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The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico: Assorted Texts Paperback – October 10, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0761835820 ISBN-10: 0761835822

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of America (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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,375,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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.

Customer Reviews

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Wilson on February 11, 2007
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Kent on May 30, 2007
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J Irvin on March 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico by Brian P. Akers, 2007.

Rarely seen papers show a diverse history of Mexican mushrooming practices

Dr. Brian Akers, Ph.D., a mycologist with an extended education in anthropology and religion, provides the English speaking world with rare papers and discussions from Spanish and French studies never before in available in English:

Luis Reyes, Roberto Escalante H. And Antonio Lopez G., Robert Ravicz, Walter S. Miller and Fernando Benitez's studies (and the added transcript from ABC's One Step Beyond, 1961, with Andrija Puharich) provide a new and expanded view and history to Mexican mushrooming practices.

Excluding Puharich, the other papers presented are mostly from people who worked or studied along with R. Gordon Wasson from 1953 to 1960 that were published in Spanish or French. Aker provides us with wonderful translations of these essential documents for understanding the history and diversity of the indigenous Mexican use of the mushrooms. And in the case of Fernando Benitez, Aker's English presentation is an illustrious read - a beautiful translation which I can only imagine, not having read the Spanish, is probably just as beautiful as the original. I must say - excellent job!

When people refer to the "Mexican mushroom cult," exactly what are they referring to? That's like attempting to explain the beliefs of Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists and Mormons as all "protestant". Or an even better example might be in comparing the beliefs of the so-called pagans: the Muslims, Celts, Druids, Mandaeans, Zoroastrians, Hindus and European tribes, etc., as just "pagan" - a clearly racist and prejudiced position. And need I even mention the word `gentile'? Each of these has widely varying rituals, practices and beliefs.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Holsapple on August 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
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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