Magic Mushrooms found in cave painting...

Amanita_muscaria_magic-mushroomsA recently discovered cave painting in a cave near the Spanish town of Villar de Humo (if my high school Spanish is holding up that means “Village of Smoke”.  By the end of this story that will be a very enjoyable piece of serendipity) suggests that humans have been using mushrooms in Europe for thousands of years.

In the mural of Selva Pascuala, there is an awful lot of attention paid to the bull (believed to be an animal these people worshiped). 

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shr660s-c36seBut it is the grouping of thirteen little red mushrooms in the lower right hand corner that has been getting all the attention.  Biologists and anthropologists, such as Brian Akers at Pasco-Hernando Community College in New Port Richey, Florida, and Gaston Guzman at the Ecological Institute of Xalapa in Mexico believe that the objects are the fungi Psilocybe hispanica, a local species with hallucinogenic properties.

news_prehistorischemens_drugs_178The appearance of the mushrooms in the mural, thought to be of religious significance, offers to anthropologists further evidence that primitives cultures have always used hallucinogens, such as the “magic mushrooms” seen in ancient artwork like this (and an Algerian mural thought to be some 7000 to 9000 years old), in religious practice by more than just the shaman in religious ceremonies.

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