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History And Early Uses Of Magic Mushrooms

Updated: Feb 14

Mushroom depicted in the shape of a torus

How long have people been using Psilocybin mushrooms?

Magic Mushrooms have been around for thousands of years. How long exactly? No one knows for sure. How long have people been consuming them? This is not clear. How long have people been consuming them with the intention of healing or travelling to other realms? This is also not clear. However, we will still take a look at some of the earliest recorded uses throughout history and some theories about where they were first discovered.

Scenes from paintings dating back to around 7000 BCE, found in the Tin Tazarift rock-art site in Tassili, Algeria are thought to be the first recorded use of magic mushrooms. The paintings depict several humanoid figures holding mushrooms in their hands, one in particular has a bee like head and is holding handfuls of mushrooms. Of course, we cannot be too sure that whoever painted this was under the influence of magic mushrooms, or if what they are holding are even of the magic variety.

Similarly, rock paintings discovered in Spain that are believed to be around 6000 years old point towards the mushroom Psilocybe hispanica was used during specific rituals near Villar del Humo

 Rock art at Selva Pascuala in Spain appears to depict a row of mushrooms. Credit: Juan Francisco Ruiz López
Rock art at Selva Pascuala in Spain appears to depict a row of mushrooms. Credit: Juan Francisco Ruiz López

Some Ancestors Who Used Psilocybin Mushrooms

In fact, magic mushrooms have been found all over the world and are believed to have been eaten throughout history from many different cultures. Vikings are believed to have eaten the infamous Amanita Muscaria — (you know the iconic ones that have the the red toadstool with white spots?) before war and apparently the Druids ate liberty caps. The most recorded history we have on of the use of these mushrooms can be found in South and Central America.

It is believed that the Aztecs also worshipped magic mushrooms. In fact , they even had a word, Teonanácatl which translates to “God mushroom.” So, what would make a mushroom a God mushroom? Likely psilocybin's ability to help you see and connect with God — or the divine, or source, or the universe — whichever terminology suits you best. There are many Aztec paintings and sculptures depicting mushroom headed beings, potentially deities.

The Stoned Ape Theory

Famous enthobotanist and psychonaut, Terrance McKenna believes that the discovery of magic mushrooms dates back much farther than we have been led to believe and that they may in fact be the missing link when it comes to human evolution. In his book titled, The Food of the Gods, Mckenna claims that as primates moved from the trees to the savannahs they began to follow herds of animals, then they began to come across and consume magic mushrooms. McKenna points towards this idea as the missing link that caused a massive evolutionary leap from primates to humans. Interesting theory to ponder, but of course with all that has been hidden from the true origins of mankind, it would be impossible to attempt to prove this idea.

Modern History Of Magic Mushrooms

In the late 1950’s Gordon Wasson and Roger Heim, with help from Albert Hoffman were able to extract and identify two of the psychoactive drugs, psilocybin and psilocin, found in the magic mushrooms. They had collected these mushrooms from an expedition to Mexico from the Mazatec tribe. A piece titled “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” was then published in Life magazine where the details of this discovery were first published. Not long after this, mushrooms became synonymous with the hippie culture of the 60’s and 70’s. Make love, not war, right?

Since then there has been great efforts to criminalize the possession and use of these naturally growing fungi, we can’t have a nation of thinkers questioning the very fabric of their existence, and thus potentially the government, now can we? The use of magic mushrooms has the potential to offer us this rare opportunity to see things from an entirely new perspective and yes this often prompts users to begin questioning everything they have been led to believe about our planet, about society and about themselves.


Luckily in more recent years we are now seeing more scientific studies come out on the actual potential of these mushrooms to assist with healing. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies or MAPS is leading the way with groundbreaking research and a natural alternative to treat a variety of mental health ailments such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, coming to terms with death and even as an anti-addictive treatment to assist with substance addiction. We have barely scratched the surface on the potential of these magical mushrooms and all that they are capable of.

Thanks to all the research being done, the legality around these is changing giving more access to those who are open to the experience and can truly benefit from it. From microdosing to macrodosing, many people are familiar with the potential benefits of magic mushrooms, and the stigma that these are somehow dangerous drugs is lifting. We sure have come along way in a short amount of time and when it comes to magic mushrooms, the sky is not the limit. We have much more exploring to do.

Happy travels.

Much Love from your friends at The Golden Teacher.


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