For as long as humans have been foraging for food, they have been coming into contact with natural psychedelics. For as long as they have been coming into contact with psychedelics, they have been exploring them. As long as they have been explored, they have affected our cultural and spiritual practises and beliefs.
Using clues, such as art and artefacts, we can trace how psychedelics were part of life for many ancient civilizations.
One of the earliest evidences of the status given to magic mushrooms in ancient civilisations can be found in Spain. Rock paintings depicting mushrooms dating back 6000 years suggest that they (most likely the strain Psilocybe Hispanica) were used in religious ceremonies.
Mesoamerican Mushroom Stones
It seems that our mascot Shrooma has relatives in Ancient Mesoamerica! Mayan and Aztec ‘mushroom stones’ have been found dating as far back as 3000 BC. The stones, of varying sizes, are mushroom shaped but feature different human and animal faces. It has been suggested that the trance-like expressions on their faces are evidence of their use in religious rituals, wherein participants would ‘talk to the gods’. Additionally, in Mexico, a statue depicting our very own Psilocybe Mexicana was discovered in a tomb, dating back 1,800 years!
Celtic Sweat Houses
Many cultures practice ritual with their hallucinogenics, and the Celts were no different. ‘Sweat Houses’ can be found in the Irish countryside (nearby where shrooms are known to grow), and are thought to be the setting druids chose to have their psychedelic experiences. These semi-underground, stone structures would have increased the high of the participant by encouraging sweating, which is known to intensify a trip.
Psychedelic scholars today think that all religious visions and ecstasies throughout history could have been the result of hallucinogens. An intriguing thought..
Additionally, in these ancient examples, it is just those of high status who had access to psychedelics. It’s interesting to think that today you have access the same privilege that early shamans and druids did!