emulated Quetzalcoatl, himself. 


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). 

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.



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) 


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. 


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).


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, (1892,The Manuscript of Serna)... 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. 

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, and I propose that this Aztec symbol representing the number 20 is really a symbol for divinity, or "Lord" and represents esoterically the mushroom of immortality. Flowers symbolize a state of the soul on its journey to full godhood and Teonanacatal, the mushroom of the Aztecs, was called "the flower that makes us drunk" (Nicholson 1967, p.90). Fray Diego Duran writes that war was called xochiyaoyotl, which means "Flowery War". Death to those who died in battle was called xochimiquiztli, meaning "Flowery Death" or "Blissful Death" or "Fortunate Death". I propose that the flower that makes one drunk, and sends one to heaven was a sacred mushroom, and that the Fleur de lis emblem was code that symbolized mushroom immortality. 



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.


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. 


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. 

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.






Mycolatry 101:


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


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.


In 1957 Wasson included 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 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)


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).


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.


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 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.

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


Admittedly I have bypassed the traditional route of doctoral studies in New World archaeology, art history, and religion.  It should be noted, however,  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, come immediately to mind. It is, in fact, in partial tribute to him and to his discoverer, Maya archaeologist, Michael D. Coe, author of "Breaking the Maya Code", that I have titled my book, "Breaking the Mushroom Code"  (See M.D. Coe, Breaking the Maya Code, 1992)



Quoting archaeologist 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)





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) 



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."    

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)


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 ".



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. Supposedly, the gods consumed the beverage in order to sustain their immortality. In this aspect, Soma is similar to the Greek ambrosia (cognate to amrita) because it was what the gods drank and what helped make them deities.

            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 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)




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, as well as Wasson's extensive research into mushroom symbolism in Siberia and Southeast Asia, 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. 



           









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


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 from Veracruz Mexico, representing a three-in-one deity, or Holy Trinity of Gods 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


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 early Vedics, Hindus, Buddhists, and Persian Zoroastrians, like the Mesoamericans, also believed 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)




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.


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.

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 theses 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.



Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst (1976, p.80-82)  writes that similar religious concepts of the Olmecs and Maya existed in South America. He has identified mushrooms and mushroom headdresses on Moche ceramic vase paintings (200-700 A.D.) such as those I found on the portrait vessels below.


              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).

Moche portrait vessels from Peru, both wearing a  headdress encoded with the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The Moche culture reigned on the north coast of Peru during the years 100-700 A.D.

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, 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





Decoding the Fleur de Lis Symbol:

In my examination of pre-Columbian art, I was surprised to discover that the gods and kings that are crowned with the Fleur de lis symbol are also linked to a World Tree, a Trinity of gods, and a sacred beverage of immortality, linked to the Amanita muscaria mushroom. 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. 

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

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

The rise of the ancient Olmec in the New World has puzzled archaeologists for some time. The Olmec, the first complex civilization of the New World emerge from the jungles of the Gulf Coast of what is now present day Mexico, sometime around 1500-1200 B.C. Archaeologists contend that the Olmec culture appears to come from out of nowhere in full bloom at the site of San Lorenzo, in Veracruz, Mexico. Carbon 14 dates place Olmec civilization at San Lorenzo at 1200 B.C. E. (M. D. Coe, 1970, p.21). The ancient Olmec appear on the scene having already developed a highly evolved system of writing, where no earlier or simpler forms have been found. Renowned Maya archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley, noted that there was also the lack of known direct antecedents of Maya culture in the Maya region (Morley 1946, p.46). Morley noted writing as a perfect example, that even in its earliest known forms, it was already a highly evolved system, that no earlier, simpler forms of writing out of which it might have grown are known anywhere (Stephen C. Jett 1971,p.46).

We know very little about the religious beliefs of the Olmecs and their contemporary neighbors, other than that they apparently revered the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom, which they portrayed in small stone sculptures known as Mushroom Stones and also depicted in association with pottery figurines. It is likely that they also practiced ritual decapitation in connection with an esoteric cult of the human head associated with trophy heads, and with the Mesoamerican ballgame. As the first complex religion in Mesoamerica, the Olmec set the tone for future religious developments throughout much of the New World.

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

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

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


My father theorized that Maya civilization developed as the result of direct influences from the Olmec civilization of La Venta, and suggested that the Olmec of La Venta most likely spoke a Proto-Mayan, living among such other Maya speakers as the Huaxtecs, and proto-Totonacs (S.F. de Borhegyi 1965a p.19). Words like muxan and okox (mushroom) are two of several words borrowed or loaned by the ancient Maya, perhaps as early as 1000 B.C. (Furst, 1976, p. 79) Terrence Kaufman and Lyle Campbell, two linguists  studying the diffusion of languages in Mesoamerica, postulate that the language of the ancient Olmec, (at San Lorenzo ?) the so-called "mother culture" of New World civilization, was Mixe-Zoque.

Dictionaries of Maya highland languages compiled after the Spanish Conquest mention several intoxicating mushroom varieties whose names clearly indicate their ritual use. One type was called xibalbaj okox, "underworld mushroom" in reference to the belief that mushroom transported one to a supernatural realm of the underworld  (Robert J. Sharer, 1983: 484).

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

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

Above is a Late Classic period (600-900 C.E.) incense burner from the ancient Maya city of Palenque, in Chiapas Mexico. Palenque is home to a triad (Trinity) of patron deities known as the Palenque Triad. The deity portrayed on the incense burner wears a crown with symbols reminiscent of the Fleur de lis.

"Our knowledge of Palenque's early dynasty comes from a collection of retrospective texts produced at the end of the 7th century. They combine to trace its royal line through a list of historical kings and back to their mythical precursors' (Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube 2000, p. 156)

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


The discovery, of the Fleur de lis symbol encoded in Pre-Columbian art leads me to believe that, in addition to the ancient mushroom cult first proposed by my father Stephan F. de Borhegyi, (de Borhegyi, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963), other Vedic traditions migrated to the Americas as early as 1000 B.C.E.  

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


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


 Mushrooms were so closely associated with death and underworld jaguar transformation and Venus resurrection that I conclude that they must have been believed to be the vehicle through which both occurred. They are also so closely associated with ritual decapitation, that their ingestion may have been considered essential to the ritual itself, whether in real life or symbolically in the underworld.          
   
In Siberia the Amanita muscaria mushroom or fly agaric, grows in a symbiotic relationship with the birch and pine tree, which gave rise to the World Tree within the cosmology of several Siberian tribes, and that an eagle is described as perched in the tree, while a serpent dwells at its base, a myth that is paralleled in both the Old and New World  (Wasson 1968, p.214)

In Vedic Hindu mythology its an eagle named Garuda (Gayatri,) who gives the Soma beverage to the gods. Soma was considered to be the most precious liquid in the universe, used in sacrificial rituals to the gods, particularly Indra, the warrior god.

The ancient carving above on the left from Central Asia, depicts a bird deity, with wings that encode a Fleur de lis symbol. The Türk-Moğol carving is from the North Caucasus region on the Caspian Sea, in the Russian Republic of Dagestan also spelled Daghestan (Türk-Moğol Altın Ordu Devletine ait Rölyefler. 1242-1502. Golden Horde Dağıstan) On the right is a modern day image of a phoenix crowned with a Fleur de lis emblem. The Phoenix, is a mystical bird said to live 500 or 600 years and then builds for itself a funeral pyre, to which it sets fire by fluttering its wings over it, once consumed by the fire the Phoenix rises again from it's own ashes renewed in youth and gorgeous plumage.

"The Phœnix is believed by the Chinese to uphold their Empire and preside over its destiny; it is also worn as a Talisman for Longevity and Conjugal Happiness; whilst in the mystic sense it typifies the- whole world, its head the heavens, its eyes the Sun, its beak the Moon, its wings the wind, its feet the earth, and its tail the trees and plants". (source.. http://japanesemythology.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/on-the-trail-of-the-toriis-origins/)




It may not be coincidental that in Mesoamerica there is a parallel belief in a World Tree, or Tree of Life with a great bird who sits on top. In Mesoamerica the cedar tree of Yucatan was called kuche, the "tree of God" and was the preferred wood for idol-making. In the Mayan creation story told in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiche Maya of Highland Guatemala, a great bird known as 7 Macaw, or Vucub Caquix the Principal Bird Deity, sits atop the World Tree.


In Mesoamerican mythology the harpy eagle is associated with the World Tree, as well as with both the resurrected sun, and the planet Venus as a resurrection star. In both the Old World and the New World the Fleur de lis carries the same metaphoric meaning of divine resurrection. The manifestation of this star in Mesoamerica being the "Feathered Serpent", the winged god-king Quetzalcoatl. It is said that when Quetzalcoatl died he was changed into that star that appears at dawn. This dualistic aspect of Venus is why Venus was venerated as both a God of Life and God of Death. It was said that, they [the Quiche Maya] gave thanks to the sun and moon and stars, but particularly to the star that proclaims the day, the day-bringer, referring to Venus as the Morning star (The Title of the Lords of Totonicapan, 1953 third printing 1974, p. 184).

Above is a page from the Codex Borgia, one of the few remaining pre-Conquest codices. These pictorial documents contain much valuable information pertaining to native history, mythology, and ritual, related to a pantheon of supernatural gods. Unfortunately, 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. The painting from the Codex Borgia depicts the World Tree", or "Tree of Life" emerging from the body of a death god in the underworld, (life from death). Perched atop the spectacular tree with its branches encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol is a harpy eagle, a symbol of the Morning Star and the new born Sun, and the avatar of the god-king Quetzalcoatl. (http://americaindigena.com/sacred16.htm).
           

Above is a mural scene from the Temple of Feathered Conches at the ancient city of Teotihuacan, (150 B.C.E.-750 C.E.). The Fleur de lis symbol appears in this scene with a harpy eagle. The ancient metropolis of Teotihuacan is located on the outskirts of Mexico City and thught to have been established sometime around 100 B.C.E. (photo © Robin Heyworth – Photo taken 10th December 2001)

In Aztec (Nahua) legends the sun, descends each night into the underworld to battle the forces of death in order to return, triumphant, each morning to the sky on the wings of an eagle. Note that the sacred beverage (Soma?) depicted above in the Codex Vaticanus B, an Aztec ritual and divinatory manuscript, encodes what I would argue are two Fleur de lis symbols, that may allude or be code for the Evening star, and Morning star aspects of Venus as a resurrection star. As the Morning Star the God-king Quetzalcoatl's avatar was the harpy eagle.


The Toltec /Maya polychrome vessel above is from Quintana Roo, Mexico, Postclassic Maya, 1200-1400 C.E.  The vessel depicts the image of a "diving god", in the guise of the harpy eagle, attributes that link this diving deity to Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star. It's my belief that the objects in the hands of Quetzalcoatl (Kukulcan in Yucatec Mayan) are the severed caps of psilocybin mushrooms. The removal of the head of the mushroom or mushroom cap is a symbolic reference to ritual decapitation in the Underworld. Wasson writes that the stems of sacred mushrooms were removed and the mushroom caps consumed ritually in pairs prior to self-sacrifice. (Polychrome ceramic container with diving god wearing harpy eagle headdress. ht. 11.4 cm. U.S. Library of Congress, J. Kislak Collection)


"Earth-diver myths are common in Native American folklore but can be found among the Chukchi and Yukaghir, the Tatars and many Finno-Ugrian traditions. The pattern of distribution of these stories suggest they have a common origin in the eastern Asiatic coastal region, spreading as peoples migrated west into Siberia and east to the North American continent" (Wikipeda). 


In 1980 Eyhno-mycologist Bernard Lowy, proposed that the "diving gods" depicted in the Dresden Codex, were portrayed as under the influence of psychotropic mushrooms (LOWY  BERNARD, 1981, Were Mushroom Stones Potter’s Molds?, Revista/Review Interamericana, vol. 11, pp. 231-237.)




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


Above is a pre-Columbian incense burner that portrays a fanged deity (the Underworld Sun God) wearing the headdress of the Mexican god Tlaloc. Note that the headdress is crowned with what I would argue are three Fleur de lis symbols, and what I believe are two encoded mushrooms. The incense burner is from the Tarascan culture 1350 - 1521 C.E., and is now in the Snite Museum of Art. 

(photo from http://commons.wikimedia.orgwikiFile:  Tarascan_incense_burner_w_Tlaloc_headdress.jpg)


Haoma is the Persian pronunciation of Soma, a sacred drink of the Indo-Iranians, Iranian being cognate with Aryan. The Aryans who came from Central Asia, came to Persia or Iran, and northern India as nomads and warriors, and dominated Persia by about 800 B.C.E. The Haoma beverage was also made from a plant of immortality  connected in myth with a World Tree, 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. Zoroaster didn't actually create a new religion he simply reformed the existing Vedic religion, elevating the Haoma sacrifice ceremony to the highest act of worship, but condemning the orgiastic excesses that accompanied both sacrifices and the ritual consumption of Haoma. In the Avestan Hom Yasht, (Y.9-11) which is an ode to the powers of Haoma, Zoroaster calls on Hom, as he is called in the Hom Yasht, for inspiration, strength, victory, healing. Near the end of yasna 11, at verse 9, the zot the priest who prepares the Hom, takes the hom cup from the raspi, the zot's assistant, with his right hand, reciting a formula that who is one becomes two, that what is two becomes three, four five, five six, six seven, a formula perhaps of the increasing strength gained through hom (Michael M.J. Fisher 2004, p.38)  In order to perform the ritual both priests must undergo a severe purification: the nine-day long bareshnum. Once in their roles, the zot and his assistant the raspi, are elevated beyond the world of men (Michael M.J. Fisher 2004, p.30). 



In Zoroastrian cosmology Haoma grows in the World Tree, which stands in the middle of the world sea, where a benevolent, mythical bird resides known as the simurgh. The simurgh is often depicted in Iranian art as a giant winged creature with feline features.

There is a legend in Zoroastrian religion, that the prophet Zoroaster was conceived after his parents drank the Haoma beverage, made from Zoroaster's divine essence that had fallen from heaven (Bennett and McQueen 2013,  p.63). Haoma was regarded by Zoroaster as the son of the creator god Ahura Mazda, who was believed to be the incarnate of that sacred plant that was pounded and pressed to death in order to squeeze out it's life giving juices so that those who consumed the Haoma might be given immortality. In Zoroastrianism Haoma is the name given to a yellow plant, from which a juice was extracted and consumed. (Donald E. Teeter, 2005 p.8).  

             According to Claude Levi-Strauss, author of Structural Anthropology, Vol. 2:

 "Several varieties of Amanita muscaria exist, their color ranging from brilliant red to yellow-gold. To describe the soma, the Rig-Veda constantly use the word hari, which takes in this range of colors; and when substitutes came to be used, those with red coloration were favored" (p.26)     


By the 7th century B.C.E., the Persians had settled in the southwestern portion of the Iranian Plateau, which came to be their homeland. The Iranian religion of the Persian Empire Zoroastrianism, had a profound impact on the much later religions of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. 

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

"A prototype of Jesus, as the legend of Zoroaster's birth goes to show, he was the founder of the first true monotheism, as his "evangelical" hymns, the Gathas, prove and as Pahlavi texts and Greek historians confirm (Messadie 1993, p.82).

"By all accounts, both in his own day and over later centuries Zoroaster was considered not just a prophet but a supernatural being, which has led some Iran experts to call him a myth, mush as some historians have called the existence of Jesus into doubt".



In the middle of the third century, there arose in the east the Iranian prophet named Mani, who called himself Apostle of Jesus Christ, who was the founder of the Manichean church, an early Persian version of a Gnostic Christian sect that incorporated the use of the sacred mushrooms in ritual. Mani taught that the universe was divided into the forces of Light and Darkness, and that the God of Light had sent many messengers to human beings, but the most perfect of these messengers was Jesus Christ a truly divine being who only seemed to be mortal and material (Religious Traditions of the World, 1993 p.500). The Manicheans thrived between the 3rd and 7th centuries and was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manicheism derived much its rituals from ancient Iranian/Persian religion of Zoroasterism. 

According to Wasson, an ex-Manichean, St. Augustinein CE 386 who spent nearly ten years as a Manichee, berated his former sect for eating mushrooms, and Wasson also reports that as late as thirteenth century in China, the official, Lu Yu, condemned a Manichean group for ingesting certain sacred, red mushrooms (Wasson, 72) (Essay by Joseph Szimhart October, 2002).  

             According to Samuel N.C. Lieu, author of  Manichaeism in Central Asia and China, 1998:154)


"Manichaeans wore white dress when attending meetings and that their insatiable need for frankincense and red mushrooms had caused a dramatic rise in the price of these two commodities".

Wasson supported his Amanita muscaria-Soma-urine-hypothesis by citing Chinese accounts of the "evil" practices of the Manichaeans, among them the practice of using urine in their rituals. Wasson also noted "that the modern Parsi religion is a descendant of the Zoroastrian religion and that in Parsi rituals they drink token amounts of bull's urine which, Wasson believed, is probably a throwback to the practice of urine drinking in the ancient Haoma religion of pre-Zoroastrian times, and that the veneration of urine is prevalent even today among Hindus in India" (Clark Heinrich 2002, p.21).

 

"The Chinese, as is well known, are hardly mycophobes, and surely there must have been something special about those red mushrooms to have attracted the opprobrium of Lu Yu (Manichaeism was introduced into China in the late seventh and early eighth centuries, and had considerable impact on the Taoists, with their famous icon of the ling chih, or the “divine mushroom of immortality”) (Ott J. 1995) (from Frederick R. Dannaway March 2009)

The Amanita muscaria mushroom also ranges in color from bright red to orange to bright yellow. (Photograph by mycologist Eric Osbourne)


"...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)

            
            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."

I believe that divine mushrooms were deliberately "Hidden in Plain Sight," in an effort to conceal the sacred knowledge of eternal life from the eyes of the uninitiated.


             The following is from the Encyclopedia Britannica (1991, vol. 26, pg. 789, Rites & Ceremonies): 


“In Zoroastrianism haoma (Sanskrit soma, from the root su or bu, “to squeeze” or pound”) is the name given to the yellow plant, from which a juice was extracted and consumed in the Yasna ceremony, the general sacrifice in honor of all the deities. The liturgy of the Yasna was a remarkable anticipation of the mass in Christianity.” “Haoma was regarded by Zoroaster as the son of the Wise Lord and Creator Ahura Mazda and the chief priest of the Yasna cult. He was believed to be incarnate in the sacred plant that was pounded to death in order to extract its life-giving juice so that those who consumed it might be given immortality. He was regarded as both victim and priest in a sacrificial-sacramental offering in worship. As the intermediary between God and man, Haoma acquired a place and sacramental significance in the worship of Mithra (an Indo-Iranian god of light) in his capacity as the immaculate priest of Ahura Mazda with whom he was coequal. The Mithraic sacramental banquet was derived from the Yasna ceremony, wine taking the place of the haoma and Mithra that of Ahura Mazda. 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.”

 

The mushroom Venus resurrection religion, as I see it, was spawned by early man's fear of death and his hopes for resurrection, if not in this life, then in another reality. Through shamanic rituals, very possibly springing from the discovery of the mind-altering effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms, he hoped to transcend the former and assure himself of the latter. (Wasson,1980). The shamans, in turn, looked to the most powerful forces in the natural world—the sun, the moon, and the stars, wind, lightning and rain, and such fearsome creatures in their environment as the lion, jaguar, eagle, serpent, and shark—as a means of understanding the place and fate of human beings within this divine framework. In time the shamans unraveled the mysterious but ultimately knowable and predictable movements of the stars and planets, and interpreted these movements as an avenue for understanding man’s relation to time, space, and immortality.
 
These beliefs, over time, spawned a great variety of gods bearing different names in different culture areas but with numerous identifiable similarities linked to divine rulership associated with lineage and descent. Westernized efforts by archaeologists and art historians to sort out and catalog the many overlapping names and identities have been frustrated by the fact that ordered and demarcated categories run counter to the fluidity that characterizes native American belief systems. A multiplicity of identities is a basic feature of the Mesoamerican supernatural realm.

"There is no question that shamanism has great antiquity: the archaeological evidence suggests, for example, that something very like the shamanistic religions of recent hunters was already present among the Neanderthals of Europe and Asia more than 50,000 years ago"(Peter T. Furst 1976, p.6). It is reasonable to propose that a belief in the redemptive power and divinity of the sacred mushroom could have spread from one culture to another, and that our remote ancient ancestors worshiped and venerated a divine mushroom god, or maybe a mushroom goddess perhaps 25,000 years ago? "Old World archaeologists have clearly demonstrated that Neolithic culture diffused, it was not reinvented in the Near East, China, and Africa" (James A. Ford 1967, p.259)

Above is the Venus of Willendorf is an 11.1-centimetre-tall Venus figurine estimated to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. Wikipedia



Mushroom Rock Art of Northern Africa

On the African continent there are prehistoric cave paintings in the Sahara Desert in the hills of the Ennedi Plateau in North-East Chad. Most of the rock art here dates roughly between 9,000 years ago to 4,000 years ago, however some of the paintings like the one above that depicts strange looking mushroom-headed people are said to have been painted within the last 2,000 years.  

Above are a couple more mushroom inspired rock paintings produced by pre-neolithic hunter gatherers in the Sahara Desert, at Tin-Tazarift (Tassili, Algeria), said to have been painted roughly 7,000-9,000 years ago. The paintings portray shamanic figures encoded with sacred mushrooms. The mushroomic looking figure on the right appears to have an Amanita muscaria mushroom encoded in his head.
 (source Giorgio Samorini, http://en.psilosophy.info the_oldest_representations_of_hallucinogenic_mushrooms_in_the_world.html)


In his controversial book,  Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge, A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution,Ethno-botanist Terrance McKenna, psilocybin mushrooms may have provide the evolutionary spark for mankind, from which language,  religion, philosophy, science, and all of human culture sprang.

McKenna proposed that certain hallucinogens, opened a so-called portal to a "parallel dimension", that enabled an individual to encounter 'higher dimensional entities". McKenna speculated on the idea that psilocybin mushrooms may be a species of high intelligence, which may have arrived on this planet as spores migrating through space, and which are attempting to establish a symbiotic relationship with human beings. He postulated that "intelligence, not life, but intelligence may have come here to Earth, in this spore-bearing life form".

According to McKenna...

"What I think happened is that in the world of prehistory all religion was experiential, and it was based on the pursuit of ecstasy through plants. And at some time, very early, a group interposed itself between people and direct experience of the 'Other.' This created hierarchies, priesthoods, theological systems, castes, ritual, taboos." (Wikipeida.org).

McKenna's theory has been criticized by scholars for a lack of citation to any of the paleo-anthropological evidence relative to our understanding of human origins, and his controversial theory has now been given the name the "Stoned Ape Theory” (Wikipeida.org).

McKenna believed that the Soma beverage of the Rig Veda was a combination of water, cannabis indica, and the psilocybin mushroom. McKenna based his theory on the premise that the Amanita muscaria mushroom is widely recognized to be a poisonous mushroom, and that the Amanita muscaria mushroom does not produce a hallucinogenic experience. He writes that because he and Wasson never had an ecstatic experience from ever eating the Amanita muscaria that it was an unlikely candidate for the Vedic Soma.          

McKenna writes that Wasson became convinced that some method of preparation must have been involved, but that no ingredient or procedure has ever been found that reliably transforms the often uncomfortable subtoxic experience of Amanita muscaria into an ecstatic visionary journey to paradise. McKenna writes that he ate the Amanita muscaria mushroom in 1965 and again in 1966, and stated that the results were disappointing,"nothing like what happened when I took the psilocybe mushrooms in Mexico"


             According to McKenna:

"In the prehistoric but post-Archaic times of about 5000 to 3000 B.C., suppression of partnership society by patriarchal invaders set the stage for suppression of the open-ended experimental investigation of nature carried on by shamans. In highly organized societies that Archaic tradition was replaced by one of dogma, priestcraft, patriarchy, warfare and, eventually, "rational and scientific" or dominator values.


It may just be that the earliest evidence of mushroom consumption as a means of attaining divine immortality was supplied to us in 2010, when archaeologists working in a cave in Spain, discovered the remains of an ancient woman they believe was a shaman or leader of her tribe. Nicknamed the “Red Lady of el Miron,” by archaeologists she apparently ate mushrooms before she was buried in a elaborate tomb roughly 19,000 years ago in Cantabria, Spain.  Archaeologists gave her the name "the Red Lady" because many of her bones and some of her surroundings were stained with red ochre made from hematite. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the Red Lady was buried around 18,700 years ago and that she was between 35 and 40 years old. The cave where the Red Lady was buried is named “el Miron", and archaeologists believe that this cave had an occupation dating back to the Middle Paleolithic, 41,000 years ago, up to around 1400 A.D. (Victoria Woollaston April 2015, "Mystery of the Red Lady of El Miron"). 


Archaeologists  have theorized that the Red Lady was a person of high status and authority maybe even a leader or shaman who may have been ritually sacrificed before her interment. Although the Red Lady's  skeletal remains were disturbed by an animal during her many years of interment, archaeologists were able to recover a jaw bone and teeth.  Here is some food for thought. According to Anna Mchugh in her recent article 2017, "Paleolithic “Red Lady” Ate Mushrooms…19,000 Years Ago:


"A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany proceeded to remove and analyze hardened plaque from the Red Lady’s teeth in order to discover what she ate. In addition to remnants of plants and animals, confirming what experts already knew about the Magdalenian lifestyle and diet, the team also discovered mushroom spores of at least two types of fungi in the hardened calculus on the Red Lady’s teeth. They found evidence that the Red Lady had been eating some sort of gilled mushroom in the order Agaricales, as well as a spongy-capped member of the Boletaecea family. (source Anna Mchugh 2017, Paleolithic “Red Lady” Ate Mushrooms…19,000 Years Ago)





The Origin of a Mushroom cult in Siberia:

The cult of the Amanita muscaria mushroom has been traced back to ancient Siberia by mycologists, where the Amanita muscaria mushroom ranging in color from bright red to yellow grows in abundance. The earliest evidence of the use of the Amanita muscaria mushroom in shamanistic rituals can be seen in many prehistoric petroglyphs in Siberia dating back to the Paleolithic period. The petroglyphs found in the Chukotka region of Northeastern Siberia (see below) were studied by Dikov (1971) and later by Samorini (2001).

It's generally excepted that before the Pleistocene Ice Age, small Paleo-Asiatic hunting and food-gathering bands migrated to the Americas through the Bering Strait region where Siberia is only a hundred miles or so from Alaska. The American Indians are descendants of these nomadic people. Controversy continues as to how early the migrations began, and whether these early migrants used boats or walked across a land bridge that later flooded. Diffusion by land seems easier to except than by sea.  We know that Asiatic traits filtered through Siberia into the American Arctic throughout the prehistoric period and have continued to do so among the modern Eskimo (Miguel Covarrubias 1954, p.150). 

Recent molecular research on the ancestors of the fly agaric (Amanita muscaria mushroom) has shown that it was present in eastern Asia and Siberia sixty-five to 2.4 million years ago, and that it spread over Asia, Europe, and to North America from there" (Gerrit J. Keizer 2013, p.161).

Dr. Weston La Barre, a scholar in the anthropology and psychology of religion, hypothesized in 1970, that the "use of hallucinogenic plants by American Indians represents a survival from a very ancient Paleolithic and Mesolithic shamanistic stratum, and that its linear ancestor is likely to be an archaic form of the shamanistic Eurasiatic fly-agaric cults that survived in Siberia into the present century, and that while profound socioeconomic and religious transformations brought about the eradication of ecstatic shamanism and knowledge of intoxicating mushrooms and other plants over most of Eurasia, a very different set of historical and cultural circumstances favored their survival and elaboration in the New World" (Peter T. Furst 1976, p.4). 


            Quoting anthropologist Jeremy Narby, author of the book The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the origins of Knowledge 1998:


"Anthropologists invented the word "shamanism" to classify the least comprehensible practices of "primitive peoples". "The word shaman is originally Siberian. Its etymology is uncertain. In the Tungus language, a saman is a person who beats a drum, enters into trance, and cures people. The first Russian observers who related the activities of these samon described them as mentally ill". 




Mushroom-headed figures recorded in Siberian petroglyphs:

Dikov, N. N. (1971. Chukotki: Petroglify Pegtymelia) was the first to propose that the Chukotka Petroglyphs in northeastern Siberia, were mushroom inspired. 


Quoting Wasson:

"The use of mushrooms, if I am right, spread over most of Eurasia and the Americas, and as Stone Age Man has emerged into the light of proto-history    these strange fungi may well have been the primary secret of his sacred Mysteries"(Wasson and Wasson 1957).



The petroglyphs from the Chukotka region of Northeastern Siberia depict what appear to be mushroom-headed people as well as a sea vessel (see below) that suggests that paleo-Indians could have skirted the coast of the Pacific Ocean, into the New World in search of the mushrooms? The Wassons reported on the ritual consumption of fly-agaric among Siberian and northern Asian peoples, suggesting the antiquity of a mushroom cult to Stone Age times. 

The earliest records of the use of mushrooms in Asia are in connection with a nomadic people living in northwestern Siberia. Possibly as early as the Paleolithic, their shamans developed an ecstatic cult based on the consumption of the Amanita muscaria mushroom. We know from the Rig Veda, that Soma was an intoxicating plant worshiped as both a god and holy beverage by a people who called themselves Aryans. The Seers and Sages, who composed the Vedas describe the mountainous habitat and brilliant red and gold appearance of the Soma plant. Its around 1600 BCE, when these shaman priests who called themselves Aryans moved down into what is known today as Afghanistan and the Indus Valley. These so-called Aryans brought with them their religious cult and their hallucinogenic drink called Soma, along with the observance and celebration of certain celestial laws that they believed were essential to keeping the world in balance. This balance was maintained through acts of ritual sacrifice. At some point in their history the simple shamanism of their Siberian homeland was expanded into a rich and complex religious tradition based on the worship and ecstatic experience achieved by consuming the plant known in Proto-Indian-Iranian as "sauma". It is this religious tradition that is recorded (undated) in the hymns in the Rig Veda that exalted the power of priests, in which ritual was the underpinning of a society and priests were the masters.


The Altai Mountain region in Central Asia is regarded as the ancient homeland of the Mongolians, Hungarians (Huns and Magyars) Turks, and Koreans. The Altai is a mountain range situated in the border land of Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The Ural-Altaic languages are named after this region. The Huns were a confederation of Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic people from the region of the Altai Mountains.


The religious beliefs of the Huns in the early Turkish states in Central Asia centered around the belief in animistic forces, and ancestor worship called Tengrianizm. The worship of Tengri, the Supreme Deity, and creator of the universe, of the ancient Turks and Mongols has been partially preserved to this day by the Altai people.

In Tengrianism there is a conception of three worlds, an upper world, symbolized by a bird deity, a middle world symbolized by a serpent, and a lower world, symbolized by a feline, that are linked by a World Tree, the treetop being the gateway or portal into heaven or the upper world, symbolized by the Fleur de lis emblem as a symbol of divine resurrection, a belief system that is also shared by the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica.


The Katun River is the biggest river in the Altai Mountains with its source on the South side of Mount Belukha. There is a legend in Altai Mountain folklore, that Mount Belukha, the highest peak of the Altai Mountains, is said to be the gateway to Shambhala. According to the legend, Shambhala is a Utopian paradise located in a beautiful valley lost in the mountains. It is believed to be a kingdom where all the inhabitants are enlightened, and that the hidden kingdom of Shambhala can only be found by those who are pure in heart. 


(Map of the ancient cultures of Central Asia, 4000 - 3000 BC., from C. George Boeree 2013)

C. George Boeree, Prehistory of the Steppes 2013, writes that "the original people of the western and central steppes were likely Proto-Uralic (the ancestors to Finnish, Hungarian, Samoyede, etc.) They would include the neolithic Samara culture of the Volga valley, as well as the fishing communities of the Kelteminar culture near the Aral Sea".   Some European archaeologists however infer from distributions that the [Pit] Comb-were makers spoke Finno-Ugric languages and included Mongoloid racial admixture (Alice B. Kehoe 1971, p.289).

The Altai Mountains in Siberia are home to tens of thousands of petroglyphs believed to have been carved by the ancestors of the Altai, over a period of 12,000 years. The Kalbak Tash petroglyphs depict hunting scenes of an ancient people, all of whom appear to have mushroom-shaped heads, and all of whom are portrayed carrying what appears to be a pouch at their waist. The interpretation of these ancient petroglyphs by Russian authorities refer to the figures as, "tailed people who have semicircular formations on their heads". 

The oldest petroglyphs at Kalbak Tash are believed to date from around 11,000 to 6,000 BCE. (photo source habit.ru Petroglifi_Kalbak_Tash_Prirodn…ovishche_pes_sverhu_(4472).jpg)


Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking or carving as a form of rock art, and are often the remnants of lost cultures. So who carved these mushroomic petroglyphs ?  



According to Ripinsky-Naxon:

"Based on ethnological and linguistic evidence, the Finno-Ugrian tribes (of the Uralic family of languages) which include the Hungarians, used the hallucinogenic mushroom, fly agaric, in proto-historic times, although some of them might have guarded the practice with profound secrecy" (Michael Ripinsky-Naxon 1993, p.147).


The Finno-Ugrian theory claims that Siberia was the original homeland of the Hungarians (Magyar). One of the theories about the ancient Hungarian religion is that it was a form of Tengrism, a shamanic religion common among the early Turkic and Mongolian people, that was influenced by Zoroastrianism from the Persians whom the Hungarians had encountered during their westward migration. Another theory ties the religion to that of the Huns and Scythians due to similar or even identical legends to the Hungarian origin myth (Wikipeda). Its not easy to define who the Scythians were, since the term was used to reference many different Eurasian tribes sharing similar characteristics.  The ancient Greeks referred to all the peoples of the steppes beyond the Persian Empire "Scythians".


The word Scythian comes from the Greek skythai, while their Persian name was "saka". Therefore, we may assume that Scythians and Saka are the same people and that both terms may be used as synonymous. In order to make this topic easier to understand, here we would call "Saka" the eastern branch –concerning mainly their relationship with Persia and India–, and "Scythians" the western branch, in connection with Europe. 

"Medieval Hungarian sources refer to the story of the Biblical Nimrod, son of  Kush, and Eneth, and Noah’s great-grandson, whose two sons, Hunor and Magor, led the Huns and the Magyars from the regions neighboring Persia to the land known as Scythia - a designation generally given to the region stretching from the Carpathians into Central Asia. 

Both Christianity and Judaism were influenced by Zoroastrianism, an Iranian/Persian religion founded by the Babylonian/Sumerian King Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah.  


The Kalash people from the mountains of the Hindu Kush in Pakistan, have also fascinated anthropologists for a long time. Anthropologists characterize Kalash religion as a form of animism that objects, places, and creatures all possess a divine spiritual essence. The Kalash are believed to be the descendants of the Central Asian peoples that called themselves Aryani, that migrated from Central Asia to the Iranian plateau around 2,000 BC. Those who settled in the Iranian plateau and the Indus Valley recorded their use of Haoma in the Zoroastrian scriptures called the Avestas, and the use of Soma in the Indus Valley in the Rig Veda (Allen Piper 2013, p. 214). As mentioned previously 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. Like the god-plant Soma beverage of the ancient Aryans, it has long been established that Haoma was also a psychoactive beverage of the ancient Persians (Bennett and McQueen 2013, p.64) (Stein 1931, Falk 1989, Brough 1971, Rudgley 1998). 


One of the more interesting observation regarding the Kalbak Tash petroglyphs, are that all the mushroomic looking figures carry what appear to be a sac or pouch behind their back. It may be that depicted in these petroglyphs, a shamans pouch was used to collect mushrooms, or possibly to collect the urine of those who consumed the fly agaric mushrooms? 


Wasson (1968) writes about one aspect of Siberian mushroom intoxication, that was reported in the earliest sources. He noted that one interesting feature of the Amanita muscaria mushroom is that its hallucinogenic properties pass into the urine, and another may drink this urine to enjoy the same hallucinogenic effect.  It is safer to drink the urine of one who has consumed the mushrooms, because many of the toxic compounds are processed and eliminated on the first pass through the body.

             
            According to Wasson:

"People generally claim that the effects of the mushroom poison becomes more intense and more beautiful when it has already passed through another organism. Thus an intoxicated man will often be followed by someone else who wants to collect his urine, which is supposed to posses this effect to a particularly high degree) (Wasson 1968: 257). 


In Siberia, the urine of those consuming fly agaric was highly prized, and that its has been reported that a Koryak tribesman would eagerly exchange a reindeer for a single fly agaric" (Michael Ripinsky-Naxon 1993, p.163). 

"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).


             According to Ethno-archaeologist Peter T. Furst:

...the Koryaks [of Siberia] believe that the wapaq [Amanita muscaria mushroom] would tell any man who ate them, 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."

"As the reader will undoubtedly have guessed, the wapaq of Koryak mythology is none other than the familiar fly-agaric (Amanita muscaria) the spectacular red-capped and whiteflecked "toadstool" whose renown among Europeans has for so many centuries floated uncertainly between the realm of magic and transformation, on the one hand, and death from its allegedly fatal poison on the other.  In reality, the fly-agaric is hallucinogenic rather than deadly, having served for thousands of years as the sacred inebriant of the shamanistic religions of the northern Eurasiatic forest belt, especially those of Siberian hunters and reindeer herders." 

Perhaps, long ago the ancients witnessed the reindeer’s love of the Amanita muscaria mushroom, and the reindeer's love of drinking their own urine afterwards.            



             According to anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, author of Structural Anthropology, Volume 2  p. 226 writes:

"Ethnographic documents about the Paleo-Asiatic peoples leads one to think that this urine could be preferable to the original substance because it is more powerful, according to some, or, according to others, because certain chemical compounds present in the mushroom, which cause unpleasant side effects, are eliminated in their passage through the body while the hallucinogenic alkaloid or alkaloids are preserved. Thus, the Siberians practiced two different modes of consumption: either of the mushroom itself or of the urine excreted by an intoxicated person".   
            


The psychoactive properties of the flesh of stupefied animals may have been discovered through the ease of their capture. Reindeer were known to eat the Amanita muscaria mushroom and appeared to be intoxicated after ingestion. Reindeer are very fond of mushrooms and actively seek them out. The connection between the reindeer and the Amanita muscaria mushroom has been reported, most notably by Gordon Wasson. According to Wasson: "wild reindeer that have eaten (fly agaric or Amanita muscaria mushrooms) are often found so stupefied that they can be tied with ropes and taken away alive; their meat then intoxicates everyone who eats it, but only if the reindeer is killed soon after being caught; and it appears that the communicability of the narcotic substance last about as long as it would have affected the animal's own nerves (Alan Piper 2013 pp. 241-242)

           Quoting ethno-archaeologist Peter T. Furst:

"The reindeer with which man, first as hunter and then as herder, has lived in an intimate relationship for tens of thousands of years has itself a certain intriguing relationship with the hallucinogenic fly-agaric mushroom, even to the point of inebriation, a phenomenon that could hardly have failed to impress the Paleo-Eurasiatic peoples of long ago as much as it has impressed recent Siberian tribesmen" (Peter T. Furst, 1976 p.6). 


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

      

             According to Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst... 


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

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

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

        

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?). The bull the animal of sacrifice, was a recurrent theme in Persian Art.  On the occasion of the bull sacrifice, "at the resurrection of the bodies when the bull Hadayans is put to death, a drink that will confer inmortality on all men is prepared from the fat of the animal mixed with haoma" (Larousse World Mythology, 1965 edition, p. 199).  According to the Vedas, Soma was known as "the supreme dappled bull" (Larousse World Mythology, 1965 edition, p. 232, 233). The Greek historian Strabo reported that in 676-675 BC the Phrygian King Midas II after the collapse of his kingdom in central and western Anatolia, chose suicide by drinking bull's blood (Christoph Baumer, 2012  p. 225).


Two more fascinating observations regarding the Altai Mountains of Siberia, are petroglyphs that resemble rocket ships, and bizarre natural rock formations, that ironically are called  Mushroom stones of Altai Mountains.  

Maybe even more fascinating is that the Altai Mountains in Siberia, was also home to three distinct variety of ancient man, Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans. Denisovans descended from hominids who reached Asia earlier than modern humans. Knowledge of the Denisovan hominids derives primarily from DNA evidence, and artifacts. In 2008 scientists unearthed a finger bone fragment from Denisova Cave of a young female believed to have lived around 41,000 years ago. Scientists believe that human ancestors lived in Denisova cave as far back as 280,000 years ago. 

According to Journal Science 2010,  "the analysis on the Denisovan finger bone and molars, as well as cave material, shows these little-known ancient people 'occupied the cave surprisingly early and came back repeatedly'.  "The young female 'lived at least 50,000 years ago and that two other Denisovan individuals died in the cave at least 110,000 years ago and perhaps as early as 170,000 years ago'. (source Siberian Times: Olga Gertcyk,  February 15, 2017)



"In the words of Columbia University archaeologist Ralph S. Solecki, who excavated the 60,000-year-old Shanidar cave burials, the presence of so many plants of proven medicinal value in one of the graves at least raises "speculation about the extent of the human spirit in Neanderthals" (Solecki, 1975:880-81). It is certainly tempting to speculate that if these Neanderthals, whom Solecki and other scholars now believe to be in modern humanity's direct line of evolution, possessed knowledge of so many effective medicinal plants, they may likewise have been familiar with some of the psychedelic flora of the region" (from Peter T. Furst  p.6 notes) 



In Siberia, ceremonies of prayer and honor to spirits are arranged at places such as the World Tree, or Barisaa. Trees growing in unusual places are especially powerful, such as the lone birch, the "shaman tree", the home of the shamans' helping spirits (Ongons). Trees symbolize the world center, where heaven and earth touch, and these are places for prayers and the homes of spirits. Toroo – the top of the World Tree, which is usually visualized as a birch or willow or the open ring of the yurt is the entry gate for shamans on their journeys to the other world (source: Religion of the indigenous people of Siberia). Many scholars now believe that the yurt developed in Central Asia among Turkic tribes, and that it was borrowed from them by Mongols and Iranian-speaking nomads of Iran and Afghanistan (Elena E. Kuz'mina 2007 p.65)


According to Michael Howard, author of Secrets of Siberian Shamanism 2013, "The revival of shamanism in its modern Tengrist form would seem to hearken back to a romantic past that probably never existed in reality. Its increasing popularity among urban Russians is based on an idyllic image of yurts on the steppes, a nomadic lifestyle and living in harmony with nature. Trees symbolize the world center, where heaven and earth touch, the top of the World Tree, which is usually visualized as a birch or pine tree or the open ring of the yurt  is the entry gate for shamans on their journeys to the other world. 

             Quoting Michael Howard 2013, Secrets of Siberian Shamanism 2013:

"In Siberian and especially Mongolian shamanism the yurt, a traditional dwelling constructed from a framework of wooden poles covered with animal skins and with a central smoke-hole in the roof, was a microcosmic symbol or representation of the universe. For this reason all movement inside the yurt was conducted, if at all possible, in a deosil or sunways direction. This also reflected the traditional direction of movement used in shamanic rituals and dances. The centre of the yurt, where a fire burnt in a hearth and was seldom extinguished, was symbolic of the actual centre of the world or universe. The column of smoke that drifted up from the fire and left the yurt through the central smoke-hole in the roof was symbolic of the axis mundi – the World Mountain, World Pillar or World Tree. This links the underworld below with the heavens above and ends at the North and Pole Star around which all the other stars revolve in the night sky".

When shamans are communicating with spirits, they use a special dress (coat, mask, cap) and special accessory; mirrors, totems – spirit houses (source: Religion of the indigenous people of Siberia). To this day Siberian shamans still encode the bright red with white spots, the colors of the Amanita muscaria mushroom in their ceremonial attire (Tatina the Evensk shaman from Kamchatka). 


"Unfortunately when Buddhism came to Siberia and Mongolia many of these female healers were ruthlessly persecuted and exterminated by the misogynist monks. As a result their extensive knowledge of herbs and plants used for natural healing was either lost completely or taken over by Buddhist healers and only practiced in a debased or diluted form" (Michael Howard 2013, Secrets of Siberian Shamanism).


Berthold Laufer an anthropologist and historical geographer with an expertise in East Asian languages, demonstrated that the word shaman is of Turkish-Tungusian origin in contrast to earlier beliefs that it came from Sanskrit, and that it was introduced to Siberia by Buddhist monks. In Siberia and the Turic-speaking areas of Mongolia, shamanism was known as Tengrism, the "Sky God religion", a Central Asian religion characterized by ancestor worship, and the animistic belief that everything in the natural world was alive and inhabited by spirits. It was the prevailing religion of the Turks, Mongols, Hungarians, Xiongnu, and Huns, and the religion of  the five ancient Turkic states: Gokturk Khaganate, Western Turkic Khaganate, Great Bulgaria, Bulgarian Empire, and Eastern Tourkia (Khazaria), and is known as Turuk Tangrisi or "God of Turks" (Wikipedia).

Siberian shamanism incorporates ecstatic trances brought on by a ritual of dance and the inducement of hallucinations, most commonly through the consumption of Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The intention of the Shaman was to open communication directly with the spirit world, often through a form of animal transformation. In both Siberia and Mesoamerica the divine mushroom speaks through the voice of the shaman (Wasson 1980, p.52). In Siberia the Amanita muscaria mushroom was often fed to a domesticated reindeer, and then the shaman most of whom were female shamans would then drink the reindeer's toxic urine to induce ecstatic trances and hallucinations.


"This effect goes the other way too, as reindeer also enjoy the urine of a human, especially one who has consumed the mushrooms. In fact, reindeer will seek out human urine to drink, and some tribesmen carry sealskin containers of their own collected piss, which they use to attract stray reindeer back into the herd. The effects of the Amanita mushroom usually include sensations of size distortion and flying. The feeling of flying could account for the legends of flying reindeer, and legends of shamanic journeys included stories of winged reindeer, transporting their riders up to the highest branches of the World Tree (Lee Sayer, Dec. 25, 2014)



Tengrism was the belief system practiced in earlier times by Turk and Mongolian tribes in Siberia and Central Asia. The belief is based on the heaven god Tengri and comprises ancestral worship as well as animism, shamanism, and totemism.  Like Tengrism of Central Asia, the religions of the ancient Mesoamericans was also based on animism and ancestral worship, that all things, animate or inanimate, were imbued with an unseen power, inhabiting rocks, trees, or other objects. In Mesoamerica the shaman, is responsible for the relationships between humans and the surrounding animistic forces. The shaman's ability to communicate with these forces by divination (with the use of visionary mushrooms) provided a measure of power over other members of society (The Ancient Maya: 4th Edition 1983, p.460). Because of the belief that man was subject to these invisible forces which could only be seen and invoked with the aid of visionary mushrooms.  



The Turk people see the wolf, their forefather as the most important totem. In their creation stories, there is given the legend that it was the wolf that fathered them. 
In a fascinating article about the Huichol's of present day Mexico, and their esoteric practice of  "Wolf-shamanism" posted online by researcher Mark Hoffman, 3-27-02, titled "Huichol Wolf Shamanism and A. muscaria"

              Hoffman writes:

"The best evidence of the ritual use of A. muscaria among the Huichol Wolves was recorded in remarkable detail by Susana Valadez whose informant, Ulu Temay, from San Andrés Cohamiata, Jalisco, came from a long line of Wolf-shamans. He specifically describes the fly agaric as wolf-peyote and gives us a revealing glimpse into the secret religion of the Wolf-people as well as the prolonged initiation process required of them".
   
According to Hoffman, when asked if the Wolves use peyote to stimulate their reputed ability to communicate telepathically, Temay answered, 
“No, they do not eat peyote. They eat their own plants that make them feel as though they had eaten peyote. They bring mushrooms which they eat. This is a red mushroom with white spots. They use these mushrooms in all of their ceremonies.”    


The Lukhang murals above depict what I propose are scenes of Amanita muscaria mushroom (Soma?) worship. The Vedas' repeatedly mention that the mystery plant Soma grows high in the mountains. The shamans, or priests in the scenes above appear in ecstatic trance, and wear clothes that encode the red with white spot colors of the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The murals are from the Lukhang Palace, the Dalai Lamas’ Secret Temple near the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. I believe that knowledge of the mushroom ritual was considered so sacred that the artist deliberately encoded the mushroom imagery in the shaman's cloths rather than depict the mushrooms themselves in the painting.



One of the more striking parallels for the argument of diffusion is that both the Chinese and Mesoamericans saw a rabbit in the full moon, pounding something in a mortar. The belief among the Chinese is that the rabbit is pounding plants to make the elixir of immortality, while the Aztecs believed that the rabbit is pounding maguey to make their elixir called pulque (Alice B. Kehoe 2008, p.161).
In China, stories about the moon rabbit date back as far as 475-221 BCE. In both Chinese mythology, and Mesoamerican mythology the moon rabbit is the companion to the moon goddess. Above on the right is a page from the pre-Conquest Highland Mexico Codex Borgia that portrays the image of a rabbit in the moon similar to that depicted in the Lukhang murals of ancient Tibet.  The Rig Veda describes Soma: a red plant growing in the mountains, associated with the moon, and with an intoxicating drink , or elixir that gives a feeling of power, strength, peace, inspiration and great visions. 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 increased life spans of Soma users.


In ancient Chinese mythology the rabbit in the moon makes an elixir of immortality at the Tree of Life. Above in the center is a Chinese fabric that depicts the rabbit mixing the elixir of immortality (image from Secret Drugs of Buddhism). Above on the right is Asian bronze mirror with Pahlavi script, and on the left from the Tang dynasty (618-906 AD) era is another mirror both depicting a rabbit mixing the elixir of immortality at the Tree of Life (Source: Hiart/Wikimedia Commons)  As mentioned earlier mirrors were a common ritual object in Central Asia, and China, used by priests and shamans in rituals to communicate with ancestors and gods.                      


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

According to Wasson, alcoholic inebriation was condemned severely by the Nahua (native Mexicans) in pre-Conquest times, and that pulque was expressly reserved for the oldsters who had passed their period of usefulness and were awaiting their end (Wasson, 1980 p. 108).  

Above is a page from the post-Conquest Florentine Codex Book 4, f. 13v, that depict men in white capes (priests?) drinking the "elixir of life", from the body of a rabbit. In pre-Conquest Mexico, the moon rabbit was closely identified with the intoxicating drink known as pulque, an elixir derived from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave) plant. 



The earliest steppe nomads whom there is any accurate record of were a people known as Scythians, a Bronze age culture who migrated out of the east around 800-700 BCE. Because the nomadic people of Eurasia and the Central Asian steppes had no writing, researchers rely on texts from various traditions that viewed nomadic steppe culture from the outside. The identities of these nomadic peoples of Eurasia and the Central Asian steppes and their migrations is still uncertain, and that the term "Scythian" should be taken loosely, as many people of different tribes were called Scythians, a name used by the Greek historian Herodotus. 

The Scythians were known as a warlike people famous for taking scalps, and drinking the blood of their victim's  from human skulls in order to imbibe some of their wisdom and strength. Herodotus states that the Scythians cultivated cannabis for trade (Herodotus, History, II, 4.75), and he writes that the Scythians marked their important occasions with drug-fueled rituals (Andrew Curry, Archaeology: June 13, 2016). 

The Altai Mountains of Siberia were inhabited by the Scythians some time between the 7th and 2nd century BCE. The Scythians left richly supplied grave sites called kurgans. A kurgan is a type of burial mound or barrow, heaped over a burial chamber, often of wood.  Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst ("Flesh of the Gods") writes that German botanist Ludwig Wittmaack (1839-1929), identified Cannabis seeds in a Scythian funeral urn, and that evidence would suggest that the Scythians were disseminating Cannabis to other areas around 500 BCE. (Furst 1972,  p.223). Furst also writes that in a number of related Indo-European languages, bangha, the Iranian word for Cannabis simultaneously refers to mushroom intoxication, Cannabis intoxication, and the Cannibis plant itself (Furst 1972, p.224).



OUT OF ASIA:

In 1643, Johannes de Laet presented his theory of an Asiatic land bridge, and proposed that it was the Scythians of Central Asia who first discovered the Americas (Miguel Covarrubias 1954 p.10).   

In his book, Men Out of Asia, 1947, Harold S. Gladwin boldly proposed that Mongoloids and Northern Chinese, and other Central Asians migrated to the Americas around 300 BCE., because they were running from the Huns, and from the chaotic situation that followed the breakup of the Chou dynasty of China. Gladwin suggests that "this migration was numerous and prolonged, entering by the Bering Strait and reaching Mexico and Central America" (Miguel Covarrubias 1954, p.27). 

Sumiya Jambaldorj, a professor of History at the Genghis Khan University in the Mongolian capital of UIan Bator, has studied the similarities between American place names and words in the Mongolian language. Jambaldorj has found over 20 place names in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands that could be Mongolian, and proposes that "about 8,000 to 25,000 years ago, Mongols with stone tools crossed the Aleutian Islands and arrived in America."





             Linguist Morris Swadesh (1964:538) writes:

" Though it turns out that neither Australian nor any other language of the Old World that might have come across the Pacific has lived on in the Americas, this does not prove that there were no transpacific contacts. A number of archaeological traits, several common agricultural plants, and certain features of calendars represent parallels that could hardly have come about either by pure chance or by migration across the Bering Strait. If there has been diffusion of any sort, there is every reason to suppose that some loan words must also exist. A number of concrete similarities can be mentioned". 


Little scholarly work has been done in regard to the question of words lent between Old World and New World languages, I believe the word "Khan" may be one of those words that should be added to the growing list of borrowed words as evidence of diffusion and pre-Columbian contact. Turkish nomads from the Altai Mountain region founded the great Gorturk Empire, a confederation of tribes under the dynasty of Khans. 

"There are perhaps 135 million Turkic people in the world today, with only about 40% of them living in Turkey. The rest are scattered across Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and northern and western China, making them one of the most widely scattered races in the world. All these people descended from a small tribe of horseman that originated in the Altai region" (source factsanddetails.com)   

The title Khan, is a title of imperial rank in the Turkic and Mongolian languages equal to the status of emperor and someone who rules a khaganate (empire).[2] The female equivalent is Khatun. It may also be translated as Khan of Khans, equivalent to King of Kings".(Wikipeda)


"Originally khans headed only relatively minor tribal entities, generally in or near the vast Mongolian and North Chinese steppe, the scene of an almost endless procession of nomadic people riding out into the history of the neighboring sedentary regions. Some managed to establish principalities of some importance for a while, as their military might repeatedly proved a serious threat to such empires as China and kingdoms in Central Asia" (Wikipeda)


One of the earliest notable examples of such principalities in Europe was Danube Bulgaria (presumably also Old Great Bulgaria), ruled by a khan or a kan at least from the 7th to the 9th century (Wikipeda)


"Khan now has many equivalent meanings such as "commander", "leader", or "ruler" "king" "chief".  Khan was also the title of the rulers of various break-away states and principalities later in Persia (Wikipeda)  A Khanate or Khaganate is a political entity ruled by a Khan or Khagan. This political entity is typical for people from the Eurasian Steppe and it can be equivalent to tribal chiefdom, principality, kingdom or even empire (Wikipeda)

The Khanate of Sibir, or Siberia Khanate also historically called the Khanate of Turan,[1][2] was a Tatar Khanate located in southwestern Siberia with a Turco-Mongol ruling class. The area of the Khanate was itself once an integral part of the Mongol Empire, and later came under the control of the White Horde and of the Golden Horde (Wikipeda).


The Khanate of Sibir ruled an ethnically diverse population of Turkic Siberian Tatars and various Uralic peoples including the Khanty, Mansi, Nenets and Selkup. The Sibir Khanate was the northernmost Muslim state in recorded history. Its defeat by Yermak Timofeyevich in 1582 marked the beginning of the Russian conquest of Siberia (Wikipeda). 



"As of 2015, Khans exist in South Asia, Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Turkey."(Wikipeda)  There is no mention of Mesoamerica.



In the language of the Maya, the word chan or kan means both sky and snake, and is code for a sky-portal or path at the World Tree, that the gods and ancestral dead travel in their journey in and out of the Underworld. Many years ago archaeologist Edward Seler linked the jaguar-bird-serpent god associated with the World Tree, with Venus and warfare, to the god Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star (Miller and Taube, 1993 p.104). According to Edward Seler; In a passage from the Anales de Quauhtitlán:


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


There is a Nahua legend in ancient Mexico of a paradise of "nine heavens" that was dedicated to their god Quetzalcoatl, called Tamoanchan (chan) 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).  Borhegyi first noted the significance of the number nine and the nine miniature mushroom stones from Kaminaljuyu with a group of nine deities known as the "Nine Lords of the Night", and gods of the underworld (de Borhegyi, S.F. 1961 p.501).



              Describing the contents of the Kaminaljuyu cache:


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



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."


In Mesoamerica the Nine Lords of the Night, were responsible for guiding the Sun, into the underworld to be sacrificed by ritual decapitation and reborn again as baby jaguar, the new born Sun God. In Maya religion the monkey represents the first of the Nine Lords of the Night or Underworld. Called the Bolon Ti Ku, in Yucatec, the first god associated with re-birth was the Monkey (GI) and Quetzalcoatl (G9) was the last, associated with death, decapitation and completion. The word "Ku"  in Classic Maya glyphs was assigned to the monkey god and in glyphs his monkey profile was used to describe "holy" or "divine," referring to "god",  Lord, or king (M.D. Coe 2001, p.109).


The Mexican god-king Quetzalcoatl and his Maya god-king counterparts known as Kukulkan (Kan), and Gukumatz (ku) names that mean "Feathered Serpent", were all reputed to be the inventors of the science of measuring time, and that feathered serpents represent the bondage of time, and its cyclical nature. The fear that the gods had destroyed previous creations and that their own world might meet a similar fate, led Maya calendar priests to make calendric and astronomical calculations as precise as those that are made today by modern astronomers. Nahua (Mexican) manuscripts (Annals of Cuauhtitlan) record that it was Lord Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl who invented the ballgame (Irene Nicholson, 1967 p.117), and that there is plenty of evidence that mushroom ceremonies are intimately associated with human sacrifice and the ritual ballgame associated with period endings in the Mayan calendar. 


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


Were the Classic period Maya kings of Middle America also linked to the Khan Dynasties of Central Asia ? 


On the left is a Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900) Maya drinking vessel dubbed the "Dynastic vase" that describes the accession of the Kaan rulers.  The Codex-style vase with sixty hieroglyphs, is from the Guatemalan lowlands, now in the Jay I. Kislak collection. The middle page above is from Michael Coe's, and Mark Van Stone's book Reading The Maya Glyphs: 2001, p.80. In it Coe, and Stone gives the names of many of the Classic period Maya kings that use the name or title Kaan,  Kan or Chan as a dynastic title.  The page on the far right is from the book, Altaic Hieroglyphs: And Hittite Inscriptions, by Conder, C. R. (Claude Reignier), 1848-1910who writes that the words Khan and Kan are also the names or titles of Hittite, Turkic, Siberian and Hunnic (Huns) and other Altaic monarchs.  


Alma M. Reed author of The Ancient Past of Mexico, 1966, p. 13, writes that a member of the Chinese National Assembly holds that a Chinese monk named Fa Hsien landed in Mexico in A.D. 412, and that he became the Toltec culture hero Quetzalcoatl, symbolized by the "plumed serpent". Reed mentions (page 27) that the identity of the Toltecs poses one of the most confusing problems in the legendary and documented history of Mexico. She writes that, 


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


Franciscan friar Diego de Landa, the only writer to leave a detailed account of the religious beliefs of the Mayas of Yucatan at the time of the conquest, writes that a great leader known as Kukulkan, which in the Mayan language signifies "The Plumed Serpent", appeared in Yucatan in the forepart of the eleventh century, A.D. 1072, where he became a powerful political figure who ruled at Chichen-Itza. Most historians believe that Kukulkan and the Mexican god-king Quetzacoatl also  meaning "Plumed Serpent" were one and the same man. According to Molina Solis, a recognized historian of Yucatan, writes,  "It is stated authoritatively that with Kukulkan were many people and they all came from outside of the country". There is also plenty of evidence in the archaeology of Yucatan for a sea-borne invasion by the Toltecs in the late tenth century (B.C. Hendrick 1971, p.260-262).

Above on the left is a portrait of Tiwol Chan Mat: From the Tablet of the Slaves at Palenque. (source David Stuart p.26 The Inscriptions from Temple XIX at Palenque 2005)  The Maya figure appears to have a winged dragon perched atop his elongated head that has been artificially deformed. The origin of winged dragons within Chinese culture dates back to the fifth millennium BCE.   

In Central Asia the Huns, Magyars, Avars, and Alans who were known as Scythians practiced cranial deformation (Book of Hippocrates, "De Aeris, Aquis et Locu", lib. ix). The practice of artificial cranial deformation, a form of head binding in which the skull is flattened intentionally, is found in both Old World and New World cultures. Hippocrates tells us that the practice of cranial deformation was likely performed to signify group affiliation, or to demonstrate social status. 

             
"The Huns are routinely characterized by mobility and ferocity; they struck without warning and observed no distinction between combatants and non-combatants, men, woman, or children. Once they had crossed the swamp, and conquered Scythia, there seemed no stopping them. The speed with which the Huns moved, and their success in battle, is best illustrated in their conquest of the region which comprises Hungary in the present day" (Joshua J. Mark 12-14-2014) 




Hun means person, nation, strength and courage in related languages like Turkic, Mongolian and Tungus. The term Hun is still used for person/human in modern Mongolic languages. For example, Mongols called the warrior statues left from the ancient KokTuruks (Turks) as Hun chulu (Hun Stone, Stone person). (Mongolian Academy of Humanities, Monuments of Mongolian history and Culture, Ulan Baatar, 1999). The statues are thought to be memorials of  fallen warriors, because almost all of the statues face east towards the rising sun.   


Soviet excavations have revealed the surprisingly high culture of the Huns (Scythians) who lived and buried their dead in the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. in the Altai Mountains. Hun religion was based on ancestor worship, and that the veneration of departed leaders was thought to be a manifestation of a patriarchal social order in Hun religion. The Asian Huns, Tabgatch and Blue Turks frequently offered sacrifices to their ancestors at the mouths of sacred caverns (Mavi Boncuk, 6-19-2004). 

The Iranians (Aryans) of the steppes would, in the final millennium BCE, expand in many directions: They would move back into eastern Europe as the Scyths and Sarmatians, and move east to Xinjiang (western China) as the Sakas. And they would move into the Iranian plateau where they would become the Persians, Parthians, and Medes (George Boeree 2013).


The Amyrgians, were a subset of Indo-Scythian Sakas, called Saka haumavarga ("Haoma-drinking Scythians") centered on the Amyrgian plain (Ferghana) well to the east of most of the Sakas tribes:


Wikipeda...


The Amyrgians were the Scythians (Saka) tribe in closest proximity to Bactria and Sogdiana. They were named for their king Amorges (not to be confused with Amorges, son of Pissunthnes, leader of a Carian rebellion in 413 BC). The Amyrgians were called Saka haumavarga ("Haoma-drinking Scythians") in Old Persian, which is a reinterpretation of the personal names Amorges and (H)omarges. The Greek form of their name was Amyrgioi.[1] (Wikipeda)


The Tocharians were Scythians.

"Evidence of a now-extinct Indo-European people who lived in central Asia has long existed. The discovery of more than 100 naturally mummified European corpses, ranging from 2,400 to 4,000 years old, in the Tarim Basin region of western China. Known as Tocharians, they are described more accurately as Arsi, which is cognate with Sanskrit arya and Old Persian ariya, meaning "Aryan": "that which is noble or worthy." According to Mark Deavin, author of Aryans: Culture Bearers to China...

"A number of artifacts recovered from the Tarim Basin mummy burials have provided important evidence for early horse riding. These include a wooden bit and leather reins, a horse whip consisting of a single strip of leather attached to a wooden handle, a wooden cheek piece with leather straps, and a padded leather saddle of exquisite workmanship. This seems to confirm that the mummies belonged to a mobile, horse-riding culture that spread from the plains of eastern Europe. It also supports the growing belief of archaeologists that the spread of Indo-European genes, culture, and language may be linked to the gradual spread of horse riding and the technology of horse-drawn vehicles from their origins in Europe 6,000 years ago.

Terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. Central Asia, that clearly encodes a Fleur de lis symbol (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran).  The domestication of the horse has its origin in Central Asia prior to 3500 BCE.


Above is a logo from Altay also spelled Altai, depicting a symbol that we recognize today as the Fleur de lis. The author proposes that this symbol along with an Amanita muscaria mushroom cult, may have its origin in Central Asia, in the region of the Altai Mountains. 
(Special thanks to Nuray Bilgili, personal communication Sept. 9, 2017)

Soviet archaeologist S.I. Rudenko discovered archaeological evidence in the Altai Mountains at Pazaryk for the use of Cannabis sativa to induce trances in Scythian funeral rites during his excavations between 1947 and 1951, of the great burial mounds (tombs called kurgans) at Pazaryk (Peter Furst 1972, notes p. 223). 

The Pazyryk is the name of an ancient people who lived in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, who are associated with some unusual Bronze Age archaeological findings, including mummies with European features, found frozen in the permafrost in royal tombs called kurgans, dated to the 6th and 4th centuries B.C.E.
Above and below are Pazyryk. 6th century BCE. wooden plaques, that were preserved in the frozen sub-soil in a kurgan. The wood plaque above is similar if not exact in shape as the Fleur de lis symbol (The Hermitage Museum).

According to Christoph Baumer,  author of "The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors", the most sacred animals of the Scythians of the Pazyryk Culture, was the leopard, deer, and eagle, all of which are native to the Altai Mountains. 

Above is a Pazyryk plaque of feline, (Sun God ?) with "Tree of Life" symbolically stylized as a Fleur de lis symbol emerging from the feline's mouth, Pazyryk culture, (c. 4th to 3rd centuries BCE.) Altai Mountains. 

Above is a Scythian felt applique carpet or wall hanging, depicting the Fleur de lis above in association with felines, the Tree of Life, and the four cardinal directions and its sacred center, Pazyryk barrow no. 5, 252-238 BCE, excavated 1949 Altai, Siberia (photo from Christoph Baumer,"The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors" 2012, p. 195)
It's reasonable to propose that a belief in the redemptive power and divinity of the mushroom and the symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis, could have spread from one culture to another. The first mushroom cult in the New World, identified by its powerful artistic expression of the were-jaguar, that dominated Olmec culture as early as 1500 B.C. As early as 850 B.C. a were-jaguar cult begins to appear in South America, identified in the religious art of the Chavin and Paracas cultures of Peru. 


The murals above are both from the Mogao Caves, also be known as the Dunhuang Caves, and Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. The murals portray  Uyghur Turk Buddhist priests in feline attire. The Uyghur Turks dominated Mongolia and Central Asia (Turkestan) from the 8th to the 12th century. Its clear from these murals that totemism was practiced among the early Turk priests, believing in a mystical relationship with a spirit-being, such as the leopard. The Mogao Caves are located in Gansu Province of China. The caves are strongly linked to the history of transcontinental relations via the Silk Road, and of the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia.

In Central Asia the fly agaric, or Amanita muscaria mushroom was an important part of shamanistic rituals, especially among the Finno-Ugric language groups. The Amanita muscaria mushroom was used among the Ugrians, Ostyaks, the Samoyeds, the Chuckchee, the Koryak, the Kamchadals and the Inari-Samis in Finland (Gordon Wasson, 1971, p.3-71) 

In Litvinsky's History of Civilizations of Central Asia, there is mention of Chinese sources identifying the Huns with either the Ch'e-shih of Turfan now in the Uighur region of China. The White Huns were a race of largely nomadic peoples who were a part of the Hunnic tribes of Central Asia. They ruled over an expansive area stretching from the Central Asian lands all the way to the Western Indian Subcontinent. Professor Paul Harrison of Stanford University, who deciphered a copper scroll form Afghanistan in 2007 CE. The scroll is dated from 492-93 CE and is from the period of the Hephthalites. It apparently mentions that they [the White Huns] were Buddhists and had Iranian names and includes about a dozen names including that of their overlord or King.   (source by Muhammad Bin Naveed published on 22 June 2015).                                                               

The Uyghur Turks practiced a form of astrology in which the movements of the moon and stars and the planet Venus (called 8-Star) were consulted before setting out a campaign. 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." The planet Venus is perhaps best known in Mesoamerican studies through its connection with this special kind of warfare. These wars or raids were timed to occur during aspects of the Venus astronomical cycle, primarily to capture prisoners from neighboring cities for ceremonial sacrifice (Schele & Freidel, 1990:130-31, 194)  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 died in battle went directly to Tlaloc's paradise called Tlalocan, and were blessed with immortality. Known as "The Master", the god Tlaloc shared the same temple as Quetzalcoatl (Twin temple) at the great city of Teotihuacan, where archaeologists have found the remains of some 200 sacrificial victims, buried under the temple, dedicated to Tlaloc and the Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl. As a Rain and Lightning God, Tlaloc provided the sustenance needed for everlasting life, in return for the shedding of human blood on earth. 


Most of the mushroom imagery I found encoded in the pre-Columbian art was associated with an artistic concept that I refer to as jaguar transformation. Under the influence of the mushroom, the "bemushroomed" acquires feline fangs and other feline attributes, emulating the Sun God in his nightly journey into the Underworld. This esoteric association of mushrooms and jaguar transformation was earlier noted by ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst, together with the fact that a dictionary of the Cakchiquel Maya language compiled circa 1699, lists a mushroom called "jaguar ear" (1976:78, 80. 

I believe the ancient Mesoamericans believed that the consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms, whether orally, anally through enemas, or drinking, metaphorically, transformed the individual into a "were-jaguar". 


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


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



Above on the left is a Classic period figurine from Veracruz Mexico, dressed in the guise of the were-jaguar. The obvious facial features of the figurine is remarkably similar to those facial features found in many of the cultures of Central and Eastern Asia. Above on the right is a closeup scene from a page in the pre-Conquest manuscript from Mexico known as the Codex Laud. The image is of a were-jaguar priest in association with the Fleur de lis symbol and a ritual beverage both of which are symbols of eternal life.



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. 

"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 both hemispheres the symbol we recognize as the Fleur de lis is esoterically linked with a World Tree, and a mushroom of immortality, both intimately associated with a feline deity who represents both the Underworld Sun God, and as twin felines, represents the planet Venus (resurrection star of the newborn Sun God) as both a Morning Star and Evening Star, associated with the death, rebirth, and resurrection of the Sun God from the underworld.
The author has found plenty of evidence of diffusion in the art of the Andean civilizations of ancient Peru, South America. 


The Indo-Scythians known as the Saka peoples of Central Asia and Southern Siberia were the successors of a branch of people who belonged to what archaeologists call the Andronovo culture,  a Bronze Age culture of the 2nd millenium BCE. considered by most scholars to be proto Indo-Iranian, Iranian being cognate with Aryan. The descendants of the Andronovo culture who remained on the steppes of Central Asia were known to the Greeks and Persians as "Skythians" and "Saka" respectively. " (source and excerpt from Europa Barbarorum Wiki)

The best-known Saka (also called Shakya and Sakya tribes) was Siddhartha Gautama who became known as Guatama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. He  was known among his people as Shakyamuni, "the sage of the Shakya Tribe", the son of Suddhodana the chosen leader of the Śākya Gaṇarājya (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Shakya)


Gautama Buddha was also called Sakyasinha "the Lion of the Sakya Tribe". The Kalachakra are the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, passed down from the original seven Dharmarajas of the legendary kingdom of Shambhala, The first notable king of Shambhala, King Suchandra ( c. 900 to 876 BC.E) is reported to have requested teaching from the BuddhaNote: "the Kalachakra calculations put the life of Shakyamuni Buddha quite a bit earlier than what is generally accepted" (Wikipeda).


According to the legend, Shambhala is a Utopian paradise located in a beautiful valley lost in the mountains. It is believed to be a kingdom where all the inhabitants are enlightened, and that Shambhala can only be found by those who are pure in heart. The first mention of Shambhala is found in the Ancient Indian epos Mahabharata, however Shambhala isn't the name of a country there, but of a small Vedic village, where according to the prophecy Vishnu's future manifestation will be born: (Vostok Magazine 9-20-2014)  


The legends of Shambhala are said to date back thousands of years, and that the Buddhist myth of Shambhala is an adaptation of the earlier Hindu myth. Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana mention Shambhala as the birth place of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who will usher in a new Golden Age. According to Buddhist legend, Kalapa is the capital city of Shambhala, where the thirty-two Kulika Kings are said to have reigned on a lion throne.  


             The Prophecy of Shambhala:


"The concept of Shambhala plays an important role in Tibetan religious teachings, and has particular relevance in Tibetan mythology about the future.  The Kalachakra prophesies the gradual deterioration of mankind as the ideology of materialism spreads over the earth. When the “barbarians” who follow this ideology are united under an evil king and think there is nothing left to conquer, the mists will lift to reveal the snowy mountains of Shambhala. The barbarians will attack Shambhala with a huge army equipped with terrible weapons. Then the king of Shambhala will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish "dark forces" and usher in a worldwide Golden Age" (source, http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-asia/mysteries-kingdom-shambhala-0015295 April, 2014)



Above is a mural from the Mogao Caves, also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. The first caves were dug out 366 AD and are located in Gansu Province of China. The caves are strongly linked to the history of transcontinental relations and of the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia. The mural portrays the Buddha, or a Kulika King sitting on what appears to be a lion (feline) throne, encoded with what looks to me like seven sacred mushrooms ?  (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/440)

The Mogao Cave Grottoes contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The  caves form a system of 492 temples as places of Buddhist meditation and worship. The murals above appear to me, to depict a symbol very similar in shape and meaning to the symbol we have come to recognise as the Fleur de lis.



In the late 1940s Ethno-archaeologist Gordon F. Ekholm boldly proposed a theory that Chinese visitors from the Shang Dynasty crossed the Pacific and taught the Olmec how to write, build monuments, and worship a feline god. Ekholm proposed multiple transpacific contacts with the New World beginning as early as 3000 B.C. He believed that this influence on New World civilization came from China, or Southeast Asia, and argued that the Chinese, during the Chou and Han dynasties undertook planned voyages to and from the western hemisphere as early as 700 B.C. in search of gold, jade, and feathers. Ekholm contends that planned voyages may have been religiously motivated particularly based on the well-known Buddhist predilection for proselytizing (see, for example, Ekholm, 1953: 88). Ekholm writes  that scholars have underrated the maritime capabilities of the early Chinese, who not only invented the compass, but used a more seaworthy rudder than those used in the voyages of Columbus.    

In her book Pale Ink (self-published c. 1958), anthropologist Henriette Mertz noted two Chinese expeditions to America. Both expeditions are in the Chinese records, one in the fifth century A.D., and the other, much earlier in the twenty-third century B.C. (Peter Tompkins 1976 p.352-353). The 5th century Chinese expedition is described by Hwui Shan a Buddhist monk who reported on the travels of five Buddhist missionaries to a country far to the east called "Fu-sang", which Mertz and several other historians including Joseph de Guignes 1721 - 1800, who was the first to propose the idea that Fu-sang was ancient Mexico. According to Mertz, "this 5th century visit to Mexico changed the entire course of Mexican history" (from Peter Tompkins 1976 p.352-353).

Mertz writes this in her book about Joseph de Guignes: "He devoted much of his life to a study of the early Chinese, particularly to that which concerned navigation. During his course of study of the Classics, he came across a story, retold by Ma Twan-lin, in his "Antiquarian Researches" published in 1321, of a Buddhist priest, Hwui Shan by name, who, in the fifth century, reported having been to a far country to the east of China. After translating the account, de Guignes believed that he recognized the country described by Hwui Shan to be that of Mexico." (Pale Ink: self-published c. 1958)

Dr. Gunnar Thompson author of the book, Secret Voyages to the New World, 2010, writes..

 "...according to a scribe in the court of Emperor Laing  Wu Ti, a Buddhist missionary claimed that he had returned from a trip to Fu Sang in the year 498 AD. The missionary Hui Shen, said that he had left China on a pilgrimage to spread the blessing of the Buddha to the lands of barbarians across the Eastern Ocean. He visited a a country that was situated 20,000 li (or about 6000 miles) to the east of Siberia. That would place Fu Sang in the vicinity of Mexico." (Thompson 2010, p.65). 

Hui Shen descriptions of Fu Sang are recorded in the 7th-century text Book of Liang by Yao Silian, (Wikipeda).


Dr. Thompson goes on to write that between 500-300 B.C.E., Chinese explorers sailed down the coast of central America searching for magic mushrooms to take back to China. Early Chinese texts use the language chhiu, meaning “searching for”, the herb or plant of immortality, often described as a fungus. 

The controversy regarding the existence of a land called Fu Sang in America has to do with the mythical style in which the Chinese chronicles are written. According to Thompson, Royal Chinese chronicles describe a land far away to the East called Fu Sang, (also spelled Fusang),  that for thousands of years was known to the Chinese as the "Isle of Immortals". According to these chronicles Fu Sang was a "Sacred Isle" that was considered totally off limits to mortals. 


The great Emperor Qin Shi Huang who ascended the throne in 246 BCE., commissioned the voyages to Fu Sang, in his search of the legendary ling chich, the mushroom of immortality (Gunnar Thompson 2010, p.55). The great Emperor (depicted above holding the ling chich mushroom in his left hand ?) believed that if he obtained this sacred fruit of the gods, before he died that his youthful vigor would be restored; and he would live forever (Gunnar Thompson 2010, p.54). This is the same Emperor who built the Great Wall of China, and a mausoleum guarded by thousands of Terracotta Warriors. Qin died in 210 BCE., at the age of 49, after a futile search for a mushroom of immortality.                              


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



The commander of the expedition and ships captain Xu Fu's  (pronounced "Shoo Foo") was informed "that the Chinese priests back home would gauge the success of his mission based on his return with the fruit of Fu Sang, and Fu Sang Jade (Thompson, 2010 p.57).  According to Dr. Gunnar Thompson, there were old priests who claimed that they had once tasted the elixir of the gods, and that the effects of the plant had been overwhelming. "The transcendental experience had been so immediate and so through that mortal existence no longer seemed important. Surely, the Emperor would have Taoist Masters taste the ling chih in order to assure that the plant was authentic" (Thompson, 2010 p.57).


Dr. Gunnar Thompson writes that when Xu Fu reached Fu-Sang in search of its "food of the gods" the natives traded them baskets filled with mushrooms in exchange for Chinese fen (or hemp) and iron tools. The mushrooms "were so plentyful in this region that they were as cheap as a piece of fruit in the public markets." They were also known to the Chinese philosophers as "the mushroom of inlightenment" because they produced a transcendental or hallucinogenic effect when eaten.". "There were such mushrooms in China; but they were not the same as the kind as the ones that came from Fu Sang." (Gunnar Thompson, 2010 p.57)


Thompson goes on to write that the chronicles of Shih Chi reported in later years that Xu Fu returned home to the Emperor after spending nearly three years on his Fu Sang expedition. The Emperor was elated to hear that the expedition had returned with the treasures from Fu Sang, only to realize that the most important treasure was missing, there were no mushrooms of immortality. According to Thompson Xu Fu told the Emperor that the "Immortals from Fu Sang" regard the sacred mushrooms as priceless, and so valuable that they will only allow me to bring back a small chest if I return to Fu Sang with a suitable tribute (Thompson, 2010 p.59). Based on official chronicles that were written shortly after these events took place. The Immortals required the Emperor to send as payment 3,000 of the most beautiful young men and women of the Dragon Kingdom, and that they must all be skilled in some essential art or craft, such as agriculture, astronomy, and medicine. There would be thirty new ships built and that Xu Fu insisted upon designing these vessels himself. The following year according to the Shih Chi chronicle, the Fu Sang Fleet departed in the year 219 BCE. (source Gunnar Thompson 2010 p.60).


Xu Fu never returned home with the mushrooms of immortality, and the Chinese emperor eventually died in the year 207 B.C. (for an account of Xu Fu (aka Hsu Fu) see Thompson, 1994, 116-117; see also George Carter, Archeological Journal of Canada (14:1), 14.


The authors of a 1st century BC. edition of the Shih Chi chronicle concluded that the first voyage was simply a rehearsal for a grand deception. According to Thompson, Xu Fu did not trust the Emperor, his advisors warned him that his life would be in jeopardy upon his return, so he absconded with all the wealth and tribute, all the beautiful damsels, and the entire fleet of ships, and that their final assessment was that Xu Fu had made himself a king of Fu Sang (Gunnar Thompson 2010, p.58-61). 



According to Wikipeda, who uses the words, "elixir of life", rather than "mushroom of immortality"....


"An earlier account claims that in 219 BC emperor Shi Huang sent an expedition of some 3,000 convicts to a place lying far off to the east, across the ocean, called Fusang, to be a sacrifice to a volcano god who holds the elixir of life. There were, apparently, two expeditions under Xu Fu, the court sorcerer, to seek the elixir of life. The first expedition returned c. 210 BC when Xu Fu claimed a giant sea creature was blocking their path. Archers were then sent to deal with this monster when the expedition set out a second time, but it was never heard from again. However, "... asides in the Record of the Historian imply that its leader Xu Fu had returned to China long ago and was lurking somewhere near Langya, frittering away the expedition's impressive budget."[4]Wikipeda

 





The City of the Gods:

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


           Quoting Dr. Eulalia Guzman...

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


The city of Teotihuacan, a religious mega-metropolis, located thirty-six miles to the northeast of present day Mexico City, had a population of over a quarter of a million people and covered some thirty-five square miles in its heyday. Teotihuacan was known as the burial place of kings, where those who died became gods, and to speak of a person as a god meant that he had died. Teotihuacan is where Quetzalcoatl sacrificed himself, and in death and resurrection became the new fifth sun, to bring light back to the world: (M. D. Coe 1994:91). Teotihuacan's influence over all of Mesoamerica between A.D. 300-700, can be identified archaeologically by the widespread distribution of Teotihuacan ceramics, which depict Teotihuacan's patron gods Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc. The rulers of Teotihuacan established a vast empire that reached as far south as Kaminalyuju, in the highlands of Guatemala. Wherever the Teotihuacanos went they took their religion and their mushroom god Tlaloc with them.

Archaeologist Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi writes this about Teotihuacan's successful, rapid spread of religious ideas, and the acceptance of the Teotihuacan-designed "earthly paradise" and afterworld, 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 to the Mictlan, the ninth and final resting place of the Aztec dead. (for the possible association of effigy mushroom stones with the cult of the nine gods of the underworld among the highland Mayas in Preclassic times, see Borhegyi, 1961a: 501-503)

"In the concept of the Tlalocan, Teotihuacan offered something tangible, something desirable, a rich and readily available compensation that no previous Mesoamerican culture was able to offer. Appropriate initiation rituals perhaps 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 such mind-changing hallucinogens as the sacred mushroom (teonanacatl, "the flesh of god"), or peyote."

"The success of an expansionistic, theocratic society does not always necessitate a solid economic base, since its best export commodity may be a widely acceptable and intangible esoteric theological concept or reward rather than locally grown or produced surplus can transcend cultural, political, ethnic, or class boundaries. Therefore it is apparent that the Teotihuacan religion, like the popular Hellenistic mystery religions, like Mithraism, Christianity (and Gnosticism), Islam, or Buddhism, must have possessed, at least initially, such universally acceptable and eclectic concepts. Otherwise their rapid diffusion, adaptability, and power of attraction could never have been so irresistible and so eminently successful." 

"But as with Hellenism, Classic Teotihuacan, through the concepts of individual salvation and the Tlalocan, was able to tender a spiritual and real reward, a magic, coercive and popular holding power that remained unparalleled in the New World until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and Christianity" (from Man Across the Sea: Problems of PreColumbian Contacts; S.F. de Borhegyi, 1971  pp. 90-97, Third Printing 1976)


The Classic period in Mesoamerica (250 A.D. to 900 A.D.), is generally characterized by the strong influence of Teotihuacan. Especially during the years, around 400 A.D. to 650 A.D., Teotihuacan exerted a tremendous amount of religious and commercial influence throughout Central America. Teotihuacan influenced ceremonial vessels and ceramic incense burners adorned with the Teotihuacan patron deities of Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc are found throughout the Maya area of Guatemala, and Yucatan Mexico. The power and religious influence of Teotihuacan declines suddenly around 600-650 A.D. after the burning and subsequent destruction of that great city, by "barbaric" Chichimecs or Otomi invaders from northern Mexico.         

During Preclassic times (1500 BC to AD 250), the source of cultural influences radiated from the Olmec heartland on the Gulf Coast of Veracruz in Mexico. The Classic Veracruz art style of the great religious center of El Tajin in Veracruz Mexico, according to archaeologist Michael D. Coe, today's unofficial "Dean of Maya studies", and author of the book, Mexico, From the Olmec to the Aztecs, Coe is quoted as saying:

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

The late Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist who studied comparative mythology and religion believed that Asian culture was responsible for Mayan myths, religion, and astronomy, and noted that the Mayan eclipse table in the Dresden Codex was identical to a table that Chinese astronomers produced during the Han Dynasty. According to Thompson, Both tables predicted 23 eclipses within a 135-month period when in fact, only 18 eclipses actually occur. In other words, both Mayan and Chinese eclipse tables were faulty; and that they both contained the same errors. Campbell realized that identical errors could not occur if the original observations had been made independently in China and Mexico. Therefore Campbell concluded that the Mayan eclipse table was derived from a Chinese prototype" (Gunnar 2010, Thompson, p.63) 

I Central Asia, trees symbolize the world center, where heaven and earth touch, at the top of the World Tree. The central smoke-hole in the roof of the yurt was a microcosmic symbol or representation of the World Tree at the center of the universe (note cosmic symbol on yurt). The opening at the top of the yurt is the entry portal for shamans, on their journeys to the other world. 

Above, top left is a page from the Dresden Codex depicting symbols identified as a star, or Venus glyphs in the Dresden Codex. Just below the Dresden Codex page,  is a petroglyph from China, that appears similar in shape to a Maya Venus symbol. According to Yaoliang Song, a professor at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, he estimated that the Chinese petroglyph to have been created some 5,000 to 7,000 years ago. (source “Prehistoric Human-Face Petroglyphs of the North Pacific Region,” published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1998) Above on the lower right is a page from the Madrid Codex, also known as the Maya Tro-Cortesianus Codex. The codex page clearly depicts two Amanita muscaria mushrooms, "Hidden in Plain Sight"

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



"An article published in the 'Hindu' of 27th Sept. 1985 about the discovery made by Dr. Harry Fell, renowned epigraphist [glyph reader] of USA goes to suggest that the early merchant settlers of South-East Asia had sailed to far off lands in pursuit of their profession, whose presence in Mexico is available in the form of inscriptions. Dr. Fell has deciphered the Indic inscription from Tihosuco which reads that merchant Vusaluna, the captain of the ship, sailing along the coast line, had got the inscription engraved on the stone slab in the month of July of the year 845. It is assumed that year mentioned is of Saka era" (source Vedic Knowledge online Veda.harekrsna.cz)


Quoting Alice B. Kehoe, author of Controversies in Archaeology 2008: "What the evidence shows is that America's indigenous nations were part of global connections for several thousands years before Columbus kicked off the historic invasions".



The endless similarities between the Old World and the New would suggest that the essentials of American civilization were brought from the Old World to the Americas, and that other migratory groups besides the basic Mongoloid migrations crossed the Bering Strait, and that voyages across the Oceans were in fact quite feasible (Miguel Covarrubias 1954 p.24).

Mexican archaeologist and art historian Miguel Covarrubias writes, "there is a tantalizing similarity between the art styles and spirit of some American Indian cultures and the arts of pre-Buddhist China, Malaysia, and the South Seas" (Miguel Covarrubias 1954 p.24).

Photographs © Justin Kerr      (Photo of Hindu statue from amazingdiscoveries.org) 

The photo above on the left depicts the deity scholars identify as the Maya Maize God, known as First-Father, Hun-Nal-Ye. The Maize God  sculpture itself is of the Late Classic period, and is from the Maya ruins of Copan, in Honduras. He makes what appears to be the same hand gesture commonly depicted in Hindu and Buddhist art. The Maya artist encodes what looks to me like three stylized mushroom caps, two as ear plugs associating the sacred mushroom with the number three and the mythical three hearth stones (or deities) of Maya creation.  The photo on the right represents the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, who makes a similar hand gesture. The Hindu goddess Lakshmi holds in her hands what appear to be stylized mushrooms, and she wears a headdress with a symbol that looks very similar to a Fleur de lis symbol.  



Above 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.

The meaning of Buddha is "the Enlightened" or "Awakened one" that 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 what history says was a poisonous mushroom. 


Siddha or Siddhar, is derived from Siddharatha or vise-versa:

Siddha (Tamil "great thinker/wise man"; Sanskrit, "perfected one") is a term that is used widely in Indian religions and culture. It means "one who is accomplished".[1][2] It refers to perfected masters who have achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. In Jainism, the term is used to refer the liberated souls. Siddha may also refer to one who has attained a siddhi, paranormal capabilities.

Siddhas may broadly refer to siddhars, naths, ascetics, sadhus, or yogis because they all practice sādhanā.[3](Wikipeda)


In Tamil Nadu, South India, a siddha (see Siddhar) refers to a being who has achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. The ultimate demonstration of this is that siddhas allegedly attained physical immortality. Thus siddha, like siddhar, refers to a person who has realised the goal of a type of sadhana and become a perfected being. In Tamil Nadu, South India, where the siddha tradition is still practiced, special individuals are recognized as and called siddhas (or siddhars or cittars) who are on the path to that assumed perfection after they have taken special secret rasayanas to perfect their bodies, in order to be able to sustain prolonged meditation along with a form of pranayama which considerably reduces the number of breaths they take. Siddha were said to have special powers including flight.


Rasāyana, रसायन is a Sanskrit word, with the literal meaning: Path (āyana) of essence (rasa). It is a term that in early ayurvedic medicine means the science of lengthening lifespan, and in later (post 8th-century) works sometimes refers to Indian alchemy (Wikipeda)



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".

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



The  Amanita muscaria mushroom was the mystery plant Soma and the Secret of Secrets, the mushroom being the divine medium through which one achieved ecstasy and thus communion with the gods. 

As the story goes, Buddha becomes enlightened while sitting under the Bodhi tree. The word bodhi which means enlightenment, is a metaphorical reference or code for the Amanita muscaria mushroom.

I believe that Buddha's enlightenment was mushroom related.


 
           Quoting R. Gordon Wasson...

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


Above is a limestone carving 1st century B.C.E. now in the British Museum in London, titled "the enlightenment of the Buddha". Note what looks to me like two encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms under the bodhi tree of enlightenment.


The footprint motif is a common one in pre-Columbian art, symbolizing "a journey", which leads me to propose that Guatemala may have been called in ancient times "the land of the Gautama", one of the many lands visited by Buddhist monks in pre-Columbian times ? In Chinese religion, the word "tao " means road or path. The Aztecs called their divine mushroom, teonanacatl, "teo" meaning God, teonanacatl, meaning "God's flesh".
Above is a stone ballgame yoke fragment with footprint that was excavated by J. Eric Thompson along with a tripod mushroom stone from a pit in front of Monument 3 at the Pacific coastal site of El Baul in Guatemala.

           Quoting Ethno-mycologist  R. Gordon Wasson:


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



Evidence of early Olmec culture in the Maya area has been established at numerous archaeological sites in Guatemala along the Pacific coast on the same fertile cacao-growing plain where archaeologists have found a number of mushroom stones. Archaeologists suggest that the Olmec were the first to set up cacao plantations in this fertile region later called the Soconusco by the Aztecs. This area is where we find the earliest forms of pottery, known as the Barra phase and tentatively dated at 1600 BCE. (Muriel Porter Weaver 1972, p.40). The Olmec exploited the local resources, including both cacao and mushrooms, and eventually established the "south-coast trade routes that became part of an even larger economic network connecting Mexico with southeastern Central America, and beyond. This north-south Olmec trade network was later controlled by the ruling elites of the ancient Maya. Evidence of sea voyaging and trading between Guatemala and Ecuador occurs as early as the formative period 2000 BCE–200 CE, (Stephen C. Jett 1971, p.11) (Michael Coe 1960: 384-386). "Chinese documents indicate that sea-going sailing rafts were in common use off China as early as the fifth century B.C. and perhaps more than two millennia earlier"(Stephen C. Jett 1971, p. 11) (Ling, 1956: 47,49,51).

As mentioned earlier both the Maya (all Mesoamericans) and Chinese attributed magic powers to jade and considered it the most precious of materials, and was worshiped 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).

         

Above on the left are Chinese jade Bi, pronounced "bee", that are flat disks often depicting celestial symbols of the four cardinal directions. The extremely sacred objects (the round hole symbolizing a divine portal), were used in ceremonies by early Chinese kings to venerate the celestial spirits. Jade Bi, are commonly found in Chinese royal graves. Similar jade disks with holes and celestial symbols have been found in the royal graves of Maya kings. The Maya jade disk above on the top right was discovered in a royal grave at Pomona, Belize. The disk has a diameter of seven inches, with glyphs arranged to form a quincunx pattern with the central hole as the sacred center. The glyphs on the Pomona disk have not been deciphered, but the style of the glyphs are similar to those on the Leyden plate suggesting a very early date. 

Maya archaeologist Robert Sharer considered it no accident that the earliest examples of Maya hieroglyphic writing and sculptural style have been found at Late Preclassic, (formative period) southern Maya centers. These southern Maya centers displayed the first flowerings of Maya civilization centuries before the rise of the Classic lowland sites.(Sharer,1983, 63-66)

Direct diffusion, involves either the importation of an actual item or its manufacturer or the learning and implementation of the trate by members of a recipient culture through contact and imitation. (Stephen C. Jett 1971 p.44).  

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

"There lived once upon a time a king of the Śākya, a scion of the solar race, whose name was Suddhodana. He was pure in conduct, and beloved of the Śākya like the autumn moon. He had a wife, splendid, beautiful, and steadfast, who was called the Great Maya, from her resemblance to Maya the Goddess".— Buddhacarita of Aśvaghoṣa, I.1–2 (Wikipedia: Shakya)


Is it just a coincidence that the Buddhist prophet named Gautama had a mother named Maya, and is it just a coincidence that the Vedic god named Soma had a son named Budha (source http://www.crystalwind.ca/mystical-magical/pantheons-and-myths/hindu/soma-chandra-god-of-the-moon).


Above on the left is a statue of the Buddha under what I would argue  is a Amanita muscaria mushroom and not an umbrella or parasol. Above on the right is a female figurine now in the collection of the Cancun’s Maya Museum. The female figurine in question is from the Maya ruins of Xelha in Quintana Roo Mexico, and may represent Gautama's mother, Queen Maya ?


Coincidence or evidence of pre-Columbian contact between China and the ancient Maya?
In Buddhist art Queen Maya is portrayed as a beautiful woman in the prime of life. I wonder if this Maya figurine above is one of those "oopart", or "out-of-place-artifacts" that actually depicts what it looks like, a Chinese woman.

I would argue that the female figurine from the Maya ruins of Xelha in Quintana Roo Mexico, is a portrait of Buddha's mother, Queen Maya, and that the name Guatemala, was said to have been "the land of the Gautama". According to linguist Morris Swadesh (1964:538) "If there has been diffusion of any sort, there is every reason to suppose that some loan words must also exist". 
 
In the Rig Veda the term Maya, refers to the power of Soma, with which the gods possessed to create and maintain the physical universe, and to assume various material forms. Maya is the power that brings all reality into being as it is perceived by human consciousness. Therefore, all the natural phenomena contained within this material world are products of maya. We are even told that the gods themselves were described as Mayin.


Source: New World Encyclopedia... 

In the  Rigveda, the term Maya, (maya)  is introduced referring to the power that devas (divine beings) possessed which allowed them to assume various material forms and to create natural phenomena.                

Maya (Sanskrit māyā, from "not" and "this")  In early Vedic mythology, maya was the power with which the gods created and maintained the physical universe.

Maya is the power that brings all reality into being as it is perceived by human consciousness. Therefore, all the particular things contained within this material world are products of maya.

Soma (Soma), was considered to be the most precious liquid in the universe, and therefore was an indispensable aspect of all Vedic rituals, used in sacrifices to all gods, particularly Indra, the warrior god. Supposedly, gods consumed the beverage in order to sustain their immortality. In this aspect, Soma is similar to the Greek ambrosia (cognate to amrita) because it was what the gods drank and what helped make them deities. Indra and Agni (the divine representation of fire) are portrayed as consuming Soma in copious quantities. (Excerpt is from New World Encyclopedia)               



Gunnar Thompson writes, "that the now famous Tuxtla Jade Statuette (c.300 BC—300 AD) found near the West Coast of Mexico, and now in the National Museum of Anthropology and Archeology in Mexico City, is covered with contemporary Zhou Chinese tortoise-shell writing that was previously unknown in the region. Thompson believes that this jade statuette is "conclusive evidence of contact between Mexico and China" (Gunnar Thompson, June 11, 2014 Early New World Maps). According to Thompson:


"Considerable numbers of Chinese symbols and artifacts have been found all along the American West Coast. These relics bear testimony to enduring trade across the Pacific Ocean. Major Chinese migrations to ancient America took place following the triumph of the Zhou People over the Shang Dynasty in about 900 BC. In Mexico, the arrival of Chinese refugees from this conflict was called “the Great Migration” in Mayan folklore. A second migration took place between 500 and 300 BC following the “Warring States” conflict. This second wave of Chinese immigrants was known as “the Lesser Migration.” One result of this new influx of people and ideas from the Orient was the introduction of the hallmark Yin/Yang Symbol and a related complex of religious symbols that the author has identified as “the Omnibus Power Sign.” "This Heartland of Fu Sang was also the habitat of a sacred plant called the ling-chih. It was the psilocybin hallucinogenic mushroom."



The Land of the Immortals:

According to Wikipeda: "In Chinese mythology, Fusang refers to a divine tree and island in the East, from where the sun rises. A similar tree, known as Ruomu (若木) exists in the west, and each morning the sun was said to rise from Fusang and fall on Ruomu. Chinese legend has ten birds (typically ravens) living in the tree, and as nine rested, the tenth would carry the sun on its journey. This legend has similarities with the Chinese tale of the fictional hero Houyi, sometimes referred to as the Archer, who is credited with saving the world by shooting down nine of the suns when one day all ten took to the air simultaneously. Some scholars have identified the bronze trees found at the archaeological site Sanxingdui with these Fusang trees. The Liang Shu also describes the conversion of Fusang to the Buddhist faith by five Buddhist monks from Gandhara: "In former times, the people of Fusang knew nothing of the Buddhist religion, but in the second year of Da Ming of the Liu Song dynasty (485 AD), five monks from Kipin (Kabul region of Gandhara) travelled by ship to that country. They propagated Buddhist doctrine, circulated scriptures and drawings, and advised the people to relinquish worldly attachments. As a result, the customs of Fusang changed".(Wikipeda)

Fusang tree as depicted in a rubbing from the Wu Liang Shrines' reliefs, mid-2nd century. The scene depicts the Fusang tree, Xihe who is going to hitch her Dragon Horse to the Sun Chariot, and Archer Yi who takes aim at the Sun Crows. (Wikipeda https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusang)

There is no mention of the numerous mushrooms cleverly encoded above as the leaves of the legendary Fusang tree. According to the report of Hui Shen to the Chinese during his visit to China, described in the Liang Shu:

Above is a painting depicting Hindu mythology, from India that I propose encodes the fruit of immortality as mushroom-shaped lily pads beneath the Tree of  Life.


            In Japanese mythology Mount  Horai is the legendary land of immortals:

                  

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


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


"Taoist literature makes frequent references to what scholars often translate as "magic mushrooms" (ling chih). Despite pop culture associations with this term it must be understood to literally be magic and capable of producing anything from immortality to visionary states to shamanic journeys."  (Frederick R. Dannaway March 2009)









The poets of the Rig Veda repeatedly speak of Soma as growing in the Mountain heights. We are told that the Aryans of the Rig Veda had come down from the north on horse and chariots, but know one knows from where. We now know that the Turkic Saka people or Yakuts of the Verkhoyansk area of Siberia still prepare a ritual drink from the caps of the Amanita muscaria mushroom for ceremonies performed by shamans (Gerrit J. Keizer 2013, p.163) ( Keizer 1997). 

"We know that some of the Saka tribes must have worshiped the cult of Haoma, since one of the Saka tribes known to the Achaimenid Persians and seen on the inscriptions at Persepolis and Naqsh-i-Rustam were known as the "Saka Haomavarga" or "Haoma-drinking/Haoma-consuming Saka". Haoma was the name of both a plant and a deity in the Zoroastrian religion. The mystery plant Haoma was used in the Zoroastrian ritual of Yasna where the plant was pounded in a mortar partly filled with water and then its juice squeezed into a cup to be drank by a Zoroastrian priest" (source and excerpt from Europa Barbarorum Wiki).

In the Achaemenian cuneiform inscriptions of Darius I the Great (522-486 BCE), the list of nations that comprised the Persian Empire included three nations using Saka as a prefix to their names: Saka Haumavarga, Saka Tigrakhauda and Saka Paradraya. The Saka Haumavarga along with the Saka Tigrakhauda, are the two Saka nations or peoples most consistently mentioned as part of the Persian Empire. The literature suggests that Hauma-varga describes a defining trait of this Saka group. It is taken to mean that this Saka practiced haoma-drinking Saka ( K. E. Eduljee,  Zoroastrian Heritage).


The feline figure, or better yet half-feline half-man figure above with a prominent Fleur de lis symbol emerging from his head, is depicted on a gold vessel in the famous Nagyszentmiklos Treasure discovered in 1799, near the small town of Nagy Szent-Miklós in western Romania, near the border with Hungary. The treasure consisting of 23 gold vessels is dated from the 6th to the 10th century.  Scholars have connected the Nagyszentmiklos Treasure with the Avars, a nomadic people of uncertain origins and ethno-linguistic affiliation. The language of the inscription on the gold vessels is not clearly known but thought to be a Turkic language. The Avars like the Hungarians (Magyars) are of Altaic descent having a Mongolic, Turkic, or Tungusic origin. Historian Gyula László has speculated that the late 9th century Pannonian Avars spoke a variety of Old Hungarian, thereby forming an Avar-Hungarian continuity with then newly arrived Hungarians; it has been heavily questioned and criticized whether this speculation is true.[22](Wikipeda).  Graeco-Roman historiographers called the Pannonian Avars, Huns and Hungarians "Scythians"(Wikipeda).



Above on the left is a Scythian/Saka drinking vessel that depicts twin felines, and a symbol that looks exactly the same as the symbol on the feline flask above right from Peru, South Ameria. The ceramic feline shaped flask from Peru, Wari (Huari) culture AD 500 to 1000, and also depicts what I have identified as three Fleur de lis symbols emerging from the feline's head, back, and tail (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

 
The similar symbol can be found encoded in this Late Classic Maya vase painting. The drinking vessel depicts a creation scene in which the underworld deity is wearing the trade-mark goggled eyes of the Mexican god Tlaloc who I propose represents the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus and thus the god of underworld decapitation. The underworld deity is resurrecting the new born baby jaguar who in Maya iconography represents the new born Sun God.
"According to scientists, rug weaving must have originated in the dry steppe regions where the nomadic tribes lived. Central Asia was a suitable location for the first rug-weaving center because of the availability of land for herding sheep and because of the climate of the region" (source http://www.allaboutturkey.com/carpet.htm).

The Pazyryk carpet was excavated in 1949 from the grave of a Scythian nobleman in the Pazyryk Valley of the Altai Mountains in Siberia. Radiocarbon testing indicated that the Pazyryk carpet was woven in the 5th century BC.[5] This carpet is 183 by 200 centimetres (72 by 79 inches) and has 36 symmetrical knots per cm² (232 per inch²).[6] The advanced technique used in the Pazyryk carpet indicates a long history of evolution and experience in weaving. It is considered the oldest known carpet in the world.[7]Wikipeda
The Persian term Saka is used for the Scythians in Central Asia. The Chinese used the term Sai (Chinese: 塞; Old Chinese: *sˤək), for Sakas who once inhabited the valleys of the Ili River and Chu River and moved into the Tarim Basin. Iskuzai or Askuzai is an Assyrian term for raiders south of the Caucasus who were probably Scythian. A group of Scythians/Sakas went south and gave their name to Sakastan. They, or a related group, invaded northern India and became the Indo-Scythians. Near the end of this article is a list of peoples that have been called Scythians (Wikipeda: Scythians)

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

In the Old World, there is an ancient belief that the Sun God was born from the sea and soared into the sky like an eagle. For this reason, ancient solar deities were often depicted as half-man and half-fish, or half-man and half-bird.
In Assyro-Babylonian art of Mesopotamia the Sun God (underworld Sun God) is also portrayed at times as a "half-man, and half-lion deity" depicted above crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol.


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

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

Mushroom intoxication, according to Spanish reports gave sorcerers (priests or shamans), the power to seemingly change themselves into animals, and that the powerful visions and voices the mushrooms produced were believed to be from God. 


Above is the infamous "Lion Man" a half-lion and half-man ivory sculpture believed to be the oldest known anthropomorphic sculpture in the world dated 32,000 years ago.


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


The powerful unitary religion of the Olmec, appears to spread quickly throughout the New World with certain elements of the belief system that spread as far as the Andean area of South America. We know this culture by its powerful art style featuring adult and baby "were-jaguars;" an art style so pervasive that it led the late archaeologist Matthew W. Stirling in 1955 to call the Olmec the "people of the jaguar." He speculated that the Olmecs believed that at some time in their mythical past a jaguar had copulated with, and impregnated, a human female.   




Above is an Olmec low-relief panel, from the south coast of Guatemala (800-500 B.C) photographed by Nicholas Hellmuth. The panel portrays a ruler as a "were-jaguar" crowned with a symbol reminiscent of the Old World Fleur de lis symbol. The esoteric art style of the ancient Olmec emphasized jaguar transformation in anthropomorphic feline figures and or grotesque feline-masked figures. Once again we see the footprint motif encoded in pre-Columbian art, symbolizing "a journey".  The ruler is portrayed with the "Olmec snarl", a common motif in Olmec art that I demonstrate represents the mushroom's effect of jaguar transformation and the soul's mythical underworld journey.

Archaeologist Michael D. Coe (1972) demonstrated a long-standing Mesoamerican association of the jaguar with rulership, royal lineages, and power, having an intimate relationship with the sun in the underworld, the Jaguar Sun God (John B. Carlson 1981, p.125).

The Underworld Jaguar God of ancient Mexico is depicted above in a pre-Columbian Mixtec manuscript called the Codex Zouche-Nuttall or Codex Tonindeye. The painting depicts the Underworld Jaguar God sitting on a thrown encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol above his head, and three upside down or inverted Fleur de lis symbols, pointing to the underworld and maybe alluding to a Trinity of creator gods.

Above is a Late Classic Maya vase K6608 from the Justin Kerr Data Base of Maya vase paintings, photographed in roll out form. The three underworld jaguars all wear mushroom shaped ear plugs, and wear sacrificial scarves that encode the colors and spots of the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Photograph © Justin Kerr # 6608, Owner: Denver Art Museum Denver CO.
The drawing above is of a Classic period Teotihuacan III fresco from Teopanzalco, Mexico entitled "el altar del sol."  I believe this scene represents the resurrection of the Underworld Sun God. In the frieze on both the right and left margins are encoded mushrooms, to symbolize the sacred journey of Venus into the underworld as the sacrificial were-jaguar. The two deities, or twin priests impersonating deities in the above scene represent the twin aspects of the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star (note light and dark cheek mark). They appear to be offering their blood in sacrifice at an altar that symbolizes the underworld Sun God of the present world (note twisted olin symbol in center of sun). The two priestly characters are dressed as were-jaguars, their outfits decorated with numerous five-pointed stars which have been identified as Nahuat Venus symbols from highland Mexico.
Above is a carved doorway panel from ancient Persia (Syria) that depicts a very similar scene of twin felines resurrecting the Sun God from the underworld at the Tree of Life. Note that the artist encodes the Fleur de lis symbol in the tails of the twin felines, and the Tree of Life.

13th Century Jewish depiction of the "Tree of Life" emerging from the head of a feline. Note what appears to me to be probable priests picking and bagging the mushroomic looking fruit from the Tree of Life, and they both wear what I would argue are mushroom encoded hats.


Its worth mentioning once again that both Christianity and Judaism were influenced by Zoroastrianism, an Iranian/Persian religion founded by Babylonian/Sumerian King Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah. 


"...the Persians made the ancient Semitic belief in the survival of the soul into a belief in its immortality; this in turn made its way into Jewish doctrine, a channel through which Zoroastrianism penetrated even Christian theology." Like many other religions Judaism tapped into the wellsprings of Vedism (Gerald Messadie 1993 p. 247).

I was surprised to find images of mushrooms encoded with feline deities in association with the Tree of Life in both the ancient art of the Old World, and the the New World.

Scythian cross of feline as Sun God with :Tree of Life" stylized as a Fleur de lis symbol emerging from mouth. Pazyryk culture, (c. 4th to 3rd centuries BC) Altai Mountains.

The Altai Mountains have been identified as being the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon[13] which arose during the Bronze Age around the start of the 2nd millennium BC and led to a rapid and massive migration of peoples from the region into distant parts of Europe and Asia. 


Seima-Turbino phenomenon refers to a pattern of burial sites dating around 1500 BC found across northern Eurasia, from Finland to Mongolia, which has suggested a common point of cultural origin, advanced metal working technology, and unexplained rapid migration. The buried were nomadic warriors and metal-workers, traveling on horseback or two-wheeled chariots. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Scythian gold jewellery depicting felines

(Photo and excerpt from British Museum: Introducing the Scythian exhibition May 30th 2017)


The Pazyryk culture is a Scythian Iron Age archaeological culture identified by excavated artifacts and mummified humans found in the Siberian permafrost, in the Altay Mountains, Kazakhstan and nearby Mongolia. The burials at Pazyryk are responsible for the introduction of the term kurgan, a Russian word of Turkic origin, to describe these spectacular tombs. The region of the Pazyryk kurgans is considered the type site of the wider Pazyryk culture. The site is included in the Golden Mountains of Altai UNESCO World Heritage Site.[6]Wikipedia

The Pazyryk culture flourished between the 7th and 3rd century BC in the area associated with the Sacae. Ordinary Pazyryk graves contain only common utensils, but in one, among other treasures, archaeologists found the famous Pazyryk Carpet, the oldest surviving wool-pile oriental rug. Another striking find, a 3-metre-high four-wheel funerary chariot,[toy chariot] survived well-preserved from the 5th to 4th century BC.[97]Wikipeda


Ceramic feline wheeled toy from Chanhu-daro, the Indus Valley Civilization, India, Harappa Culture (2500-1500 BCE.) now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ma.


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


Late Classic period 600-900 A.D. (Gulf Coast region of Mexico) ceramic jaguar on wheels now in the Ethnologists Museum Berlin, (photo by Martin Franken)



Transpacific diffusionist Gordon F. Ekholm believes that the wheeled toys were most likely derived from the better-known toy chariot cult, of the Bronze Age Near East (3300-1200 B.C.). Ekholm reported the discovery of wheeled effigies (American Antiquity 1946) that were excavated at the Olmec site of Tres Zapotes in Veracruz, Mexico. Tres Zapotes was an Olmec center boasting Colossal heads that was founded just a few centuries before 1000 B.C. The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mesoamerica (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.) rising up in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, at the centers of San Lorenzo, La Venta, Laguna de Los Cerros, and Tres Zapotes, in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco.


Several monuments from the Olmec site of La Venta, Stela 3, Monument 19, and Monument 13 called the "Ambassador" (altar with footprint) appear to celebrate foreigners, and that foreigners are clearly indicated by their distinctive items of dress ( Prudence M. Rice 2007, p.98) (Drucker 1981, pp.42-46).


The influence of these Olmec ceremonial centers extended in all directions and Olmec culture seemingly laid many of the foundations for the Zapotec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Toltec, Mixtec, and Aztec civilizations that were to follow. The question remains, of whether the invention of the wheel could have been made independently in both the Old Word and the New World.


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

In his book In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Archaeology and Myth 1989, J.P. Mallory cites that all the evidence indicates that Indo-Europeans of the Andronovo culture settled in western Siberia during the Bronze Age.
Late 3rd-early 2nd millennium BCE, stamp seal from the Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC), located in Central Asia, that thrived 2300 to 1700 BCE. The seal has been described as a figure holding snakes, when in reality, I believe this figure represents a shaman with god eye and horns, attributes that are common in the depiction of shamans in ancient art, and that the so called snakes surrounding the shaman are actually encoded mushrooms, encoded to portray divine ecstasy and the mushroom as the medium.

Bactria-Margiana Artifact Description: Openwork copper or bronze stamp seals, often called "compartmented" seals, were cast in both geometric and figural patterns in Bactria-Margiana and are distinctive to that region. This copper-alloy example represents a male figure dressed in a short kilt and mountain boots with upturned toes. If his horned headdress is similar in meaning to examples found in Mesopotamia and Iran, the figure may be divine. The arrow-shaped forms emerging from his shoulders and under his arm may represent snakes or lightning bolts.
Surprisingly, as I discovered, the ancient symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis appears in the ancient art of the Americas at approximately the same time in history as the rise of the ancient Olmecs (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.).  I believe that the Fleur de lis symbol along with several other symbols migrates from Central Asia to the Americas, along with the Amanita muscaria mushroom cult.


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



The earliest evidence of hieroglyphic writing in Mesoamerica appears on pictorial stelae at the ancient Zapotec ceremonial site of Monte Alban. New evidence would suggest that the ceremonial center at Monte Alban, was Olmec influenced, and begins to develop under Olmec influence about 700-800 B.C. Radiocarbon dates by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus, of the oldest Zapotec palisade, range between 1680 and 1410 B.C.E. (Charles C.Mann 2006, p.237). The stelae with inscriptions officially known as the danzante with glyphs (or Monument 3 at San Jose Mogote), was carved sometime around 600 B.C. (Josephy 1991, p.159). Shortly after the conquest, Spanish chronicler Pedro Perez de Zamora, in his "Relacion de Teticpac", Papeles de Nueva Espana 1580, reported the use of sacred mushrooms among the Zapotec Indians, in the Valley of Oaxaca. (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, p. 37 1962).

The hallucinogenic mushroom cult still survives to this day among certain tribes like the Zapotec, Chinantec, and Mazatec Indians of Mexico  (S.F de Borhegyi,1961, 498-504).

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

In the creation story of the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh, we are told that there was a previous world that was created, destroyed, and re-created before the present creation.



According to archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi:


"When one world collapsed in flood, fire, or earthquake, they believed another was born only to come, in its turn, to a violent end?. ? This philosophy probably led religious specialists to divine by magical computations the sacred cycle of 52 years, at the end of which cosmic crisis threatened the survival of mankind and the universe?. ?Mesoamericans further believed that in order to avoid catastrophe at the end of each 52-year period man, through his priestly intermediaries, was required to enter into a new covenant with the supernatural, and in the meantime, he atoned for his sins and kept the precarious balance of the universe by offering uninterrupted sacrifices to the gods? (Borhegyi,1965a:29-30).


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

Above are symbols and names for the 20 day signs in the Aztec calendar, note that the symbol on the bottom right referred to as a flower and representing the number 20, is identical in shape to the Old World Fleur de lis symbol. I propose that this Aztec symbol referred to as a flower in the day signs and representing the number 20 is really a symbol for divinity, or "Lord" and represents an esoteric symbol of the Tree of Life and its forbidden fruit, the mushroom of immortality. Flowers symbolize a state of the soul on its journey to full godhood and Teonanacatal, the mushroom of the Aztecs, was called "the flower that makes us drunk" (Nicholson 1967, p.90). Fray Diego Duran writes that war was called xochiyaoyotl, which means "Flowery War". Death to those who died in battle was called xochimiquiztli, meaning "Flowery Death" or "Blissful Death" or "Fortunate Death". I propose that the flower that makes one drunk, and sends one to heaven was a sacred mushroom, and that the Fleur de lis emblem was code that symbolized mushroom immortality.


On the right, is a page from the Codex Mendoza, an Aztec codex created just after the Spanish Conquest, that shows tribute collected by Aztec civil servants from the province of Tochtepec. Included in the tribute are probable psilocybin mushrooms (second image from left on next to bottom row). The enlarged image on the left, shows the vessel with probable psilocybin mushrooms emerging from an encoded Fleur-de-lis symbol. The Aztecs called their sacred mushrooms teonanacatl, meaning "Gods Flesh".

Late Classic (600-850 C.E) Maya Vase painting above photographed in roll-out form by Justin Kerr, No. K5390. The ceramic drinking vessel likely depicts a scene in the Maya underworld. The figure on the far left holding a spear and shield wears the headdress of the Maya God L, who in Late Classic times symbolized the Maya God of the underworld. The dark-skinned figure on the far right also wears a headdress that depicts an underworld deity, and is portrayed standing in front of a kneeling sacrificial victim dressed in jaguar attire. The figure on the far right holds a staff in one hand with an up-side-down trophy head attached, and more importantly he holds in his left hand an Amanita muscaria mushroom encoded esoterically I believe in the shape of a Fleur de lis, to symbolize divine mushroom resurrection and immortality.
Hunnic-Magyar diadems were made out of bronze plaques and then plated with gold. The diadem above and below has an eagle perched on top of it. Birds of prey were often the symbols of Hun and Magyar nobility (source ernak-horde.com) Note the similarity of diadem with Fleur de lis symbolin Olmec art. 

The Olmec figurine obove on the left has been described in the book The Olmec & Their Neighbors 1981, as analbite-and-jadeite seated figure, ten centimeters high, wearing a helmet with three-pronged element at the top, said to have come from Tabasco Mexico (Elizabeth P. Benson 1981, p.103) Above on the right also described in the book The Olmec & Their Neighbors 1981, is Stela 9, Kaminaljuyu, Mound C-III-6. Columnar basalt, Height, 145 cm. (No. 2359, Museo Nacional, Guatemala. Drawing by Ryntha J. Gibbs).  The monument is from the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu, located just on the outskirts of Guatemala City. This powerful city in the highlands of Guatemala controlled trade of the obsidian deposits of El Chayal since Early Preclassic times (1000 BC) The stela portrays an important figure crowned with what appears to me to be a Fleur de lis symbol similar if not exact in shape and meaning as the Hunnic diadem. The art style of this period is called Olmecoid Substyle, or Epi-Olmec or  Post-Olmec (Lee A. Parson, 1981 p. 264-265)



Many scholars believe the origins of the Hungarians (Magyars) Huns and Avars, can be traced back to Ancient Mesopotamia through the Sumerian-Scythian-Hun-Avar-Magyar ethno-linguistic continuity, which, together with the evidence of the archaeological artifacts of Sumerian origin found in the Carpathian Basin, indicates that the ancestors of the Hungarians were the first permanent settlers of the Carpathian Basin"(source hunmagyar.org).

In ancient Sumeria, the city known as Ur, of the biblical Abraham, was also called Mugayyar, a seaport, on the Persian Gulf, at the mouth of the Euphrates River, 12 miles from Eridu, traditional site of the Garden of Eden. Just preceding the time of Abraham, Ur (Mugayyar) was the most magnificent city in all the world  (Henry H. Halley 1951 p.86) 

Hunnic cauldrons (above and below) have long claimed the attention of archaeologists because of their mushroom shaped handles, which until 1896, (Reinecke 1986) were classified as Scythian cauldrons. In 1955 Laszlo (Acta Archaeologica Hungarica, Vol. 34 1955, pp. 89, 249-252) proposed that the mushrooms on the handles of the Hunnic bronze cauldrons represented "shaman crowns" drawing the connection between mushroom iconography and ecstatic religion among the Huns. Otto J. Maenchen-Helfen author of The World of the Huns: Studies in their History and Culture pp. 329-330 has also identified the handle designs as mushrooms 

Although the use of hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushrooms in Siberia, Mongolia, and the adjoining steppe regions is well documented, and  Hunnic cauldrons with mushroom handles have been found in the Altai Mountains (Otto Maenchen-Helfen "The World of the Huns: Studies in Their History and Culture p. 332),  there is no written evidence indicating the specific function and use of the mushrooms among the warlike Huns. Most of the reports on the custom of divination were written by Christian priests, set on denouncing the practice as ungodly and demonic  (Michael Ripinsky-Naxon 1993, p.162).

In Mesoamerica, evidence of cannibalism from household refuse appears very early on at San Lorenzo, an Olmec ceremonial center dating around 1500 to 800 B.C. Ancient manuscripts from Mexico that predate the Spanish Conquest such as the Codex Borgia Group, depict illustrations of warriors' heads in bowls, and of whole bodies boiling in large pots. If the sacrificial victim had been a valiant and or high ranking warrior his body was sometimes divided and eaten by nobles and other spectators. The hands and feet were reserved for the priests, and, if the victim was a prisoner of war, his captor wore certain bones of the victim as a mark of prowess (The Ancient Maya 4th Edition 1983, p.484)  Above is a scene of cannibalism depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano folio 73r.  

Above on the left are three illustrations from Book IV in the Florentine Codex, compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590) that depicts a sequence of rituals beginning with the mushroom ritual, leading next to ritual heart sacrifice, and ending with ritual cannibalism. Sahagún describes the sacrifice and feast in relation to the festivals of Xipe Tótec, the god of spring and regeneration, and of Huitzilopochtli, the god of war and of the sun (folio 268r). It should be mentioned that the first illustration depicts a sacrificial victim that I propose is under the influence of sacred mushrooms. Note that the dangling eye-ball in front of the victim's face, is the artist's code for mushroom intoxication. As mentioned earlier, Wasson noted that one interesting feature of the Amanita muscaria or fly agaric mushroom is that its hallucinogenic properties pass into the urine, and another may drink this urine (or eat his flesh) to enjoy the same effect (Michael Ripinsky-Naxon 1993, p.147). 


             According to Wasson:

"People generally claim that the effects of the mushroom poison becomes more intense and more beautiful when it has already passed through another organism. Thus an intoxicated man will often be followed by someone else who wants to collect his urine, which is supposed to posses this effect to a particularly high degree) (Wasson 1968: 257). 






Our knowledge of the Huns and Magyars, is still vague; and the research on their history remains controversial. According to Hungarian legend, preserved in the 13the century chronicle Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum by Simon of Kéza, while out hunting, the brothers Hunor and Magor saw a miraculous white stag. They pursued the animal, but it always stayed ahead of them, leading them westward into Levedia, where they married two princesses and founded the Huns and Hungarian people, (the Magyars). One of the main reasons for claims of religious and cultural ties between Huns and Hungarians is the stag and the brothers Hunor and Magor (Wikipeda).  The Huns are Hunor's descendants, the Magyars are Magor's.


Hundreds of loan words adopted from Chuvash-type Turkic languages prove the Magyars were closely connected to Turkic peoples. Byzantine and Muslim authors regarded them as a Turkic people in the 9th and 10th centuries (Wikipeda). 
King Karoly Robert, (Hungarian: Károly Róbert; Croatian: Karlo Robert; Slovak: Karol Róbert; 1288 – 16 July 1342) who was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1308 to his death (Wikipedia).

The author, Carl Robert de Borhegyi, was actually named after King Karoly Robert by his Hungarian father. No surprise, all portraits of Hungarian kings appear to be crowned with the Fleur de lis symbol. Although perhaps best known through its association with French royalty, the symbol itself is of far greater antiquity, and occurs in the ancient art of the Olmecs (1200-400 B.C.E.)  as a symbol of divinity, and "Lord" linked to a Trinity of gods, and a Tree of Life and a herb of immortality. 
 
In Hungarian myth, the world is divided into three spheres: the first is the Upper World (Felső világ), the home of the gods; the second is the Middle World (Középső világ) or world we know, and finally the underworld (Alsó világ). In the center of the world stands a tall tree: the World Tree / Tree of Life (Világfa/Életfa). Its foliage is the Upper World, and the Turul bird dwells on top of it. The Middle World is located at its trunk and the underworld is around its roots. In some stories, the tree has fruit (Wikipeda)

Above is a Hungarian painting depicting a mythological scene at the Tree of Life. Note the Amanita muscaria mushroom, encoded by the artist at the foot of the Tree of Life.

Among the Hungarians (Magyars) there is an ancient expression used to describe the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom. The Hungarians call this mushroom bolond gomba (bolond = crazy, and mushroom = gomba) that means crazy-making mushroom, and it can also refer to a crazed person acting foolishly; a lunatic. The expression bolond gomba, can be found in both the Ostyak and Vogul tribal languages that still exist in the Ob River districts of northern Siberia.  Knowledge of the bolond gomba's effects as an entheogen or God producing mushroom goes back at least 4,000 years. (Essay by Joseph Szimhart Initially October, 2002).

The Amanita muscaria mushroom continues to be the classic symbol of enchanted forests, the kind of place where fairies, gnomes, and witches dwell. In Russian and Slavic folklore there are many stories of a ferocious-looking witch named Baba Yaga, who lives in a hut deep in the forest.
 Above are three paintings of Baba Yaga, surrounded by Amanita muscaria mushrooms, as depicted by Ivan Bilibin 1900. 

Baba Yaga is mostly portrayed as a terrifying old witch, but she can also play the role of a helper and wise woman. In her guise as wise old witch, she gives advice and magical gifts to heroes and the pure of heart. The hero or heroine of the story often enters the crone's domain searching for wisdom, knowledge and truth. She is all-knowing, all seeing and all-revealing to those who would dare to ask (mushroomic wisdom). She is said to be a guardian spirit of the fountain of the Waters of Life and of Death. Baba Yaga is the Arch-Crone, the Goddess of Wisdom and Death, the Bone Mother. Wild and untamable, she is a nature spirit bringing wisdom and death of ego, and through death, rebirth. These are all aspects associated with the folklore surrounding  the Amanita muscaria mushroom  (sourse http://www.oldrussia.net/baba.html).

 In Siberia and in Mesoamerica going back to Olmec times, the sacred mushrooms evokes an imaginary world of little people more or less the size of mushrooms (Wasson 1980 p.52).
The word gnome comes from the Latin gnoma, meaning "knowledge" suggesting gnomes as "the knowing ones" (Raymond Buckland 2002, p.208).

            

            According to Stephan de Borhegyi....


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










The Tree of Life, and the Fleur de lis Symbol:



In Mesoamerica, as in the Old World, the Tree of Life represents the symbolic center of the earth, the Axis mundi, or pillar of the world. In both Mesoamerica and in the Old World, the royal line of the king was considered to be of divine origin, linked with the Tree of Life. Descendants of the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl, and thus all Mesoamerican kings or rulers, were also linked to the Tree of Life encoded in both the Old World and New World with the trefoil symbol, we recognize as the Fleur de lis emblem.

In Mesopotamia the Fleur de lis was a symbol of Lord, or King linked to the Tree of Life, and the Sumerian-Babylonian Trinity, of Nimrod, Tammuz, and Simerimas.


The symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis, first appears in the art of the ancient Sumerians (see Sumerian cylinder sea above). Historians propose that Sumer was settled between 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people and that ancient Sumer was known as the "land of the civilized kings". The earliest written literature of the Sumerians dates from about 2600 BC. The Sumerian word for "Lord" is apu, the same exact word for "Lord" used in the New World by the ancient Inca civilization of Peru (Quichua language of Peru) (Hugh Fox, 2005 p.7).

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

The Sumerians were the creators of the first high civilization in Mesopotamia. The earliest Sumerian gods were nature deities, concerned with fertility, but by the third millennium BCE. Mesopotamian gods were referred to "Lords or Masters" and mirrored the actions of human rulers (Bodley p.180). Like Mesoamerica, Mesopotamian religion was highly polytheistic a system based on the belief of many gods, or deities.

Hungarian adventurer Juan Moricz, born Janos Moricz Opos, in Hungary, in 1923; believed that, after the Deluge, the so-called New World of the Americas became the mother of civilization and that its culture was ancient Magyar:  The similarity between the old Magyar and Sumerian tongues, declared Moricz, cannot be attributed to coincidence: apart from philological similarities - such as nap for 'light of the Sun', Ur for 'lord' and Isten for 'god' - there are ethnographic, religious, artistic and folkloric connections. Moricz proposed that the Magyars of the Carpathian Mountains of Europe are of American origin, that between 8000 and 7000 BC they arrived in Lower Mesopotamia in boats made from balsa wood found only in South America. Upon leaving the Andes they brought across the Atlantic idiomatic elements of the Magyar language, together with an accumulation of legends, traditions and beliefs: that, in Ecuador - as elsewhere in the Americas - the Cayapos, Jibaro-Shuar, Tschachis, Saragurus, Salasakas and others speak versions of the old Magyar tongue; that place-names and dialects of Ecuador, although many have been eroded by acculturalisation, or eliminated by force, are numerous (From Magyars Moricz and Mother Language)



In the northern Peruvian highlands of South America, the ancient Chavín civilization flourished, that in many ways paralleled the contemporary Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. Both were major early civilizations and both used feline images in their sacred iconography. Pioneer archaeologist Marshall H. Saville was the first to call attention to certain Mesoamerican influences he called "Mayoid" in archaeological material from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian highlands and Pacific coastal areas of South America (Saville, 1907, 1909, 1910). Since Saville's first observation numerous archaeologists have reported other apparent artistic and ideological similarities between the two areas dating from as early as the Preclassic and continuing through the Postclassic, a time span from 1500 B.C. to A.D.1400. There is now a consensus that this exchange likely occurred by sea.
Moche portrait vessels from Peru, both wearing Amanita muscaria mushroom inspired headdress. The Moche culture reigned on the north coast of Peru during the years 100-700 A.D.
Above is an incense burner from the north coast of Peru, South America, Chimú culture, that portrays a fish deity wearing a conacle shaped hat crowned with what appears to be two Fleur de lis symbols. The Chimú people of South America, were known as the great navigators of the sea, and that they were the heirs to a great knowledge gained through the centuries by peoples who came before them. The Moche or Mochica civilization (1st century to 8th century C.E) has been identified as Early Chimú.

In Iranian (Persian) and Vedic-Hindu mythology, both the Haoma and Soma plant are connected in myth with a ritual beverage and Tree of Life. For reasons that may never be known, the ceremonial use of Amanita muscaria mushrooms and the drinking of Soma, was later replaced in Vedic and Hindu rituals, and Soma's true identity became a mystery. In the Persian sacred texts called the Zend-Avesta, the bible of the Zoroastrians, there is a passage in which Zoroaster asks, when will the practitioners get rid of the "urine of drunkenness" that the priests have been using to delude the people (Clark Heinrich 2002, p.20).


              According to Jenny Rose, author of  Zoroastrianism: An Introduction 2011,


 "The Gathas do not mention the plant haoma, although the epithet duraosha, which is used exclusively of haoma in the Young Avesta, is referred to in conjuction with usage by corrupt kavis. This, and another obscue reference to intoxication, has led many to assume that the practice of using haoma was castigated altogether. But in the later Avesta,  haoma is recognized as an integral part of the liturgical and mythical schema, receiving many positive epithets, and identified as an element praised by Zarathushtra [Zoroaster]. As many scholars have pointed out, it is corious that followers of the Gathic teachings would retain, or reintroduce, a practice into the liturgy that was so obviously criticized in the Gathas, while the Gathas themselves formed the core of that liturgy (Rose 2011, p.15)


Its likely that in the Persian Empire (see Persian Sassanian period plate above depicting a spotted feline and World Tree) the psilocybin mushroom later replaced the Amanita muscaria mushroom in the Soma ritual, (called Haoma in Zoroastrian and Persian mythology), where the Amanita muscaria mushroom was unavailable or not as abundant. The Vedas' repeatedly mention that Soma grows high in the mountains.
Above is a section of Persian silk, Sasanian period, that depicts a Fleur de lis symbol with what looks to me like a possable Psilocybin mushroom emerging. The Sasanian Dynasty ruled Persia from 226 to 651 CE.


According to the late Mexican mycologist, Dr. Gastón Guzmán, (2010, 2013 p.489, and personal communication) one of the effects of the Amanita muscaria mushroom experience is to see objects as gigantic in size (macropsia) a property immortalized in the fiction of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  
The Soma / Haoma plant beverage, appears to be a source of divine power and strength, as well as bestowing the sacred knowledge that leads to divine immortality.  The Amanita muscaria mushroom was at the centre of religious reverence among the Indo-Aryans. 
Above, "embroidered in woollen thread on the thin cloth is a procession of Zoroastrian warriors marching towards an altar; one of them, standing at the altar, is holding a mushroom in his hands. For the first time, we can see vivid evidence, embroidered on an ancient cloth discovered by archaeological excavations (2009), for the use of mushrooms for religious purposes, probably, to make Haoma, a “sacred drink.”  "For over a hundred years now, scientists have been discussing what plant was used to prepare Soma (Haoma), a sacred drink of the ancient Indians and Iranians, which "inspired poets and seers, made warriors fearless." The hypotheses were plenty: from ephedra, cannabis, and opium poppy to blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea) and fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). The answer was found in a grave of a noble woman buried in an elite burial ground of the Xiongnu, the famous nomads of Central Asia" (Excerpt from “We drank Soma, we became immortal...” : Science First Hand 03.09.2015)




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.


The meaning of Buddha is "the Enlightened" or "Awakened one" that 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 what history says was a poisonous mushroom. 

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

Visual evidence of encoded mushroom imagery in Hindu art that supports Wasson's identification of the revered and deified mystery plant of the Rig Veda, called Soma, cleverly encoded in the religious art of the New World, "Hidden in Plain Sight" that prior to this study sacred mushrooms virtually escaped detection.

The Amanita muscaria mushroom, appears not only to have played a role in the early history of  Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrian, Judaism and Christianity, but also may be the metaphorical key to decoding the esoteric religions of ancient Mesoamerica, and South America, including Easter Island.

After examining thousands of artifacts, a project that would have been impossible before the existence of the computer and the Internet, I discovered a wealth of mushroom imagery. Surprisingly, most of this mushroom imagery concerned the Amanita muscaria, or Fly Agaric mushroom, rather than the better known hallucinogenic Psilocybin mushroom. Both varieties, however, as well as others were represented. The fact that they had not been noted earlier is explained by the way these images were so cleverly encoded into the art that they became almost invisible. Invariably the mushroom imagery was associated with ritual sacrifice in the Underworld, with jaguar transformation and period endings, and with the decapitation and resurrection of the Underworld Sun God by a pair of deities associated with the planet Venus as both the Morning Star and Evening star. Mushrooms, in fact, are so closely associated with underworld jaguar transformation, and underworld jaguar resurrection, that they must have been believed to be the vehicle through which both were accomplished. They are also so closely associated with ritual decapitation, that their ingestion may have been considered essential to the ritual of decapitation, whether in real life or symbolically in the underworld.

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


Above and below, are close up scenes on page 24 in the Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus believed to be a 14th century Mixtec document, the original of which is now held in the National Library of Vienna, Austria. Page 24 of the codex depicts the God-King Quetzalcoatl delivering mushrooms to his children mankind, and the ceremonial use of mushrooms among the Mixtec gods. The God-king Quetzalcoatl is portrayed on the left holding an axe in one hand and the severed skull of the Underworld Death God in the other.  Quetzalcoatl appears to be giving instructions to a young Xochipilli who is depicted holding a pair of sacred mushrooms in his right hand, and with tears in his eyes,  the young Xochipilli  learns the secret to divine immortality.

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

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

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

Spanish chronicler 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".


The esoteric art style of encoding mushroom imagery in Vedic inspired art has led the author to conclude that the mushroom cult of the New World did not develop independently, but rather, it was brought to the New World, long before the voyages of Christopher Columbus.
 

Above on the left is the Hindu god Vishnu who in Hindu mythology is the keeper of the universe and one of the triumvirate (Trinity) along with Brahma, and Shiva. Vishnu is usually depicted with four arms holding the sacred symbols of his power in his hands. Shiva or Siva, the "Auspicious One" is the Supreme being in Hindu religion who creates, protects and transforms the universe. Shiva is portrayed above on the right holding an Amanita muscaria mushroom (Soma?), Shiva is "the transformer" within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity, that includes Brahma and Vishnu.




The three faced ceramic incense burner above comes from the ancient Olmec-Maya site of Comalcalco, located in Tabasco, Mexico near the mouth of the Usumacinta River. Researchers at this archaeological site now argue in favor of transoceanic contact between the Old World and Comalcalco. The site is unique for substituting what is now believed to be Old World fired brick technology using a special type of kiln, with stone masonry. Comalcalco is believed to have been occupied by an infamous group of great seafarers known as the Putun, who were most likely the infamous Itzas who were believed to be Chontal speakers (Culbert 1973, p148). The incense burner above depicts the faces of three deities all with tongue sticking out, representing what may be a Hindu inspired conception of a Maya trinity. (Photograph © Rob Mohr, 2010)

The Vedic inspired Hindu concept of a Trinity, called the Trimurti, personified the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction as the deities Brama, Vishnu, and Shiva. The so-called Maya Trinity is known to scholars as GI, GII, and GIII of he Palenque Triad. Note that two deities appear to have a stylized Fleur de lis emblem encoded in their headdress as a symbol of divinity, and that the central figure with tongue sticking out, and T-shaped Ik glyph encoded in his headdress, is an esoteric symbol of the Wind God, which is arguably the same shape as the Aryan Tau cross. I found the T-shaped Ik glyph in Mesoamerica to be intimately connected with the Fleur-de-lis, and tied to the births of the Maya god GI, (Chac) and the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind.

 
Mesoamericans in general believed that Quetzalcoatl created both the universe and humankind. Along with mushrooms, maize and fire, Quetzalcoatl also gave to man the sciences, the calendar and writing, and the knowledge to fix certain days for feasts and blood sacrifice. Rulers bestowed with this divine knowledge were believed to be incarnates of this god.

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

Maya vase K1185 from the Justin Kerr Data Base, depicts a Maya scribe with what I believe is a sacred mushroom encoded into his headdress. Painted Maya vessels like the one pictured above may have contained a sacred drink concocted from the Amanita muscaria mushroom or other hallucinogenic mushrooms in a manner very similar to that described for the legendary Soma. Soma was prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain mystry plant. That mystry plant was likely the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Soma was the divine beverage of immortality in the Rig-Veda, and Soma was referred to as the "Father of the Gods" seemingly giving him precedence above all other Gods (RV9.42). Among the present day Mixtecs of Highland Mexico, the sacred mushrooms must be gathered by a virgin. They are then ground on a metate, water added, and the beverage is than drunk by the person consulting the mushroom (S.F. de Borhegyi, 1961).

Photographs © Justin Kerr K5062

Above is Maya vase K5062 photographed in roll-out form by Justin Kerr. The drinking vessel likely portrays a Maya ruler in front of four figures, three of them dressed in the guise of the underworld jaguar, and a forth figure dressed in the guise of the sacrificial deer. The ruler sits on a thrown above three large vessels all marked with an X-symbol, that symbolizes death and rebirth in the Maya underworld. The Ruler sits next to an offering plate that looks to me like it may contain an Amanita muscaria mushroom, used in this case in the sacred mirror ceremony to enter the so-called underworld, and to communicate with ancestors and gods. Standing just to the right of the ruler is a female attendant who holds a mirror in both hands for the ruler's mushroom induced vision quest. The three figures dressed in the guise of jaguars may allude to the three hearth stones of Maya creation, a "trinity of gods" known from the archaeological site of Palenque as GI, GII, GIII, who were the gods responsible for the creation of the Maya universe.

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

Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) Maya drinking vessels that clearly encode the symbol we recognise from the Old World as the Fleur de lis.

          

             Quoting Anthropologist Christian Ratsch...


 "The Fly agaric [Amanita muscaria mushroom] has been known since antiquity. The Egyptians called it "raven's bread," a name which it has retained in Central and Eastern Europe to the present day. It was said that Saint Anthony ate this raven's bread before the ancient pagan gods appeared to him as demons. Among the ancient Germans, the fly agaric was associated with Wotan/Odin, the god of ecstasy and the discoverer of the magical runes. According to legend, fly agarics appeared where the foam from Wotan's horse fell onto the earth. The name raven's bread refers to Wotan's two all-knowing, all-seeing ravens.  According to Graves (1961), the followers of Dionysos consumed fly agaric during the Dionysian festivals and mysteries, for it "bestows enormous physical power, erotic potency, delusional visions, and the gift of prophecy." One author has even argued that Christianity began as a fly agaric cult (Allegro 1970). There is also some evidence that the pre-historic "Beaker People" of Stonehenge, and later the British Celts, used fly agaric in a cultic context (from The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants).



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

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Researchers have proposed that Pharaoh Akhenaton's wife Queen Nefertiti may have been a Hittite princess, who came from the land of Mitanni, a small kingdom of Indo-Aryan people, just north of the Upper Euphrates, in what is today northern Iraq. The Hittites were an ancient people who established their empire in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC., in what is today, modern day Turkey. Pharaoh Akhenaton is best known for introducing a new religion to Egypt, that was strongly supported by Nefertiti, that made the Aten, the sun disc, the center of Egypt’s religious life. She may have brought with her the worship of an intoxicating plant called Soma and a pantheon of Vedic Gods, like Indra, Mitra, and Varuna. After the death of Akhenaton sometime around 1334-1336 B.C. Egypt would return to its original pantheon of gods and religious beliefs. (Online source, Was Nefertiti, An Aryan Princess? by K. Gajendra Singh http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles...)

There's evidence of the worship of Vedic gods among the Hittites in the Hittite-Mitanni tablets discovered at Bogaz-Koz in present day Turkey, venerating such gods as Mitra, Varuna, and Indra, Mitra being the light and power behind the sun. Images of the Persian Sun God Mithra (Avestan Mithra) portray Mitra as a sun disc in a chariot drawn by horses.  According to Hungarian scholar Hargita Csaba, the Scythian component of the Hungarian ancestry was closely associated with the descent of the ancient Mitanni. 

One of the recurrent themes found in Hungarian mythology is the concept of duality expressed in the twins Hunor and Magor, in the Legend of the White Stag. The Legend of the White Stag mentions characters having Biblical and ancient Mesopotamian names like Nimrod, son of  Kush, and Eneth, and Noah’s great-grandson, whose two sons, were Hunor and Magor. The Legend of the White Stag ascribes the origin of the Hungarians to the merging of the Huns, and Magyars. The Huns are Hunor's descendants, the Magyars are Magor's. The Huns and the Magyars are known to be from the regions neighboring Persia to the land known as Scythia - a designation generally given to the region stretching from the Carpathians into Central Asia. According to Hargita Csaba, Assyrian accounts refer to Nimrud having twin sons, one of whose name was Magor, confirming the Hungarian myth, and that the territory of the Mada or Mitanni is referred by some Egyptian documents as Magor, and that the Magyars (Hungarians) might be the ancient tribe of Mitanni (The Ancient Identity of Hungarians: The Hungarian-Hebrew Connexion). 


            According to Ripinsky-Naxon:

"Based on ethnological and linguistic evidence, the Finno-Ugrian tribes (of the Uralic family of languages) which include the Hungarians, used the hallucinogenic mushroom, fly agaric, in proto-historic times, although some of them might have guarded the practice with profound secrecy" (Michael Ripinsky-Naxon 1993, p.147).


Above is a Hittite relief carving dated around the 9th-8th century BCE. from Anatolia, in modern day Turkey. The relief carving depicts a scene of two figures following a horse drawn cart carrying what I propose is a sarcophagus, secretly encoded with three sacred mushrooms, symbolic of a Trinity and divine resurrection. I propose that the wheel of the cart in this scene may esoterically allude to the resurrecting Sun God or sun disc, or to the planet Venus as resurrection star. I would also argue that the three encoded mushrooms I identified on the rulers or priest's  sarcophagus is code for a Trinity of creator gods responsible for divine resurrection. It may be that the two figures on the left following the cart, represent the dualistic aspects of the planet Venus as both Morning Star and Evening Star, a dualistic star responsible for the death and subsequent resurrection and rebirth of the Sun God.

The Philistines who settled on the southern coast of Canaan, were a well organized military who were 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.  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. 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. 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.

The Hittites were an Indo-European people, who were contemporaries of the early Assyrians and Babylonians, and were known to have possessed stone idols that had the appearance of anthropomorphized mushrooms.

Human habitation in Anatolia dates back to the paleolithic, and that the ancient Anatolian language is believed to have been spoken in Anatolia since at least the 19th century BCE. and that some linguists propose that Anatolia was the homeland of the Indo-European language family. The Anatolian Hypotheses proposes that the dispersal of Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in Neolithic Anatolia and that the origin of Indo-European goes back about 8,500 years ago, the first split being that of the Hittites  (Wikipedia.org, Anatolian hypothesis, and Proto-Indo-European homeland).
Göbekli Tepe is a Epi-Paleolithic archaeological site in Southeastern Anatolia in modern day Turkey. Archaeologists believe that Göbekli Tepe was built by hunter-gatherers around the 10th millennium BCE. making Göbekli Tepe the oldest religious site yet to be discovered anywhere. The mushroom -headed female figure above center, is from Göbekli Tepe and demonstrates the antiquity of the mushroom-goddess fertility cult in ancient Turkey The female fertility goddess on the right with mushroom inspired head is from the Anatolian archaeological site of Alaca Hoyuk in north-central Turkey.


The Neolithic city of Catal Huyuk in ancient Anatolia was a thriving and completely planned and developed city by 6500 B.C. According to researcher William Eichman, the religion of Catal Huyuk utilized psychedelic drugs and points out that Catal Huyuk is located in an area of modern day Turkey where  Amanita muscaria mushrooms, are commonly found.

           According to William Eichman:

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


Neolithic artifacts found in the area of Cappadocia attest to an early occupation in the Anatolian region (modern day Turkey). The earliest appearance of the name of Cappadocia dates from the 6th century BCE. when Zoroastrian temple cults were apparently widespread (source Encyclopedia Britannica: Cappadocia ancient district, Turkey). 

The area of Cappadocia in east-central Anatolia (modern day Turkey) is known for its distinctive giant rock formations called “fairy chimneys,”  clustered in and around Monks Valley, Göreme National Park, Turkey. These mushroom-shaped rock formations were most likely created as a result of wind and eroding rains, just like the mushroom-shaped rock formations called Mushroom Stones worshiped in the Altai Mountains.

The Altai Mountains in Siberia border Russia, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan, and are home to tens of thousands of petroglyphs that depict hunting scenes of an ancient people with mushroom-shaped heads who lived in the Altai Mountains over a period of 12000 years. The oldest petroglyphs at Kalbak Tash have been dated from 11,000 to 6,000 BC. 

The cult of the hallucinogenic mushroom has been traced back to ancient Siberia by mycologists, where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance.

Above are prehistoric petroglyphs that only recently have been found that appear to portray mushroom-headed people, carved on large rocks and on cliffs, at Kalbak Tash in the Altai Mountains of Siberia.

There is no question that the mushroom cult of the Altai Mountains in Siberia has great antiquity. That being said, it's reasonable to propose that a belief in the redemptive power and divinity of the sacred god producing mushroom could have spread from one continent to another, and that our remote ancient ancestors worshiped and venerated a divine mushroom god, or goddess perhaps 25,000 years ago?

Is it just coincidence, or maybe evidence that mushroom-headed petroglyphs are also found in association with mushroom-shaped rock formations in the American southwest ? 

Above are mushroomic looking petroglyphs discovered in Arizona and Utah. 





The Mushroom in the Greco-Roman World:

Among the ancient Greek and Romans Mitra, known as Mithra in the Greco-Roman world, was the Sun God, and mediator between heaven and earth. Worshipers of Mithra had a complex system of rituals and initiations known as the Mithraic mysteries, and initiates were required to swear an oath of secrecy and dedication.(.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism#cite_note-novaroma.org-58)

The worship of Mithra, however, never became popular in the Greek world, because Mithra had been the god of their enemies the Persians.
          
The myth of the birth of Mithra's (the Sun God) among the Romans will sound familiar to Christians. Mithra like Jesus was born of a Virgin in a cave, announced by prophets, with his miraculous birth heralded by the appearance of an exceptionally bright star on the winter solstice December 25th, "Christmas" a claim based on the Calendar of  Filocalus or Philocalian Calendar (c. 354 AD/CE) Mithra is believed to be the Mediator between God and man, he has twelve satellites, (twelve disciples of Jesus) and his symbol is the Lamb (Mithra: The Pagan Christ by Acharya S/D.M. Murdock)

In ancient Greece there were three main mysteries, the Dionysian, the Eleusinian, and the Orphic. The most popular of the mystery cults in ancient Greece was the Eleusinian Mysteries, initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone, known simply as the religion of the two goddesses, where a sacred beverage called kykeon was consumed that like the Soma beverage of the Indo-Aryans promised immortality.   
             
             Quoting Carl A. P. Ruck, author of Sacred Mushrooms of the Goddess: Secrets of Eleusis

"At Eleusis itself, the religion toward which the ancient traveler made his way was shielded from profane observance by the sanctuary's fortification wall, and the essential dogma was imparted only to those who, under pain of death, had vowed to keep it secret and had undergone a lengthy preparation for their initiation" ( p.10)

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

Quoting R. Gordon 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).


Greek vessels like the one above (4th century B.C.) now in the Archaeological Museum of Florence, 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. Mirrors were also a common ritual object in Central Asia, and China, as well as in the Americas. Terracotta skyphos (deep drinking cup) lower left, mid-4th century BC Metropolitan Museum of Art.



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

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

I now believe that ‘ambrosia’ and ‘nectar’ were intoxicant mushrooms: certainly the amanita muscaria; but perhaps others, too, especially a small, slender dung-mushroom named panaeolus papilionaceus, which induces harmless and most enjoyable hallucinations. A mushroom not unlike it appears on an Attic vase between the hooves of Nessus the Centaur. The ‘gods’ for whom, in the myths, ambrosia and nectar were reserved, will have been sacred queens and kings of the pre-Classical era. King Tantalus’s crime was that he broke the taboo by inviting commoners to share his ambrosia. Sacred queenships and kingships lapsed in Greece; ambrosia then became, it seems, the secret element of the Eleusinian, Orphic and other Mysteries associated with Dionysus. At all events, the participants swore to keep silence about what they ate or drank, saw unforgettable visions, and were promised immortality. The ‘ambrosia’ awarded to winners of the Olympic footrace when victory no longer conferred the sacred kingship on them was clearly a substitute: a mixture of foods the initial letters of which, as I show in What Food the Centaurs Ate, spelled out the Greek word ‘mushroom’. Recipes quoted by Classical authors for nectar, and for cecyon, the mint-flavoured drink taken by Demeter at Eleusis, likewise spell out ‘mushroom’.

Above is a Roman mosaic from Tunisia 3rd century A.D. of the triumphal march of Dionysus (or Bacchus, as he was known in Rome) in a chariot drawn by tigers through the lands of India. Note what I propose are cleverly encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms in the robe of the Maenad playing the tambourine. The procession is presumed to be the followers of his mushroom cult.

It has been suggested that the woman worshipers who celebrated the Eleusinian, Orphic and other Mysteries associated with Dionysus, called maenads or "madwomen",  ripped apart human beings and devoured them.

In Robert Graves book "What Food the Centaurs Ate", Graves proposed that centaurs and their Maenad women drank a beverage to wash down a stronger drug, that Graves believes was the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom, which induces hallucinations, senseless rioting, prophetic sight, erotic energy, and remarkable muscular strength. According to Graves:

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