Mushrooms, Myth & Mithras
The Drug Cult that Civilized Europe
Wasson and the Psychedelic Revolution
-Professor Carl Ruck, Brainwaving.com
"R. Gordon Wasson launched the 'psychedelic revolution' with his Life magazine article of 13 May 1957, in which he publicized his experience on the nights of 29-30 June, 1955, in the remote Oaxacan village of Huautla de Jiménez with the Mazatec curandera or shaman María Sabina, whose identity he tried to protect under the pseudonym of Eva Mendez, even being the first to use the embarrassing term of 'magic mushroom,' which was probably invented by the magazine's editor. As a professional international banker, he was a most unlikely candidate for this role."
Jan 18, 2010
The Road to Eleusis is lined with…mushrooms?
-North Atlantic Books Blog
"Mushrooms get a bad rap in English language and culture. We have only three words for mushrooms - fungi, toadstools, and mushrooms - and none is positive. Case in point: calling a pale complexion 'mushroomy' is distinctly unflattering.
But in other cultures, these versatile organisms are regarded with affection, respect, and even reverence. We might scoff at the phrase 'sacred mushroom,' but indigenous Mexican peoples regard certain hallucinogenic fungi as exactly that. Religions around the world have been using consciousness-altering substances in their sacred rituals for millennia. Even frankincense, a common element of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim ceremonies, has lately proven to be a mild psychoactive agent.
And then there are the Eleusinian mysteries. Considered so sacred that its participants were forbidden on pain of death to speak of them, these ancient Greek rituals have become a scholarly puzzle composed mostly of missing pieces. In The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson, chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann, and classicist Carl Ruck offer a solution..."
Nov 24, 2008
Drug Use Among Ancient Civilizations: Everybody musta got stoned
-Mharrsch, Roman Times
"Academic resistance to claims about ancient drug use outside of medical practice are not new. Carl Ruck, a tenured classical studies professor at Boston University, endures what he calls 'official silence' over similar claims.
In 1978, when Ruck collaborated with the late Albert Hofmann — the discoverer of LSD — and R. Gordon Wasson, a mycologist, to write The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secrets of the Mysteries, the idea that an important Greek ritual and secret initiation involved ingestion of a psychoactive chemical potion was extremely controversial."
Nov 2, 2008
Everybody musta got stoned
-Kevin Revolinski, Isthmus The Daily Page
"Some of us wondered in geometry class how Pythagoras came up with his famous theorem regarding the relationship between the hypotenuse and the remaining two sides of a right triangle. Madison author David Hillman has a theory about the ancient Greeks that may grate on a few nerves in the classical studies world. It comes down to this: Maybe Pythagoras was smoking something.
'Everyone,' attests Hillman, 'was using drugs, from farmers up to [Roman emperor] Marcus Aurelius.'
Hillman's new book, The Chemical Muse: Drug Use and the Roots of Western Civilization, takes a closer look at the use of drugs by the ancient Greeks and Romans."
Oct 31, 2008