Mushrooms, Myth and Mithras: The Drug Cult That Civilized Europe Paperback – 1 Mar 2011
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Praise for "Persephone's Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion" by Carl Ruck et al "[This book] is the pious meditation of an inspired devotee, a religious book in the deepest sense, the credo of a passionate initiate. A delightful book to read." -- Wendy Doniger, "Times Literary Supplement"
""Mushrooms, Myth & Mithras" is an extremely well-constructed academic argument proving that it is impossible to deny the connection between the use of entheogenic substances and religious practice for generations across countries and cultures. The evidence is extremely well documented in art, literature (myths and oral storytelling), and architecture. Over time, all these forms of evidence become blended into cross-cultural metaphors and ideas that show the same information coming from multiple cultures."" -- Ian Jones, "Verbicide"
"This book is all about the evolution of European culture, from ancient times right up through the advent and dominance of Christianity--and how it all started with and depended on shrooms. . . . I feel like I took a class on the subject." -- Rio Connelly, "Slug Magazine"
About the Author
Carl Ruck is best known for his work in mythology and religion on the sacred role of entheogens as used in religious or shamanistic rituals. His focus has been on the use of entheogens in classical western culture, as well as their historical influence on modern western religions. He currently teaches at Boston University. Mark Alwin Hoffman, with degrees in Religious Studies and Philosophy from San Diego State University and based in Taos, New Mexico, is editor of Entheos: The Journal of Psychedelic Spirituality. He has written on shamanism, ancient religions, early Christianity, and the role of visionary sacraments in western mystery tradition. Jose Alfredo Gonzalez Celdran is a professor of ancient Greek based in Murcia, Spain, and is the author of Las Puertas de Moeris, an historical novel, and Homres, Dioses, y Hongos (Men, Gods, and Mushrooms) on the role of psychoactive mushrooms in myth and religion, as well as essays in collaboration with an archaeologist on entheogens.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Unlike his equally important book on Eleusis, where I found his written style sometimes to be a real pain, here this is much less evident. I think his co-authors have exerted a good influence on him and the result is a much easier read!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is symbolic of how the fly agaric would rise from the darkness (the ground) and into the light (above ground). So would the initiate start off in darkness or state of not knowing and as he would become enlightened from the revelations at the end of the trip he would rise into the light. We can see how the allegorical story of Jesus in Christianity can represent this experience of man becoming enlightened by the divine. Much as Jesus after he made the sacrifice of his life was reserrected (enlightened) three days later. Just like after the sacrifice of self by taking the mushroom one temporarily sacrifced their sanity but was enlightened or born again after it.
The book does a excellent job in explaining the parallels of the fundamental beliefs between the faiths and one begins to see how other religions also are symbolic representations of the same divine knowledge. The down side of the book though is that the author seems to see mushrooms everywhere. No-one wants to think mushrooms of the basis of everything more than me but some of his explanations seem like he's stretching it a bit. Also he tends to describe and explain many artefacts of which there are no pictures making it difficult to understand what he's talking about. In conclusion overall it's top read, enlightening and highly recommended but in parts unbeleivable and confusing. Don't read if you're fundamentalist or if you have closed mind as it might offend you.
I had only considered this cult from an astronomical perspective but there was something missing in this approach.The authors here supply the missing links and make Ulansey's thesis more complete. The authors are more convincing that the entheogenic aspect is much more logical as to why Mithrasism would appeal to the legionnaires rather than some abstract theory on the precession of the equinoxes.
The iconography is fascinating although the authors drop so many little known details from so many myths that it's hard to keep up.
The best part of the book is in the explanation of Mithrasism and its ancient appeal as illustrated through the iconography . I was less impressed with later connections to freemasonry and post-renaissance histories which I believe were added to pad the text.
The surprise came in the appendix with an account of possible survival of the cult into Kurdish communities.
They could have deleted the masonic speculation and concentrated more on this phenomena.
Mithraism was a reboot of an older religion we might call Zurvanism, which existed between 4000 BC and 2000 BC. After this, the religion was reborn under the guidance of a series of prophets called Zoroaster or Zarathustra. There was a reboot around 1400 BC, and at least two between 1000 and 0 BC, which brings us to the time of Jesus, who definitely utilized Mithraic ecclesiology if not dogma.
What the authors present is basically a two-fold religion: Mithraism is Christianity for the nobles and Christianity is Mithraism for the poor, which is to say, the guilds, because you can't have organized religion without money. A series of Magi visit Rome and initiate a series of Roman Caesars into Mithraism. One very interesting story was the initiation of Nero, during which the fire of Rome occurred and after which he blamed Christians, and crucified hundreds and perhaps thousands of them in his garden. We read about this story from Acts and various histories, but this book tells the real story: to become enlightened, Nero is convinced that he needs human sacrifice. This seems to have been a mis-interpretation of the ancient religion as passed down by the Magi themselves.
The original metaphor of sacrifice involved the ritualistic killing of the Amanita mushroom, which euphemistically was said to be the body of the god, of the priest and of the initiate. The Soma wine that was pressed from the Amanita and various other sundry drugs added to the mix was the "blood" of the god. Somehow, and we can imagine the madness of the Maenads and the berserking of the Berserkers here, the idea of actually killing people took root, and it seems that this occurred several times over the course of the history of Mithraic reboots.
The authors present many quotes of historians about medicinal herbs which Wasson, Allegro, Irvin, Ott, Hoffman (Albert), Rush, McKenna et alia have missed. I wish all of them could write a book together amalgamating their respective research. Let's remember that the overarching figure among these authors is Carl A. Ruck, who has become famous for his non-dramatic treatments of entheogenic pharmacology and what I call "Myco-Mythology".
Buy this book just because Ruck was one of the authors. You will never regret it.