Ancient History

Since the birth of civilization roughly 12,000 years ago humans have been using psilocybin containing mushrooms for ritual, religious, recreational and medicinal purposes.

In Northern Australia a mural dating back to 10,000 BCE depicts mushrooms and psychedelic illustrations. Similarly in Spain we find rock paintings suggesting use of psychedelic mushrooms as far back as 4,000 BCE. It is widely believed that the consumption of psilocybin along with other factors can be linked to rapid human brain development that made our evolution distinct. This was theorized by Ethnobotanist Terrence McKenna in his “Stoned Ape Hypothesis.” Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has shown that psilocybin drastically alters thought pathways by increasing the creation of new brain cells or “neurogenesis” and creates a state of hyperconnectivity between brain networks. It’s believed that this along with eating cooked food is responsible for the doubling of the hominid brain in a relatively short time evolutionarily speaking. The theory is that the consumption of psilocybin allowed early hominids to think outside the box.

It’s argued that over the course of time this led to technological advancements and sparked human evolution in the creation of ideas like religion, language, spirituality and cultural traditions. This theory is supported by the fact that many other species actively seek out and consume psychoactive substances. Well known examples include the reindeer of Siberia and North America eating Amanita Muscaria mushrooms. Dolphins seek out pufferfish to be exposed to their psychotropic venom. Jaguars eat the leaves, vine, and root of the hallucinogenic Caapi plant. It’s hard to definitively say why other species do this but the truth remains that psychedelic substances have had a profound effect on human evolution and it can only be assumed that it has done the same for the consciousness of many other species.

Use of psilocybe mushrooms can be traced to many ancient cultures like the Egyptians and the Greeks. Many indigenous cultures in Central America believed mushrooms were a means of communicating with the gods. The Nahuatl language used by the Maya and Aztec referred to mushrooms as the Teonanácatl or “flesh of the gods.” They believed mushrooms were given to them by the serpent god Quertzocoatl, who was worshiped by all these cultures as the creator of life.

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