Mushroom Cultivation Essay

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HISTORY
Hallucinogenic mushrooms have been part of human culture as far back as the earliest recorded history. Ancient paintings of mushroom-ed humanoids have been found in caves in the Saharan desert. Central and Southern America cultures built temples to mushroom gods and carved "mushroom stones". These stone carvings in the shape of mushrooms, or in which figures are depicted under the cap of a mushroom, have been dated to as early as 1000-500 B.C. The purpose of the sculptures is not certain, but these stones may have been religious objects.

The Mixtec culture of central Mexico worshipped many gods, one known as Piltzintecuhtli, or 7 Flower (his name presented in the pictoral language as seven circles and a flower) who was the god for hallucinatory plants, especially the divine mushroom. The Vienna Codex (or Codex Vindobonensis) (ca 13th-15th century) depicts the ritual use of mushrooms by the Mixtec gods, showing Piltzintecuhtli and 7 other gods holding mushrooms in their hands.1

The Aztec people had a closely-related god of the entheogens. Xochipilli, Prince of Flowers, was the divine patron of "the flowery dream" as the Aztecs called the ritual hallucinatory trance. The Aztecs used a number of plant hallucinogens including psilocybian mushrooms (teonanácatl), morning glory seeds, Datura (tlapatl or toloache) , Peyote (peyotl), and mixitl grain. They may have also used plants such as Salvia divinorum2. Psilocybian mushrooms were used in ritual and ceremony, served with honey or chocolate at some of their holiest events.3

With Cortez's defeat of the Aztecs in 1521, the Europeans began to forbid the use of non-alcohol intoxicants, including sacred mushrooms, and the use of teonanácatl ('wondrous mushroom', or 'flesh of the gods'4) was driven underground.

In the mid 16th century, Spanish priest Bernardino de Sahagún wrote of the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms by the Aztecs in his Florentine Codex :

    "The first thing to be eaten at the feast...

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