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The Hidden World: Survival of Pagan Shamanic Themes in European Fairytales Paperback – April 30, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Carolina Academic Pr (April 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594601445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594601446
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carl A.P. Ruck is a professor of classical studies at Boston University.

Blaise Daniel Staples received a Ph.D. in Classical Studies from Boston University and is the author of four books and numerous articles.

Jose Alfredo Gonzalez Celdran is a professor of Greek at I.E.S. Valle de Leiva, Alhama de Murcia, Spain, and is the author of two books.

Mark Alwin Hoffman is the editor of Entheos: Journal of Psychedelic Spirituality.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jan Irvin on February 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Hidden World, Survival of Pagan Shamanic Themes in European Fairytales
By Carl A.P. Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples, José Alfredo Gonzalez Celdrán, and Mark Alwin Hoffman. Carolina Academic Press, 2007.

A thorough investigation of European fairy tales reveals a rich and enchanting psychedelic lore.

In this academic masterpiece, Professor Carl Ruck and his band of sleuthers (Prof. José Gonzalez, Dr. Blaise Staples and Mark Hoffman) uncover the facts regarding whether or not entheogenic drug use was prominent throughout European fairytales, legends and folklore, teasing out the intricate clues in their most thorough investigation on this topic to date.

By comparing these ancient stories and untangling the threads that seem unrelated in their weaves, we come to see that the mysteries of the entheogenic rites were not lost to the Europeans, and that European folklore is rich with evidence that should make anyone who cares to investigate the many thorough citations a believer without a doubt.

In 1968 Gordon Wasson published Soma in which he argued that the Hindu Soma of the Rig Vedas was the Amanita muscaria or fly-agaric mushroom. Wasson opted to argue in this and subsequent publications that he could find no evidence of mushroom use in European ancestry. As he states on page 176: "I shall begin by saying where in Europe's past I have not found the cult of the sacred mushroom." He then goes on to discuss witchcraft, the druids and berserkers.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Arle Lommel on July 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was passed on to me by a friend who knows I have interest in the now largely-ignored issue of survivals in folklore and in religious studies (my doctoral work was in this area). The premise is interesting enough: that folkloric materials contain remnants of shamanic ritual. Given the work done on figures such as the Hungarian táltos, there is ample reason to accept this general premise.

Unfortunately, Ruck's book is not about the survival of shamanic traces in fairytales. Rather (as anyone familiar with Ruck's writing, which I was not before reading this book, would have known), it's all about the 'shrooms dude. No occurrence of a red and white color scheme is too small, no bumpy surface too insignificant, no apparent change in mental state too trivial to be proof that lurking just beneath the surface of these tales is a cult of Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) eaters that seem to transcend time and space to be wherever Ruck needs them.

If Ruck is right, then he has the key to understanding the whole of human history from (I'm not joking) the lotophagi of the Odyssey to Super Mario Brothers. Of course, when a claim is too much to be believed (such as his statement that it is well known that Through The Looking Glass is a text about mushrooms) there are footnotes to other writings by Ruck or his coauthors to back it up. It's self-referential scholarship at its best! Everything is meticulously documented, but nothing seems to escape the gravitational pull of Ruck's Big Idea. And just when you think that there can't be a more outrageous claim about the role of mushrooms in human society, another one comes along that tops the last one.

Ultimately, I'm afraid, the issue isn't one of scholarship, but rather one of religion.
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