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The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico: Assorted Texts

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0761835820
ISBN-10: 0761835822
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The true value of this book lies in the introductions and footnotes. These set the scene, with perceptive remarks on the diverse dramatis personae who have written about sacred mushrooms....This is a short and well-presented account of sacred mushrooms and their uses in Mexico, presenting old but fresh information that enriches the literature. (Economic Botany)

About the Author

Brian P. Akers, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, has written a number of articles on ethnomycology and fungal systematics published in scientific journals. He is a member of the Mycological Society of America and the North American Mycological Association.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: UPA (October 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761835822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761835820
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,351,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a former department mate of Dr. Akers, I had the pleasure of anticipating this book as he relayed bits of the tales within it. I was witness to his mighty effort to acquire the texts and permissions, and to work through the translations in order to assemble this unique collection of articles about the discovery and research into the phenomenon of hallucinogenic mushrooms. I began to read, prepared to find a collage of interesting pieces on mushrooms and rituals. I was taken instead on a journey, beginning with the first whispering accounts of the existence of these mushrooms and their uses, and culminating with their story rupturing through the TV screens of America and into the common culture. Dr. Akers' multidisciplinary background allows him to approach this topic from a variety of angles. His introduction escorts you gently into the world of the mushroom, the people and the cultures involved. The seven chapters are coordinated together into a delightfully cohesive work. It creates in the reader an evolution of understanding that perhaps parallels in some form what the researchers and public experienced over the decades spanned by the various publications. This is a book that will take a long time to properly sample and consider, with its multiple layers of story, backup fact and supplementary information. It is a fascinating foray for experts and laypeople alike.
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Format: Paperback
"The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico: Assorted Texts" is a must-have for mushroom fanatics wild about finding obscure Spanish-language reference papers now translated into English for the first time. Edited by Brain P. Akers, "Sacred Mushrooms" sets out to fill holes in bibliographies dating back to the sixties and seventies, digging out newly re-found scholarship on the Matlatzinca, Mixtec, Mixe, and other Central American sacred mushroom rituals from papers that are widely credited but (until now) never read. While some of the content in these rediscovered texts goes over territory well documented in Wasson-era accounts, the cultural richness of these obscure references reveals a vast depth of real shamanic knowledge, and demonstrates full breadth of Central American mushroom spirituality.

While listing the collection of texts in this volume might be enlightening to some, I think it would be more fitting to reprint some of the more tasty bits I came across, in no particular order. The first is from Walter S. Miller's research on the Mixe tonalamatl, a sacred calendric text, and its relation to the lore of sacred mushrooms. Here is a nice snippet:

"Another type of mushroom puts one to sleep, causing visions. The vision induced is always the same: two dwarfs or elves (dos enanitos o duendes), a male and a female, appear to the one who eats the mushrooms. They speak to him and answer his questions. They provide him with information as to where lost things can be found. If he has had anything stolen, these dwarfs or elves identify the thief and the location where the stolen item is hidden. If one plans a trip, he is told what kind of luck he will have."

This is just one mention of the hombrecitos, or the little men, who pervade mushroom mythology.
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Format: Paperback
that is the indigenous hallucinogenic fungus complex, are now available in English thanks to the meticulous translation from Spanish, coupled with careful editing, annotation and crucial background info preceding each chapter, all provided by biologist-mycologist/anthropologist Brian P. Akers, with the assistance of those duly acknowledged in the preface (pp. vii-xvii).
These papers were originally published between 1960 and 1972, in the classical period of ethnomycology, and are difficult to track down. They deal with some of the following topics: local folklore/ethnography; religious syncretism (Christian saints and native beliefs, deities in their pantheon existing side by side); ingestion of entheogenic mushrooms (almost exclusively Psylocibe species) for curative, divinatory purposes, or simply to be taken to "where God is" (ahí donde Dios está, p. 92, also p. 70); the role of Amerindian (shamanic) specialists (curanderos, brujos, sabíos and their female counterparts); reports of mushroom trance ('shroom speaks in the form of tlakatsitsin/hombrecitos: little men, elves, dwarves, children), etc.

Contents:

Editor's introduction pp. 1-23: a history of ethnomycology, along with a particularly interesting part about the pioneering days and persons involved (the Rekos, Schultes, Weitlaner, Johnson et al.) in the 1930-40s.

Luis Reyes G. - 'Una relacion sobre los hongos alucinantes' (1970) pp. 25-8: features comments and anecdotes from locals that Wasson gathered through the author who was a native of Anatlán.
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As a former student, I was witness to Mr. Akers ability to register information in a reasonable fashion that was not recondite. As a student with interest in Ethnomycology ,these texts present a clear fundamental knowledge base, with regards to the historicity of the subject. I would recommend this book to any one with interest in Ethnomycology. Although R Gordon Wassons findings have been widely publicized, the majority of other essays accompanying in this book were not available. For the first time to many, these esoteric texts can now be read. "The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico"
is a must read for any beginner who finds mycology a wondrous field.
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