"Hidden In Plain Sight"





"Soma in the Americas" 

by Carl de Borhegyi: 2018




Hidden in Plain Sight: "Soma in the Americas"is a research site dedicated to the pioneering efforts of ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson, and Mesoamerican archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi. From the time of their initial meeting in Guatemala in 1953 until my father's untimely death in 1969, the two scientists worked in close cooperation and shared a voluminous correspondence of over 500 letters. The author's research presents visual evidence that both the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom and the Psilocybin mushroom were worshiped and venerated as gods in ancient Mesoamerica. The author's discovery of the Fleur de lis symbol encoded in Pre-Columbian art as a symbol of divinity, leads the author to conclude that, in addition to the ancient mushroom cult first proposed by Borhegyi and Wasson, other Vedic inspired traditions migrated to the Americas as early as 1000 B.C.E., and that the Indians of the New World modeled their religion on Vedic beliefs and ritual practices.

Inspired by my father's research,  Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi - Milwaukee Public Museum (S.F de Borhegyi 1957, 1961, 1963, 1965a, 1965b), I discovered that sacred mushrooms are not only frequently identifiable in the prehistoric art of both the Old and New World, but that in Mesoamerica in particular, they played a major role in the development of indigenous religious ideology, and that both the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom or fly agaric as it is often called, and the Psilocybin mushroom were worshiped and venerated as gods in ancient Mesoamerica. Both species of mushrooms are also discussed in the early history of Vedic-Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity.



Gordon Wasson author of Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality (1968, 1971), postulated that the mysterious Soma in the Vedic literature, said to be a red fruit leading to spontaneous enlightenment for those who consumed it, was actually a mushroom known as the Amanita muscaria, the so-called Fly Agaric or toadstool mushroom (above right). 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. We do not actually know what plant the original Soma was, but it was the focal point of Vedic religion, and that drinking Soma produces immortality, and that the gods drank Soma to make them immortal (Photograph of Amanita muscaria by Eric Osbourne).  


             Quoting R. Gordon Wasson:


" There is little doubt that the substance called Soma in the Rig Veda has been identified as the fungus Amanita Muscaria."



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

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

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).



             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)     


"...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). Image of "Weeping God"  from VANKIRK, Jacques, and Parney Bassett-VanKirk,  Remarkable Remains of the Ancient Peoples of Guatemala,  Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1996.



The reason that mushrooms, Amanita muscaria and psilocybin mushrooms have for so long escaped identification by the anthropological community 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, stela, and figurines, etc..., the images of hallucinogenic 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, deliberately "Hidden in Plain Sight," in an effort to conceal this sacred information from the eyes of the uninitiated.    



             Quoting Wasson:

"The disembodied eyes are the mushroom worshipper's eyes, whether open or shut, contemplating the scenes of another world, three dimensional, unearthly yet more real to the bemushroomed viewer than our world of everyday experience" (Wasson 1980 153)

"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." (R. Gordon Wasson 1957).



In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the general word for mushroom was nanacatl and that the intoxicating species was called teonanacatl, a term Frey Bernadino de Sahagun gives us, teo, or teotl, meaning god, that which is divine or sacred, "the flesh of god" (Wasson, letter to Borhegyi, June 23, 1953).  


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).  


Wasson noted a document dated 1579, in a manuscript lexicon of 1642 composed by Diego Basalenque, that recorded a tribute of sacred mushrooms to the Lord of Mexico (Wasson 1980 p. 215).


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. The enlarged image on the left, shows the vessel with probable psilocybin mushrooms emerging from an encoded Fleur-de-lis symbol, that applies divinity to the sacred mushroom. The Aztecs called their sacred mushrooms teonanacatl, meaning "Gods Flesh".



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".    


There is a Nahua legend in ancient Mexico of a paradise of "nine heavens" that was dedicated to their 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 (Hugh Thomas 1993, p.474).  The god 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."  


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 ingestion of hallucinogenic mushrooms could very well have provided the spark that lifted the mind and imagination of early humans above and beyond the mundane level of daily existence to the contemplation of another reality. The Fleur de lis symbol in pre-Columbian art and iconography, carries the same Old World symbolism of divinity or "Lord",  linked to a Trinity of gods, a Tree of Life, and a forbidden fruit of immortality. Sacred mushrooms were so cleverly encoded in the religious art of both the Old and New World, "Hidden in Plain Sight" that prior to the author's study the divine mushroom virtually escaped detection. 

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 ritual beverage of immortality, associated with the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The Tree of Life and the divine mushroom that grows beneath the tree, were conduits of communication between the supernatural world and the human world. 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.  

It's my hope that archaeologists and historians will soon be forced to deal with what appears to be undeniable evidence of trans-oceanic contacts between the Old World and new. 


It is generally believed that the peopling of the Americas was, for the most part, accomplished by paleolithic man via the Bering Strait. That humans arrived 13,000-18,000 years ago and were associated with the Clovis culture, as evidence by the distinctive stone spear point (Clovis point) they left behind. There is however evidence for a human presence in North America possibly before the Last Glacial Maximum, maybe as early as 30,000 years ago. And in South America there are six Brazilian archaeological sites that have been dated as being older than 20,000 years ago, "although expertly excavated and analysed, are commonly disputed or simply ignored by most archaeologists as being much too old to be real" (Humans may have arrived in North America much earlier than believed, new research says: CNN Space and Science,  July 22, 2020)


The endless similarities between the Old World and the New World 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).  


Cultural isolationists believe that diffusionists overestimate the sea-fairing abilities of pre-Columbian man to traverse the oceans. Sri. A. Kalyanaraman, an Indian author who has studied the Vedas, strongly argues in his book 1970,  Aryatarangini: Saga of the Indo-Aryans, "that the Aryans of ancient India were a sun-worshiping sea-people, who sailed around the world, to the New World as well as to many parts of the Old".    


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. 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.    



Diffusionism: is a term often used to describe the origins of cultural characteristics and their spread from one society to another.


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. We know very little about the religious beliefs of the Olmecs and their contemporary neighbors, other than they apparently revered the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom, which they portrayed in small stone sculptures known as mushroom stones, associated with the ancient cultures of the Olmec and Maya, that have been interpreted as evidence for the usage of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Mesoamerican religion spanning almost 3,000 years (S.F de Borhegyi 1957, 1961, 1963, 1965a, 1965b). 


In the late 1940s Ethno-archaeologist Gordon F. Ekholm 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. 


            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).


Wasson writes of cults that “survived in China until the 12th century, and in that century an unfriendly official of the Chinese government reporting on their activities complained that in their religious rites they consumed too many red mushrooms and performed ablutions with urine, apparently human urine” (Wasson 1992)

           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).



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.

Maya archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi, 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) 

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 mushrooms, a trophy head cult and the ritual 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.  

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).

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


             Quoting Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi:


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


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



The Mesoamerican ball game, the so-called sport of life and death, can only be explained as a cross cultural phenomenon, for it transcended all linguistic barriers in Mesoamerica. Archaeologists speculate that the motifs of bearded "jaguar" faced figures and the manner of their carving conform closely to a recently recognized Middle to Late Preclassic monumental tradition in the highlands of Guatemala, and along the Pacific Slopes. 

In China by the fifth century BCE. the ancient practice of headhunting and human sacrifice became less respectable and gradually went out of style with the refinements of  human sensibilities during the Classical Age, that began around 600 BCE (Ancient China by Edward H. Schafter p.15). Human sacrifice has existed from time immemorial not only in China but also in Japan, and seems to have likely started as a cult of the human head (Nigel Davies 1981, p.40-41). In both China and in Mesoamerica, we find the popular practice of burying sacrificial victims beneath the foundations of new buildings and temples and the royal palace. There is also plenty of evidence in India of human sacrifice, and the offering of trophy heads to the gods. One account of mass sacrifice took place in Assam in north-eastern India in 1565 A.D. at a ceremony celebrating the re dedication of a temple to Rajah Nara Narayana. The Rajah celebrating this event had one hundred and forty men decapitated, and then offered their severed heads on copper plates to the goddess Kali, wife of the Hindu god Shiva (Nigel Davies 1981, p.76). 


In both the Old World and the New World, human sacrifice and the ritual of decapitation was believed necessary to save mankind from calamity and the cosmos from collapse. It was said by Spanish chroniclers that 30,000 human victims were sacrificed at the coronation of the Aztec king Moctezuma. Some writers have accused the Spanish chroniclers of exaggeration in their accounts of human sacrifice.

Fray Diego Duran (1537—1588), was one of the first Spanish chroniclers to record the Aztecs use of hallucinogenic mushrooms, and he recorded that the Aztecs called the sacred mushroomteonanacatl” which in their language means “God’s flesh”. 


Duran records that before the sacrifice of prisoners at the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the victims were presented to the public as honorable victims, claiming that by offering their chest and throats to the obsidian knife they will die here but their fame will live forever.



Quoting Spanish chronicler Fray Diego Duran (The Aztecs; 1964)…


“The prisoners were then given a sacred wine to drink which is called teooctili meaning literally “Divine Wine”. “After drinking it, they were taken to the temple where one by one they were forced to pass by the feet of the idol, making signs of great reverence to it.”


According to Duran:


"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".


“I have notice 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.” (Duran translated by Doris Heyden and Fernando Horcasitas 1964 p. 189). 



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 mushroom-inspired. Both Hindu and Mesoamerican religious traditions believed in a three-tiered cosmos with celestial gods traveling back and forth from the Heavens to the Underworld, and both saw a triadic unity in their gods (Hindu Triad, and Palenque Triad) that was related to such cosmic forces as wind, rain, lightning, and fire. 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. 

It has long been known that page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis concerns the ceremonial role of mushrooms among the Mixtecs. In 1929 Walter Lehmann noted the resemblance to mushrooms of the objects portrayed in the hands of many of the characters depicted in this Codex. Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso later provisionally identified what he called "T-shaped" objects in the manuscript as mushrooms (Wasson 1980, p. 214). Gordon Wasson concluded that it showed "the major place occupied by mushrooms in the culture of the Mixtecs." According to Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst, the scene depicts the divine establishment of the ritual consumption of sacred mushrooms" by the god-king Quetzalcoatl (1981, pp.151-155). 

In Mesoamerica, it was the God-king Quetzalcoatl who came down from the sky, and he taught that mankind must eat the sacred mushroom and make blood sacrifices in order to achieve immortality. 

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


Above is a close up scene from Page 24 of the Codex Vindobonensis, that portrays the Wind God Ehecatl-Quetzalcóatl carrying what appears to be a mushroom god on his back, similar to the story in the Popol Vuh, where the founders of the Quichéan lineages traveled a great distance eastward “across the sea” to the Toltec city called Tulan Zuyva where they received their gods “whom they then carried home in bundles on their backs” (Christenson, 2007: 198) According to Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst, the scene on page 24 depicts the divine establishment of the ritual consumption of sacred mushrooms (1981, pp.151-155). 


There is a passage in the Popol Vuh in which the Quiché gods were carried on their back in pack frames: We have found that for which we have searched, they said. The first god to go out was Tohil, carried in his pack frame by Balam Quitze. Then the god Auilix was carried out by Balam Acab, followed by Hacavitz, the name of the god received by Mahucutah… At the suggestion of Tohil, the Quichés leave Tollán. They sacrifice their own blood to him, passing cords through their ears and elbows, and they sing a song called ‘The Blame is Ours’, lamenting the fact that they will not be in Tollán when the times comes for the first dawn. Packing their gods on their backs and watching continuously for the appearance of the Morning Star, they began a long migration. (Christenson, 2007: 198).  

Above is a Type D tripod mushroom stone from Guatemala that has a human effigy on the stem (Late Classic, A.D. 600-900).  According to the Popol Vuh, the founders of the Quichéan lineages traveled a great distance eastward “across the sea” to the Toltec city called Tulan Zuyva where they received their gods “whom they then carried home in bundles on their backs” (Christenson, 2007: 198) The mushroom stone figure wears a traditional mecapal strapped around his forehead (tumpline) to carry what appears to me to be a giant mushroom on his back, or is it the god Tohil? (Photo by Stan Czolowski, A Brief History of Magic Mushrooms in BC [2018], Vancouver Mycological Society: www.vanmyco.org/about-mushrooms/psychedelic/brief-historymagic-mushrooms-bc/) 



The ancient cultures of the Aztecs, Toltecs, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, Teotihuacano's 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 an image of Lord Quetzalcoatl crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol, reproduced from page 19 of the Codex Borgia one of five codices, or divinatory manuals in the Borgia group (now in the Vatican), that predate the Spanish Conquest. Here, the Aztec Toltec god-king, and culture hero Quetzalcoatl, (known as Waxak-lahun-Ubah-Kan among the Classic Maya) is portrayed wearing his trademark wind-jewel and the mask of the Wind God Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl. A closer look at the attributes of Quetzalcoatl's headdress, depicts a harpy eagle, one of the many avatars of Quetzalcoatl, a trefoil in the shape of the Fleur de lis symbol, and the "single eye" motif, a universal symbol of the resurrected Sun God. Also encoded in Quetzalcoatl's headdress is a five pointed Venus half-star symbol. The "fiveness" of Venus, 5 synodic cycles, comes from the fact that five Venus cycles of 584 days each equal eight solar years to the day, and that 584 days is the time it takes for Earth and Venus to line up with respect to the Sun. This day was a period ending day in the sacred 260 day calendar (almanac) and always ended on the day Ahau (also spelled Ajaw). Ahau in the Mayan language means Lord.


The followers of Lord 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 avatars of the planet Venus. 

Quetzalcoatl the culture hero and god-king was a real person who stood for learning and the arts, who was a ruler of the Toltec empire. We know that succeeding rulers or High Priests who emulated the ways of Quetzalcoatl also used his name, and that there may have been more than one Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl. We know from ancient manuscripts that Quetzalcoatl was also worshiped as a creator god, who created mankind from drawing blood from his penis in the underworld. Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl the revered legendary hero, is known to have invented the calendar, and he was the god who delivered fire, mushrooms and corn to his children in exchange for self sacrifices. 



Above, is a close up image from the Borgia Codex. The image portrays the god-king Quetzalcoatl, or ruler or High Priest, in the guise of Quetzalcoatl, crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol. He is painted the color blue, being the color associated with human sacrifice, and self sacrifice and the color associated with the Aztec War God Huitzilopochtli. Quetzalcoatl can be identified in this codex by his trademark conical hat, that in most cases is adorned with bloodletting instruments that are divinely tagged with Fleur de lis symbols. According to archaeologist Michael D. Coe, today's unofficial  "Dean of Maya studies", that the act of bloodletting was so sacred that the perforator itself was worshiped as a god (from Olmec Bloodletting: An Iconographic Study 1991). Quetzalcoatl also can be identified by his wind-jewel breast-plate, called ehecailacacozcatl, or "breastplate of the wind" a trademark symbol of Quetzalcoatl as the Wind God. 


The earliest evidence of a mushroom-based religious cult in the New World, appears to date to approximately the same time period, around 1000 BCE, and the beginnings in Mesoamerica of the Olmec culture (S.F. de Borhegyi letter to Wasson, June 14th 1953). 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 Olmec are known mainly for the gigantic colossal stone heads they created, at ceremonial sites along the Gulf of Mexico in the states of Vera Cruz, and Tabasco. 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. This is most likely where the Soma mushroom cult was first introduced to the New World.    



Above is an Olmec figurine, 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, are a distinctive feature in Olmec art. This figure appears to represent an Olmec baby holding what appears to be a gigantic Amanita muscaria mushroom. According to ethno-mycologist Gastón Guzmán, one of the effects of the Amanita muscaria mushroom experience is to see objects as gigantic in size. (Guzman, 2010) (photograph by Higinio Gonzalez of Puebla, Mexico).


The ancient Olmec (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.) are considered the "mother culture" of Mesoamerica, responsible for the rapid dissemination of innovations, including hieroglyphic writing, the 260-day sacred calendar, the planning and orientation of ceremonial centers, and a complex cosmology and mythology that incorporated the World Tree, were-jaguars and the feathered serpent. "These traits formed a coherent package of elite or priestly knowledge that formed the basis for future cultural developments within Mesoamerica (Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology 1980 p.384). 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 Olmec were the first to create a codified religion of sacred deities associated with certain rituals easily identifiable today through their surviving art. Olmec deities are depicted as powerful creatures of the rain forest in which the Olmec civilization emerged, and that deities like the Olmec were-jaguar and Olmec dragon represent underworld and upper world deities respectively. The Olmec dragon, which represents the principal sky god of the Olmec's, probably derives zoomorphically from the crested harpy eagle, and thus we have what may be the likely origin of the most important and powerful god in Mesoamerica, Quetzalcoatl the Feathered Serpent (Miller & Taube, 1993, p. 126).

The were-jaguar appears in the art of the ancient Olmecs as early as 1200 B.C. 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 so-called "Olmec snarl"  a common motif in Olmec art may represent the powerful effects of the Amanita muscaria, and Amanita pantherina (also hallucinogenic) mushrooms, resulting in were-jaguar transformation. 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. Its the author's belief that jaguar transformation symbolizes the soul's journey into the underworld where it will undergo jaguar transformation, and ritual decapitation, and thus divine resurrection. The were-jaguar eventually came to be worshiped and venerated throughout Central and South America.

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). 

Interpretations of Olmec political organization range from that of an empire (Caso 1965; Bernal 1969a; M. Coe 1968b), to a state (Heizer 1960), and to a cheifdom, (Sanders and Price 1968) (Philip Drucker 1981, p.29). The powerful unitary religion of the Olmec, appears to spread quickly throughout the New World with certain elements of the belief system that spread as far as the Andean area of South America. We know this culture by its powerful art style featuring adult and baby "were-jaguars;" an art style so pervasive that it led the late archaeologist Matthew W. Stirling in 1955 to call the Olmec the "people of the jaguar." He speculated that the Olmecs believed that at some time in their mythical past a jaguar had copulated with, and impregnated, a human female. According to Olmec archaeologist Michael Coe  "...the concept of the were-jaguar is at the heart of the Olmec civilization" (Michael D. Coe, 1962, p.85).




            Quoting from 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)."



Some of the earliest mushroom stones in Mesoamerica which date to Olmec times 1200 BCE to 400 BCE, bear toad or frog images carved on their base. The discovery of numerous toad bones in Olmec burials at San Lorenzo (1200-900 B.C.E.) suggests that the Olmecs may have used other mind-altering substances, such as hallucinogenic toad toxin, in various ritual practices (Coe, 1994:69; Furst, 1990: 28; Grube, 2001:294). Certain toads discard a toxin from the skin when touched, that can be dried and can be smoked or taken orally (Eva Hopman, 2008). 


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


In China, the toad venom or Chan Su or senso in Japanese, has a long folk use as an anesthetic, for heart aliments and as a reputed aphrodisiac. According to Frederick R. Dannaway, author of A Toad on the Moon: Or a Brief Speculation on Chinese Psychoactive Toad Venoms, writes...

            According to Dannaway:

"Toads and mushrooms, such as in toadstools, have had a long association with the more wild, darker elements of reality. The toad is a creature of the night, is slimy and covered in warts and lives in wet, foreboding marshes and swamps. In Europe, the toad has a long relationship with witchcraft and the dark potions and brews usually call for one, with other reptiles, as ingredients. In China, the toad was associated with powerful drugs and elixirs and mushrooms in particular. As Wasson and Needham theorize, the lingzhi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), reishi of China, may have been chosen as a code for the Amanita muscaria mushroom to protect its profane use and for exclusive use by an elite. There are many images of the lingzhi mushroom depicted as growing out of the head of a toad linking toads, toadstool mushrooms and the possibly substituted lingzhi. Wasson informs us in China that the Amanita muscaria is known as hama jun (ha ma chun Needham 1974), the "toad-mushroom.”


Above are Type C mushroom stones from Guatemala (Borhegyi de, S.F., 1957b.) The Type C mushroom stone above center and right depicts a mushroom (toadstool), emerging from the mouth of an upended toad. The late Maya art historian Tatiana Proskouriakoff demonstrated that in Mayan hieroglyphs the upended toad represents the symbol of rebirth (Coe, 1993:196)  Mushroom-shaped stones, many bearing toad images carved on their base, have been found throughout Mesoamerica, in the areas of Chiapas, Mexico, Highland Guatemala, and along the Pacific slope as far south as El Salvador (de Borhegyi, 1957, 1961, 1963, 1965a, 1965b).



Its more than likely, that the ancient Olmec, Zapotec and Maya, used toad toxin and or Amanita muscaria mushrooms as additives to a hallucinogenic ritual beverage. This ritual beverage was first reported after the Spanish Conquest by Thomas Gage in the early 1600's. Gage reported that the Pokmam Maya of the Guatemala Highlands added toads to their fermented beverages to strengthen the results (The Ancient Maya, Sharer/Morley, 1983 p.484). Ordonez y Aguiar (1907 note 24) reports a recipe for a fermented drink of terrible strength, including a live frog to hasten the fermentation (S.W. Miles:Handbook of Middle American Indians part 1, 1965  p.286)


Quoting R. Gordon Wasson;


“In two examples of mushroom stones, one stone has a mushroom emerging from the mouth of a giant toad, another stone has a mushroom rising from the back of a toad with an anthropomorphic face”. (Wasson, 1957; p.185) Many more such mushroom toad stones have been found...”Strangely moving is the sporadic recurrence throughout the northern hemisphere of this chthonic deity, the toad, with the entheogenic mushroom."                   



There is ample 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, 363).


"  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 the Annals of the Cakchiqueles, the Quiché Maya are called “thunderers” because they worship this god, and were given the name Tohohils. Tedlock (1985: 251) specifically noted: The single most suggestive bit of evidence for the mushroom theory lies in the fact that a later Popol Vuh passage gives Newborn Thunderbolt and Raw Thunderbolt two further names: Newborn Nanahuac and Raw Nanahuac. …Nanahuac would appear to be the same as the Aztec deity Nanahuatl (or Nanahuatzin), who throws a thunderbolt to open the mountain containing the first corn. Nanahuatl means “warts” in Nahua, which suggests the appearance of the Amanita muscaria when the remnants of its veil still fleck the cap. The etymology of the name of the Thunderbolt god Hurican, or Juraqun means “one leg”, and there is plenty of evidence that the belief in a one-legged god was widespread throughout Mesoamerica (Christenson, 2007: 60). 

Tedlock further mentioned that the principal gods among the Quiché Maya are listed “again and again” as Tohil, Auilix, and Hacauitz and called these three gods "the three Thunderbolts", their names being, Thunderbolt Hurican, Newborn Thunderbolt, and Raw Thunderbolt, alluding to a Trinity of Maya gods.

It may be that the one-legged gods of Mesoamerica, represent the divine mushroom and that the one-leg refers to the mushroom's stem or stipe, as well as to lightning.  Tedlock's analysis of the Popol Vuh reveals that "the three q'abawil were wooden and stone deities called Cacula Huracan, Lightning One-leg"; Chipa Cacula, "Youngest or Smallest Lightning"; and "Sudden or Violent Lightning" and suggests that spirit is manifested within material objects (Tedlock,1985, 249-251).  

One-legged gods in Mesoamerica like the Maya god K'awil and his Aztec counterpart Tezcatlipoca may be an esoteric metaphor for the divine mushroom--a one-legged god manifested from the power of lightning. Since it was believed that stones were  created from lightning, and the spirit K'awil entered this world through lightning into material objects, stones may have been carved to look like mushrooms, in order to worship K'awil as a one-legged god of divine transformation.  The mushroom stones, were most likely venerated with the blood of human and animal sacrifices.   

It's worth mentioning that in Hindu tradition recorded in the Rig Veda, it is stated that Parjanya the god of thunder and lightning was the father of Soma (Wasson 1969).

The ancient Mayan word for stone, cauac, comes from the word for lightning. It may be that mushroom stones were placed in sacred spots where mushrooms sprouted from the ground, suggesting that it was lightning that provided the conceptual link between the sky (heaven) and Earth. According to a passage in Paso y Troncoso: Papeles de Nueva Espanana, 2nd Serie, Geografia y Estadistca, Vol IV: Relaciones Geograficas de la Diocesis de Oaxaca, dated 15 April 1580, p. 109, 
"They would worship the devil making in his likeness idols and faces of stone, very ugly to which they would sacrifice little dogs and Indian slaves and this was their worship and whom they took for gods; and after they had made some such sacrifice it was their custom to dance and get drunk on some mushrooms in such a manner that they would see many visions and fearful figures" (Wasson 1980 p. 218).

Anthropologist Dennis Tedlock writes that 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, is based on a sacred drink called Ki, also called the "twelve poisons". In the dance a prisoner of war is captured and is granted one last drink, called the drink of lords, before he is ritually decapitated. According to 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 the sacred drink of lords a mushroom infused  beverage (Soma) which, according to Tedlock, brings dreams to the character in the Rabinal Achí, before they are ritually decapitated? 

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).

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

The content in the Codex Hall is ritualistic, and portrays an integral part of Aztec ideology. Post-Hispanic production is suggested. (University of Utah copy gift of Charles Dibble)

Like the Soma drink in the Vedic Soma-yajna the self-sacrificer in Mesoamerica swallows a ritual drink of strength and immortality.


Above is a closeup scene from a pre-Conquest Mixtec manuscript painted sometime around 1500 C.E., called the Codex Bodley. The author proposes that the artist intentionally tagged a Fleur de Lis symbol on top of a sacred mushroom as a symbol of divinity, and immortality. The three dots beneath the Fleur de Lis symbol esoterically alluding to a Trinity of gods, and the footprints beneath the figure symbolizing the journey into the underworld for for ritual decapitation and divine resurrection.


In the Rig Veda, Soma, the mystery plant around which the Vedic sacrifices took place, is described as an intoxicating liquid that was pounded or pressed out of the plant (mushroom) using special pressing stones, called Soma stones (RV IX.11.5-6;IX.109.17-18). The Rig Veda describes Soma as a small red plant having no leaves, and lacking both roots and blossoms, but having a stem that is juicy and meaty (Furst, 1976 p.97).

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).


While the actual identity of Soma has been lost through time, both its description and the details of its preparation seem to point not to a plant but 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, Maya 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.


The association of mushroom stones with the 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)


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." (Wasson 1968)



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). 


Wasson was the first to call attention to the pervasiveness of the toad and it's association with the term toadstool, with the intoxicating mushrooms in Europe. The Amanita muscaria mushroom is considered a poisonous and deadly mushroom, however human deaths from eating the mushroom are very rare. Wasson noted the recurrence throughout the northern hemisphere of a toad deity associated with the entheogenic mushroom (Wasson 1980, p.184-185).


Wasson writes that the toad and Soma must have been associated together from “earliest times”(Wasson 1992). As frogs and toads are often categorized and generalized together its interesting to note that O’Flaherty’s discussion of the sexual associations with a female frog in the context of a fire rite of Agni as well as the Hymns of the Frogs in the Rig Veda. Here the texture of the frogs, or toads perhaps, was likened to the Brahmins sweating around the soma bowl. The frogs are associated with the rains, which bring on the mushroom, as well as “prolonging of life” (O’Flaherty 1981; Morgan 1995) in a very interesting hymn of which I hope to treat at length in yet another paper. Ball (2004) informs that the Hindus “claim that the regent of the moon—known as Chandra or Soma—is symbolized by a toad.”  (from Frederick R. Dannaway,  5-02-09 A Toad on the Moon: Or a Brief Speculation on Chinese Psychoactive Toad Venoms)

Quoting Wasson (!957)


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



In the Central and Western Highlands of Guatemala, tripod mushroom stones resembling stools (toad-stools?) have been reported from Kaminaljuyu, the Antigua-Agua area, Amatitlan, Mixco Viejo, Tecpan, Zacualpa, and San Martin Jilotepeque (de Borhegyi, S.F. 1965a, p.37). 



Quoting 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).




Like Soma, the Haoma plant also appears to be a source of divine power and strength, as well as bestowing the sacred knowledge that leads to divine immortality. According to the Vedic priests the Soma drink was inebriating and sublime. In the Avestan Hom Yasht, (Y.9-11) which is an ode to the powers of Haoma, the Iranian prophet Zoroaster calls on Hom, as he is called in the Hom Yasht, for inspiration, strength, victory, healing. 

In Yasna 9.22, Haoma grants  "speed and strength to warriors". 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). 

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).

In the New World beginning around 1500 B.C.E. an ancient people scholars call the Olmec, appeared suddenly, their art and mythology fully developed and in full bloom, and they were the first to build pyramids and megalithic stone sculpture adorned with the images of their gods and rulers. The pioneering achievements of the ancient Olmec in the arts, architecture, and writing give us the first great civilization in the New World.

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 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). 

Zapotec urn from (Tomb 7) from the Olmec influenced 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. Anthropologist Gordon Ekholm postulated that Olmec society was inspired by China, that visitors from the Shang Dynasty crossed the Pacific and taught the Olmec how to write, build monuments, and worship a feline deity. 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 propose 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 in the Oaxaca Valley was Olmec influenced, and begins to develop under Olmec influence about 700-800 B.C.E. 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). 

Above is the list of the 20 Zapotec day signs from Javier Urcid (2000). 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 name which means Lord, or Ruler. 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. 


The Zapotec 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).  


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. Flowers symbolize a state of the soul on its journey to full godhood and the mushroom of the Aztecs, was called teonanacatalteo meaning god, nanacatl meaning mushroom, or the flower of god. 


Fray Alonso de Molina's big lexicon of the Nahuatl language (language of the Aztecs) published in 1571, Molina gives us another word for mushroom,  xochinanacatl, meaning flower mushroom, xochitl meaning flower and nanacatl meaning mushroom (Wasson 1980, p80). 


Aztec poets likely used the word for flower as a figure of speech when they were referring to the mushrooms. The Aztec symbol above referred to as a flower in the day signs of the Aztec Calendar, 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 mushroom or flower of immortality. 


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.


In both hemispheres the Fleur de lis symbol is associated with divine rulership, linked to mythological deities in the guise of a serpent, feline, and bird, associated with a Tree of Life, it's forbidden fruit, and a trinity of creator gods. 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. Descendants of the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl, and thus all Mesoamerican kings or rulers, were also identified with the trefoil, or Fleur de lis symbol.


The drawing above is from a Classic period (200-650 CE.) Teotihuacan drinking vessel. It depicts the Teotihuacan god Tlaloc (or ruler dressed in the guise of Tlaloc?) crowned with a trefoil similar in shape and meaning “Lord” as the Old World Fleur de Lis symbol. Note that the Tlaloc figure on the drinking vessel carries an axe, and that he is surrounded by footprints alluding to his underworld journey as the Evening Star and god of underworld decapitation.


The Mexican god Tlaloc, who is easily recognizable by his trademark goggled eyes, shared the same temple in the great metropolis of Teotihuacan with the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl. Their duality as the Evening Star (Tlaloc) and Morning Star (Quetzalcoatl) aspects of Venus suggests that they were both the patron deities of Teotihuacan connected with the ruling dynasty. The Mexican god Tlaloc was also clearly connected with a warrior cult associated with the planet Venus. This Tlaloc-Venus warfare cult spread from the great metropolis of Teotihuacan into the Maya area during the Early Classic period when Teotihuacan was at its apex. Those who died for Tlaloc went directly to his divine paradise called Tlalocan. Because of Tlaloc's association with decapitation as the Evening Star aspect of Venus, Teotihuacan rulers likely portrayed themselves impersonating Tlaloc, just as their Maya counterparts impersonated Chac-Xib-Chac, or GI of the Palenque Triad. 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 the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc.

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. The offering of copal incense in specially constructed incensarios is a time-honored Maya practice that continues to the present day in many parts of the Maya area (T. Patrick Culbert 1973, The Classic Maya Collapse p.78).

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. 

According to the late Dr. Herbert J. Spinden, one of the great scholars of Mesoamerican art and archaeology, and curator of Mexican archaeology and ethnology at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, and author of, A Study of Maya Art, 1975, writes...

Quoting Spinden:

" It seems quite likely that Quetzalcoatl was a Mexican adaptation of one of the principal Maya deities, probably the Long-nosed God". 

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



Above is a drawing of a Preclassic stela from the archaeological site of Izapa, located on the Pacific coast, near the border of Guatemala, in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Archaeologists have theorized that Izapa may have been settled as early as 1500 B.C. making Izapa as old as the Olmec sites of La Venta and San Lorenzo. 

Was Izapa the landing spot of foreigners from the Old World, who voyaged to the New World bringing with him the symbol of the Fleur de lis and a trinity of gods? Maya researcher Vincent Malmstrom proposes that the origin of Mesoamerica's Ritual 260 day calendar is from Izapa, and that he places the calendar's origin at 1359 B.C. (Susan Milbrath 1999 p.64).

Note that the boat depicted on the ancient stela is shaped or encoded to form the Maya Ik glyph, that is shaped like a capital T, a symbol in Mesoamerica of the Wind God, and very similar in shape to the Old World tau cross. I discovered that the Ik glyph in Mesoamerican iconography, is intimately connected with the Fleur-de-lis symbol, probably because the Ik glyph is also tied to the births of the Maya god GI, (Chaac the long nose Maya god ?) of the Palenque Triad, and the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl as 9-Wind.

Referring back to the Izapa stela, see drawing above, we see a long-nosed or long-lipped deity depicted in the sea below, crowned with an emblem similar in shape and meaning (Lord) to the Fleur de lis, along with an X-symbol encoded in his head, a common attribute of the Maya god Chaac. Chaac is a Maya deity derived from a serpent, and is the most frequently represented god in the four pre-Hispanic Maya codices. In the Colonial texts Chaac is referred to as the god of
cornfields, as a manifestation of water, in the form of rain, lakes, rivers, and the sea. In Mesoamerica, this X-symbol is clearly linked to the underworld and the dualistic nature of the planet Venus as a death and resurrection star. Many of the monuments at Izapa such as Stela 25, portray winged deities and a religious theme of a World Tree or Tree of Life.  

Izapa's cultural sphere called Izapan, includes the archaeological sites of Kaminaljuyu, El Baul, Takalik Abaj, and Chiapa de Corzo. It was in the region near the border of Mexico and Guatemala, that the first calendrical inscriptions are found in the Maya area. At the Olmec influenced site of Takalik Abaj, where Stela 2 portrays a bearded man surrounded by dragon masks and scrolls and has a date but unfortunately the stela is missing the glyph that identifies the period and cycle of the Long Count. The monument credited with the earliest Long Count date in the Maya area is from the archaeological site of El Baul in Guatemala, a site excavated in the 60's by Stephan de Borhegyi and fellow archaeologist Lee A. Parsons. The monument at El Baul known as Stela 1, has a Long Count date of 7.19.15.7.12, and using the GMT correlation, would read A.D. 36 in our present day calendar. Other early sites being excavated in the area dating back to 1000 BCE. are La Blanca and Paso de la Amada which may have influenced Izapa's culture. 

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). 


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. 


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. The sun god of the Aztecs Tonatiuh first found in Toltec art is frequently paired with Quetzalcoatl in his aspect of Venus as Morningstar.


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 Vedic Hindu mythology its an eagle in the World Tree 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. In Hindu mythology the eagle is the Vahana, or vehicle of Vishnu and other deities.  

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 Saena bird of Zoroastrian mythology symbolized wisdom, and the Persain simurgh is often depicted in Iranian art as a giant winged creature with feline features. 


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/)

Bicephalic or two-headed birds are a common theme in Old World art and mythology as they are in Pre-Columbian art and mythology. The antiquity of the double headed bird in Zoroastrian and Hindu mythology may date back as far as 2000 BCE. In Hindu mythology Garuda is often depicted as a two-headed bird, and the destroyer of serpents and represents one of the avatars of Vishnu.  


Gordon Ekholm postulated a 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.

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



In Mesoamerica two-headed birds and/or two-headed serpents are linked to both accession and rulership, as well as to the dualistic nature of the planet Venus. In Mesoamerica, two-headed birds and two headed serpents commonly represent Quetzalcoatl as both the Morning Star and Evening Star. Many years ago Eduard Seler linked  the jaguar-bird-serpent god associated with Venus and warfare to the god Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star  (Miller and Taube, 1993).

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. The harpy eagle because of its size, ferocity and powerful strength is the greatest avian predator of Mesoamerica and was identified as the sun-jaguar in the sky represented in art as a sun god with eagle claws clutching human hearts.

The belief in a "World Tree" or "Tree of Life" that interconnects the upper world with the underworld, is a belief in both the Old World and New World but that has it's origin in the Old World. 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)

The Aztecs believed that the sun during its journey through the underworld required sustenance in the form of human hearts in order to have enough strength to resurrect into the sky. In the morning, as the sun rose from the underworld into the sky the Aztecs called this god Cuauhtlehuanitl, “the eagle who ascends”; and Cuauhtemoc “the eagle who fell”, as in the suns journey into the underworld. Mesoamericans tried to explain celestial phenomena through myth and the sun was seen as an eagle that soars in the sky.  
In both the Old World and the New World the Fleur de lis carries the same metaphoric meaning of divinity (note the Fleur de Lis symbol tagged to a ritual beverage of immortality). 


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. Venus as the Morning Star aspect, or avatar of the God-king Quetzalcoatl was the harpy eagle.



Above are images from pre-Conquest codices that I propose depicts "Soma in the Americas".... A ritual beverage Soma opened a portal into the underworld that assured the sacrifical victim divine resurrection. The author will demonstrate that in Mesoamerica the Soma beverage was esoterically encoded or tagged in art with the Fleur de lis symbol that in most cases contained hallucinogenic mushrooms.  

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

In the Old World, 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, gods consumed the beverage in order to sustain their immortality, similar to the Greek ambrosia (cognate to amrita) because it was what the gods drank and what helped make them deities (source, New World Encyclopedia)

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

Above is a page from the Codex Laud that depicts the Aztec goddess Mayahuel, goddess of the maguey plant, in the act of self sacrific. In her right hand she holds a ritual beverage that I propose is tagged with a stylized Fleur-de-lis emblem symbolizing a divine beverage of immortality. Note the serpent and turtle below the "Tree of Life". Both the turtle and serpent are avatars of the god-king Quetzalcoatl and the planet Venus as the Morning Star.


This dualistic aspect of Venus is why Venus was venerated as both a God of Life and God of Death. 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. It was said that, they [the Quiche Maya] gave thanks to the sun and moon and stars, but particularly to the star that proclaims the day, the day-bringer, referring to Venus as the Morning star (The Title of the Lords of Totonicapan, 1953 third printing 1974, p. 184).


The 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. 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). The Psilocybe mushroom contains the substance psilocin and psilocybin, the active ingredient that causes the mushroom hallucination. The psilocybin mushroom is indigenous to the sub-tropical regions of the U.S, Mexico, and Central America. 


            According to ethno-Botanist Kevin Feeney: 

"While the pharmacology of Amanita muscaria is not completely understood, if the distribution of muscarine, and other toxic compounds that may be present, are uniformly distributed throughout the mushroom, then removal of the stem could be seen as a method of preparation that decreases the mushroom's overall toxicity. Among the Khanty of Western Siberia, only the cap of the Amanita muscaria is consumed" (Kevin Feeney 2013, ch. 6, p.295)

"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). 


Ethno-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.)


 

 According to 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 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.


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, decapitation, and the ritual ballgame, associated with period endings in the Mayan calendar.  


Above is a pre-Columbian incense burner that portrays a fanged deity (the underworld Sun God and jaguar transformation) wearing the headdress of the Mexican god Tlaloc. Note that the Tlaloc headdress is crowned with what I propose are three Fleur de lis symbols, and what I also propose 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 in the Americas:

Around 1600 BCE, priests who called themselves Aryans, moved down from Central Asia, to Persia, (Iran) and northern India as nomadic warriors, and by 800 BCE dominated Persia and the Indus Valley. Haoma is the Persian pronunciation of Soma, and was a sacred ritual drink made from a plant connected in myth with a World Tree, or Tree of Life, that inspired the Iranian prophet Zoroaster to create a new religion, a reformed Aryan Mithraism, that became the state religion of the Persian Empire. 

The ancient Iranic peoples (Iranian being cognate with Aryan) who emerged after the 1st millennium BCE, include the Alans, Bactrians, Dahae, Khwarezmians, Massagetae, Medes, Parthians, Persians, Sagartians, Sakas, Sarmatians, Sogdians, and Scythians among other Iranian-speaking peoples of Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Eastern Steppe.


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


The 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 Medes were an Indo-Iranian (Aryan) people who inhabited the western and north-western portion of present day Iran. 


The Amyrgians, were a subset of Indo-Scythian Sakas, called Saka-haumavarga ("Haoma-drinking Scythians") that inhabited the region then called "Sakastan", near the border of the Persian Empire, centered on the Amyrgian plain (Ferghana) well to the east of most of the Sakas tribes:


            According to Wasson:

"...testimony from that valley southeast of Samarkand where Yaghnobi is spoken, a dialect descended from the ancient Sogdian language, related to Persian and of course belonging to the Indo-European family. The folk who speak this tongue believe that when the highest god shakes his winter coat, the air is rent with thunder, and then the children must say: Katta xarcak man, pullja xarcak tau. The big mushroom is for me, the small one for you.



These Aryan people brought with them their religious cult and their hallucinogenic drink they called Soma (Haoma among the Persians), 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, and the drinking of Soma/Haoma. We now know that the Turkic Saka people (Scythians) 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). 

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). 

There is a legend in Zoroastrian religion, that the prophet Zoroaster was conceived after his parents drank the Haoma drink, made from Zoroaster's divine essence that had fallen from heaven (Bennett and McQueen 2013,  p.63). Although dates as early as the mid-fifth century BCE have been suggested for the birth of Zoroaster there is no proof of this at the time of writing. Pliny the Elder writes that Zoroaster lived six thousands years before Plato's death, and Aristotle agrees with him (Natural History Bk. 30 p. 255). Its also possible that Zoroaster may have been a mythical rather than a historical figure, or there may have been more than one Zoroaster, and the name may have been a title of the Prince of the Magi.

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 (Donald E. Teeter, 2005 p.8).  This sacred drink may have been served in a drinking vessel know as the "Cup of Jamshid" which in Persian mythology was said to be filled with an elixir of immortality.

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. It's probable that the chariot originated in Central Asia and was later adopted by the civilizations of China, Mesopotamia, and the Caucasus (The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221BC: 1999) The early presence of chariots in Central Asia is documented by petroglyphs from the Altai Mountain region in Siberia and Mongolia.

Zoroaster's teachings have come down to us through the Zend-Avesta, that includes the Yasna, the canon that describes the ritual preparation and consumption of the hallucinogenic drink called Haoma. Judaism and Christianity were both influenced by Zoroastrianism, an Iranian/Persian religion founded by the Babylonian/Sumerian King Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah. Noah, being an eighth generation descendant of Adam and Eve, who survived the great cataclysmic deluge that wiped out humans, animals, and plant life where he lived, in the region of Mt. Aararat, where Noah's Ark comes to rest after the Great Flood. In the Book of Genesis, the Garden of Eden story is considered to be a mythological paradise, although in Genesis Chapter VIII 4, the writer suggests an Eden, near the mountains of Ararat (cognate with Aryan ?) in Armenia, (Urartu) a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, bordered by the country of Turkey to the west.

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 Ethno-Mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson:

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


In the middle of the third century, there arose in the east the Iranian prophet named Mani, who called himself an 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)



In Zoroastrian religion Haoma is the name given to the yellow mystery plant, from which a juice was extracted and consumed in the Yasna ceremony, the sacred sacrifice in honor of all the gods. The following is from the Encyclopedia Britannica (1991, vol. 26, pg. 789, Rites & Ceremonies): 

“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.”


 

Mithraism was a religious cult that spread quickly throughout the Roman world and flourished during the 2nd and 3rd century CE. The origins of the Mysteries of Mithras, is still unknown but its believed to be of Persian origin.  

Mithridates or Mithradates VI, also known as Mithradates the Great and Eupator Dionysius, was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia from about 120–63 BC. Wikipedia  


           This may be about Amanita muscaria mushroom poisoning...


          According to Appian's Roman History, he then requested his Gallic bodyguard and friend, Bituitus, to kill him by the sword:


Mithridates then took out some poison that he always carried next to his sword, and mixed it. There two of his daughters, who were still girls growing up together, named Mithridates and Nysa, who had been betrothed to the kings of [Ptolemaic] Egypt and of Cyprus, asked him to let them have some of the poison first, and insisted strenuously and prevented him from drinking it until they had taken some and swallowed it. The drug took effect on them at once; but upon Mithridates, although he walked around rapidly to hasten its action, it had no effect, because he had accustomed himself to other drugs by continually trying them as a means of protection against poisoners. These are still called the Mithridatic drugs. Seeing a certain Bituitus there, an officer of the Gauls, he said to him, "I have profited much from your right arm against my enemies. I shall profit from it most of all if you will kill me, and save from the danger of being led in a Roman triumph one who has been an autocrat so many years, and the ruler of so great a kingdom, but who is now unable to die by poison because, like a fool, he has fortified himself against the poison of others. Although I have kept watch and ward against all the poisons that one takes with his food, I have not provided against that domestic poison, always the most dangerous to kings, the treachery of army, children, and friends." Bituitus, thus appealed to, rendered the king the service that he desired.[26] . Wikipedia


Cassius Dio's Roman History records a different account:


Mithridates had tried to make away with himself, and after first removing his wives and remaining children by poison, he had swallowed all that was left; yet neither by that means nor by the sword was he able to perish by his own hands. For the poison, although deadly, did not prevail over him, since he had inured his constitution to it, taking precautionary antidotes in large doses every day; and the force of the sword blow was lessened on account of the weakness of his hand, caused by his age and present misfortunes, and as a result of taking the poison, whatever it was. When, therefore, he failed to take his life through his own efforts and seemed to linger beyond the proper time, those whom he had sent against his son fell upon him and hastened his end with their swords and spears. Thus Mithridates, who had experienced the most varied and remarkable fortune, had not even an ordinary end to his life. For he desired to die, albeit unwillingly, and though eager to kill himself was unable to do so; but partly by poison and partly by the sword he was at once self-slain and murdered by his foes.[27] . Wikipedia







In Mesoamerica the mushroom 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.

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



            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."


"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 mother 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)

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 EvolutionEthno-botanist Terrance McKenna, writes that psilocybin mushrooms may have provide the evolutionary spark for mankind, from which language,  religion, philosophy, science, and all of human culture sprang.

"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 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".

" The mushroom is most correctly seen as an androgynous shape-shifting deity, which can take various forms depending on the predisposition of the culture encountering it" (Food of the Gods, 1992  p.63).

McKenna's theories have 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).


Quoting ethno-botanist Terance McKenna: concerning his hypothesis known as "the 'stoned ape' theory."

"The psilocybin mushroom religion, born at the birth of cognition in the grasslands of Africa, may actually be the generic religion of human beings" (Food of the Gods, 1992)

" I believe that the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms on the grasslands of Africa gave us the model for all religions to follow"   "...that hallucinogens, played a decisive role in the emergence of our essential humanness, of the human characteristic of self-reflection" (Food of the Gods, 1992  p.23).


"McKenna's hypothesis was that low doses of psilocybin improve visual acuity, particularly edge detection, meaning that the presence of psilocybin in the diet of early pack hunting primates caused the individuals who were consuming psilocybin mushrooms to be better hunters than those who were not, resulting in an increased food supply and in turn a higher rate of reproductive success.[3][7][16][26][43 (Wikipeda) 

"When our remote ancestors moved out of the trees and onto the grasslands, they increasingly encountered hooved beasts who ate vegetation. These beasts became a major source of potential sustenance. Our ancestors also encountered the manure of these same wild cattle and the mushrooms that grow in it"  (Food of the Gods, 1992  p.25) 
  


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"

Its worth mentioning again that 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).



             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)





Evidence of a Paleolithic shamanistic Mushroom cult in Siberia:

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). 

In Siberia the Amanita muscaria mushroom or fly agaric, is the only means of intoxication discovered by the natives of northeastern Asia. For the tribes consuming the Amanita muscaria, it grows only in certain places and the supply is often limited (The Chukchee by Waldemar Bogoras p. 205). It 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 World and New World  (Kevin Feeney ch. 6, 2013 p.302) (Wasson 1968, p.214). 

The use of hallucinogens in Siberia was first made by Swedish academician Åke Ohlmarks in 1939, who pointed specifically to the hallucinogenic fly agaric, or Amanita muscaria mushroom which he claimed was used by shamans all across Siberia. The idea was extended by Hungarian scholar János Balázs, who suggested that Siberian shamans generally had depended on hallucinogens for trance induction (Steve Beyer, Hallucinogens in Siberia; Feb. 16, 2008).

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 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).



"A prodigious expansion in Man's memory must have been the gift that differentiated mankind from his predecessors, and I surmise that this expansion in memory led to a simultaneous growth in the gift of language, these two powers generating in man that self-consciousness which is the third of the triune traits that alone make man unique. Those three gifts - memory, language and self-consciousness - so interlock that they seem inseparable, the aspects of a quality that permitted us to achieve all the wonders we now know." (R. Gordon Wasson, p. 80, Entheogens and the Origins of Religion. Yale University Press, New Haven MA.)





The petroglyphs found in the Chukotka region of Northeastern Siberia (photograph below) were studied by N. N. Dikov (The Russian text of Naskal'nye Zagadki Drenei Chukotki (Petroglify Pagtymelia)1971) and later by Mycologist Giorgio Samorini (2001).  Dikov (1971).

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. 


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. According to Wasson, "the whole of the Rig Veda is permeated with Soma and one of the ten books of the Rig Veda is wholly concerned with the Sacred Plant" (Wasson 1969).      


     


According to Wasson (1957):


"...that the same word for 'mushroom' is shared by the Indo-European peoples, the eastern Finnic peoples, the Paleo-Siberian tribes as far as the eastern tip of Siberia, and perhaps even the Eskimos and the Arabs. Do we not now discover the potent secret of the mushrooms that might explain the wide dissemination of a single pre-Indo-European word? For the cultural historian it becomes imperative that the surviving traces of the mushroom cult among the peripheral peoples of Siberia be minutely and sympathetically examined on the ground by anthropologists and linguists, and likewise the similar use of a mushroom in the interior of New Guinea."



In Central Asia and Siberia, the fly agaric, or Amanita muscaria mushroom was an important part of shamanistic rituals, especially among the Finno-Ugric language groups. The Finno-Ugrian theory claims that Siberia was the original homeland of the Hungarians or Magyars. Advocates of the Finno-Ugrian theory believe the linguistic and ethnic kinship between the Hungarians and the Finns, Ostyaks and Voguls provide evidence for the origin of the Magyars. The Magyar tribes under the rein of their legendary leader Arpad, (895 A.D.) are thought to be of western Siberia descent.  

Although the most widely accepted hypothesis regarding the origin of Hungarians has been the Finno-Ugrian theory, Hungarians show a remarkable difference from Ugro-Finnic peoples, and that they are more closely related to ancient Middle-Eastern peoples. According to Finnish Assyriologist Simo Parpola, "the closest affinities of Sumerian within the Uralic family are with the Volgiac and Finnic languages" (Mehmet Kurtkaya Jan. 2019, Sumerian Turks: Civilization's Journey from Siberia to Mesopotamia). 

Our knowledge of the Huns and Magyars, is still vague; according to Hungarian legend, preserved in the 13the century chronicle by Simon of Keza, called the Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum, the brothers Hunor and Magor, while out hunting, they saw a miraculous white horse. The brothers pursued the horse but it always stayed far enough ahead of them, that the white horse lead them westward into Levedia, where they met and married two princesses and founded the Hungarian peoples, known as the Nation of the White Horse (Fehérlófia). The Huns are Hunor's descendants, and the Magyars are Magor's descendants. 

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 Siberia, the Amanita muscaria mushroom was ritually used by Finno-Ugaric people (Schultes & Hofmann p.84). 


            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).


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). 

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). 

According to Allegro:

"No one knows where the Sumerians came from, but about 4000 B.C. they were already developing a culture which was to affect the whole world for over five thousand years" (Allegro, 1970 p.31)

"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 descendants of these Sumerian-related peoples were known as the Scythians, Sarmatians, Medes, Parthians, Chorasmians, Kushans, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Khazars and Magyars, among others, and gave rise to the Finnic and Turkic-Mongolian ethnic groups (Semra Bayraktar 11-29-14 Turanian Origins).  

The 19th century researchers who discovered and studied the ancient Mesopotamian Sumerian language determined that it was related to the Turanian languages (M. Érdy: The Sumerian Ural-Altaic Magyar Relationship). The historical geographical name of Turan refers to the area East of the Caspian sea.These Turanian peoples created flourishing cultures and states which exerted a determining influence on the peripheral Eurasian cultures of Europe, the Middle East, Persia, India, and China, as well as on the formation of the various Eurasian ethno-linguistic groups (Semra Bayraktar 11-29-14, Turanian Origins).  Archaeological research has shown that this area saw the development of a highly evolved civilization of Sumerian (Mesopotamian) origin (S.P. Tolstov: Ancient Chorasmia). The Sumerians were the creators of the first known civilization, the inventors of agriculture, metallurgy, the wheel, writing, and astronomy, among others (S.N. Kramer: History begins at Sumer). It was the Sumerians who established the mythological foundation of all the major religions of the world today (Metin Gunduz, Origins of the Sumerians Sept. 2012 p.221). 

"Linguistic scholars from around the world have attempted to associate the Sumerians with the ancient cuneiform language, but have agreed on nothing. These scholars all accept that it is an extinct agglutinative language (Michalowski, 2006) and that it is not an Indo-European or Semitic language; and arguments regarding this subject continue today. Everybody wants to claim the affiliation in one way or another, or at least they want to prevent others from claiming the affiliation if they cannot claim it themselves" (Metin Gunduz, Origins of the Sumerians Sept. 2012 p.221).  


According to Metin Gunduz, author of "Origins of the Sumerians", Klyosov primary finding is the origin of the Y-Haplogroup R1b mutation that arose 16,000 ybp (year before present). He called the offspring of the ancestor that originated this mutation “Arbins”, and that bearers of R1b haplogroup is presumed to originate in south Siberia/ Central Asia. Sumerians obviously belonged to R1b haplogroup. Therefore there were approximately 8000 - 10,000 years of migration and shuffling and regrouping since the original mutation of the R1b haplogroup of “Arbins”. Following the emergence of Neolithic agricultural societies resulting in permanent settlements and prolonged interactions and specializations throughout central Asia “Original Sumerian Homeland” became one of the Arbins re-groupings throughout this long 8000 - 10,000 years of history, before climate change forced them to make the maiden migration and resettle in the fertile lands of the Middle East between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers around 4000 BC (Metin Gunduz, Origins of the Sumerians Sept. 2012 p.221).   

The assertion of the identity of the Huns and Hungarians, was first made by ninth-tenth century European chronicle (Gabor Klaniczay 2011 "The Myth of Scythian Origin and the Cult of Attila"  p. 187). Comparative linguistic analysis indicates that of all known ethno-linguistic groups, the Hungarian, Turkic, Caucasian and Finnic languages are by far the closest to Sumerian (K. Gosztony: Dictionnaire d'étymologie sumérienne et grammaire comparée). This is confirmed by archaeological and anthropological evidence which shows that thousands of years ago, the Sumerians and other related Near Eastern peoples settled in the vast region of Central Eurasia from the Carpathian basin to the Altai mountains, from the Urals and Siberia to Iran and India (L. Götz: Keleten Kel a Nap (The Sun Rises in the East). 

The first historical steppe nomads whom there is any accurate record of were a people who's society was ruled by a class of mounted warriors, who in Herodotus' Histories were called Royal Scythians. Archaeologically the Scythians were a Bronze age culture who dominated the Russian Plains north of the Black Sea, and became dominant throughout the steppe region of Central Asia in the first half of the first millennium BCE. 

The identities of the Scythian people 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 term referring to horse-nomads. The Greek historian Strabo (676-675 BCE) applied a generic label to all western central Asian tribes of the Steppe beyond Anatolia as Scythians, based on similarity of customs and practices. 

The Scythians were a warlike people, famous for taking scalps, trophy heads, 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 (Herodotus, History, II, 4.75) marked their important occasions with drug-fueled rituals (Andrew Curry, Archaeology: June 13, 2016). The Scythians might well have practiced a religion with close similarities to the Amanita muscaria mushroom shamanism of the Finno-Ugric peoples who have a presumed long history of Amanita fly agaric use, and the Koryak, Chukchi, and the Kamchadal peoples of northeast Siberia.  

The word Scythian comes from the Greek skythai, while their Persian name was "saka". The name Scythians, known from Herodotus's Histories were powerful nomadic warriors of the North Pontic steppe, and to the eastern steppe cultures variously termed Altaic Scythian, or Scytho-Siberian, or Saka (The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221BC. 1999)  Therefore, we may assume that Scythians and Saka are the same people and that both terms may be used as synonymous. It's believed that the ancestors of the Indo-Scythians are thought to be Sakas (Scythian) tribes, who ruled in Central Asia, and who were originally from southern Siberia. The Scythians (Saka) are believed to have migrated from southern Siberia into Sogdiana and Bactria and then into the Indian subcontinent where they were known as Indo-Scythians. 

It's safe to say that the Saka tribe that worshiped the cult of Haoma were the "Saka Haomavarga" or "Haoma-drinking/Haoma-consuming Saka". 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-Haumavarga-Scythians practiced haoma-drinking ( K. E. Eduljee,  Zoroastrian Heritage).

In Yasna 9.22 of the religious texts of Zoroastrianism, known as the Avesta, Haoma grants..."speed and strength to warriors"


Quoting Wasson (1957)


" Those who have mastered the mushrooms arrive at an extraordinary command of their faculties and muscular movements: their sense of timing is heightened."




The nation of the Scythians was always regarded as very ancient. Roman historian Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, who lived during the reign of the emperor Augustus, writes in his 44-volume Philippic Histories and the Origin of the Whole World and the Places of the Earth that "the Scythians possessed the land of Chaldea (Mesopotamia) for 1500 years before any other nations and they are the oldest people of the earth vying even the Egyptians in ancestry". This may have been a reference to the Subarians, referring to the Sumerians, who dwelled in southern Mesopotamia, that is Chaldea. The Biblical prophet Abraham, who descended from Noah's son Shem, (source of the word "Semite") is said to have come from Ur of the Chaldees. In ancient Sumeria, the city known as Ur, whose glory peaked between 2100 and 2000 B.C.E., 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. The remains of the Sumerian city of Ur can still be visited today in the Iraqi city Mughair. 

Medieval Hungarian sources refer to the story of the Biblical Nimrod, son of  Kush (also spelled Cush) 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. The descendants of the two brothers, Hunor and Magor (Magyar) grew into separate nations. The Huns are Hunor's descendants, and the Magyars are Magor's descendants, the Huns who are best known for their conquests under their great king, Attila who the Romans called the "Scourge of God". According to Hungarian royal chronicles, Chronica Pictum, the Biblical Nimrod, "the great hunter" was the ancestor of the Arpad clan (Magyars), who emerged from the clan of Attila (the Huns).

Like the Huns, and Magyars, the Celts were an equestrian people of Central Asian descent, (Scythian) who, when they arrived in central Europe settled down in the Carpathian Basin (Hungary). In fact the Celts by around 500 BCE., dominated the areas we know today as southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, and Hungary. By about 400 BCE.,the Celts controlled areas in Spain and Italy, the Balkans, northern Europe all the way to the British Isles. Both the Celts and the Huns were characterized by their ferocity and mobility; "they struck without warning and observed no distinction between combatants and non-combatants, men, woman, or children. Little is known about Hunnic shamanism, or paganism, no description exists of the Hun's religion at the time of Attila's rule (c. 434 until his death in 453), but like the Celts the Huns performed human sacrifice and were generally associated with extreme cruelty and barbarism. Although there is no written evidence indicating the specific function and use of the Amanita muscaria 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). According to the Gothic historian Jordanes 551, Attila followed no religion, that he believed in magic and spirits, and alleges a demonic origin of the Huns. According to Jordanes the ancestors of the Huns were the brood of witches and demons living in the marshlands of Meotis (Gabor Klaniczay 2011 "The Myth of Scythian Origin and the Cult of Attila"  p. 189).


Quoting Jordanes:

" They [the Huns] are short in stature, quick in bodily movement, alert horsemen, broad shouldered, ready in the use of bow and arrow, and have firm-set necks which are ever erect in pride. Though they live in the form of men, they have the cruelty of wild beasts". (Jordanes : Getica: The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, c. 551 CE)


Like the Celts the Hunnic Empire who consisted of Huns, Magyars, Bulgarians, Tatars, and Avars, preserved their myths of the Tree of Life, and the legend of the shamans who fought in the guise of wolves. There is even a reference by Dietmar I archbishop of Salzburg from 874 to 907, that the Magyars swore an oath to wolves.

In the fourth and fifth centuries an invasion of Hun tribes exploded out of the Central Asian steppes into Europe. The speed with which the Huns moved, and their success in battle, is best illustrated in their conquest of the Carpathian Basin. In fact Budapest itself was built upon an old Celtic settlement bearing the name Aquincum (Celts and Magyars: Közzétéve: 2012. Január 09. Hétfő, 18:20 Írta: Timaru-Kast, Sándor). 

After the fall of Rome, the territory that is now present day Hungary, was occupied by various peoples including Celts, Germans, Huns, and Avars. When the Magyar tribes under Arpad in 895 A.D. arrived in the Carpathian Basin, an area conquered by Attila, they found a population already there, who understood their language. Their is evidence that Arpad was a direct descendant of Attila, and that the Hungarians had only "taken back" the Carpathian Basin as their lawful heritage, that there have been Magyar-speaking people in the Carpathian Basin since at least the Early Neolithic (source The Scythians: 2008, by Professor Badiny Jos Ferenc and other esteemed scholars).

Little is known about the origin of the Celts, but they were an equestrian people (Scythian) who, when they arrived in central Europe settled down in the Carpathian Basin around 500 BCE. There are similarities between the Hungarian and Celtic languages in there grammatical structure and syntax. For example, BODUA is the Celtic word for "victory" and it is possible that the invading Huns were greeted with a joyful cheers of "Bodua!" The victorious Huns may have been considered liberators. After the "victory" BUDA was built, the "Ancient Budavar" (Ős-Buda), which we know as "Atilla's castle" (called Etzilburg by medieval German inhabitants) built upon the old Celtic settlement bearing the name Aquincum (source, CELTS AND MAGYARS: About the origin of the Celts, their arrival in Europe and their settling in the Carpathian Basin  by Sándor Timaru-Kast). 

After examining the relationship between the Hungarian and Celtic languages, it may be that the Celts and the Hun-Magyars understood one another. It may have been that the Celts and Huns shared a primitive Ur-religion that worshiped a Tree of Life, and the Amanita muscaria mushroom that grows beneath it. The Celts venerated the spruce tree as a symbol of the gift of knowledge and worshiped the conifer as the holy tree of life and death (Gerrit J. Keizer 2013 p. 189).

Hun-Magyar religious beliefs have been limited mostly to the discussion of shamanism. But it was this tree worshiping Ur-religion that inspired Zoroaster or Zarathustra, an Iranian prophet (Iranian being cognate with Aryan) to create a new religion with the same pagan elements of ecstatic worship, that would  later be espoused by another Iranian prophet named Mani, who called himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Mani formed an early Iranian version of a Gnostic Christian church that incorporated the use of sacred mushrooms in their rituals. Manicheanism as it was called, became the religion of the Huns and Scythian's that spread throughout the Roman Empire and Asia, between the 3rd and 7th centuries, to became one of the most widespread religions in the world. In his book (1847) The Religion of the Pagan Magyars, Ferenc Kallay proposed his theory, based on rituals and cultic ceremonies, that Buddhism and parsism (Zoroastrianism) were the foundation of the ancient Magyar religion (Frank Veress, 2017  p.66-67).   

According to Myles Dillon and Nora Chadwick, the first Celtic settlements appeared in the British Isles in the Early Bronze Age (around 1180 B.C.). They consider England's indigenous population at the end of the Stone Age to be Proto-Celts. Leon E. Stover and Bruce Kraig, English archaeologists, deduce from the prehistoric finds in Wessex and Hungary that the Celts may have been already present in Europe in the third millennium B.C. This date surpassed by far the imaginings of 19th century linguists and ethnographers who believed the Celts to be of Indo-European origin  (Celts and Magyars: Közzétéve: 2012. Január 09. Hétfő, 18:20 Írta: Timaru-Kast, Sándor).

"According to the Societe des Sumerologistes at the Sorbonne, in research published in 1975, that "the Magyars are the last living descendants of the Sumerian empire and spoke a language directly related to Sumarian. After 6,000 years they had finally returned to where some of their first towns and city states emerged, and where they had previously intermarried with and shared culture with the proto-Celts. The linguistic similarities between Sumerian, Hungarian and other languages are corroborated by the archaeological and anthropological data discovered so far. These archaeological finds indicate that the Sumerians were the first settlers of Southern Mesopotamia (5000 BC), where they had come from the mountainous regions to the North and East with their knowledge of agriculture and metallurgy, and where they built the first cities" (source Magyar Megmaradasert: Részletek Közzétéve: 2009, Sept. 27).

According to Sándor Timaru-Kast, (2012) author of  CELTS AND MAGYARS I. EUROPE'S IRON AGE PEOPLE: About the origin of the Celts, their arrival in Europe and their settling in the Carpathian Basin..."Hungarians have always been Scythians, descendants of the great Scythian "race" the "Sabarto asphalo" people, and this relationship is the same as the one with the Celts.  "The Scythian influence upon the Celts appears not only in the metal (gold and iron) objects which were unearthed by archaeologists, but in the "kurgan"-style burial custom too. We find a great number of similar raised grave-sites (kunhalmok), all over the British Isles - at Stonehenge or in the region of the famous "crop circles" in Marlborough County with its giant-kurgan - and also in Brittany, Karnag, the famous Celtic "stone-sea" settlement where the "St. Michaels Mount" stands. The name Karnag is derived from the Breton-Celt word for kurgan, which is the same as the Irish CARNAN, little hill, grave"  (CELTS AND MAGYARS I. EUROPE'S IRON AGE PEOPLE).

"The secret of who built the Stonehenge megalithic stone circle is found in its Magyar name Isten Henger, meaning 'Circle', or 'Cylinder', of 'God'. The Magyar tribe involved was the Kazi, or Cassi, the same that centuries later sent the veteran roman legions fleeing back across the English Channel after their first invasion of the British Isles (Albion) in 55 BC."  (Quote from Magyars and Moricz)  

Regarding Celtic syntax, Sir John Morris Jones (1900) writes in his work:  "Pre-Aryan Syntax in Insular Celtic", that even though linguists consider the Insular Celtic language to be Indo-Germanic, he believes that, according to their sentence structure, they are not. He claims it no accident that the Irish call themselves "The Magyars of the West" (Morris Jones, Pre-Aryan syntax in Insular Celtic 1900) It should also be noted that Morris Jones s article was not well received by the Celtic academic establishment and he never returned to the subject. (REMARKS ON THE INSULAR CELTIC/HAMITO-SEMITIC QUESTION by Steve Hewitt). John Rhos (1877: 189 f.) in Lectures on Welsh Philology and subsequent works raises the possibility that pre-Aryan languages may have exerted structural influence on the Insular Celtic languages.

Archaeologist believe that the early bronze artifacts found in Ireland, came with the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean sea empires that first settled the island a millenia before the much later Celts" (The Origins of Celtic Heritage on Continental Europe GERMANI, HELVETII, ALEMANII, TEUTONII, GOETII (GOTHS) ETC. A short Summary of Recent Consensus).

The Beaker people or Bell Beaker culture, named after a bell-shaped drinking vessel, spread across western and central Europe reaching Britain around 4,500 years ago. According to new DNA evidence within 500 years, the Beaker people almost completely wiped out the original Neolithic inhabitants of Britain. The DNA evidence comes from a new study of 400 prehistoric skeletons, suggesting that modern-day Britons are barely related to the original inhabitants who built Stonehenge some 5000 years ago. The DNA evidence shows that the Beaker people were more like today's modern British people, with fair skin, and lighter hair and eyes, and that the creators of Stonehenge appeared Mediterranean, with olive-hued skin, dark hair and eyes. Celtic tradition speaks of a common ancestor for the Celtic peoples called Domm, 'the brown, or dark one' whose abode had been Tech Duinn, a rocky little island off the south-west coast of Ireland. Domm was Lord of the other-world and god of the dead, and Donn welcomed all his descendants to come to his island after death (The World's Mythology 1974 p. 148). 

Researchers speculate that disease may have killed off the ancient creators of Stonehenge and that 90% of the original inhabitants of Britain were replaced (Daily Mail.com. Dec 22nd 2018).



Sacred Mushrooms Carved on Stonehenge ? 


Stonehenge is one of the great unsolved mysteries of the ancient world. Archaeologists remain puzzled over how the builders without sophisticated tools or engineering were able to transport the giant bluestone boulders, using wooded sleds, over such a great distance? Most prehistoric builders did not stray more than 10 miles to collect stones for their monument. Scientists have traced the bluestones of Stonehenge that comprise the inner circle, that weigh up to 4 tons, from two quarries named Carn Goedog, and Craig Rhos-y- felin excavated around 3000 BCE., in west Wales, some 180 miles away from where Stonehenge sits today on Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire, England. Archaeologists have dates for both quarries, that link nicely with the first dates at Stonehenge, believed to have been constructed from 3000 BCE. to 2000 BCE. (source, archaeologist Michael Parker Pearson, University College London).


In 1953 carvings resembling axe weapons were discovered on three of the Stonehenge bluestones. Recently, a team of computer experts and archaeologists using 3D laser scanning technology to study the ancient monument, documented 72 newly discovered images that revealed through the data analysis, 71 Bronze Age axe-heads and one portrays a Bronze Age dagger. The carved axe-heads and daggers according to archaeologists may signify some sort of expansion or change in the great stone circle’s religious function. It’s known that, when the main phase of the monument was initially built in the middle of the third millennium BC, it was designed primarily as a solar temple, aligned on the mid-winter and mid-summer solstices. In Indo-European tradition axes were often associated with storm deities, and therefore may have been engraved on the stones as votive offerings (decapitation rituals?) to placate a storm deity.  (Stonehenge Sensation - Scanning Reveals Axe Carvings, 16 October 2003) (Revealed: Early Bronze Age Axe carvings...David Keys October 9, 2012)  
                                               

Although the carvings were first discovered at Stonehenge 50 years ago, they have never been fully surveyed or studied. The 3D scan of Stonehenge reveals what researchers propose are hidden ax-head carvings. According to researchers the so-called ax-shaped carvings show a certain obsession with the tool shape. The researchers did guesstimate the dating of the carvings based on the style of the axe-heads (c. 1750-1500 cal BC) with some variations. The best date given for Stonehenge itself is 2400-2200 BCE. (from 3D scan of Stonehenge reveals hidden ax-head carvings news.cnet.com Mar, 18 2013) 



             According to anthropologist Christian Ratsch... 


"There is some evidence that the pre-historic "Beaker People" of Stonehenge, and later the British Celts, used fly agaric [Amanita muscara mushrooms ] in a cultic context" (from The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants). 



Whether or not the carvings on Stonehenge represent axe-heads or sacred mushrooms, either way, its likely that the carvings are associated with human sacrifice, and the cult of the severed head. The Celts were known for taking heads as battle trophies, and there are a number of Celtic shrines associated with the cult of the severed head. With so much visual evidence suggesting that hallucinogenic mushrooms were consumed prior to ritual decapitation, it seems reasonable to propose that they were considered essential to the ritual itself, whether in real life or symbolically. Among the Aryans, Soma is portrayed in the Rig Veda as an elixir of health and strength, as well as being praised for as the direct means of communion with the gods. 


The reason for building Stonehenge is still unknown, but Greek and Roman writers frequently made reference to the Druids, who were the philosophers and priests who officiated in religious rites which included human sacrifice. Druid rituals closely resembles the structures of Aryan religion, since it exalted the power of priests who were the divine masters. 

"Although the term Druid is local, their religion was of deep root and a distant origin. It was of equal antiquity with those of the Persian Magi, the Chaldeans of Assyria, and the Brahmins of Hindustan. It resembled them so closely in its sublime precepts, in its consoling promises, as to leave no doubt that these nations, living so widely apart, were all of the same stock - W. Windwood Reade (Veil of Isis)


The Druids were obliged to commit to memory a great number of verses, inasmuch that some employed twenty years in this course of education, and that they did not think it lawful to record their poems in writing, but sacredly handed them down by tradition from race to race. 

"In R. A. S. Macalister's The Archaeology of Ireland (Dublin, 1928), the author suggests that the Irish druids at least were learning sacred hymns dating from before the introduction of writing and, "like the Vedas in ancient India, preserved by oral tradition, because they would have been profaned were they to be committed to this novel art" (Raymond Buckland 2002, p.139).  


The Amanita muscaria mushroom is a species of mushroom that can form what is known as hexenringe or fairy rings. Also called witches rings or elf rings, they are naturally occurring circles that appear on the ground with mushrooms surrounding the perimeter. According to Nicklas Failla, author of "The Origins of Religion", spores that fall to the ground from a mushroom cap will often form a circular network of mycelium beneath the ground, and over time as mushrooms grow from these mycelium rings, the rings will grow out as the mycelium ages. So the size of the ring indicates the age of the mycelium patch, similar to the rings in a trunk of a tree. It just so happens that one of the largest fairy rings in the world surrounds the megalithic monument of Stonehenge (Roman Vishniac, 1966)(Nicklas Failla, 2015 p.8). 


Fairy rings are the subject of much folklore, and myth in Europe in which fairies and elves (little people) meet and dance around in a circle. The mushrooms around the perimeter were seats where the sprites could rest after their exertions. It was thought that toads would sit on these mushrooms and poison them creating a toadstool. While these mysterious rings are often seen as hazardous or dangerous places, they can sometimes be linked with good fortune. 


Quoting Stephan  F. 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)    


Germanic folklore also connects mushrooms with little people, or elves, specifically with the elf king, who is commonly portrayed sitting under a toadstool. According to the legend "whoever carries a toadstool about him grows small and light as an elf" (Kevin Feeney 2013 p.307)(citing Grimm 1966:1412).

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


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, beyond the river of fire. The Slovaks call this mushroom Slanevnye Hubi which means "crazy mushrooms".

Above are three paintings of the Russian witch Baba Yaga, surrounded by Amanita muscaria mushrooms, as depicted by Ivan Bilibin 1900. 

Baba Yaga flies around in her iron cauldron, looking to steal young children, cook them in her oven (or cauldron), and then eat them. The Hansel and Gretel story is related to the tales of Baba Yaga.  (The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism 2002 p. 504). 

Baba Yaga is mostly portrayed as a terrifying old witch, but she can also play the role of a helper and wise woman. She is said to use the Amanita muscaria mushroom or toadstool for her evil potions and as medicine (Katya Arnold  1997 p.30). She is all-knowing, all seeing and all-revealing to those who would dare to ask (mushroom wisdom?). She is said to be a guardian spirit of the fountain of the Waters of Life and of Death. 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.  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).

Quoting Wasson: 

"Only in recent decades have scholars made serious inquiries into the peculiar witchcraft phenomena of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, and the panic that they provoked in the Churches, Catholic and in later stages Protestant. There was no witch-hunting in Eastern Orthodoxy" (Wasson 1980 p.108)



In Siberia and in Mesoamerica, the sacred mushrooms evokes an imaginary world of little people more or less the size of mushrooms (Wasson 1980 p.52).
Above is a figurine from Nayarit, Western Mexico, dated 100 C.E-, depicting an individual sitting under a gigantic Amanita muscaria mushroom. The figurine, which is 7.5 cm tall, is now in the INAH Regional Museum in Guadalajara, Mexico. One of the effects of the Amanita muscaria mushroom experience is to see objects as gigantic in size. According to Gordon Wasson, among the various tribes in Siberia where the inebriating mushroom Soma has survived, words used for, or to describe the Amanita muscaria mushroom personify it as "little men." 

           Photograph © Justin Kerr:

Maya figurine K2853 Late Classic Period (A.D. 600-900) from the Justin Kerr Data Base. The Maya figurine on the left, represents a  bearded gnome or dwarf, wearing a hat that I propose is an upside down or inverted Amanita muscaria mushroom (Princeton Art Museum). In Mesoamerican mythology the dwarf guides the dead in their descent into the underworld. On the right is a photograph of an Amanita muscaria mushroom. (photograph copyrighted and owned by the artist, Esther van de Belt ).



The connection with dwarfs and mushrooms come from Celtic and Germanic mythology that dwarfs create the Mead of Inspiration or Dwarf's Mead, and that the miraculous and sudden appearance of dwarfs parallels the miraculous and sudden appearance of mushrooms.

In Celtic (Norse) mythology those who drink this Dwarfs Mead, or Mead of Poetry, become skald (scholar), so wise that there is no question that can't be answered. The legend says that a man named Kvasir who was an extremely wise man, traveled the world spreading knowledge, and one day, visited the Dwarves Fjalar, and Galar. It was because of Kvasir's wisdom that the Dwarves killed him, and than poured his blood into two cauldrons, and mixed it with honey, thus creating the Dwarfs Mead, or Mead of Poetry, which made anyone who drank it, a "poet or scholar" ("skáld eða frœðamaðr").  



             Nicole Buckler, 2018 author of The Mysterious And Lost Magic Mushroom Rituals Of The Ancient Celts:


"It has long been theorized that magic mushrooms were used in religious ceremonies by druids and other shaman since the dawn of humans in Ireland. Throughout Irish history, liberty caps were taken by normal people, the psychedelic trip is milder than that of the fly-agaric, which was left to highly-trained druids and other masters of the mushroom. (The fly-agaric was deemed too powerful for anyone who had not undertaken training at the higher levels of the mind. druids could take the mushrooms and report back to the laypeople what wisdom s the universe had transmitted to them while “away with the faeries.”


"In Ireland, our ancestors were extremely advanced. They constructed many monuments which showed a fantastic understanding of the seasons and celestial bodies, and they still stand today. These were centuries ahead of many other civilizations. Newgrange and the monuments of Knowth are among the oldest structures in the world, and are remarkable for their sophistication. The burial passage tombs at Knowth even look mushroom-shaped. Did this knowledge come from the mind-expanding use of mushrooms? 


"Here, in Ireland, many people have seen the “bad” faeries, like shapeshifters. Irish people have always been suspicious of lone Hawthorne trees, saying that bad faeries have infested it and you should stay well away from them. One has to wonder whether magic mushrooms that were found underneath them led to bad experiences."  

"References to faeries, leprechauns, gnomes and an array of other creatures have been etched into most of our Irish minds from childhood. These images come from as far back as the Fomorians – the natives who were thought to inhabit Ireland before the Celts arrived. They spoke of one-legged one-eyed gods. The mushroom symbolism in the old myths seems undeniable. Have mushrooms been used since the dawn of Ireland, and we have only stopped using them in the last century? It seems so.  What we do know is that orally-transmitted druid lore is lost beyond recall."


Who were the builders of Stonehenge, and how were they able to transport the giant boulders, over such a great distance?  If we look to Celtic mythology for clues, we are told that Ireland was first peopled by the Formorians, a supernatural race of giants, monstrous beings who come from the sea or underground and exacted from their worshipers a toll of two thirds of the children born each year.(Nigel Davies 1981 p.46).  


Were Amanita muscaria mushrooms consumed to induce superhuman strength ? The Amanita muscaria mushroom contains the powerful hallucinogen muscimol, which is known to cause the feelings of increased strength and stamina. The connection between Amanita muscaria mushrooms and feats of strength was first proposed by Samuel Odman in 1784. He proposed that Amanita muscaria was the intoxicant of the Viking Berserkers (Kevin Feeney 2013, ch. 6, p.298). 

 Wasson writes that certain mushrooms were used in Northwest New Guinea for its intoxicating effect, being eaten by the warriors before going off on the warpath (Letter from Wasson to Borhegyi April 20, 1953). 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. The Viking Berserkers, who worshiped their warrior god Odin (Woden of the Anglo-Saxons), believed death was merely a passage from this life to another, and were expected to welcome death in the service of  Oden.  

Odin's hold over his followers was not merely from his prowess as a warrior, and his ability to journey to the other-world and back again, but also from his ability to take various forms, including that of a wild beast, an eagle and a serpent. Odin received these divine powers while hanging from the World Tree at the center of the universe. According to myth, Odin was said to have lost an eye in return for a drink from the "spring of knowledge", that was beneath the World Tree.

Stonehenge has long been believed to have been built by the Druids, but archaeological evidence suggests that Stonehenge's earliest construction predates the Druids by hundreds of years. Mentioned earlier, the first Celtic settlements appeared in the British Isles in the Early Bronze Age, around 1180 B.C. 


The name Druid (the ancient priesthood of Wisdom) is of unknown origin, but some suggest it comes from the Gaelic Druidh, meaning "wise man", or "magician", or "sorcerer". The Druids who were the high-ranking members of the priesthood in Celtic culture, constructed their temples in a circular or oval shape, and performed rituals of human sacrifice to their Celtic gods. Pliny the Elder believed the name Druid referred to the Greek drus, meaning "oak" because druidism was a tree cult, and the predominant tree in Europe being the oak. The worship of a World Tree, or  Tree of Life is the common theme among all the great families of Aryan stock (Raymond Buckland 2002, p.139, 477). 


Greek scholars of Alexandra likened the Celtic Druids, to the Zoroastrian Magi, and Vedic-Hindu Brahmans. A "triune world" in which the world is divided into three spheres formed the universe of  Druid belief. The three worlds were connected by a Tree of Life, this was their axis mundi, a divine portal upon which the Druids were able to rise into the upper world of God, or descend into the lower world of their ancestors. The Druids during their altered state always rested their back against a big tree (a substitute for the Tree of Life) according to Sándor Timaru-Kast, (2012) author of  CELTS AND MAGYARS I. EUROPE'S IRON AGE PEOPLE: About the origin of the Celts, their arrival in Europe and their settling in the Carpathian Basin. In Celtic mythology the two most persistent themes, is the Tree of Life, and the belief in a life after death.   


In Hungarian mythology, the world is also 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, or Tree of Life (Világfa/Életfa). Its branches being the Upper World, and the Turul bird dwells on top of it. The Middle World is located at its trunk and the underworld located at its roots, another belief shared by all Mesoamericans of the New World.

Above is a Hungarian painting that depicts a mythological scene at the Tree of Life. Note the Amanita muscaria mushrooms, encoded in this painting, beneath the Tree of Life.


One of the theories about the ancient Hungarian religion is that it was a form of Tengrism, a shamanic religion in Central Asia 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. Medieval Hungarian Chronicles have claimed that the Hungarians (Magyars) and the Szekely ethnic group in particular, are descended from the Huns" (Wikipeda: Huns).

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 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. The worship of Tengri under the name "T'angri Khan" is attested among the Caucasian Huns in the Armenian chronicle attributed to Movses Dasxuranci during the later seventh-century (Wikipeda: Huns).


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

"Mithraism [Magi priests] 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)


According to Carl A.P. Ruck (Mushroom Sacraments in the Cults of Early Europe 2016), " The Soma sacrament as the Persian haoma was proselytized to the west by the Zoroastrian priests of Mithras and became a major cohesive indoctrination for the Emperors, army, and bureaucrats who administered the Roman Empire. It surived the Conversion to Christianity in the knighthoods of late antiquity and the medieval world, and was assimilated to the Eucharist of certain of the ecclesiastical". 

Shrouded in secrecy the Biblical Magi were Zoroastrian mystics and astrologers, known to have extraordinary religious knowledge, and were experts at interpreting dreams. The Magi became the supreme priestly caste of the Persian empire under Darius the Great. The word magic comes from the word Magi, or magos (Greek) meaning magician, or fortune-teller. 

If Wasson's identification, of Soma, if correct, than there should be evidence for the Amanita muscaria mushroom's religious role in other regions where the migrating Indo-European people settled. The Soma of the Vedas was a plant that grew on mountains and was picked and dried. The ancient Indo-Europeans called the Amanita Muscaria mushroom “Maga” (The Great Gift) and so great was this Gift that its fame and name echoes down the ages as the root of our modern word Magic. The “Magus” or “Magi” (Great Gift bearers) The great Gift bears hundreds of different ancient names; the Greeks called it “Ambrosia” (Not Mortal) the “Nectar” (Death-overcomer) of the Gods."  (source, Amanita Muscaria: Herb of Immortality Revised 2007 Copyright © 2005 By Donald E. Teeter)


According to Donald Teeter 2005, author of Amanita Muscaria: Herb of Immortality, research in several dictionaries showed that all the names mentioned, Soma, Haoma, Ambrosia, Nectar and Dionysus are all Indo-European words, meaning that they all belonged to a specific language family called Indo-European. The term Indo-European describes a very large language family, which includes English, French, Latin, Greek, Gaelic, Iranian, Hindi, and Sanskrit to name but a few. Historically this language family was found from India to Ireland hence Indo-European. All of the Indo-European languages are descended from a common ancient ancestral language now extinct called Proto-Indo-European. Since all Indo-European languages share a common ancestor and in many ways are still very similar to each other, it is the common belief of language experts that about 7000 years ago all the Indo-European speakers in the world lived in a relatively small geographic area that is believed to be north or northeast of the Black Sea" (Donald Teeter 2005 Amanita Muscaria: Herb of Immortality).


The idea of the Mother Goddess, or Great Fertility Goddess, has dominated the imaginations of modern scholars for decades. Scholars are now becoming more aware of the stylistic technique in which divine mushrooms have been encoded "Hidden in Plain Sight" in the headdresses of female fertility figurines in both the Old World and New World. While one can argue that the simultaneous appearance of encoded mushroom imagery in the earliest cultures of both the Old World and that of the New World, could be the result of parallel outgrowths of the same Paleolithic shamanistic mushroom religion proposed by Wasson. 


Like the Soma and Haoma deities of the ancient Iranian and Indo-Aryan people, the Early Bronze and Iron Age tribes of the Carpathian basin also worshiped an Amanita muscaria mushroom Mother Goddess. 

Mushroom-headed Mother Earth Goddess from the Eastern Carpathian basin, Moldavia. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Celts, Illyrian, and Thracian tribes, of the Carpathian basin and Balkans, included the cult of the mother-goddess in their religious rites.


In western Romania, (Transylvania), archaeologists have discovered evidence (female terracotta figurines) among the Vinca civilization, of the worship of a Mother Earth Goddess, that had power over the natural world. Vinca culture is the oldest Neolithic culture in South-eastern Europe, dated to the period of 5,500–4,500 BCE. Many of the artifacts found in excavations of Vinca culture are decorated with inscriptions of a highly evolved system of writing, that no earlier, simpler forms, out of which it might have grown are known anywhere. These mysterious inscriptions represent the first known examples of a European 'proto'-script, that suggests that the Vinca were the originators of script, and not the Sumerians. 


In the 5th century BCE., the Carpathian Mountains (Transylvania) were located in a land known as Dacia. This was a land that was populated by Celtic, Illyrian, and Thracian tribes, who had arrived earlier during the Bronze Age as nomadic Indo-Europeans from the steppe. They were known to the Greeks and Romans as the Dacians, a name derived from the ancient Greek word daos, meaning wolf, the animal most worshiped by the Dacian tribes. The Illyrians like the Celts and Thracians, were also regarded by the Greek and Romans as bloodthirsty barbarians, who practiced human sacrifice as well as child sacrifice. Dacia was a land that also attracted the Aryan tribes, and among them were the Scythians, who migrated from the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov region (Ion Grumeza 2009 p.2).  

The Dacians are first mentioned in the writings of Herodotus, who lived in the 5th century B.C.E. and is regarded as the "Father of History" (Histories Book IV XCIII: "[Getae] the noblest as well as the most just of all the Thracian tribes").  The kingdom of Dacia or Thrace as it was mistakenly known, was populated by a confederacy of Thracian, Ionian, and Dorian tribes that existed until the Roman conquest in A.D. 106. This area corresponds to the present-day countries of Hungary, Romania, and Moldova as well as parts of Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The world map made by Herodotus showed most of the Balkan Peninsula occupied by the Thracians (Ion Grumeza 2009 p.4).  

The Roman historian Tacitus writes in his Annals that the ancient Greeks and Romans regarded the Thracians as being wild savages, and bloodthirsty barbarians. When Greek and Roman historians described the mountain region of Dacia/Thracia, they were writing about the Carpathian Mountains, and Transylvania. The famous historian Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, refers to this race of people in the Danube region as Scythian. The name Scythian was also used by the Greek historian Herodotus who lived in the 5th century B.C.E., writes that the  war-like Scythians as far back as the 5th century B.C.E. had ruled over most of Central Asia and the northern subcontinent of India.  

Like the Soma and Haoma deities of the ancient Indo-Aryans and Iranian people, the Ciconians an Early Iron Age tribe, on the south coast of Thrace (in modern day Greece) also worshiped an Amanita muscaria mushroom god named Sabazius. There are a large number of natural rock formations in Thrace that have been identified as sacred sites marked  by "mushroom stones" that show signs of human modifications, to resemble mushrooms, are believed to be linked to a mushroom cult of the ancient Thracian manifestation of Dionysus as Sabazios (Carl A. P. Ruck 2013 p.407).  Sabazius was a Mystery God of the Thracians (Phrygians) who mythically was another version of Dionysus. According to Stavros D. Kiotsekoglou, the deity Sabazius was adopted by the Greeks around 1450-1200 BCE., and incorporated into the deity known as Dionysus (source: 2015, Stavros D. Kiotsekoglou: Thracian Megalithic Sanctuaries from the Prefecture of Evros  Greece). Its been proposed by historians that the followers of Dionysus consumed fly agaric, or Amanita muscaria mushrooms during the Dionysian festivals and mysteries, for it "bestows enormous physical power, erotic potency, delusional visions, and the gift of prophecy" (from The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants). 

             
            According to Carl A. P. Ruck 

"Ancient Thrace was seen as the origin of the cult of Dionysus. Thrace was known for its wine whose potency was of epic proportions. In the Odyssey, it required dilution with twenty parts water to tame its intoxication. In the Roman period, it still was so potent that the consul appointed to the region reported that it required eight parts of water for dilution to render it safe to drink." (Ruck 2015 The Mushroom Stones. Dionysus, Orpheus, and the Wolves of War).


According to Carl Ruck, the Thracians were noted as being redheaded, and blue-eyed, and that the cult of Sabazius came to Thrace (in modern day Greece) with the Indo-European migration in the first millennium BCE, where their god Sabazius, a nomadic horseman god, assimilated into Greek culture as a version of both Zeus, and Dionysus. It should be noted that the cult of Sabazius (equated with the Jewish Yahweh Sabaoth) was apparently monotheistic and involved Chaldean astrology (Carl A. P. Ruck 2013,  P. 367).  In the Greek Eleusinian mysteries, dedicated to the god Dionysus, there included a communion rite involving a ritual drink which the initiates drank to gain salvation or immortality by death and rebirth. 
 

The Invocation of Dionysus:

"I call upon loud-roaring and revelling Dionysus, primeval, double-natured, thrice-born, Bacchic lord,wild, ineffable, secretive, two-horned and two-shaped. Ivy-covered, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure, You take raw flesh, you have feasts, wrapt in foliage, decked with grape clusters. Resourceful Eubouleus, immortal god sired by Zeus. When he mated with Persephone in unspeakable union. Hearken to my voice, O blessed one, and with your fair-girdled nymphs breathe on me in a spirit of perfect agape". 

"In intoxication, physical or spiritual, the initiate recovers an intensity of feeling which prudence had destroyed; he finds the world full of delight and beauty, and his imagination is suddenly liberated from the prison of everyday preoccupations. The Bacchic ritual produced what was called 'enthusiasm', which means etymologically having the god enter the worshipper, who believed :that he became one with the god" (Wikipeda) 
(Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy).


The Dacians, who were a northern branch of the Thracians, at the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan, were known to arouse the werewolf fury of their warriors by the ingestion of mushrooms (Carl A. P. Ruck 2013, p.368). 


According to Carl A. P. Ruck:

"The Dacian/Thracian (Scythian, Persian) warriors partake of the same tradition of the mushroom-induced battle fury documented for the Nordic berserkers, indicating a cult widespread throughout Europe. These warriors metamorphosed into wolves or bears on the battlefield, a tradition associated with the Thracians in antiquity."(source Carl P. Ruck,  2015 The Mushroom Stones. Dionysus, Orpheus,and the Wolves of War).



Before the Battle of Tapae, the Dacian tribe known as the Buri, (the werewolf warriors that Trajan fought among the Dacians) sent the Roman Emperor Trajan a very large mushroom inscribed with a message in Latin, to withdraw from Dacia (literary source Dio lxviii 8.1)  If the Amanita muscaria mushroom was consumed before battle it may have given the Dacian wolf warriors a sense of invincibility and courage to fight at the wildest levels. 

According to Carl A. P. Ruck, Professor of Classics at Boston University, "this fungal persona represents the same intoxicant that was known to the Persians as haoma and represents the spread of an Indo-European sacrament into the Classical world, with its association of lycanthropy (werewolfs and wolf warriors) and the bonding of warriors into brotherhoods as packs of wolves. "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", the elite Persian military forces, the "haoma wolves" whose battle fury, like that of the Viking Berserkers was induced by the ingestion of Amanita muscaria mushrooms (Carl A. P. Ruck 2013 p.368). 
 


Quoting Carl A. P. Ruck: 

"The specific mushroom, which figures prominently in folklore is the red Amanita muscaria, which alone of the psychoactive fungi is noted for its ability to impart intensified physical strength (Wasson, 2001; Keewaydinoquay, 1984, tale 6; Ruck et al., 2007, pp.287-294). This is a strong indication that this species is the mushroom involved in these rituals of lycanthropy. It is the only mushroom depicted in the fairytale tradition of European lycanthropy. Additionally, its red color (which links it with Claviceps purpurea and the red fox) identifies this as the species involved. It also fits the expectable paradigm as being visionary and psychoactive, but easily confused with its edible variety as the Amanita caesaria and its deadly relative the Amanita phalloides and related species. Contrary to common belief, which is a reflection of the taboo placed upon a sacred item, few mushrooms are actually lethal. Another of these Amanita mushrooms is also psychoactive and bears the name of regalis (‘royal’), and both regalis and caesaria (‘caesar’) is a nomenclature that reflects not the fondness of monarchs for these mushrooms, but the royal status of a sacred plant" (Carl A.P. Ruck, The Wolves of War: Evidence of an Ancient Cult of Warrior Lycanthropy)  



The famous mushroom message to Trajan, became part of a frieze on Trajan's column, (source  Austin, N. J. E; Rankov, . N. B. 1998 p.65, Exploratio: Military and Political Intelligence in the Roman World from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople. Routledge). 

So what was this sacred object ? And why is it so closely associated with fire, and animal or bull sacrifice ? The close up image above on the left is from a scene on Trajan's column, titled "Trajan Sacrifices". The scene (Scene 99) portrays the Emperor Trajan holding an object in his right hand, that to the author resembles the underside of a large Amanita muscaria mushroom cap, on the famous frieze on Trajan's column. Trajan's Column is located in Trajan's Forum, in Rome Italy, and commemorates the Romans victory in the Dacians Wars. 


 Quoting Carl A. P. Ruck:

"The Dacians are explicitly documented with a sacred mushroom in the time of Trajan (Dio Cassius, Roman History, epitome of book 68.8.1), and the berserker rite of the mushroom was probably widespread throughout Europe in Classical times. The specific mushroom, which figures prominently in folklore is the red Amanita muscaria, which alone of the psychoactive fungi is noted for its ability to impart intensified physical strength (Wasson, 2001; Keewaydinoquay, 1984, tale 6; Ruck et al., 2007, pp.287-294).


The Greek historian Herodotos (484-425 BCE), recorded a story he heard about the Neuri tribe who are said to have lived beyond Scythia (roughly northern Ukraine, southern Belarus today): "It may be that these people are wizards; for the Scythians, and the Greeks settled in Scythia, say that once a year every one of the Neuri becomes a wolf for a few days and changes back again to his former shape" (Ralph Haussler: 2016 Wolf & Mythologie ).

Herodotus mentions that the Neuri observed Scythian customs, so its tempting to think that the werewolf myth may infer that the Neuri who dressed in the guise of wolves, were eaters of men, or cannibals. Although Herodotos never mentions that the Neuri were cannibals, he does mention that there was another tribe called Androphagi, that were cannibals also living north of Scythia, probably in the forests between the upper waters of the Dnepr and Don. Wikipedia  

Serbian legends claim that Dabog sun god, the god of air, light, heat and life, had a son with Mora the goddess of water, cold, dark and death, when he was in the underworld. Their son was called Van, and he could turn into a white wolf. 

The Roman historian Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, (NH 8.34): writes, "Agriopas (...) informs us that Demænetus, the Parrhasian, during a sacrifice of human victims, which the Arcadians were offering up to the Lycaean Jupiter, tasted the entrails of a boy who had been slaughtered; upon which he was turned into a wolf  (Ralph Haussler: 2016 Wolf & Mythologie ). 

The Turk people also see the wolf 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 Wolf-shamans 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.” 


Much of the mushroom imagery I discovered in the New World is associated with an artistic concept I refer to as jaguar transformation. I believe that hallucinogenic mushrooms were used to open communication directly with the spirit world, often through a form of animal 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. 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. This esoteric association of mushrooms and jaguar transformation was first noted by ethnoarchaeologist 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). 

The connection between Amanita muscaria mushrooms and feats of strength was first proposed by a priest named Samuel Odman in 1784, who proposed that Amanita muscaria was the intoxicant of the Viking Berserkers (Kevin Feeney 2013, ch. 6, p.298) The Berserkers were an elite group of Viking warriors who dressed in wolf-skins and were famous for their so-called Berserker rage in battle. The earliest writings of  what might be parallel to the Viking Berserkers are found in Roman sources from the 1st century AD. Some scholars believe that this ecstatic battle frenzy made the Berserkers impervious to pain, and neither fire nor iron affected them (L.M. Hollander 2002, p.10). The Berserkers were said to be so intoxicated by battle rage that they attacked trees and boulders and even killed each other waiting for a battle to begin. 

The historian Tacitus in his book Germania, describes similar elite battle crazed warriors among the Germanic tribes in northern Europe. In 553 AD the Byzantine historian Procopios wrote of "the wild and lawless Heruli" or Heruls, from the north who appeared with their god Odin, in the same way as the Berserkers and that the origin of the Berserkers might be found among the Heruli. The Heruli were an East Germanic tribe known as the "wolves of the north" who lived north of the Black Sea, in the third century AD, and later followed the Huns and settled in the kingdom of Moravia at the same time as many other "Scythian" groups. The Gothic historian Jordanes 551 AD, placed their etymology in the region of the Black Sea, where they were first mentioned by Greek and Roman historians in 267 AD (The Heruls in Scandinavia: by Troels Brandt). According to H.B. Dewing's translation of Procopius' "History of the Wars", the Heruli were a tribe known to have practiced human sacrifice.


           The Icelandic historian and poet Snorri Sturluson (1179–1241) wrote the following description of berserkers in his Ynglinga saga:


"His (Odin's) men rushed forwards without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild oxen, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon them. This was called Berserkergang (Wikipeda).



"This theory was later supported by F.C. Schuber, a Norwegian physician and botanist, who noted that the symptoms Berserker rage are consistent throughout different accounts (Fabing 1956). Most importantly in 1930, Rolf Nordhagen uncovered an 1814 report from the Vinland regiment (Swedish Army) where an officer had taken note of troops that were raving and foaming at the mouth. Upon inquiry the officer was informed that the soldiers had taken Amanita muscaria in order to prepare for battle". "The symptoms of the Berserker rage appear to be compatible with ethnographic accounts of the mushroom's use in Siberia, including a report that the mushrooms are eaten among the Koryak when one is "resolved toward murder" (Kevin Feeney 2013, ch. 6, p.298)  (A. Morgan 1995 p.103). 

Regarding the Soma mushroom of the Rig Veda, and self-induced hysteria, or battle rage, it's important to note that Soma  is most commonly associated with the Aryan god of war Indra, who consumes the Soma elixir before battle. Similarly, the Berserkers were associated with the cult of Odin, and described as Odin's special warriors. The 11th century German chronicler Adam Brenmen defines the god Odin, as "frenzy" (Wodan, id est furor) and says that he "rules war and gives people strength against the enemy", and in times of war, sacrifices were made to images of Odin. 

According to Feeney "parallels to the Berserker tradition can be also found among Celtic myths detailing the deeds of the hero Cu Chulaind, who was known for his ferociousness in battle, and parallels have been drawn between descriptions of his battle-fury and symptoms caused by Amanita muscaria mushrooms"(Kevin Feeney 2013, ch. 6, p.299) (T.J. Riedlinger 1999).


Above are three scenes from Trajan's Column that depict the severed heads of Dacian warriors. In two of the scenes Roman solders hold up the Dacian trophy heads to attract the attention of the Emperor Trajan. 


The great Dacian king named Decebalus, knowing that his rule of Dacia had come to a sudden end (106 AD ) committed suicide by slashing his own throat before  Roman solders could capture him. We are told that the King Becebalus's severed head was taken to Trajan and eventually sent to Rome where it was apparently thrown on the Gemonian stairs. 

The historical evidence surrounding the death of the Roman Emperor Claudius is controversial and open to alternative explanations. The Roman historian, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus commonly known as Suetonius, who wrote during the early Imperial era of the Roman Empire wrote that the Greeks called mushrooms "food of the gods".   

According to Suetonius:

"It is commonly agreed that Claudius was killed by poison. There is, however, disagreement as to where and by whom it was administered. Some record that, when he was at a feast with priests on the citadel, it was given to him by his taster, the eunuch Halotus, others that it was given him at a family dinner by Agrippina herself, offering him the drug in a dish of mushrooms, a kind of food to which he was very partial...His death was concealed until all arrangements were in place with regard to his successor. Agrippina's involvement in Claudius' death is not accepted by all modern scholars (Wikipeda).

The historian Tacitus records that Roman Emperor Claudius, who at the time was dining with his priests in the Capital castle, was given a poison mushroom followed up by a thick gruel, and that he later died in the early hours on 13 October 54 AD.  The emperor's death was kept secret until all things were set in order for his successor.  (Claudius the God: By Robert Graves, 1934)

According to Suetonius, Nero had his former freedman Anicetus arrange a shipwreck; Agrippina survived the wreck, swam ashore and was executed by Anicetus, who reported her death as a suicide.  Nero was the first Roman Emperor to commit suicide on June 9, 68 AD   Nero's final words were "Too late! This is fidelity!"He died on 9 June 68, the anniversary of the death of Octavia (Wikipeda).

In his Memoirs, Voltaire wrote that the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary, Croatia, and Serbia, is also believed to have died from eating poisonous mushrooms on 20th of October 1740.

The Celts played a very active role in Dacia. According to Roman reports the Celts were also known for their obsession with trophy heads, using the skulls as drinking containers, believing that they would benefit from the powers of any decapitated head they could get their hands on, that the essence of a man was in his head. The Scythians were also known to drink the blood of their victim's from human skulls in order to imbibe some of their victims wisdom and strength.  

A number of Celtic shrines in the Rhône delta, like the Monster of Noves, third century B.C.E. are associated with the cult of the severed head. Even after the Celts converted to Christianity, their descendants retained the grisly custom of headhunting. Headhunting is said to have persisted in the Scottish marshes among people of  Celtec decent until the middle ages (Brian Branston, 1955 p.149), and twelfth-century sources states that the Irish Celts, used to offer firstborn children to their great stone idol, Mag Slocht (Nigel Davies 1981 p.46). 

The Romans also provide information on the customs of Celts and Druids in Britain. The Druid rituals of human sacrifice were later suppressed by the Emperor Claudius. The historian Tacittus wrote this about the Druids: "They deemed it indeed as a duty to cover their altars with the blood of captives, and to consult the gods through human entrails" (Nigel Davies 1981 p.46).  This same practice of consulting the gods through human entrails was practiced in Peru (Stephen C. Jett 1971 p.48)

There are many theories as to why Druid rituals went underground in the British Isles and in Gaul. Due to relentless persecution, Druid ceremonies and rituals ceased to be acted, recited and practiced. The Romans spread propaganda about their demonic rituals and slaughtered large numbers of Druids. Christianity took over and the remaining Druids lost their rank and power, which would have caused a mushroom cult to die out or go underground (The Mysterious And Lost Magic Mushroom Rituals Of The Ancient Celts: 2018).


While the Druids are reported to have been literate, they are believed to have been prevented by doctrine from recording their knowledge in written form, thus they left no written accounts of themselves. Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses learned by heart, and Emperor Julius Caesar remarked that it could take up to twenty years to complete the course of study. (Wikipeda). Like the priesthood of the Vedic-Hindu Brahmans (Soma sacrifice), and the priesthood of the Zoroastrian Magi (haoma sacrifice) the Druids priests sat at the top of the Celtic social pyramid, and according to Julius Caesar, "they act as judges in practically all disputes, whether between tribes or between individuals". 



According to Peter Lamborn Wilson, author of  Irish Soma

"Irish myths and legends were not written down till the Christian era, and then only by monks who might well have misunderstood or even censored any references to a soma-type substance or cult. By that time, any entheogenic knowledge or ritual once possessed by druids might well have already vanished (or retreated into folklore), and the memory of soma distorted beyond recognition. Any mushroom lore that survived till the ninth to twelfth centuries A.D. would be the province of illiterate peasant wise-women and wizards – not of literate monks. For this reason we can expect that the myths and legends of the monkish manuscripts will be hard to read from our special perspective. But Irish folklore, as distinct from myths and legends, may prove a much clearer source. For reasons known to folklorists, Ireland is a special case of the survival of Indo-European lore, comparable perhaps only to India. In fact, Indian material should be used to throw light on Irish material where areas of darkness exist. From this point of view I think we can take for granted that whatever we may find in Ireland that looks like soma, and smells like soma, so to speak, might very well be soma, although we may never be able to prove the identity. But the well-known affinity between Celtic and Vedic cultures should pre-dispose us to at least a certain open-mindedness.


The Greek scholar Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor (1st century BC) referred to the Druids as philosophers and called their doctrine of the immortality of the soul and reincarnation, "Pythagorean". "The Pythagorean doctrine prevails among the Gauls' teaching that the souls of men are immortal, and that after a fixed number of years they will enter into another body" (Wikipeda)  druids were believed to be not only religious leaders, healers and teachers, but also magicians and shape-shifters. The Roman historian Ammianus (330-395 BCE) said that Druids were "uplifted by searching into things most secret and sublime." They were later banned by Emperor Tiberius and Claudius, mainly because of their practice of human sacrifices. 

In Celtic folklore, the cauldron had an almost religious significance, believed to be magic, and the cosmic womb of the Great Mother Goddess. Giant magic cauldrons were supposedly owned by several Welsh and Irish deities, and their theft by semi-divine heroes is a popular theme in the early Celtic mythology. In Finnish folklore the cauldron was a source of magic, and gave the recipient great strength, knowledge and inspiration (Raymond Buckland 2002, p.79). 

Hunnic cauldrons (below) have long claimed the attention of archaeologists because of their mushroom shaped handles, which until 1896, (Reinecke 1986) were classified as Scythian cauldrons. The use of hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushrooms in Siberia, Mongolia, and the adjoining steppe regions is well documented. 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).  Similar cauldrons with mushroom shaped handles have also been found in Xinjiang (China) that are associated with the Saka culture of the Xiongnu in southern Siberia.

The French historian Jose de Guignes 1757, in his book "A General History of the Huns, Mongols, Turks, & other Western Tatars," was the first to propose that the Huns and the Xiongnu were one and the same people. He noted that ancient Chinese scholars referred to members of the Xiongnu tribes as Hun, and that the name Xiongnu may be cognate with that of the Huns or the Huna (Grousset, Rene 1970, The Empire of the Steppes pp. 19, 26-27)

(Photograph of Hunnic cauldron by Hungarian photographer Gyorgy Klosz photo in Public domain)

As mentioned earlier, the ancient Huns and Magyars (Hungarians) were influenced by Zoroastrianism from the Persians whom the Hungarians had encountered during their westward migration. 

 According to Allen Piper:

"Zoroastrian scriptures called the Avestas, record that haoma was made with the fat of the sacrificial bull and that the haoma ceremony was intimately connected with the sacrifice of a bull" (Allen Piper 2013 p.232 in the book, Entheogens and the Development of Culture). 

"The use of psychoactive bulls flesh has been recorded among the Celts who are ultimately of Indo-European origin, and whose religious leaders, the Druids, have been repeatedly linked to the Brahmins, the priestly cast of the Vedas. Given that the Celts are an Indo-European people, it is not surprising that the Druids have been persistently linked with the Brahmins and Magi, by both ancient and by modern Indo-European scholars. Both Pliny and Hippolytus class the  Druids and Magi together  (Allen Piper 2013 p.245 in the book, Entheogens and the Development of Culture).


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 immortality on all men is prepared from the fat of the animal mixed with haoma" (Larousse World Mythology, 1965 edition, p. 199). While its unlikely that the flesh of one bull could intoxicate an entire army, Wasson surmised that the third filter mentioned in the Rig Veda was the body, and that mushroom-infused urine, milk, or meat was the purest form of Soma. 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 BCE., 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). 


"One of  the most interesting examples of trance is in an account of the choosing of a new king at Tara, when a bull was killed and a Druid gorged on its flesh. The Druid fell into a trance while incantations were recited over him, and on recovery he was able to prognosticate the distinguishing circumstances of the rightful claimant's approach to Tara. This rite was known as tarbfeis, "bulls dream"  (Allen Piper 2013 p.245 in the book, Entheogens and the Development of Culture).      



Late 3rd-early 2nd millennium BCE, stamp seal from the Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex located in Central Asia, also known as Oxus Civilization, that thrived 2200 to 1700 BCE. This region played a major role in Central Asian history. The Bactria-Margiana Archaeological complex (B-M-C-A / Oxus civilization) comprises an area that includes present day Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. The seal above has been described as a figure holding snakes, however, the author believes this figure represents a shaman with god eye and horns, and that the so called snakes that surround the shaman are actually encoded mushrooms, to portray the concept of divine ecstasy, attributes that are common of the shaman in ancient art. The Scythians (Saka) are believed to have migrated from southern Siberia into Sogdiana and Bactria and then into the Indian subcontinent where they were known as Indo-Scythians. 


In Siberia Russian archaeologists have established a well defined cultural sequence: Afanasieva (c. 2000 B.C.E.) and Andronovo (1300-700 B.C.E.) B.C.E., or later). Early in the second millennium BCE, the Andronovo culture and other steppe groups developed or adopted horse-riding, which facilitated the rapid expansion of mounted nomadic pastoralism. The descendants of the Andronovo culture who remained in Central Asia were called Scythians by the Greek, and Saka (Sacae) by the Persians. 

"There are obvious parallels in burial rite, art form and symbolism between the Steppe Bronze Age and the Ancient Aryan hymns of the Rig Veda, dated to between 1500 and 1200 BC." (Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology 1980 p. 254)

The earliest sites with iron are associated with the Scytho-Siberian sites in the Altai Mountains (Xinjiang (East Turkestan)) and can be dated around the ninth century BCE. (The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221BC) 

The Altai Mountains of Siberia were inhabited by the Scythians (the Huns in the west were called 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), also 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).


The Altai Mountains in Siberia are also 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". No mention of mushrooms at all. 

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 ?          


One of the more interesting observation regarding the Kalbak Tash petroglyphs, are that all the mushroom-headed figures carry what appears to be a sac or pouch at their side. These images depict the shamans pouch, made of the stomachs or bladders of various animals. The pouch was probably used to collect the urine of those who consumed the fly agaric mushrooms. We are told that reindeer also enjoy the urine of those who has consumed the fly agaric, and that some Siberian tribesmen carry skin-containers of their own collected urine, which the hunter then uses to attract reindeer  (Lee Sayer, Dec. 25, 2014).    


Wasson (1968) writes about one aspect of Siberian mushroom intoxication, that was reported in the earliest sources, 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.  That 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 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 (Lee Sayer, Dec. 25, 2014)


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). 

"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) .

"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 ancient hunters witnessed the reindeer’s love of the Amanita muscaria mushroom, and carried their urine in skins.            



             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)

               

Zoroastrian scriptures called the Avestas, record that haoma was made with the fat of the sacrificial bull and that the haoma ceremony was intimately connected with the sacrifice of a bull (Allen Piper 2013 p.232 in the book, Entheogens and the Development of Culture).  


Mentioned earlier, Zoroaster didn't create a new religion he simply reformed the existing Vedic religion, elevating the Haoma sacrifice ceremony to the highest act of worship. Like Soma, the Haoma drink was the source of divine power and strength, as well as bestowing the secret to divine immortality.


            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).





             Mexican Mycologist Gaston Guzman:

"There is a prehistoric mural in Europe, the first known related to fungi located in the province of Cuenca, NE of Spain, near the Pyrenees. The fungi represented are P. hispanica (Guzman, 2000) known from the Pyrenees, where it grows on manure. The mural shows a scene of the hunting of bulls and deer and a small row of mushrooms. It is assumed that these fungi are related to animal manure" (Guzman,  Vol. 50 . No. 1 . January - June 2016 ).



Above is the Selva Pascuala prehistoric cave painting discovered in 1918, the first known related to mushrooms located in the province of Cuenca, NE of Spain (photo by Alan Piper). Mycologist Giorgio Samorini, reported that Catalonia, Spain, is a region where Psilocybe semilanceata has traditionally been known by the unusual name of "sorgin zorrotz", or "witches' tread". This label according to Samorini strongly suggests early ritualistic usage of Psilocybe semilanceata in that area, and according to Samorini, Catalonia is also known as a region where traditional usage of Amanita muscaria has been confirmed. 



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)


In order to escape the dangers of wild beasts and the exposure of the outdoors, caves became the dwellings for many early nomadic people, and in essence man symbolically considered himself a cave animal. Caves therefor have been the site where archaeologists have found some of the earliest skeletal remains of humans unearthed from beneath the cave floors.


The Altai Mountains in Siberia, were home to three distinct variety of ancient man, Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans. Denisovans are an extinct species of human that descended from hominids who reached Asia earlier than modern humans. Although remains of these early humans have only been discovered at one site in Siberia, DNA analysis has shown they were widespread.

In 2008, paleo-anthropologists digging in a cave known as Denisovan Cave, in southern Siberia unearthed a finger bone that had belonged to a young girl who was between five and seven years old when she died. Scientists also unearthed a tooth of an adult believed to have lived around 40,000 years ago. Knowledge of the Denisovan hominids derives primarily from DNA evidence, and artifacts. The DNA from the finger bone suggested that Denisovans shared a common origin with Neanderthals, and that they ranged from Siberia to Southeast Asia. Surprisingly, the scientists found genetic overlap between the Denisovan genome and that of some present-day east Asians, and, in particular, a group of Pacific Islanders living in Papua New Guinea, known as the Melanesians (National Geographic: Why am I Denisovan)

If this genetic mixing did occur, the fact that Denisovans were discovered in Siberia but contributed to the genomes of modern humans living in Papua New Guinea suggests the species ranged widely across Asia, and beyond. The study found that native people from Papua New Guinea in Melanesia owe between two and four per cent of their DNA to Denisovans. They also carry less Neanderthal DNA than other Asians, suggesting their ancestors split from other Homo sapiens shortly after an early interbreeding event with Neanderthals

According to Wasson there are three cultural areas in the world where men consume mushrooms for psychic effects, Middle America, Siberia, and the third area being Papua New Guinea, in the northeastern part of that island, at the headwaters of the Wahgi River.


             According to Wasson (1957): 


"The practice is reported among the natives living in the Mount Hagen range of mountains, but it may well be more widespread. The Mount Hagen natives are a mixture ethnically of Negritos and Papuans, with some Melanesian blood. Concerning their use of an intoxicating mushroom the available evidence is clear but pitifully meager. In 1947 the American Ethnographical Society published as its Monograph No. 12 a paper by Abraham L. Gitlow entitled 'Economics of the Mount Hagen Tribes'. He devoted one brief paragraph to intoxicants, and said that one of the three in current use was a mushroom called nonda. Then he continued: The wild mushroom incites fits of frenzy and has even been known to result in death. It is taken before going out to kill an enemy, or in times of anger, sorrow, or excitement. That is all. We are vouchsafed no information about the mushroom itself, or its manner of preparation, or the dosage, or the meaning of its native name; nor any hint of the folk associations that must cling to this potent fungal growth. How odd that professional anthropologists should so often ignore in this way the obvious questions about fungi".



As for the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Papua New Guinea there are bibliographical reports of several tribes, using these mushrooms namely the Kuma, Mogei, Papus, and Sina-Sina. Traditions relating to hallucinogenic mushrooms in Papua New Gguinea were noted by Ross (1936), Gitlow (1947), Wasson and Wasson (1957), Singer (1958, 1960), Reay (1960), Heim (1962) et al (1966)  (Guzman and Horak (1978), Trew and Adamson (2006)

Now that prehistoric depictions of mushrooms have been found in Siberia, and taking into consideration the bizarre Altai Mountain Mushroom Stones (rock formations below), Denisovan, Papua New Guinea connection, it's obvious that more studies need to be done if we which to understand the significance of hallucinogenic mushrooms throughout history. Was the Amanita muscaria mushroom the "secret of secrets" the secret source of divine power and strength to move mountains, as well as bestowing divine immortality.

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). 

Above are the bizarre rock formations in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, that ironically are called  the Mushroom stones of Altai.  

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). 

At some point in their history the simple nature cult of their Siberian homeland was expanded into a rich complex shamanistic religious tradition based on the worship of the Tree of Life, and the 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.

Wasson postulated that the mysterious Soma in the Vedic literature, said to be a red fruit leading to spontaneous enlightenment for those who consumed it, was actually a mushroom known as the Amanita muscaria, the so-called Fly Agaric or toadstool mushroom. Wasson’s theory was further strengthened by his linguistic studies of cross cultural names for mushrooms, and most importantly on the linguistic origins of the name “toadstool” given to the most feared mushrooms. Wasson postulates that the very word “toadstool” may have originally meant the “demonic stool”, and may have been a specific name of a European mushroom, that causes hallucinations (R.G. Wasson, Life Magazine, May 13, 1957).


For the first time, we can see visual evidence embroidered on an ancient cloth, discovered by archaeological excavations (2009), for the use of mushrooms for religious purposes, probably, to make the “sacred drink” Soma.


Quoting Wasson:

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


 The answer to the Soma mystery was found in a grave of a noble woman buried in an elite burial ground of the Xiongnu, the famous nomads of Central Asia" (source... “We drank Soma, we became immortal...” : Science First Hand 03.09. 2015)



"Embroidered in woollen thread on the thin cloth is a procession of Zoroastrian warriors marching towards an altar; (Below). A close up view above depicts one of them standing at the altar holding a mushroom in his hands. "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, and made warriors fearless." The hypotheses were plenty: from ephedra, cannabis, and opium poppy to blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea) and fly agaric (Amanita muscaria).  

Researchers have found numerous connections between the Huns, Magyars (Hungarians) and the Uyghurs. The Uyghurs are people who live in the Xinjiang province of China, who are Caucasian in appearance and speak a Turkic language. Hunnic cauldrons with mushroom shaped handles have been found in Xinjiang (China) that are associated with the Saka culture of the Xiongnu in southern Siberia.   

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). 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). 


In Siberia, the Amanita muscaria mushrooms were carried in a sack by the shaman who delivered them to each house. Stories tell how during long winters, the snow piled up past the doors of the yurts (huts), so the red and white clad shaman had to climb down the smoke-hole (chimney) to deliver his gifts. Hmm... who is this sounding like now? Finally the appreciative villagers strung the mushrooms up on pine limbs or put them in stockings hung affront the fire to dry.

Its now believed, the yurt may have 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) 

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).


To this day Siberian shamans still encode the bright red and white colors symbolizing the Fly Agaric or 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).


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. 

            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". 



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). 

The Lukhang murals of ancient Tibet, 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.  The ritual bundle depicted in the scene above next to the shaman on the right, is a common motif in pre-Columbian art, and may also hold the bloodletting instruments used to draw blood as an offering to the gods.

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 speakers in central and southern Mexico) 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 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 GREAT KAAN:


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 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). 


In her book, The Ancient Past of Mexico, 1966, p. 13, Alma M. Reed 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).



We know that Quetzalcoatl was a historical person who was the ruler of the Toltec empire, and that succeeding rulers or High Priests may have also used his name. 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, the people from Tollan, where political dynasties throughout Mesoamerica claimed decent from the rulers of a city called Tollan. 

The word "Khan" actually a title, could very well be one of those loan-word passed on between Old World and New World languages, and should be considered evidence of cultural diffusion and pre-Columbian contact. 

The Altai Mountain region in Central Asia is regarded as the ancient homeland of the Hungarians (Huns and Magyars), Mongolians, 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. As already mentioned 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. The word "Kaan", in Hungarian or Magyar alludes to a great, hidden, all-powerful sky-god associated with snakes lightning and rain (Sabas Whittaker 2003, p.133). The Huns (Hungarians or Magyars) were a confederation of Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic people from the Altai Mountain region the area that 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)   


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."




             Quoting linguist Morris Swadesh (1964:538) 

" 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". 

According to Swadesh:

"It is perfectly possible that a group of people having arrived speaking a new language [in the New World] eventually was absorbed into an already established lingistic community" (Linguistic Relations Across Bering Strait: American Anthropologist 64/6 December 1962).


"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). 


In the language of the ancient Maya, the word kan or Kaan or Chan means both serpent, and sky (heaven) and  refers to a serpent-sky-portal or divine 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".


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


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. There is plenty of evidence in Mesoamerican mythology linking the many avatars of Quetzalcoatl, Jaguar-Bird-Serpent, to the duality of the planet Venus.  In Aztec mythology the cosmos was intimately linked to the planet Venus in its form as the Evening Star, which guides the sun through the Underworld at night, as the skeletal god Xolotl, the twin of Quetzalcoatl.  As the Morning Star, Quetzalcoatl's avatar was the harpy eagle.  Among the Quiche Maya,  Venus in its form as the  Morning Star, was called iqok'ij,  meaning the "sunbringer" or "carrier of the sun or day." (Tedlock, 1993:236). 


Spanish chronicler Fray Toribio de Benavente, affectionately called Motolinia by the Indians, recorded that 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.


Most historians believe that the God-king Kukulkan (Kan) and the Mexican god-king Quetzacoatl, both  meaning "Plumed Serpent" were one and the same man.  He was also known among the Classic period Southern Maya as Waxak-lahun-Ubah-Kan, (Kan) the great "Vision Serpent", and symbol of Maya kingship (Forest of Kings 1990 p.394).  The Vision Serpent goes back to earlier Olmec conceptions, of the "bearded dragon", essentially a portal, at the World Tree, representing the doorway to the spiritual world. In both hemispheres serpents are associated with the Tree of Life and immortality by virtue of renewing themselves, through the shedding of their skin. Spanish records also record the worship of a supreme creator god named Kon-Ticci Viracocha among the Andean cultures of South America. The Itzas of Yucatan who were Mexicanized Chontal Maya called their god-king Kukulkan. Once again the word Kon or Kan is a Maya name for both snake and sky, and probably Lord..


In South America, Quetzalcoatl has an almost identical counterpart from an ancient Inca legend named Kon-Tiki Viracoccha. Spanish explorer, and historian Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa (1532–1592) wrote in his "History of the Incas", that Viracocha, "Creator of all things" was described as "a man of medium height, white and dressed in a white robe, and that he carried a staff and a book in his hands" (from "History of the Incas" by Pedro Sarmiento De Gamboa, translated by Clements Markham, Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society 1907, pp. 28-58). 


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, a non-Maya priest-ruler known as Kukulkan, which in the Mayan language signifies "The Plumed Serpent", appeared in Yucatan at the city of Chichen Itza, in the forepart of the eleventh century, A.D. 1072, where he became a powerful political figure who ruled at Chichen-Itza. Again most historians believe that the God-king Ku-kul-kan and the Toltec priest-ruler Topilzin Quetzacoatl, also  meaning "Plumed Serpent" were one and the same man. It should be noted as well that among the Classic period Maya, the Feathered Serpent or vision serpent was known as Waxak-lahun-Ubah-Kan.




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

.

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




The Feathered Serpent, 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 snake or serpent is closely associated with immortality due to its shedding of its skin on a regular basis. 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. 


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



We know from ancient manuscripts called codices that Quetzalcoatl the supreme god, created mankind from drawing blood from his penis in the underworld. Quetzalcoatl the man is known to have created the calendar, and he delivered mushrooms and corn to his children.  Among the Mixtecs of Oaxaca, Quetzalcoatl was known by his calendrical name "9 Wind."  The Maya of Yucatan called him Kukulcan.


Above is a close up image of Quetzalcoatl 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.


Like the Itzas of Yucatan, the Quiche Maya people of the Guatemala Highlands, also believed that they were led by Lord Plumed Serpent from the great city of Tollan /Tula. This God-king led his people eastward to the “land of writing” (Maya region) to a sacred mountain top citadel called Bearded Place, and it was there that the Quiche people settled down to live (Tedlock: 1985: 205. 213). 


As mentioned earlier 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 noted the significance of the number nine with 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.501-503). 



              Quoting Stephan de Borhegyi, 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, 363).
"  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).


Tlalocan, is described by Fray Sahagun in the sixteenth century (Sahagun, 1946: I, 317-318) as the "earthly paradise of Tlaloc" 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. 


The Mexican god-king Quetzalcoatl is alluded to in Nahua myth as King of the Toltecs, and his Maya counterparts known as Kukulkan (Kan), and Gukumatz (ku) names that both mean "Feathered Serpent". Kukulkan, the Feathered Serpent deity Yucatan, was known as Gukumatz among the Quiche Maya of the Guatemala Highlands, and this spiritual leader is closely associated with the Toltec invasion. All three Feathered Serpent god-kings were reputed to be the inventors of the calendar, and time keeping. 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. 



A Mysterious Toltec Book:

"A piece of Nahua literature, the disappearance of which is surrounded by circumstances of the deepest mystery, is the Teo-Amoxtli (Divine Book), which is alleged by certain chroniclers to have been the work of the ancient Toltecs. Ixtlilxochitl, a native Mexican author, states that it was written by a Tezcucan wise [46]man, one Huematzin, about the end of the seventh century, and that it described the pilgrimage of the Nahua from Asia, their laws, manners, and customs, and their religious tenets, science, and arts. In 1838 the Baron de Waldeck stated in his Voyage Pittoresque that he had it in his possession, and the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg identified it with the Maya Dresden Codex and other native manuscripts. Bustamante also states that the amamatini (chroniclers) of Tezcuco had a copy in their possession at the time of the taking of their city. But these appear to be mere surmises, and if the Teo-Amoxtli ever existed, which on the whole is not unlikely, it has probably never been seen by a European."(THE MYTHS OF MEXICO & PERU, 1995, BLEWIS SPENCE)



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). 

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). 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 and buried with jade funerary offerings, a burial custom also found in China (Alma Reed, 1966, p.17).


             Anthropologist Alice B. Kehoe...


"China and Mesoamerica shared the complication of two simultaneous calendars, of differing lengths, that meshed like cogwheels, arriving at the same day starting point every so many years, 52 for Mesoamerica, 60 for China".   (Alice B. Kehoe, 2008, Controversies In Archaeology, p.162).



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).


The Mexican god-king and culture hero Quetzalcoatl is alluded to in Nahua myth as king of the Toltecs, and his Maya counterpart known as Kukulkan, (Kan) and names that both mean "Feathered Serpent", are believed to be one and the same person. 


According to Molina Solis, a recognized historian of Yucatan, writes, "It is stated authoritatively that with Kukulkan (Lord Plumed Serpent) there 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). And it's worth stating again that many historians believe that the God-king Kukulkan and the Toltec priest-ruler Topiltzin Quetzacoatl, both meaning "Plumed Serpent" were one and the same man. 


Above and below are Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900) Maya drinking vessels dubbed the "Dynastic vase" that describes the accession of the Kaan rulers.  The Codex-style vase above with sixty hieroglyphs, is from the Guatemalan lowlands, now in the Jay I. Kislak collection.  In Michael Coe's, and Mark Van Stone's book Reading The Maya Glyphs: 2001, p.80.,  Coe, and Stone give 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 above on the 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. In Central Asia worship of Tengri under the name "T'angri Khan" is attested among the Caucasian Huns in the Armenian chronicle attributed to Movses Dasxuranci during the later seventh-century (Wikipeda: Huns).


Above are two more "Dynastic Kaan Vases", there are 11 vessels in all that describe the accessions of Kaan rulers (Martin and Grube, 2000 p.102) 


The Mayan glyph for  k'an,  is a representation of a snake or serpent head site, an actual city, thought by many scholars to represent the great Toltec city of Tollan, the legendary city of the Feathered Serpent Ku-kul-kan, aka. Quetzalcoatl. Most historians believe that the God-king Kukulkan and the Toltec priest-ruler Topiltzin Quetzacoatl, both meaning "Plumed Serpent" were one and the same man. Political dynasties legitimized themselves throughout Mesoamerica by claiming decent from the rulers of a city called Tollan, and historical accounts document that outsiders who claimed descent from Tollan were responsible for conquering the Maya people of the Guatemala Highlands. 


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. In a letter from Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza to Fernandez de Oviedo, a historian collecting material for his history of the Indies in 1541, Mendoza denied ever having thought that the Aztecs, in their migration from their mythical homeland of Aztlan, had been led by their patron god Huitzilopochtli into the Valley of Mexico. In fact, Mendoza claims that the Aztecs had been led by a god and wise man called "Quetzalcoatl", and that there was some confusion, and Quetzalcoatl had always been the intended leader (Conquest, by Hugh Thomas 1993 p.185). 


"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)


The Rulers of Palenque recorded their dynasty on four separate king lists..."these four lists taken together allow us to reconstruct the history of Palenque's dynasty" (Forest of Kings, 1990 p.217 & 219)

"The third lineage began with Pacal the Great himself. As the son of a ruler, Lady Zac-Kuk, he had the same legitimate claim to the throne as Lady Kanal-Ikal's child, Ac-Kan. Difficulties arose, however, when Pacal's own children, Chan-Bahlum and Kan-Xul, followed their illustrious father to the throne. these men belonged to the lineage of their father and their paternal grandfather, Kan-Bahlum-Mo"  (Forest of Kings, 1990 p.223)

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.   

The practice of cranial deformation is found among Nilotic peoples of the Nile Valley, and in Bactria and Sogdiana among the Kushan kingdom, who split into northern and southern empires around 330 A.D. The Kushites and the Kushan were the great pyramid builders, and their religious tradition includes ancestor worship, animal sacrifice, and a priest caste that venerated the Sun God (Alice C. Linsley, 2012 "The Kushite-Kushan Connection). 

In Central Asia the Huns, Magyars, Avars, and Alans and Sarmatian tribes all of whom 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. 


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). 

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


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. One of the most famous finds at Pazyryk is the Pazyryk carpet. It was discovered by Russian archaeologist Sergei Rudenko in a Scythian burial mound in the late 1940s, and is believed to be the oldest surviving complete carpet dating back to the 5th century B.C.E. The advanced weaving techniques and sophisticated design suggests that the art of carpet weaving may go back as far as 4,000 years ago. 

Above is a Pazyryk. 6th century BCE. wooden plaques, that were preserved in the frozen sub-soil in a kurgan. The wood plaque above is similar in shape to a Fleur de lis symbol (The Hermitage Museum), Pazyryk culture, Altai Mountains.  


Above is a Scythian felt applique carpet or wall hanging, depicting the Fleur de lis in association with 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) 




Diffusion of a Were Jaguar Mushroom Cult to the New World

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 or leopard attire. 

Researchers have found numerous connections between the Huns, Magyars and the Uyghurs. The Uyghurs are people who live in the Xinjiang province of China, who are Caucasian in appearance and speak a Turkic language. The Yakut Turks called themselves Sakha, or Scythian Sakas. The Uyghurs of Qocho was a kingdom with both state-sponsored Mahayana Buddhism and Manichaeism. Manichaeism is the religion that was introduced in the middle of the third century by the Iranian prophet named Mani, who called himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ. The Manichean church, is known to have incorporated Amanita muscaria mushrooms in their rituals and that these rituals may have had some influence on the Chinese with their famous ling chih, or  “divine mushroom of immortality. (Ott J. 1995) (from Frederick R. Dannaway March 2009)  Its worth mentioning once again, that 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.

The Mogao Cave murals depict the practice among the early Uyghur priests, believing in a mystical relationship with a spirit-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 and Manichaeism throughout Asia.

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, by underworld decapitation to rebirth to resurrection. 

The Mogao Caves, also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, located in Gansu Province of China. The mural above portrays the Buddha, or a Kulika King sitting on what appears to the author as a feline throne, encoded with sacred mushrooms ?  The Mogao Cave Grottoes contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The first caves were dug out 366 AD., and form a system of 492 temples as places of Buddhist meditation and worship (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/440).  

The Uyghurs 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). Venus was considered the sun's twin, and patron god of war. 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. 


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 both the Old World and New, feline characteristics of the jaguar is associated with the priest or shaman who possesses supernatural powers and is able to achieve spiritual transformation. Mexican artist and archaeologist Miguel Covarrubias (1946) demonstrated that all the various rain and storm gods of Mesoamerica  may have been derived from this Olmec 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.  

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 "were-jaguar".


The drawing above is of a Classic period (200-650 CE.) Teotihuacan III fresco from Teopanzalco, Mexico entitled "el altar del sol."  Encoded in the frieze along the right border are mushrooms, esoterically encoded to symbolize underworld jaguar transformation, and the journey of Venus into the underworld as a resurrection star. The two deities or priests impersonating feline deities in the scene, I believe represent the twin aspects of the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star (note the light and dark cheek mark on the feline deities). The two priests dressed as were-jaguars, are decorated with numerous five-pointed stars which have been identified as Nahuat Venus symbols from highland Mexico. The jaguar priests appear to be offering their blood in sacrifice at an altar that symbolizes the underworld sun (Sun God) of the present world. Note the twisted olin symbol meaning movement, in the center of the sun on the altar. 


             Quoting Wasson (1957):

"If we postulate for the Teotihuacán period a liturgical use of shells with hallucinatory mushrooms, this border becomes intelligible. The fresco itself, according to Seler, invokes the rites of inebriation, which is consonant with our hypothesis of hallucinatory mushrooms."





In both hemispheres, (Old World and New World) the feline deity and the symbol we recognize as the Fleur de lis is linked with a World Tree. The feline deity in most cases represents the underworld Sun God, and twin felines generaly represent the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star, associated with the death, decapitation, rebirth, and underworld resurrection.

Above is undeniable evidence of Scythian / Saka diffusion of symbols including the Fleur de Lis to ancient Peru, South America. The feline figure in the middle, or better yet half-feline half-man figure with a prominent Fleur de lis symbol emerging from the 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. Note the identical symbols on the Andean feline vessel on the right.


The best-known Saka, (also known as Scythian or the Sakya tribes) was Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became Buddha. He was the son of King Suddhodana Gautama, and Queen Maya. Siddhartha, who man who became known as Guatama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. He was known among his own 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", and Guatama was the name of the royal family of the Saka kingdom. 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)



 

Excavations in the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis in the 1930's, has brought to light a remarkable quantity of inscribed tablets with the names of Siddhartha Gautama and his father, King Suddhodana Gautama, among the names of Zoroaster, and Darius the Great, recorded in a collection of family seals. The name cited in several of the Persepolis tablets is Sedda-arta or Siddhartha Gotama. It is claimed that PFS79, and PFS1243 were the seals of Gotama and Zoroaster respectively (Payam Nabarz 2010 p.62).   

According to Dr. Ranajit Pal, 2010, author of "The Dawn of Religions in Afghanistan-Seistan-Gandhara and the Personal Seals of Gotama Buddha and Zoroaster,  The family crest bore the etching of a crown-headed king flanked by two totems each a standing bird-headed winged lion (published in Mithras Reader: An Academic and Religious Journal of Greek, Roman and Persian Studies. Vol. III, London, 2010, pg. 62).
 
"The Seal of Sedda depiction of a Sramana (Persepolis Seal PFS 79), a Lion-Sun shaman, is based on information gathered from a number of other seals the name refers to Sedda Arta (Siddhartha), i.e., Siddha (Liberator of) and Arta (Universal Truth)". Its worth mentioning again that Gautama Buddha was called Sakyasinha "the Lion of the Sakya Tribe", and Guatama was the name of the royal family of the Saka kingdom.  


 
At Mount Behistun, in western Iran, there is a monument (depicted above) with multilingual inscriptions established by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great. The initial decipherment of Accadian cuneiform was made (Rawlinson 1851) on the basis of the monuments trilingual inscription (Allegro, p. 34) 

The Behistun Monument mentions a religious figure named "Gaumata", a little known king of Babylon. The name Gaumata, and Gotama appear to be variants of Gautama the Buddha's family name. The Behistun monument records in stone, one of the greatest stories and scandals never told. 

Darius the Great was a devout Zoroastrian, and the monument depicts the emperor trampling on, and standing over Gaumata, in what appears to be a power struggle to seize the Persian throne. The inscriptions, carved in the cliff side are in three different languages, and boast that the Zoroastrian God Ahura Mazda, chose Darius the Great to take the throne in 522 BCE., from a usurper named Gaumata, who according to Darius, was an impostor who illegally took the throne in Babylon while the sitting Persian Emperor was away in Egypt. It may have been that Gaumata, who was widely popular could have been attempting to introduce a new religion which offended the establishment. 

In the inscription, Darius identified Gaumata as a Magi, a high priest of the Zoroastrian state-religion, who practiced magic, stargazing, and other esoteric knowledge. The historical Siddhartha Gautama an Indian prince who lived in India around 500 BCE., was also a noted astrologer, under whose name, an ancient astrological almanac was published, by Gautama Siddha, called the encyclopedia Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era that was fully compiled and later published in 729 AD.  The almanac contained the most advanced methods of computation, including the use of zero (Edward H. Schafer 1967 p128).  

"This is Gaumâta, the Magian. He lied, saying "I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, I am king"

The inscription reads, 29 September 522 BCE, in Pasargadae, 80 miles north of Shiraz, the magus Gaumata, is killed by Darius, the future king-of-kings of the Persian Empire.... Darius went on to rule the Persian Empire for 36 years.

Darius went on to attack the Saka in Scythia and captured their king, replacing him with the chief from another tribe.

"King Darius says: Afterwards with an army I went off to Scythia, after the Scythians who wear the pointed cap. These Scythians went from me. When I arrived at the river, I crossed beyond it with all my army. Afterwards, I smote the Scythians exceedingly; [one of their leaders] I took captive; he was led bound to me, and I killed him. [Another] chief of them, by name Skunkha, they seized and led to me. Then I made another their chief, as was my desire. Then the province became mine (Behistun Inscription)"






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 is 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). According to Wasson,  Ling means spiritual, or potent and divine, and chich or chih is a word for mushroom. According to legend the ling-chih was a mushroom that conferred immortality on the eater (Wasson & Wasson 1957, p.320).


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" (Gunnar 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 (Gunnar 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. 

            Quoting Borhegyi...(from Man Across the Sea: Problems of PreColumbian Contacts; S.F. de Borhegyi, 1971  pp. 90-97, Third Printing 1976)

"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" 

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) 

In 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"

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. The figure makes what appears to be a hand gesture palms outward, one raised and one lowered, in a classical teaching gesture or mudra, characteristic of the bodhisattva, a sign of the spiritually perfected one who is Buddha, "awakened",  the same hand gesture commonly depicted in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain 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 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 stylized Fleur de lis symbol.   



Above is a Seated Buddha meditating under a bejeweled tree, so sacred that its encoded as a Fleur-de-lis symbol, to declare his divine enlightenment, and thus his immortality (from 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 his name but a title. According to legend, Buddha eventually reaches enlightenment, or Nirvana under the bodhi tree but only after eating what is believed to have been a poisonous mushroom. Nirvana, is a term used to describe the spiritual liberation from the cycles of rebirth and the freedom from suffering, described as the ultimate goal of Buddhahood, the Buddhist path. The Nirvana Sutra deals with the Buddha's parinirvana "nirvana-after-death", as a biographical event that mentions the meal offering and illness and subsequent death of the Buddha.   





According to Wasson (1957):


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



As the story goes, in his 80th year of life Buddha becomes enlightened while sitting under the Bodhi tree. The word bodhi which means enlightenment, is a metaphorical reference for the Amanita muscaria mushroom.


                       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).




In Tamil culture, South India, a siddha (like Siddharatha) refers to a being who has achieved a high degree of spiritual perfection or enlightenment. The ultimate demonstration of this is that siddhas allegedly attained immortality. Buddhism and Jainism were both influential in the early stages of Tamil culture, and contributed greatly in terms of religious thought, art and sciences. 

 

Upon the Buddha's death, his disciples prepared his body for cremation, anointing it with incense, draping it with flower garlands, and singing Vedic hymns (Lobsang Dechen 2004 p.146)


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. It symbolizes, "a journey", which leads me to believe that Guatemala in more ancient times was known as, "the land of the Gautama", one of the many lands that were visited by Buddhist monks in pre-Columbian times ? 

We must keep in mind that Guatama was the name of the royal family of the Saka kingdom. 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".


Was Guatemala the land of the Guatama ?

The Popol Vuh is the sacred book of the Quiché Maya, written in the Mayan language of the Quiche but with a European script sometime around 1550, by anonymous members of the Quiche-Maya nobility. Although the Quiche Maya have lived in the Guatemala Highlands for more than two thousand years, the Popol Vuh suggests 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). The authors of the Popol Vuh, at various times refer to their land, the nation, the capital city, and the people themselves as Quiche, meaning "many trees" or "forest".  (P.V. 2007, Allen J. Christenson, p.50). 


We know that the ancient Maya of the Guatemala Highlands apparently revered the Amanita muscaria mushroom, which they portrayed in small stone sculptures known as mushroom stones, associated with the ancient cultures of the Olmec and Maya, that have been interpreted as evidence for the usage of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Mesoamerican religion spanning almost 3,000 years (S.F de Borhegyi 1961). 


In the highlands of Guatemala and along the Pacific slope where the majority of mushroom stones have been found, and where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance, the mushroom stones that reappear in the highland Maya area during Late Classic times are mostly the plain and or tripod variety (Type D) common to the Pacific Coast and Piedmont area as well as in Western El Salvador (for their distribution by archaeological sites see Borhegyi de, 1961a, p. 500) 


Above is a stone ballgame yoke fragment with footprint that was excavated by J. Eric Thompson along with a (Type D) tripod mushroom stone from a pit in front of Monument 3 at the Pacific coastal site of El Baul in Guatemala. 


Mentioned earlier, the plain or tripod mushroom stones, which carry no effigy on the stem (stipe), have been typically found at lower elevations and may indicate the ritual use of the psilocybe mushroom in these regions.

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


There is also an ancient Chinese ball game (2nd and 3rd century B.C.E. Han Dynasty) similar to the Mesoamerican ballgame, in that the use of hands was not allowed, called Cuju or Ts'u Chu, that was also played in Korea, Japan and Vietnam ( Wikipedia


Guatama was the name of the royal family of the Saka kingdom. Siddhartha Guatama, who became known as the Buddha, was known among his own people as Shakyamuni, "the sage of the Shakya Tribe", the son of Suddhodana and the chosen leader of the Śākya Gaṇarājya, and Gautama was also called Sakyasinha "the Lion of the Sakya Tribe". (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Shakya) 


Above in the middle photo, is an anthropomorphic mushroom stone (Type C) from El Salvador, Esperanza period 300 to 600 A.D. now in the Rietberg Museum in Zurich. The star, or rays, comprising the headdress around the young ruler, or deity's head may refer to the god archaeologists refer to as G-9, the last of the Nine Lords of the Night. In Maya mythology, G-9 has been identified as the supreme ruler of the underworld and the sacred day Ahau. This same deity was known to the Mixtecs and Toltecs as 9-Wind (aka. Quetzalcoatl), for the day on which he was born.

According to Maya archaeologist, J. Eric S. Thompson, the idealized Venus cycle always ended on the day 1-Ahau, (Milbrath p.170). The synodic revolution of Venus, from Morning Star to Morning Star is 584 days, and that these revolutions were grouped by the Nahuas and Maya in fives, (see Maya  Dresden Codex) so that 5 x 584 equaled 2,920 days, or exactly eight solar years (Nicholson, 1967 pp. 45-46). 

Evidence of early Olmec and Maya culture 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).


           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).


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). Just as in Mesoamerica (the ancient Maya), the Chinese believed that there were five cardinal directions, the fifth being the center of the universe. In Mesoamerica and in China each of the five directions was symbolized by a color. 

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). 

Cinnabar a red compound of mercury, was believed by both the Chinese and the ancient Maya to have magic powers, and that the eating of refined mercury compounds prolong life. Chinese alchemists whose prime goal was the discovery of a potion that would confer immortality, believed that if they could discover a method of turning base metals into gold, which lasted forever, they would at the same time have discovered the elixir of life (Edward H. Schafer, 1967  p.128).

The most famous Chinese alchemist was Ko Hung whose ideas were preserved in a fourth century book titled Pao P' u Tzu that's devoted to the prime goal of the alchemist, the creation of gold and the elixir of life. Ko Hung's formulas and instructions for making elixirs of immortality, and gold are mainly based on the supposed miraculous properties of cinnabar (Edward H. Schafer, 1967  p.129).
  

Above on the left are Chinese jade Bi, pronounced "bee", that are flat disks often depicting celestial symbols of the four cardinal directions, Middle to late Zhou period c. 900-221 B.C.E. The extremely sacred objects (the round hole symbolizing a divine portal of immortality), 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. In Mesoamerica the only source of jade from which the ancient Maya could obtain was located in the Motagua River valley in Guatemala.


Similar to the Chinese Bi disks, the jade disk above from Guatemala on the bottom right, still has what appears to be red cinnabar in the groves of the Mayan glyphs, signifying immortality, and is testimonial that the jade disk continued to serve as a magical instrument in the afterlife. The use of cinnabar in royal burials can be found at the ancient Maya city of Palenque, where the entombed sarcophagus and remains of a noble woman, known to archaeologists as the Red Queen of Palenque, were completely covered with a red powder made from cinnabar.

The Maya jade disk above on the top right was discovered in a royal grave at Pomona, Belize. The Olmec and Maya believed that It was through this central portal that souls passed on their journey to deification, rebirth and resurrection, the Axis Mundi, a divine portal of up and down where the Sun God and deified kings enter and resurrect from the underworld. 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) 

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)


The historical Siddhartha Gautama who lived in India around 500 BCE., was also a noted astronomer, and astrologer, under whose name an astrological almanac was published in 729 AD. called The Encyclopedia Treatise on Astrology of the Kaiyuan Era by Gautama Siddha. The almanac contained the most advanced methods of mathematical computation, including the use of zero (Edward H. Schafer 1967 p128). 

The concept of zero, as a place value, is believed to have been invented independently only by the ancient Maya and Indians, and the Babylonians, who got their number system from the Sumerians, the first people in the world to develop a counting system.

It must be just a coincidence that the Vedic god named Soma also had a son named Budha (source http://www.crystalwind.ca/mystical-magical/pantheons-and-myths/hindu/soma-chandra-god-of-the-moon).

Its my belief that the female figurine below from the Maya ruins of Xelha in the Yucatan state of Quintana Roo Mexico, is a portrait of Buddha's mother, Queen Maya, and that the name Guatemala, originates from Guatama, the name of the royal family of the Saka kingdom, "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".  The Maya still live in the Yucatan peninsula, Chiapas, Tabasco, and Guatemala.

Above on the left is a statue of the Buddha under what I would argue  is a Amanita muscaria mushroom and not a 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 represent what I would argue is Gautama's mother, Queen Maya ?   

Quoting Wasson, "It is curious that elsewhere than the Indie languages we find the 'parasol' figure applied to fungi only in the Spanish dialect of Jocotan, Guatemala"...(Wasson and Wasson, 1957)


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.

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 first century philosopher Wang Ch' ung described Taoist practices in this way..."They dose themselves with the germ of gold and jade, eat the finest fruit of the purple polypore fungus. By eating what is germinal their bodies  are lightened, and so they are capable of spiritual transcendence."


A person who had attained this state of transcendence, was called a hsien, a word that literally means taking flight from the material world. 

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 the feline figure with a prominent Fleur de lis symbol emerging from his head, depicted on a gold vessel from Romania. The ceramic feline flask above center is from Peru, Wari (Huari) culture AD 500 to 1000, also depicts a feline figure with what I have identified as a Fleur de lis symbol emerging from the feline's head  (Metropolitan Museum of Art). On the far right is a Scythian/Saka drinking vessel that depicts twin felines, and a symbol that looks identical to the symbol on the feline flask above center from Peru, South America. 
 
A 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 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 (Wikipeda: Scythians).




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, or half-man and half-feline.

In both hemispheres the symbol we have come to 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 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. 


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 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. 


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.
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).

The author has found encoded images of hallucinogenic mushrooms associated with feline deities and the Tree of Life in both 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)


The oldest postulated trans-Pacific contact with the New World is for the Early Preclassic 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).

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.).  Its worth mentioning again that the earliest presence of chariots in Central Asia is documented by petroglyphs from the Altai Mountain region in Siberia and Mongolia. 


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. 


The question still remains of whether the invention of wheeled animal figurines 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. 


The Pazyryk is the name of an ancient Scythian Iron Age archaeological culture identified by excavated artifacts and mummified humans with European features,  found in the Siberian permafrost in the Altai Mountains in royal tombs called kurgans, dated to the 6th and 4th centuries B.C.E. Iron cauldrons with mushroom-shaped handles associated with the Huns (Scythians) have also been found in the Altai Mountains (Otto Maenchen-Helfen "The World of the Huns: Studies in Their History and Culture p. 332).


As mentioned earlier, the author has discovered that 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.). The author proposes that the Fleur de lis symbol along with several other Aryan (Scythian) symbols migrates from Central Asia to the Americas, along with a hallucinogenic mushroom cult (Soma / Haoma) that still survives to this day among certain tribes like the Zapotec, Chinantec, and Mazatec Indians of Mexico  (S.F de Borhegyi,1961, 498-504). 


Hunnic (Magyar) diadems (Scythian) were made out of bronze plaques and then plated with gold. Note the similarity of the Hunnic diadem of Central Asia with the Olmec and Epi-Olmec diadems of Mesoameria. 

The Olmec figurine above 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)



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).

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 was associated with sorcery, and thus 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) 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).


As mentioned earlier, Wasson noted that one interesting feature of the Amanita muscaria mushroom is that its hallucinogenic properties pass through 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). 

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. 










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, and like Mesoamerica, Mesopotamian religion was highly polytheistic a system based on the belief of many gods, or deities.

Its worth mentioning that 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 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).  

Above is visual evidence of encoded mushroom imagery in Hindu art that supports Gordon Wasson's identification of the revered and deified mystery plant of the Rig Veda, called Soma, "Hidden in Plain Sight".  The sculpture above dated 12-13th century A.D. also depicts what appears to me to be maize or corn in the other hand. 

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 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. In Hindu mythology the deity Aja Ekapada (an aspect of the Hindu god Shiva) is closely connected with Soma, and his name roughly translates to "un-born single-foot" (Wasson 1997) (Kevin feeney 2013 p.305).




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, a captured prince, 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.






Mushrooms in Ancient Egyptian Art: 


Soma in Egypt "Hidden In Plaine Sight"


Stephen R. Berlant theorizes that the plant known commonly as the Eye of Horus, which the Egyptians included in cakes and ales designed to spiritually rebirth the living and the dead, was an entheogenic mushroom cap entirely analogous, if not identical, to Soma. (The entheomycological origin of Egyptian crowns and the esoteric underpinnings of Egyptian religion, July 2005)            

          


            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 (Allegro 1970) has even argued that Christianity began as a fly agaric cult" (from The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants). 




           Quoting Wasson (1957):

"It becomes imperative for the anthropologists everywhere to take cognizance of ethno-mycology as an avenue for promising cultural inquiry. In various directions there seem to be fruitful areas for the re-study of ethno-mycological evidence, such as, for example, the strange absence of mushrooms from the immense corpus of ancient Egyptian art and texts. Is this because the Egyptians ignored the fungal world or because Egyptologists have ignored it." 


The Egyptian's depicted their divine mushroom in pairs of two, shaped as parasols. This divine mushroom was referred to in the Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt, as a red /golden plant with magic properties, used in sacred religious rites  (Kathy J. Forti May 21, 2018).

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.  Artifacts excavated from Hittite burials at Alaca Huyuk in modern day Turkey resemble anthropomorphized mushroom headed figures, and that the Hittite hieroglyph for "King" found on numerous royal seals also resemble mushrooms.

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...) 


Above is the image of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun, better known today as King Tut. Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty (ruled c. 1332–1323 BC.), who was the son of Pharaoh Akhenaton and wife Queen Nefertiti. The image above on the left portrays the warrior-King Tutankhamun, riding in his chariot, with what appears to be encoded psilocybin mushrooms, alluding possibly to mushroom warfare. Below are three mysterious objects of unknown use that were discovered in King Tuts tomb, that resemble pottery mushrooms from Mesoamerica.



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. According to 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).  

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. 


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 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 discovered carved on large rocks and on cliffs, at Kalbak Tash in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, that appear to me to portray mushroom-headed people carrying sacks at their hip. 

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.
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 cases, this divine communication was conducted under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. The late Robert Graves identified an object as a mushroom on an Etruscan mirror that depicted a funereal theme (Carl A.P. Ruck 2013 p.410). 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.

Mushrooms encoded in scene of drunken intoxication, "Hidden In Plaine Sight".
            


            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?"


The centaurs who were half horse and half man lived in the mountains and forests and ate raw flesh. In the stained glass above both the Amanita muscaria (red cap) and Amanita pantherina (brown cap) mushrooms both hallucinogenic, are encoded in association with a centaur, in this stained glass window at Chartres Cathedral Eure-et-Loir, France 1217.

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

 





           More Mushrooms encoded in Christian Art:



            Quoting Dr. John A. Rush author of, The Mushroom in Christian Art (2010: 138-139).

"Most people read Christian art as pictures, as snap shots representing historical events, but that is not what Christian art is about. An icon is a representation of something that cannot be represented; icons are spiritual renderings of another world, a spiritual geography; what you see is not what you get. A cross is not a cross, a book is not a book, an angel is not an angel, and a mushroom is not a mushroom. This being the case the Apostle’s Creed is likewise an icon, a mega-icon because it encapsulates all others. Again, this is not history; it is an elaborate, artistic, spiritual attempt to explain and pay homage to the mushroom experience."



Above, is a humeral veil used by the 17th century Dominican Cardinal, Thomas Howard, which encodes the Fleur de lis symbol below, circled in yellow, in association with an upended toad, a symbol of rebirth in both the Old World and New World.  In Christian thought the toad and toadstool both represent the dark and evil representations of hell.  Both the toad and toadstool were toxic agents of death, associated with the supernatural. The Cardinal's veil now belongs to the Dominican Priory in Oxford. (Photo from http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/muhara-picture_ba-3573.html)  



As mentioned earlier, 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.

Note that the image of the cross beneath the crown, once you add the white spots looks very much like an encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom. 


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

Above are easily recognizable mushrooms encoded as the sacred fruit from the Tree of Life, in the mosaics at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, over a cave that Christians believe marks the birthplace of Jesus. Built around 350 A.D. the Basilica was commissioned by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena. To the right we see more mushrooms and the Fleur de Lis encoded in the Tree of Life.

 
Saint Eustace, also known as St Eustathius, was a Christian martyr who lived in the 2nd century AD. Saint Eustace is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church and is also commemorated in the Orthodox Church, on September 20. According to legend, prior to his conversion to Christianity, Eustace was a Roman general named Placidus, who served the emperor Trajan. While hunting a stag in Tivoli near Rome, Placidus saw a vision (note the mushrooms in the stained glass above)  of Jesus crucified, between the stag’s antlers. He was immediately converted, had himself and his family baptised, and changed his name to Eustace.  He is considered to be the patron saint of hunters.  He was second abbot of the Irish monastery of Luxeuil in France, and his feast is commemorated in the Celtic martyrologies on the 29th of March (Nicholasjv.blogspot.com). 


According to Allegro:

"The dream of man is to become God. Then he would be omnipotent; no longer fearful of the snows in winter or the sun in summer, or the drought that killed his cattle and made his children’s bellies swell grotesquely. The penis in the skies would rise and spurt its vital juice when man commanded, and the earth below would open its vulva and gestate its young as man required. Above all, man would learn the secrets of the universe not piecemeal, painfully by trial and fatal error, but by a sudden, wonderful illumination from within. 

"But God is jealous of his power and his knowledge.  If, in his mercy, he will allow just a very few of his chosen mortals to share his divinity, it is but for a fleeting moment. Under very special circumstances he will permit men to rise to the throne of heaven and glimpse the beauty and the glory of omniscience and omnipotence. For those who are so privileged there has seemed no greater or more worthwhile experience. The colours are brighter, the sounds more penetrating, every sensation is magnified, every natural force exaggerated." 


Amanita muscaria mushroom encoded above the doorway at the East entrance to the Basilica de San Vicente, in Avila, Spain. (Close up of Amanita muscaria mushroom from Ruck 2006, p. 26)    


Mushrooms appear encoded in this 14th century tapestry, known as the Apocalypse Tapestry, at the castle of Angers in France 1377- 1382. The Apocalypse Tapestry depicts the events in the Book of Revelations written by  Saint John the Divine of Patmos who is most likely portrayed standing on the left. Above  Saint John of Patmos, holding the scroll that is sealed with the seven seals is the Lamb of God the Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ).  On the right above the mushrooms and next to what must be the Tree of the Knowledge or Tree of Life, in the Garden of Eden,(note snake)  is the third horseman of the Apocalypse signifying famine.



Mushrooms and Ritual Decapitation:




The Old Testament refers to the act of beheading, and trophy heads (Numbers 25:4)


"And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel".




Gordon Wasson believed 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).

With so much visual evidence suggesting that hallucinogenic mushrooms were consumed prior to ritual decapitation, it seems reasonable to propose that they were considered essential to the ritual itself, whether in real life or symbolically.

The visual evidence I will present strongly supports my theory that visionary mushrooms may have been included in a ritual drink such as the beverages Soma, and Haoma, and that this drink was consumed prior to ritual decapitation. It must have been believed that this intoxicating beverage would transport the individual to the underworld in which underworld decapitation was the portal to rebirth in the underworld and divine resurrection.
Above center is a Greek vessel that depicts a decapitation scene at the foot of the Tree of Life. Note the mushrooms encoded by the artist in the upper left hand corner of this esoteric scene.



Above is a close up of a Paliya or Hero stone monument from the Chalukya period at Siddhesvara temple at Harveri in the Indian state of Karnataka. The Hero stone depicts an esoteric scene that one could argue encodes the divine mushroom, not a parasol, the divine mushroom esoterically being encoded in its association with decapitation and  trophy heads. A Paliya or Khambhi is a type of memorial stone monument found in western India that commemorates the death of a person. The custom of erecting these stone monuments dates back to around 1000 BCE-600 BCE. 


I have noted the pattern of artistically encoding the divine mushroom in scenes of ritual decapitation associated with trophy heads in both the art of the Old World and the Americas. In Mesoamerica the ritual of decapitation was believed necessary to save mankind from calamity and the cosmos from collapse. Since the greatest gift one could offer the gods was one’s own life, emulating the ways of the God-King Quetzalcoatl, who took his own life, to create the fifth sun, which lights our present world, the purpose of human sacrifice was to preserve life rather than destroy it (Muriel Porter Weaver 1972 p. 205). It's likely that certain mushrooms may have been considered essential to the ritual of decapitation, whether in real life or symbolically in the underworld. 


In the early Middle Ages Christians defined their religiousness through  their devotion to  holy relics.

Relic Caskets or Reliquary Caskets: contain objects or parts of the body (e.g. clothing, teeth, bones) left behind after the decay of the corpse, which are venerated for saints of the Roman Catholic and Eastern churches.


"... a jeweled wooded chest containing relics of the Virgin and Saints Peter, Paul, Andrew, George,  John the Evangelist, John the Baptist, Martin, and Hippolytus, plus the foreskin and umbilical cord of Jesus" (Religious Traditions of the World, 1993 p.565).



Christian martyrs followed in the footsteps of Jesus and of the first apostles, and those who had died as martyrs were believed to ascend directly to heaven at death, unlike the ordinary believer, who had to wait for the return of Christ,. Martyrs became available to Christians on earth as heavenly spirits who were their protectors. Martyrs became the great saints of Christianity, their power after death, enshrined in their relics, helped sustain believers in their faith. Churches put relics under their altars, or encased them in boxes to be displayed behind the altar as a kind of foundation stone for the holiness of the church. King Charlemagne (Charles the Great) when he took the throne ordered that all altars without relics be destroyed, and that all oaths be sworn on a relic, and that no new saints be introduced (Religious Traditions of the World, 1993 p.504-505, 511). 


The Eucharist, or Holy sacrament (the Holy mushroom), of receiving bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ, was regarded as a relic of Christ, or the substance of Christ himself... It's  my belief that these Relic caskets above and below, depict more than just esoteric scenes of decapitation and divine resurrection. We are told that these Reliquary Caskets were created to contain the physical remains of saints. Many of these Relic Caskets portray Saint Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury who was killed, (although not decapitated) by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral, in London England, on December 29, 1170.  I found that a closer look at these reliquary caskets may actually reveal encoded Psilocybin mushrooms "Hidden in Plain Sight" as the sacrament of immortality. I also found that many of these reliquary caskets often depict a female in these scenes of ritual decapitation, after drinking a sacred beverage from a chalice that is always depicted in the scene like in the relic box below.  This chalice, like many other relics, was thereby thought to possess the magical powers of immortality.

I have found that in Mesoamerica, rituals of self-sacrifice and decapitation, whether in real life or in the underworld, is a metaphor for divine immortality, that alludes to the sun's nightly death via decapitation in the underworld, and subsequent resurrection from the underworld by a pair of deities (twins) associated with the planet Venus as both the Morning Star and Evening star. This dualistic aspect of Venus is why Venus was venerated as both a God of Life and God of Death.


Cephallophores: Are the saintly "head-carriers" who miraculously continued to speak or move despite being decapitated.
A common depiction of enlightenment is a glowing halo that resembles the mushroom.


A cephalophore (from the Greek for "head-carrier") is a saint who is generally depicted carrying his or her own head. In Christian art, this was usually meant to signify that the subject in question had been martyred by beheading. Handling the halo in this circumstance offers a unique challenge for the artist; some put the halo where the head used to be, others have the saint carrying the halo along with the head, and some split the difference (Wikipeda).

Perhaps the most famous cephalophore is Denis, patron saint of Paris, who, according to the Golden Legend, miraculously preached with his head in his hands while journeying the seven miles from Montmartre to his burying place.[3] Although St Denis is the best known of the saintly head-carriers, there were many others; the folklorist Émile Nourry counted no less than 134 examples of cephalophory in French hagiographic literature alone.[4] Given the frequency with which relics were stolen in medieval Europe, stories like this, in which a saint clearly indicates his or her chosen burial site, may have developed as a way of discouraging such acts of furta sacra.[5] (Wikipeda)
The image of three Saints rising from the dead encoded with Fleur de lis symbols.


Above is a close up scene from the Codex Vaticanus B that depicts a sacrificial victim (painted blue the color of sacrifice) emerging from a sacrificial bundle from which body parts (relics) are kept. The ritual bundle holds the bloodletting instruments used to draw ones blood as an offering to the gods. The figure is clearly holding an axe in one hand, encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol, and in his other hand are arguably three sacred mushrooms.

The story of creation and destruction, death and rebirth appears frequently in pre-Columbian art. When we look at pre-Columbian art and see images that celebrate death, we must keep in mind that death to all Mesoamericans was just a prelude to rebirth--a portal to divine immortality.
Above are scenes from the Florentine Codex (Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España), by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, between A.D. 1547-1582. Both of the pages depict what I believe is the eating of sacred mushrooms before ritual decapitation. The page on the right depicts what appears to be the smiling faces of willing sacrificial victims, prior to their decapitation. Note that the sacrificial victim's capes have been turned around as bibs, maybe to be used to wrap up their severed heads.




In Mesoamerica, rituals of self-sacrifice and decapitation, whether in real life or in the underworld, are a metaphor that allude to the sun's nightly death and subsequent resurrection from the underworld by a pair of deities (twins) associated with the planet Venus as both the Morning Star and Evening star. Note that the Nahua artist appears to encode a Fleur de lis symbol in these esoteric scenes of decapitation.

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

The iconography encoded above the entrance to San Stefano Monastery, in Bologna Italy (circa 11th 13 th century) appears to me to portray a giant bird perched atop what looks like an Amanita muscaria mushroom.


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. 

Genesis: "And Jahweh commanded man saying, 'from every tree of the garden thou shalt eat, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat.'  


Mural painting of Adam and Eve eating the fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge”. Mural from the apse of Sant Sadurní in Osormort Spain, 12th century (Image from April Deconick http://forbiddengospels.blogspot.com/2012/04/sabbatical-post-3-why-mushrooms.html) 



In the Book of Genesis, God told Adam that he was forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge. God told Adam that if he ate the fruit he would die.  Later, Eve who was deceived by a serpent, ate the fruit which she then took to Adam and he ate it, knowing he had disobeyed what God had explicitly told him. God expelled them from the garden, and through this act, sin entered the world. We don't know what kind of  fruit this tree had, that would cause Adam and Eve to die, (some Amanitas are poisonous) but the idea that the deadly fruit was an apple wasn't even connected to the Eden story until the Middle Ages, when artists began to depict Eve with an apple, and than later when the apple was introduced by John Milton in his epic poem  Paradise Lost.


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


Genesis 3: 3-7, "The fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it neither shall ye touch it, lest you die."

                          4. "And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die."

                           5. "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."


 

The Canturbury Psalter, 1147 AD, depicting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.







SOMA IN THE AMERICAS

Late Classic figurine from Tenenexpan, Mexico in the State of Veracruz (Remojadas? A.D. 700-900). (Photo copyright S.F. de Borhegyi).

The figurine above depicting mushroom worship is from the archaeological site of Cerro de Coamiles in Nayarit, Western Mexico. The conical or cone-shaped hat is a trademark attribute of the Mexican god-king Quetzalcoatl and of his priesthood.

Late Formative (300 B.C. to A.D. 200 ) ceramic grouping of figurines from the Ixtlan del Rio style of Nayarit, Western Mexico, depicting four figures worshiping a giant mushroom as if it were the Tree of Life.



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


Spanish chronicler Fray Toribio de Benavente, affectionately called Motolinia by the Indians, recorded that 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 recorded in chapter 24 of the Memoriales,  that the principal gods of Tlaxcala, known as Cholula and Huexotzinco, were known by three names and that Huexotzinco was also called Quetzalcoatl and Camaxtli. Motolinia called into question the legends that described Quetzalcoatl as opposing human sacrifice, and writes that the Holy city of Cholula, was where human sacrifices were performed in honor of Quetzalcoatl. Mesoamerican researcher David Carrasco has noted that a "Topiltzin-Morning Star cult" was celebrated in Cholula, suggesting that the fusion of the culture hero Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl and deity Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl and Morning Star developed (Diane Wirth 2002 p.13). 

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 resurrected as the Morning star. Motolinía describes a star,  (Venus) he calls Lucifer, of which he writes:

Quoting Fray Motolina:

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



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.

          Quoting Fray Diego Duran:

“All the ceremonies and rites, building temples and altars and placing idols in them, fasting, going nude and sleeping on the floor, climbing mountains, to preach the law there, kissing the earth, eating it with one's fingers and blowing trumpets and conch shells and flutes on the great feast days-- all these emulated the ways of the holy man, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl”.  (Duran, 1971: 59).


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



The Mesoamerican gods Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc merged together to represent the dualistic planet Venus, signifying divine Venus resurrection from the underworld. The name Quetzalcoatl has been interpreted to mean “Precious twin,” indicating that the Morning Star and Evening Star are one and the same (Caso, 1958:.24; Duran:325). It should be mentioned that both Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl shared the same temple at Teotihuacan.

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



Above is a Classic Period Teotihuacan inspired Maya polychrome plate, that depicts at it's center, the Mexican god Tlaloc. Tlaloc is surrounded by what appears to me to be four stylized Fleur de lis symbols, and Tlaloc wears what could be encoded mushroom inspired  ear flairs. The Mexican god Tlaloc, who represents the Evening Star aspect of Venus, shared the same temple as Quetzalcoatl, who represents the Morning Star aspect of Venus, at the great city of Teotihuacan in highland Mexico.

 

The late Maya archaeologist J. Eric S. Thompson identified this configuration of five as the quincunx, a variant of the Central Mexican Venus sign. The design of this symbol symbolizes the four cardinal directions and its central entrance to the underworld where the World Tree is located. The symbol of the quincunx is of great antiquity, having been found at the Olmec site of San Lorenzo on Monument 43 dated at 900 B.C. The quincunx design also appears on Maya Venus Platforms. The Olmec and Maya believed that It was through this portal that souls passed on their journey to deification, rebirth and resurrection. According to Maya archaeologist David Freidel, the Maya called this sacred center, mixik' balamil,  meaning "the navel of the world" (Thompson,1960:170-172, fig. 31 nos.33-40; Freidel & Schele, 1993:124)  


The planet Venus is perhaps best known in Mesoamerican studies through its connection with the special kind of warfare called Venus-Tlaloc warfare. These wars or raids were timed to occur during aspects of the Venus astronomical cycle, primarily to capture prisoners from neighboring cities for ceremonial sacrifice (Schele & Freidel, 1990:130-31, 194)
.
Those who died in battle went directly to Tlaloc's paradise called Tlalocan, and were blessed with immortality. Also known as "The Master", the god Tlaloc shared the same temple as Quetzalcoatl (Twin temple) at the great city of Teotihuacan, and as a Rain and Lightning God, Tlaloc provided the sustenance needed for everlasting life, in return for the shedding of human blood on earth.

Above is a slab of serpentine (Musee de l' Homme) depicting Tlaloc wearing a mushroom-shaped ear plug, can be easily identified by his trademark goggled eyes, feline fangs, and handlebar mustache. Note the artist has encoded what I propose are mushroom inspired ear plugs. Those who died for Tlaloc were under his watchful eye, and went directly to his divine paradise of immortality called Tlalocan.

Quoting Gordon Wasson (1957):


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


The celestial paradise of Tlalocan is depicted below as Mushroom Mountain, a paradise of creation and origin and the destination of the deified ruler after his death.

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 sacrifice, and that it portrays the Mexican god Tlaloc as a death god responsible for the act of underworld decapitation. Thus Tlaloc as the Evening Star aspect of the planet Venus, represents the god of underworld resurrection. Those who died for Tlaloc, and in this case willingly by decapitation, were under his watchful eye, and went directly to his divine paradise of immortality called Tlalocan. The footprints in this scene represents a long journey by one of the royal figures above. I believe this journey is to the underworld, via sacred mushrooms, where the soon to be willing victim, or victims of ritual decapitation, resurrect from the underworld. Note the flint knife at the foot of the temple steps, that esoterically represents the ritual of decapitation. 


The encoded Fleur de lis symbol in the glyphs above next to the one of the figures, is I believe code for immortality and divine resurrection. Note that the victim's severed head below, is portrayed with mushrooms, on top of what is likely a sacred mountain or hill, that marks a sacred portal to the paradise of Tlaloc called Tlalocan, described by Fray Sahagun in the sixteenth century (Sahagun, 1946: I, 317-318) as the second of the nine resting places of the deceased, on the arduous road or journey (note footprints) to the Mictlan, the ninth and final resting place of the Aztec dead. With the lightning bolt Tlaloc engenders the divine mushrooms.  



The drawing above is from a Classic period (200-650 CE.) Teotihuacan drinking vessel. It depicts the Teotihuacan god Tlaloc, or it may be a ruler or priest dressed in the guise of Tlaloc wearing an elaborate feathered headdress crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol. Tlaloc carries a bloody axe, and he is surrounded by footprints alluding to a very long journey through the underworld and beyond. The rulers of Teotihuacan established a vast empire that reached as far south as Kaminalyuju, a large Maya city in the highlands of Guatemala. Wherever the Teotihuacanos went they took their religion and their god of war, Tlaloc with them. Tlaloc, better known as a Rain and Lightning God, is also a Mushroom God who provides the sustenance for life and the after life if the shedding of human blood is reciprocated (Drawing from Kubler 1967, fig. 14).

The god Tlaloc is depicted above in the pre-Conquest Codex Borgia, one of the few remaining pre-Conquest codices, depicts Tlaloc in association with a symbol I believe is a New World version of the Fleur de lis. Tlaloc once again is recognizable by his trademark goggled eyes, and feline fangs. Although the Spanish sources never refer to Tlaloc as a mushroom god, I believe that his goggled eyes reflect a mushroom's vision of paradise called Tlalocan, a place of endless spring. Those who died and went to Tlalocan were blessed with immortality.


In both Vedic (Hindu kalpas) and Mesoamerican cosmology (Popol Vuh) there was the belief in a cyclical creations, a multi-tiered heaven and underworld, deities who reside at the four cardinal directions and its sacred center.


In the course of my studies I not only found mushroom-related symbolism "Hidden in Plain Sight" throughout Mesoamerica, but also in the ancient art of the Inca, Mochica (Moche), Chavin, Chimu, and Paracas cultures of South America, and in the Rapa Nui civilization of Easter Island. 


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


The quincunx configuration above also appears on Easter Island. In Mesoamerica this design symbolize the four cardinal directions and its central entrance to the underworld. The Olmec and Maya believed that it was through this portal that souls passed through on their journey to deification, rebirth and resurrection. As mentioned eariler the Maya called this sacred center, mixik' balamil,  meaning "the navel of the world".  The Rapa Nui of Easter Island also referred to their Island as the  "the navel of the world".  
The Olmec were jaguar above known as Monument F, is from 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.

In 1886, William Thomson a U.S. Naval officer and Easter Island's first scientific researcher visited Easter Island. According to Heyerdahl, Thompson found many representations of catlike figures symbolizing their supreme god, a Sun God they called Make-Make. He noted that this was remarkable because there were no members of the cat family on Easter Island or anywhere else in Polynesia.
Cave artifacts discovered by Easter Island archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl and his team include numerous stone trophy heads, and figurines that resemble were-jaguars. Carbon dating of many of these Easter Island artifacts suggests an occupation of Easter Island around A.D. 380 A.D, about a thousand years earlier than scientists previously speculated. According to Heyerdahl the legends of these people claim that a feline god named named Make-Make was a guardian spirit of sacred family caves. Heyerdahl's work, although, initially discounted, gained some support after he presented his studies at the Tenth Pacific Science Congress in Honolulu in 1961. Heyerdahl (1958) in his book Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island, hypothesized transatlantic contact between Egypt and Central America.
The drawing above on the left is by Lorenzo Dominguez (1901-1963) of a petroglyph from Easter Island. When Dominguez asked what the symbol meant, the Easter Islanders replied that it represented "Make Make," their creator god. It may be that this symbol found on Easter Island also symbolize the planet Venus as it does among the ancient Maya in Mesoamerica (Venus glyph from Michael D. Coe, 2001, "Reading the Maya Glyphs" p.163)

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


The drawing of this petroglyph and others on Easter Island bear a striking resemblance to Venus symbols found in Pre-Columbian art among the ancient Maya depicting the ancient Mesoamerican god Tlaloc. Scholars have noted very early images of Tlaloc in the archaeological record in Mesoamerica, including ancient rock art, going back to early Olmec times. Tlaloc whose attributes are goggled eyes and feline fangs was known as the “provider”, a creator god just like Easter Island’s “Make Make”, who is associated with life giving rain, deadly storms, and divine lightning. Tlaloc was known as “he who made things grow”. Tlaloc is easily identified by his trademark goggled eyes, which represent I believe, the vision of Tlaloc’s paradise, called Tlalocan.

Yaoliang Song, a professor at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, estimated the petroglyph from China on the left 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)
Photo and drawing above from the GALLERY OF NORTHWEST PETROGLYPHS: SHAMANIC ART OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: © 2010 Daniel Leen.
Venus, the brightest star (actually a planet) in the sky, was called "Ek" by the ancient Maya, and was visible to early sky watchers even, at times, during the day. What must have seemed truly fascinating about Venus is that it appears as both a Morning Star and an Evening Star. As the Morning Star, rising before dawn, it may have seemed to "resurrect" the Sun from its nightly sojourn through the underworld. At night, as the Evening Star, it appears after the Sun's daily "death" and descent into the underworld. For this reason it became closely associated with death and resurrection in the underworld. Venus also appears to die and rise again from the underworld with great regularity. Every eight years it can be predicted that Venus will return to the "same position in the sky, at the same time of year in the same phase every eight years" (Milbrath 1999:51). The "fiveness" of Venus, 5 synodic cycles, comes from the fact that five Venus cycles of 584 days each equal eight solar years to the day, and that 584 days is the time it takes for Earth and Venus to line up with respect to the Sun. This day was a period ending day in the sacred 260 day calendar (almanac) and always ended on the day Ahau.

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

When Captain James Cook first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778 he noted that the headdresses worn by the elite appeared to represent mushrooms. Hawaiian Mahiole mushroom helmets were worn by warriors (mushroom warfare?) and chiefs (Peter Buck, 1957, Arts and Crafts of Hawaii, p. 231). Mark A. Hoffman (2002) in his article Mushroom Myth and Imagery in Hawai'i: Evidence for an Indigenous Cult, argued that the mushroom looking helmets were indeed entheogenic. According to Hoffman, the word huna literally means secret, the name of a Hawaiian religion whose practitioners and functionaries are called kahunas. Hoffman also mentions that in Hawaiian mythology "the wind God [storm god] Makai-ke-oe, also endowed with the power of plant growth, took form as an intoxicating tree whose branch (mana in Hawaiian) was a potent but dangerous love potion, inducing visions and voices (Beckworth 1940)."

Quoting Mark A. Hoffman:

"The concept  of tapu, as the source and translation of our word “tabu,” is close in meaning to mana, an important concept in Polynesian religion that describes a contagious spiritual power that lasts only a short period of time. The word tapu is similarly used in describing transitory states such as shamanic ecstasy—or “being under the influence of the Gods”—and the sacredness of the ceremonies whose main function it was to channel this divine “energy” where it was desired (Eliade 1987).  Because this energy is characterized by its motion, tapu-infused or “sacred” foods, [objects], etc., must be carefully managed to avoid accidental exposure to potentially dangerous spiritual influences. The proscriptions are assigned “forbidden” status, and special preparations and precautions are established for entering states of “divine possession.”


Pre-Columbian ceramic Moche portrait vessels, from Peru depicting priests or shamans, wearing what are arguably headdresses encoded with  Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The Moche culture reigned on the north coast of Peru during the years 100-600 A.D.

 Gold figurines depicting shamans encoded with sacred mushrooms, Quimbaya culture Colombia, South America. The Quimbaya civilization reached their zenith during the 4th to 7th century CE.
Pre-Conquest artifacts from Colombia, South America. The middle artifact above with tiny figurines attached clearly represents an Old World Fleur de lis symbol, "Hidden In Plain Sight"  in the New World.
Gold mushroom-headed figures from Colombia, South America Quimbaya culture. Note that the larger central gold Quimbaya figure above wears a unique headdress encoded with a symbol (Venus?) similar to the symbol depicted below in the Paracas textile just below the chin of the shamanic figure holding a severed head, and just above the proposed Amanita muscaria mushroom. 
Above is a woven textile from Peru, South America, Paracas culture 750 B.C. to A.D. 100. The textile incorporates what appears to be mushroom-Venus iconography associated with a bodyless human head. What might appear as an axe in his hand and a trophy head in the other, is a clever metaphor denoting mushrooms + decapitation = Venus resurrection. The axe in this case is purposely shaped to look like an Amanita muscaria mushroom.  I believe that the design below the figure's chin symbolizes the Eveningstar aspect of the planet Venus. This symbol is similar in design to Venus symbols from Mesoamerica and represents an aspect of Venus associated with the ritual of underworld decapitation.

The painted textile above is from the Chimu culture of Peru, 1000-1400 C.E.  The textile depicts a figure standing above what I would argue is a sacred  mushroom. The figure is accompanied by two jaguars with spots. Gordon Wasson (1968, 1971), was the first to connect the motif of 'spots' with the Amanita muscaria mushroom cult. The two spotted jaguars and vultures may symbolize the dualistic nature of the planet Venus as the Evening Star, emulating the Sun God in his daily journey into the underworld. The esoteric association of mushrooms and jaguar transformation was earlier noted by ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst (1976:78, 80).  

Above is a Moche portrait vessel from Peru, portrayed wearing a headdress encoded with what I propose are Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The Moche culture reigned on the north coast of Peru during the years 100-600 A.D. (Photograph courtesy of Todd Braum)
Above and below are mushroom inspired gold ornaments, Inca culture of Peru, South America. Both ornaments bear the metaphorical shape of a ritual axe, alluding to underworld ritual decapitation. The mushroom inspired ornament below is also encoded with imagery reminiscent of the spotted caps of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.

There is an Inca legend of white men with beards  who inhabited the shores of Lake Titicaca, who built a great city, 2000 years before the time of the Incas. Lake Titicaca is a large body of water lying high in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of over 12,000 feet. The ancient ruins of Tiahuanaco located near the shores of Lake Titicaca is considered one of the earliest pre-Columbian cultures which developed in the high altitude of the Andes.


The Inca Indians of Peru, told Spanish conquistador (1532–1572) Francisco Pizarro that they were the last descendants of the Viracochas. The Viracochas, they said, were a divine race of White men with beards. They were so like the Spanish that the Europeans were called Viracochas the moment they came to the Inca Empire. The Incas thought they were the Viracochas who had come sailing back across the Pacific. According to the principal Inca legend, before the reign of the first Inca,... the sun-god, Con-Ticci Viracocha, had taken leave of his kingdom in present day Peru and sailed off into the Pacific with all his subjects. The White men had abandoned their pyramids and statues and gone with the leader, Con-Ticci Viracocha, first up to Cuzco, and then down to the Pacific. They were given the Inca name of Viracocha, or "sea foam', because they were white skinned and vanished like foam over the sea. (Heyerdahl, ibid.-American Indians in the Pacific) (Frontiers of Anthropology 2013)


There is also plenty of evidence of a trophy head cult in the archaeological record of South America. According to Andean researcher Christina Conlee (Texas State University) large numbers of decapitated heads or so-called trophy heads have been found in archaeological excavations in the area of Peru. At the archaeological site of Tihaunaco not far from Lake Titicaca, several dozen decapitated bodies were found in a burial arranged in a geometric layout, buried alongside drinking vessels suggesting the act of ritual (Soma) sacrifice. Not far fom the ancient ruins of Tihaunaco in Bolivia, are the ancient Inca ruins of Chucuito in Peru, also not far from Lake Titicaca where archaeologists have discovered a graveyard  filled with mushroom-shaped monuments that local tourist guides call Phallic stones.
In a letter to Stephan de Borhegyi, archaeologists Marion and Harry Tschopik, described the stone monuments above at the Inca ruins of Chucuito in Peru, on the shore of Lake Titicaca as mushroom stones, and not as phallic stones (Letter from Gordon Ekholm to Stephan de Borhegyi, March 12, 1953, Borhegyi Archives, MPM).

             Quoting John Marco Alero, 1970:

"The mushroom has always been a thing of mystery. The ancients were puzzled by its manner of growth without seed, the speed with which it made its appearance after rain, and its as rapid disappearance…. Every aspect of the mushroom's existence was fraught with sexual allusions, and in its phallic form the ancients saw a replica of the fertility god him self. It was the “son of God,” its drug was a purer form of the god's own spermatozoa than that discoverable in any other form of living matter. It was, in fact, God himself, manifest on earth. To the mystic it was the divinely given means of entering heaven; God had come down in the flesh to show the way to himself, by himself."— “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross.”

 

The photo above of the tallest and most noticeable monument at the Inca ruins of Chucuito in Peru, does appear to resembling a penis, however I would argue that the surrouning stone statues actually do represent mushrooms, some of which appear to have been ritually decapitated. (© South American Pictures/ Tony Morrison, photo from internet, http://members.cox.net/ancient-sites/inca/day10_LakeTiticaca.htm).


Without doubt early man noticed the likeness of certain mushrooms to a human penis. This association could have led them to draw metaphors with fertility and birth. According to Nahua mythology, it was the god-king Quetzalcoatl who created mankind, and he did so from the blood he drew from his penis in the underworld. There are numerous historical reports that link mushroom consumption to such self-sacrificial religious activities as blood letting and penis perforation. In Mesoamerica, sacred mushrooms were most likely consumed by priests before the holy act of penis perforation. In this ritual blood was drawn from the penis and sprinkled upon the exhumed bones or cremated ashes of deceased ancestors, thus emulating in myth the way of Quetzalcoatl.  It was through blood sacrifice that Mesoamerican rulers and priests nurtured the gods who had been their ancestors. This bloodletting mushroom ritual was I believe, the medium, to establish direct communication between Earth and Heaven (sky) in order to unite man with god. Quetzalcoatl's essence in the world as a culture hero was to establish this communication. Quetzalcoatl taught that mankind must make blood sacrifices to transcend this world in order to achieve immortality. 

As mentioned earlier, Maya archaeologist David Kelley noted the similarity between the Mesoamerican calendar and the Hindu lunar mansions. Kelley saw the resemblance between the Mesoamerican cycle of the Nine Lords of the Night, to the Hindu planetary week of nine days, and noted the parallel belief of four previous world ages and their cataclysmic destruction (Susan Milbrath, 1999, p.292). Kelley's Harvard Ph.D. dissertation on trans-Pacific contacts and his professional research in Maya archaeology and epigraphy has been for the most part well received by his colleagues (Alice B. Kehoe 2008, p.169). 


              Quoting  Maya archaeologist David H. Kelley:


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

 

 

                                                                                      Trans-Pacific Contact with Ancient India

There is plenty of evidence in India of human sacrifice, decapitation, and self decapitation, and the offering of heads to the gods. One account of mass sacrifice took place in Assam in north-eastern India in 1565 A.D. at a ceremony celebrating the re-dedication of a temple to Rajah Nara Narayana. The Rajah celebrating this event had one hundred and forty men decapitated, and then offered their severed heads on copper and gold plates to the goddess Kali, wife of the Hindu god Shiva (Davies 1981, p.76).



The art style at the archaeological site of El Tajin is also reminiscent of the Cotzumulhuapa culture on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, and there is little doubt that there must have been close contact between the two regions. Cotzumahlhuapa's imagery also depicts serpents, jaguars, human skulls and skullracks, and bloody sacrifices performed by were-jaguars (see Lee A. Parsons 1963, 1965a, b, 1966 a,b, 1967).  It was in this region that the decapitation of human heads (trophy head cult) and the dismemberment of body parts reached new levels.

The carved relief panels above and below are of a series of six carvings in the vertical side walls of the South Ball Court at El Tajin, in Veracruz, Mexico. The carved panel at the top depicts a ruler or underworld god, with were-jaguar fangs, in the sacred act of drawing blood from his penis. Note that the figure in the water below receiving the blood offering, wears a fish headdress, which may be a symbolic reference to a mythological ancestor from a previous world age, who survived a world ending flood by being changed into a fish. Most importantly, note what I would argue are tiny mushrooms encoded in both panels on the limbs of a trees (drawings from M.E. Kampen "Classic Veracruz Grotesques and Sacrifical Iconography"). 

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. 

 

Sacred mushrooms were most likely consumed in rituals of human sacrifice and self sacrifice. Self sacrifice by means decapitation and of ritual bloodletting was likely the most important ritual among the ancient Maya. The act of bloodletting was so sacred in fact that according to Michael D. Coe, today's unofficial  "Dean of Maya studies", that the perforator itself was worshiped as a god (from Olmec Bloodletting: An Iconographic Study 1991).  

The mushroom ritual I believe was probably timed astronomically to the period of inferior conjunction of the planet Venus. At this time Venus sinks below the horizon and disappears into the "underworld" for eight days. It then rises before the sun, thereby appearing to resurrect the sun from the underworld as the Morning Star. For this reason mushroom induced bloodletting rituals were likely performed in caves, which I suspect was timed to a ritual calendar linked to the movements of the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star. The mushroom experience, as well as caves and ballcourts were believed to be entrances or portals into the underworld.





The Churning of the Milk's Ocean,  in Ancient Mexico:

In both Vedic-Hindu, and Buddhist-Jain mythology there is captivating tale of a creation myth called "The Churning of the Milk Ocean", in which the precious elixir of immortality, known as Amrita was lost in the churning of the cosmic sea.  I found the same creation story encoded at the archaeological site of El Tajin, in Veracruz Mexico, and at the Maya ruins of Tulum, located on the East Coast of Yucatan Mexico, on the sea cliffs overlooking the Caribbean. We know that Soma was the focal point of Vedic religion, and that drinking Soma produces immortality, and that the gods drank Soma to make them immortal". 

The drawing above by Daniela Epstein-Koontz, is another one of the ball court relief panels from El Tajin, in Veracruz Mexico. Upon noticing the turtle in this creation scene I knew right away that this ballcourt scene from El Tajin was a version of the Hindu/Buddhist myth known as "The Churning of the Milk's Ocean", a creation story often depicted in Hindu art. According to Vedic,Hindu, and Buddhist literature, the Gods got together at the beginning of time and churned the ocean to extract a substance which would offer them immortality. According to Richard J. Williams 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 also in Buddhist mythology that grants their gods immortality. 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. 


In the drawing above by Daniela Epstein-Koontz of the Tajin ballcourt panel, note that a dual headed serpent lurks below at the bottom of the scene, emerging from the ocean's depth. The turtle at the bottom of the scene, may indeed represents the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu who acts as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism which is composed of an intertwined serpent being pulled at both ends by sky deities (four cardinal directions) who create the new born Sun (Vishnu ?). Also note that the tail of the serpent ends directly above the symbol of the new born Sun, just above the turtle in a three-lobed stylized design of the Fleur-de-lis symbol, esoterically alluding I believe to the trinity of creator gods. The three arrows penetrating the Sun in the scene alludes to the triad and the Sun's life giving rays of light. 

If this ballcourt scene above does represent "The Churning of the Milk's Ocean" and I feel certain that it does, than the two deities behind the central characters hold containers or ritual buckets in their hands filled with the elixir of immortality, known as Amrita (the Soma beverage).

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


As it turns out I wasn't the first researcher to make this connection. The late great Maya archaeologist and epigrapher David H. Kelley, noted the similarities years ago, but his work was more than often suppressed, and criticized, for his insistence to carry on his studies of long range cultural contacts via trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic voyages. Trans-oceanic contact between the hemispheres prior to the voyages of Columbus is still considered highly unlikely by most Mesoamerican archaeologists, 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.  Kelley noted the striking similarities between the Late Chow decorative styles of China of 700-200 B.C.E. and those of the El Tajin culture of Veracruz, Mexico, of A.D. 500-1000 (Stephen C. Jett 1971, p.44) (Heine-Geldern, 1959a).


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. Kelley (1960) and anthropologist Paul Kirchhoff (1964) detail a large number of exact correspondences between the Hindu and Mexican calendars and their religious and mythological associations, suggesting diffusion s from India or Southeast Asia to Mexico (Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts: 1971, p. 36-37). 


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



                       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." 


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 world 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.


Diffusionists have frequently been accused of "trait-chasing", the comparison of Old World and New World traits....Isolationists argue that diffusionists overestimate the abilities of pre-Columbian man to traverse the oceans. 

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


The Churning of the Milk's Ocean, in the New World cont...

The fortified Maya ruins of Tulum, located on the East Coast of Yucatan Mexico, on the sea cliffs overlooking the Caribbean  was settled sometime between the 5th and 7th centuries, and appears to have been occupied at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Tulum is home to the Temple of the Frescoes, known as Structure 16,   

The drawing above is from a mural at Tulum, Structure 5, in Yucatan Mexico, that depicts what I propose is a Post Classic Maya version of the Hindu myth, The Churning of the Milk Ocean. "The style of these murals is similar to that of the Paris Codex, one of the few surviving Maya books" (Morley / Sharer 1983, p.359). Note the intertwined serpents in the main section of the scene as well as a serpent swimming below in the primordial sea along with a fish and a turtle in the lower section. The turtle bears the so-called head of a god scholars have identified as God N