Amanita Caps and Shamanism
Excerpted with permission from Mushrooms & Mankind by James Arthur
A look into the world mythologies reveals numerous claims of beings that have ascended beyond death into a spiritual dimension. A spiritual realm which is attainable through a quest, or search, for that illusive elixir of immortality. By virtue of this being so cosmopolitan throughout ancient documents, there appears to be a type of extreme importance to this life-quest. Also we must assume a historical common source, which appears to be, the indigenous natural practice of Shamanism. Certainly, before man could even write, let alone establish any sort of organized religion, those primitive humans fortunate enough to happen upon plants that expanded consciousness, suddenly became aware of something beyond the normal physical reality. This realization must have developed a new contemplation of death, and a desire for the individual to achieve immortality, and even to have a type of mythic hero’s adventure along the way. This ascension beyond death mythology is also constantly found in the same context as plant entheogens, which produce the “death experience” (the function of the elixir). This receiving of the death experience, to conquer death spiritually, is the core study and practically the definition of Shamanism. Especially when compared to most spiritual traditions, which downplay, repress, or otherwise completely obscure any and all references to the usage of entheogeinc plants, within the doctrinal belief system they profess to practice. This, in itself, is the core of the oppression of the natural indigenous spirituality, as it is, in its full fruition. The religious/societal oppression must be recognized as dogmatic, and repressive in nature by exposing the suppression of diverse individual human drives and fulfillment. Replacing natural human instincts to [1)Expand consciousness. 2) Heighten awareness. 3) Experience plant substances. 4) Freely enjoy sexuality. 5) Engage in rhythmic dance and trance.] with a societal model of moral judgments towards the freedom of these expressions, condemning them as a universal truth, and usurping authority to relinquish them to the nature of soul condemning sin is an absolute atrocity against mankind.
The nature of the hero’s journey towards immortality also is associated with the search for an ultimate truth , of which finding, is a necessary step toward this goal of immortality. This also is a step taken in Shamanism, which the plant entheogens are known to teach, if one is able to understand. It is this teaching, which must strip away that which is in conflict with the natural indigenous makeup of the individuals seeker’s belief system. Tuning the mind towards the higher frequency vibrations, which must be attuned to, in order to conquer death on a Spiritual (which is also physical) level. When the physical body dies, the Spirit is thought to wake, if the hero is able to make this happen. This is the practice of Shamanism, the journey into the death experience, the deep psychological introspection/judgment through plant induced states, in preparation for the inevitability of the ultimate event, the crowning glory of life itself, death. This is at the forefront of the Shamanic practice, rather than a quest relegated to the deity one worships. It resides at the core of individual experience.
One experiences heaven and hell, and all points in-between. The hell being mostly experienced as one recognizes, and then rejects (sometimes kicking and screaming) the deceptions accepted into one’s cosmological belief system. Especially where these beliefs are deeply imbedded through years of societal conditioning, and are in direct contradiction with that indigenous spiritual nature of man. They become a second nature thought process, of which everything “one believes” relies upon, as the self manifested, yet culturally conditioned, as their foundation of existence. Much of the conflict between culturally imbedded belief and the naturally experienced indigenous nature of humanity revolves around sexuality. Freud was adamant in his thesis, wherein society must suppress, repress and fully renounce the instinctual drives in order for cultural advancement (this is recognition of the motivation behind patriarchal systems). According to Wilhelm Reich: “Freud’s basic idea is that cultural achievements result from sublimated sexual energy, indicating that sexual suppression, or repression, is an indispensable factor in establishing any culture. Now there is already historical proof that this concept is erroneous, for there are highly cultured societies in which sexual suppression is non-existent and whose members enjoy completely free sexual lives. Thus is the nature of indigenous societies. It was precisely my attempts at a sex-political criticism of culture that gave weight to our very first differences of opinion.” (Italics mine) Wilhelm Reich was talking about this very oppression of humanity’s indigenous and natural spirituality, through an attack on individual freedom at its root source, sexuality. Freud’s concept is a simple description of Patriarchal, sex-negative, entheogen denying, religious systems. That philosophy which is carried forward, and enforced by governmental regulation. A clear separation of church and state certainly must excise any attempt toward governmental sexual regulation, outside the scope of rape. And the same must not regulate the ingestion of plant entheogens, which are spiritual in nature. It is the very nature of the established religious/political bond which perpetuates the sex-negative, consciousness repressive society. This repression of mind and body, enforced by religious/governmental genocide, of all who resist their attempts at conversion, is exactly that life-force in human beings which is crying out from the past for retribution and reestablishment as the true spiritual human nature exiled. It is also always the quest of the hero to free friends, family and the world from an oppressive damaging tyrant or government. Of course one must first recognize that the tyranny exists, and why. This is the quest that must be carried on, and it should not be taken lightly. It is not an easy task, ever. Yet it is the quest of every human incarnated. The degree to which one accepts the task is oftentimes determined by how much a person is aware of their surroundings, the repressive nature of their environment, and whether or not they possess, and are not afraid to express, a sincere desire to do something about it. It is the very deep conditioning, and abstract yet convincing supposed logic, that holds grip upon most of the culturally initiated, in order to keep them in tow, as faithful servants of that very nature which creates spiritual conflict, and forces beings into reincarnation. Spiritual Death is that which consumes those who are not in contact with indigenous spirituality (which incorporates full individual freedom) but choose, consciously or unconsciously, to be the repressed and the repressors. Wilhelm Reich was imprisoned, died mysteriously thereafter, and his books confiscated and burned in the incinerators in New York by the FDA, in an attempt to stamp out once again the uprising of the indigenous natural spirituality of humanity, as it tries to break free of the corporate/religio-governmentally enforced repression.
Shamanism affords one the opportunity to experience these death and rebirth experiences, as practice for conquering actual death, as well as to receive the indigenous teaching that can be passed on to those interested in doing the same. That this indigenous teaching recognizes the repression of the human soul, on a global level, should not be surprising. Each individual knows within themselves the natural path, and is wounded spiritually through past life experiences of repression. This is imbedded into the psyche, and manifests as a fear of those authority figures pushing this repression, or a fear of challenging them. It is amazing the resistance an individual can muster to a reshaping of their belief system. Fiercely humans hold to their beliefs, rejecting anything that challenges their paradigm. Even to the point of becoming themselves the enforcers of their own oppression. This is exactly that process which one goes through at death. The inability to let go of repressive belief, is the conflict which forces death and rebirth, holding one within the revolving door of incarnation. Which the indigenous Shaman, writers of the Hindu Vedas, call Samsara (the wheel of life).
So Shamanism does operate on an individual basis. The teachings are in direct opposition to those societal, religious and political norms. The industrial revolution, high technology, and the established patriarchal systems of Society have consciously attempted to stamp out the indigenous natural cultures of the planet, under the guise of civilizing the savage man. I for one am not buying it. If there is to be some type of rebirth of the planet, global enlightenment, an entry into a golden age, it must be centered around the true nature of mankind, and not a rehashing of the same old fake status-quo. There will never be a global awakening which reveals everything religion has taught us about sin, guilt and repression of natural desires was right all along. The worse case scenario is this oppressive religio-governmental society gains more and more control and ability to enforce their beliefs on more individuals. A literal hell-on-earth is the end result. This will continue this situation, where that true indigenous spirituality cries from the deepest recesses of each of our souls, and the over-soul of humanity itself, to be set free, and we owe it to future generations not to let this happen to them.
The Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric) is the cornerstone of Shamanism, producing the quintessential death and rebirth experience. Despite the fact that Shamanism, by nature, rejects the yokes of patriarchal religion, Shamanism is the cornerstone of all Religions. Yet religion, as we have it today, by its very nature, has completely lost the natural indigenous freedom it professes to impart, the Natural Indigenous spiritual awakening for each individual by the plant of immortality, the most ancient of all spiritual traditions. In fact the key to the individual’s quest for immortality. This event is also the awakening of the Spiritual being, which, although professed by most religious organizations, has an actuality that is seldom realized. Even Shamanism, in its various forms, is certainly not without its patriarchal sub-groups, and sex-negative branches, all things can be polluted, and in this world it seems that anytime something good rises to the surface, the desire of man to gain control and power winds up ruining it. It is possible to cut through and discard these corruptions, this is the way to get at the real nature of what religion should be all about. There must be meat and matter discovered somewhere in the historical roots of human consciousness which gave birth to the common quest mythologies of the world. This puts forward a good case for mankind’s indigenous, and most likely oldest form of natural spirituality, Shamanism.