• warning: Parameter 1 to theme_field() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/includes/theme.inc on line 171.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
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31082.0955

Wasson explored a critical link between human and mushroom through language. A tour de force. No longer in print.

Unlike its commonly known spawn, Huxley's orwellian synthetic superdrug, Soma is a word that originates in the Rg Veda, one of the first verse collections in Indo-European languages. It describes a god-like substance found on mountains that 'filters' the sun into visionary realms. Soma is the Noah's ark of the Rg Veda, a mystical concoction lost in time and translation, spoken of in hard to miss descriptives. Many scholars treaded before Wasson, assigning Soma's label to bhang (cannabis) or rhubarb (the verses describe it sometimes as leafless, almost always red) among many other possible botanical candidates, none have ever passed muster, except Wasson's take on it. Wasson deplores earlier discovery work and carefully constructs an argument that surmises the origin language of ours was begun in a religious practice led by priests that regularly imbibed mushrooms to achieve ecstatic states. The book cross references both the Vedas and other linguistic treatments of key words across the planet to give resonance to his arguments, plotting even the geographical movement of his adored supermyth mycodrug.

By the end of Wasson's narrative, we're only 3/4 way through the book. What follows is a large appendix chapter of source notes, each entry a few paragraphs to a page long. To propel his argument, Wasson devotes considerable energy to proving his hunches. The appendix is its own mini novel: riveting documentary evidence in quick spurts; is copiously noted. His argument that the pivotal mushroom became a legendary flay-agaric (a killer of flies and bedbugs) as a twist of linguistic 'evolution' is brilliant. When he shows rational proofs of the fly-agarics lack of effect on flies, followed by western visitors' uses of the Soma mushrooms in eastern regions the 1700s, his patterns connect. Even the pathway from Soma to the Old Testament's Apple is analyzed. The birch tree, given the moniker tree of life among northern ancient languages, is both the source of Soma's red button-tongue mushroom and the primitive form of aspirin. Wasson tracks the religion's/language's spread from forest to forest of birch through an ur-literate time passing into literate.

"The careful scholarship of the dedicated amateur mycophile R. Gordon Wasson reads like an exciting scientific detective story. Moreover, his willingness to pursue the quest through the wide range of linguistics, archeology, folklore, philology, ethnobotany, plant ecology, human physiology, and prehistory constitutes an object lesson to all holistic professional students of man."

Weston La Barre, American Anthropologist

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