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Mushrooms and Mankind: The Impact of Mushrooms on Human Consciousness and Religion Paperback – May 22, 2003


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Mushrooms and Mankind: The Impact of Mushrooms on Human Consciousness and Religion + The Sacred Mushroom and The Cross: A study of the nature and origins of Christianity within the fertility cults of the ancient Near East + Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: The Book Tree (May 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585091510
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585091515
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,157,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J Irvin on October 6, 2004
I've spent many years researching many of the ideas that James Arthur has laid out in this book. Arthur is probably the first to recognize the proper relationship between macro (Astrotheology) worship and micro (entheogen) worship.

To some who've not researched the ideas in this book, they may come across as "new agey". This could not be farther from the truth. A study of the "precession of the equinoxes" in the Oxford OED will alone tell volumes on the merit of Arthur's research.

Other recommended scholars for those skeptical:

Archarya S., G.A. Wells, Jordan Maxwell, Gordon Wasson, Clark Heinrich, Kersey Graves, Manly P. Hall, Terence McKenna, Ernest Brussenbark, Carl Ruck, Jonathan Ott, and Christian Ratsch. There is also a free video called the Pharmacratic Inquisition that may be found by doing a search online.

The bad: This book could definetly use a colour edition!

To set the record straight:

The Amanita does contain Ibotenic Acid and Muscimol. As the other reviewer mentioned, the Ibotenic Acid is decarboxylated (converted) into Muscimol when roasted or dried, and passed thru the body. Ibotenic acid is mildly toxic. There are reports of Muscarine (a poison) being found in European species at 0.0003% which is too small an amount to effect a toxic reaction. The amount of Muscarine in American species has not been studied, and could be higher.

These mushrooms should not be eaten raw. Many mycology books WRONGLY list Amanita muscaria and pantherina as poisonous.

Here are the facts from Pharmacotheon by Jon Ott:

"Deaths following the ingestion of Amanita muscaria have not been documented sufficiently to permit the conclusion that this is a lethal mushroom when ingested by healthy persons.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2002
I rate this book 5*s exclusively based upon the information contained therein. The formatting could use some polishing and it would be nice to have a hardcover available (color pictures etc.) I did manage to find Arthurs website which has many of the same images in color.
I have not seen as broad a look at the subject of Ethnomycology, as far as Amanita muscaria goes, either in contemporary writings or the classics, but I would like to see this author explore more information on Psilocybe sp. My only beef is; I would like more. I hope he has an aim to comment further in future works in regards to some of the subjects only briefly touched upon in this book. I also enjoyed the writing style and will comment that sometimes things just need to be said no matter who doesnt agree with it. Arthur says a lot, about a lot, in this book..
This is a welcomed addition to my library and I find myself commenting on the book and showing it to my friends quite often. The seemingly unrelated areas tend to grow on you and as an example understanding certain connections continues to dawn on me still. Also it is refreshing to see so many new ideas I have seen presented nowhere else. In a world becoming increasingly redundant and robotic I can see the unique combination of ideas and Philosophical viewpoints contained in this book to be revolutionary!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hoffman on August 4, 2002
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The visionary James Arthur is the opposite of the careful and straightlaced Dan Merkur in the field of the entheogen theory of the origins of religion. This book is so wide-ranging, it's hard to form a clear mental picture of its scope. Arthur has innovative coverage speculating about entheogens in Egyptian and Asian as well as Christian religion.
This subject is just getting started so there are few books and what few there are are speculative. The entheogen theory of the origin of religions *makes sense*, particularly when focusing on the specifically religious aspect of religion rather than other aspects such as political, ethical, or sociological aspects.
Scholars, including esoteric and Literalist Christian scholars, agree that entheogenic plants are basically reliable triggers for religious experiencing. Historians of religion are trying to use "psychology", "anthropology", and "sociology" to explain the origin of religions. These explanatory threads point to entheogens at the fountainhead of religion, religious experiencing, and religious myth.
This book provides some evidence but most of all provides the all-important *perspective* from which we can see how well it makes good sense to look to entheogens for the origin of mystic experiencing at the root of religion. There's really no reasonable argument against the entheogen theory of the origin of religion -- it enables a full-spectrum, integral-theory explanation of religion to finally come together.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name on November 7, 2008
As one very partial to the purported subject of this book, i.e. ethnomycology, I was extremely disappointed with this book.

My gripes:

All material is presented as fact without any sort of attempt to reference his sources. James has clearly read a lot of material, but it was just too easy to spot his predecessors because he seemed to throw in slipshod regurgitations of the well known generalities of McKenna, Wasson, Allegro and the like. There were no specifics. No ideas. And it went on and on in a very sloven mien.

The formatting and packaging of the book was sloppy and cheap.

The images were extremely poor. Some worthless. There was no numbering or labeling system for the pictures to quickly reference them from the text. This was INCREDIBLY ANNOYING because several pages had two to four pictures on them.

One of the most aggravating things about this book was the injection of completely irrelevant material: conspiratorial paranoia, self righteous indignation of traditional interpretations of religious institutions, and a few sentences dedicated to his "apparent" position as a "leading expert" in the field under discussion. If this were the case, I would have to judge, by this book, that the field is in dire straights.

My actual reaction is to give this book two stars because I enjoy this subject a lot and he does cover a lot of ground in a hundred pages and I'm sure it's difficult to get this type of research published. But the number of five-star reviews in this forum is RIDICULOUS and NOTHING about the vast and wide array of information in this book is deductively tied or considered. It's just WAY too amateurish of a product for anyone of serious intention to consider this as anything other than a curiosity.
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