The Wondrous Mushroom
The Wondrous Mushroom
Mycolatry in Mesoamerica

Press Reviews

Psychedelic Press

"His discoveries, certainly in Mesoamerica, are prescient and grounded and the republication of this book is necessary for a number of reasons. . . . it is a great book to have back on the scene and no doubt a vital starting place for anyone interested in magic mushrooms, Mesoamerican history, and the entheogenic analysis itself."

SF Weekly: Read Local

"Author Gordon Wasson triggered the psychedelic revolution, and this reprint of his classic book is an in-depth study of shamanic realities, mushrooms, and traditions that can be traced back to pre-Conquest art, architecture, and culture."

—Alexis Coe


"City Lights can be congratulated on their re-issue of Wasson’s classic of cultural history and ethnomycology.  Through his contact with Maria Sabina, the Mazatec  mushroom curandera, Wasson brought about the cultural transfusion of an ancient entheogenic ritual into the modern world. In this beautiful and generously illustrated monograph, written with his customary scholarly acumen and literary elegance, Wasson established forever the central role of the visionary teonanácatl mushroom in the religion, art and culture of the Aztecs. A book filled with wondrous details about the meaning and significance of our relationship with these fabulous fungi." -Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., Editor/Author of Sacred Mushroom of Visions

"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, 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. He and his wife Valentina Pavlovna were about to publish in that same year their Mushrooms, Russia, and History, and the magazine article was intended as advance publicity.

"This republication of his last complete book commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of that event. It also again makes available the definitive reevaluation of the role of visionary sacraments in the religions of the pre-Conquest New World.

"In the ensuing years all the leaders in the revolution sought his accolade, Terence McKenna, Andrija Puharich, Carlos Castaneda, but even though Wasson had experienced the same intense mystical visions and paranormal phenomena that they popularized, he managed to remain cordially above the fray, presiding as the patriarch of the revolution. 'I had always had a horror', he wrote, 'of those who preached a kind of pseudo-religion of telepathy, who for me were unreliable people; if our discoveries were to be drawn to their attention, we were in danger of being adopted by such undesirables.'

The success of the revolution was finalized after his death by the decision of February, 2006, of the conservative Roberts U.S. Supreme Court, in favor of the New Mexico branch of the Christian UDV Church and their ayahuasca sacrament, in which Wasson’s work on the ancient Greek Eleusinian Mystery was cited in the brief as a precedent for an orderly and beneficial religious experience induced by a psychoactive sacrament."
-Carl A.P. Ruck