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Gordon Wasson Soma Divine Mushroom Of Immortality Pdf 17

Gordon Wasson Soma Divine Mushroom Of Immortality Pdf 17

What is the connection between a mysterious ancient beverage, a sacred mushroom, and a pioneering ethnobotanist? In this article, we will explore the fascinating research of Gordon Wasson, who identified the soma of the Hindu Vedas as the fly-agaric mushroom, Amanita muscaria.

Gordon Wasson Soma Divine Mushroom Of Immortality Pdf 17

Who was Gordon Wasson?

Gordon Wasson was an American banker, amateur mycologist, and author who devoted his life to the study of mushrooms and their role in human culture and history. He is considered one of the founders of ethnomycology, the branch of ethnobotany that deals with the use of fungi by indigenous peoples. He was also one of the first Westerners to experience the effects of psilocybin mushrooms in Mexico, which he documented in his famous article "Seeking the Magic Mushroom" in Life magazine in 1957.

What was soma?

Soma was a ritual drink that was consumed by the ancient Indo-Aryans in India and Iran. It is mentioned in the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, as a divine substance that bestowed immortality, ecstasy, and enlightenment on those who drank it. Soma was also personified as a god, who was praised and invoked in many hymns. However, the identity of soma has been a mystery for centuries, as its original source plant or animal was lost or kept secret by the priests who prepared it.

How did Wasson identify soma as Amanita muscaria?

Wasson proposed that soma was none other than the fly-agaric mushroom, Amanita muscaria, a red-and-white spotted fungus that grows in temperate and boreal forests around the world. He based his hypothesis on several lines of evidence, such as:

  • The linguistic and cultural similarities between the Indo-Aryans and other Indo-European peoples, who also had traditions of using Amanita muscaria as a sacred or intoxicating substance.

  • The botanical and pharmacological characteristics of Amanita muscaria, which matched the descriptions and effects of soma in the Vedas. For example, soma was said to grow near water, to have a golden color, to cause exhilaration and visions, and to be filtered through wool before drinking.

  • The historical and geographical evidence that Amanita muscaria was present and used in ancient India and Iran, as well as in other regions where soma was later adopted by other religions, such as Zoroastrianism and Buddhism.

Wasson published his theory in his book Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality in 1968, which was co-authored by Sanskrit scholar Wendy Doniger. The book sparked a lively debate among scholars, some of whom supported Wasson's hypothesis, while others criticized it or offered alternative explanations for soma. The controversy continues to this day, as new evidence and arguments are presented by various researchers.

Where can I find more information about Wasson and soma?

If you are interested in learning more about Wasson and soma, you can download or read online his book Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality [here]. You can also find a free PDF version of his earlier book Soma Divine Mushroom Of Immortality [here], which contains more details and illustrations. Additionally, you can watch a documentary film about Wasson's life and work called The Pharmacratic Inquisition [here].

I hope this article has been helpful and informative for you. Thank you for reading!


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