Wapaq Amanita Preparation & History
“A koryak legend tells us that the culture hero, Big Raven, caught a whale but was unable to put such a heavy animal back into the sea. The god Vahiyinin (Existence) told him to eat wapaq spirits to get the strength that he needed. Vahiyinin spat upon the earth, and little white plants–the wapaq spirits–appeared: they had red hats and Vahiyinin’s spittle congealed as white flecks. When he had eaten wapaq, Big Raven became exceedingly strong, and he pleaded, “O wapaq, grow forever on the earth.” Whereoon he commended his people to learn what wapaq could teach them. Wapaq is the Fly Agaric, a gift directly from Vahiyinin.” – (Plants of the Gods – Richard Evans Shultes, Albert Hofmann)
Its Cap is 5-30 cm (2-10″) in diameter and is bright to blood red with a white universal veil. This universal veil will entirely cover the youngest mushrooms, will form whitish spots or warts on mature mushrooms, and may eventually wash or wear off with age. These spots often form concentric circles, although they can also appear randomly.
The Stalk is 5-20 cm (2-7″), has a ring and a bulbous base with rows of cottony patches. It is 1-3 cm (1/4 – 1 1/4″) in diameter at the base, narrowing slightly towards the cap. The stalk is white to cream colored; smooth to somewhat scaly.
The Universal Veil which causes the white spots on the cap also often forms concentric circles (usually 2-4) on the lower stalk at the top of the bulb. Additionally, a membranous Partial Veil usually forms a thin, persistent, median to superior, skirtlike ring on the stalk. Gills are free or slightly attached, crowded, broad, whitish. The mushrooms have a relationship with certain trees on wich they feed, specifically the pines, firs, and above all, the birches.
They are Common in Western North America, Europe, and Asia, although I read many comments that stated that the psycho active Amanita muscaria var. muscaria only really grows in Europe and Eurasia. The most plausible explanation for the name is this: “Named the Fly Agaric because of it’s use, when mixed with milk, as a method of killing houseflies.” Others, with a broader imagination see the “fly” in “fly agaric” as a symbol for flying (under the influence).
The psychocative constituents of A. muscaria are ibotenic acid (alpha-amino3-hydroxy-5-isoxazole acetic acid), muscamol (3hydroxy-5-aminomethy1 isoxazole), and possibly muscazone(Ott). Muscamol appears to be the primary intoxicant. After ingestion, a small amount of ibotenic acid decarboxylates into muscamol, which produces the intoxication. AMANITA MUSCARIA IS LISTED AS A POISON BY THE FDA. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO INGEST THIS PLANT OR INTRODUCE IT INTO THE HUMAN BODY IN ANY FORM.
Something you should consider before even thinking of picking them:
“Now these guys are only mildly toxic, but keep in mind that the Amanita genus has the species that cause 95 percent of all deaths from mushroom poisoning, so you damn well better know what species you’re picking. Amanita virosa (Destroying Angel), Amanita phalloides (Death Cap),…these are the deadliest mushrooms known and cause violent deaths. Apparently you only feel the poison of these bad guys TWO DAYS after you eat them, by which time stomach pumping is seldom any use. They look similar to the “good” Amanitas, so be careful.”
“…The Kamchacals gather them usually during the hottest months of July and August; they maintain that those that dry themselves in the earth, on the stalk, and that are somewhat furry and velvety to the touch on the underside of the cap have a far stronger narcotic effect than those picked fresh and strung up to dry in the air…
…The smaller mushrooms, which are bright red and covered with many white warty protuberances, are said to be far stronger in narcotic power than the larger ones, which are pale red and have few white spots.
…The usual way to consume fly-agarics is to dry them and then to swallow them at one gulp, rolled up into a ball, without chewing them; chewing fly-agarics is considered harmful, since it is said to cause digestive disturbances.” (Divine Mushroom of Immortality (Fly Agaric Kamachadal) – Canadian Whole Earth Almanac, Vol 3 (No 1) 1972 Frankfurt 1809 by Georg Heinrich von Langsdorf)
“Tatiana is the 72 year old 7th generation shaman, a member of the Evin tribe in the town of Palana. She escaped the Stalinist purge which virtually wiped out the Evin & Koryak shamans and their ancient traditional use of mukhomor (now only the very elderly use mukhomor, while the young have been seduced with vodka). Tatiana is described in Shaman magazine (Spring or Summer 1996).
TATIANA’s TEACHINGS – from notes of my August, 1994 Kamchatka trip:
Pick lone A. muscaria mushrooms, not ones in a family. Smaller ones (with open caps/veils) are stronger. Dry in the shade, preferably with a breeze, cap side up. Dig with fingers, use no knives.
Ingest dried mushrooms in odd numbers (3, 5, or parts of 3 or 5 mushrooms). Drink water. If you take a lot, you’ll be in a state of lethargy. Tell your family not to bother you for hours, a day, three days, a year. (Tatiana, because of her 7th generation shamanic status, is in a permanent state of journeying and doesn’t use Mukhomor for this purpose. She says that she can control ingestors by communicating with the mushroom inside of them.)
Three small fresh pieces of mukhomor good for sore throat and cancer. For arthritis: Place several young A Muscaria into an airtight container. Put container into a cool dark place (like a basement) until liquid comes out of mushrooms. Take a mushroom in hand, squeeze out moisture and place the pulp on arthritis. Bandage overnight. Mushroom body can be replaced in liquid and will last a long time.” – (Visit to Kamchatka (Tatiana’s Teachings) the Siberian Muscaria & Telluride Muscaria by Carter/Jo Norris)
History of use
The historical information of traditional use of this mushroom is misty at best, there are a lot of theory’s but little recorded facts. There is evidence of its use among the ancient Greeks and the proto-Hindi. Wasson suggested that the centre of the Eulisian Mysteries of Greece and the Soma of India was the Amanita Muscaria mushroom. Claudius II and Pope Clement VII were both killed by enemies who poisoned them with deadly Amanitas.. There are old reports about ritual use by shamans in Siberia and recreational use by the people in a tribe.
The mushroom was used by the native tribes of North East Asia in Siberia. The fly-agaric was in constant demand and there was a well-established trade between Kamchatka where it did grow to the Taigonos Peninsula where it did not grow at all. The Koryaks paid for them with reindeer and Lewin (1931) reported one animal was sometimes exchanged for one mushroom. The Kamchadales and Koryaks consumed from 1 to 3 dried mushrooms. They believed the smaller mushrooms with a large quantity of small warts were more active than the pale red and less spotted ones. Among the Koryaks, their women chewed the dried agaric and rolled the masticated material into small sausages which were swallowed by the men. Lewin does not report whether the women got some of the psychological response. The Siberians discovered the active principle was excreted in the urine and could be passed through the body once more. As soon as the Koryak noted his experience was passing, he would drink his own urine which he had saved for this purpose.
When the rich Koryaks “make a feast, they pour water upon some of these mushrooms, and boil them. They then drink the liquor, which intoxicates them; the poorer sort, who cannot afford to lay in a store of these mushrooms, post themselves, on these occasions, round the huts of the rich, and watch for the opportunity of the guest coming down to make water; and then hold a wooden bowl to receive the urine, which they drink off greedily, as having still some virtue of the mushroom in it, and by this way they also get drunk” (Strahlberg 1736). He continues in telling that with other tribes, where the people don’t drink the urine, the reindeer feast on it. It appears that reindeer like the effects of the mushroom too. Imogen Seger states that the use of the mushroom in Europe was banned to the underground and falsly accused of being a deadly poison and the appearance of the mushroom in folk belief functions as evidence. James Arthur goes a step further in this theory and explains the symbols in various religions and folk beliefs as Amanita influenced and evidence for a wide use of the mushroom in religion.
Odman, in 1784, first suggested that Vikings used fly-agaric to produce their berserk rages. Hawkins (1956) was convinced the Berserkers did, indeed, use fly-agaric. Going berserk occurred as follows. The Norse took the mushrooms so that the effect came on during the heat of battle or while at work. During the berserk rage they performed deeds which otherwise were impossible. The rage started with shivering, chattering of the teeth, and a chill. Their faces became swollen and changed color. A great rage developed in which they howled like wild animals and cut down anyone in their way, friend or foe alike. Afterward their mind became dulled and feeble for several days. In 1123 AD a law was passed making anyone going berserk liable for several years in jail.
Not much recorded information about historical religious use of the Fly Agaric exists. There are only a few documents from past centuries that tell briefly about the use of the mushroom by shaman. It’s difficult to find information about the traditional use of entheogens in Europe and to a degree Asia. Unlike in Middle and South America where the religious use and knowledge about it still exists in abundance. The difference is also that more than 80 % of all entheogens are native to middle and south America. Fly Agaric is probably the only real (and oldest) entheogen in Europe and Eurasia (except for the very dangerous nightshade family).
en·theo·gen [god within; god- or spirit-facilitating] a psychoactive sacramental; a plant or chemical substance taken to occasion primary religious experience.
Two interesting theory’s about our little friend:
1. Jesus was a mushroom
“Jesus is portrayed as the Son of God, sent to fulfil the role of Messiah or ‘Anointed One’ – literally, ‘one smeared with semen’. As a mushroom, the amanita muscaria does not disseminate seeds as plants do, but ejaculates microscopic spores which create a threadlike fungal network at the base of conifer trees from which thunderstorms elicit more mushrooms. Prior to knowledge of spores, lightning was thought to be the source of mushrooms and lightning was considered the fiery progenitive spears of God, hence the phallic fungi were called ‘Sons of God’.
The mushroom’s spore ejaculate leaves an oily film on the blood-red cap spotted with white thorns, hence the term ‘Messiah’ (‘Anointed One’) and allusions to thistle-entwined, bloody-browed sacrifices, such as the miraculous ‘Ram’ of Abraham (Genesis 22:13) and Jesus the thorn-crowned ‘Lamb of God’.”
(Amanita muscaria and cannabis sativa – keys to Christianity? – Jason Fitzgerald)
2. Amanita muscaria is Soma
“In the legendary biographies of some Buddhist adepts from the 2nd- and 9th-centuries there are some clues which can be interpreted to reveal that the adepts were consuming psychedelic Amanita muscaria, ‘fly agaric’, mushrooms to achieve enlightenment. This secret ingredient in the alchemical elixir they used to attain ‘realization’ was, of course, unnamed, in keeping with their vows to maintain the secrecy of their practices. Its identity was concealed behind a set of symbols, some of which appeared in the Soma symbol system of the Rg Veda, some other symbols possibly passed down from a time of earlier shamanic use of the mushroom in the forests of Northern Eurasia, and some symbols that may be unique to these Buddhist legends. The congruity of these sets of symbols from Northern and Southern Asian traditions will be shown to be reflected in the Germanic tradition in some characteristics of the Oldest God, Odin.”
(Soma siddhas and alchemical enlightenment: psychedelic mushrooms in Buddhist tradition, Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol 48 (No. 2) 1995, by S. Hajicek-Dobberstein ).