Liberty Cap (Psilocybe Semilanceata) and Fly Agaric (Amnita Muscaria)
Many plants and fungi’ were used by ancient tribes and civilization as a means to enter the spiritual world. Ritual use of psychedelic mushrooms dates back to the Neolithic age (9500 B.C.). Cave art from Northern Italy depicts mushrooms being used by shamans and for use in sacred ceremonies. In Guatemala, a group of “mushroom statues date back to 500 B.C. and have been interpreted as evidence that the ancient people once worshipped the mushroom.” Ancient Druids of Ireland used Liberty Caps and Celtic warriors drank potions with the mushrooms before going into battle. Central and South America cultures built temples to mushroom gods. At the time of the Spanish invasion of Mexico in the 1500’s, the Liberty Cap was held sacred by the Aztecs. The mushroom gets its common name from its resemblance to the Phrygian cap.
The mushrooms contain the psychoactive compound of psilocybin. The Liberty Cap is one of the most widespread “magic mushrooms” in the world. They can grow solitary or in groups and can be found in pastures, fields and grasslands in the fall. The mushrooms produce an altered state of consciousness and hallucinations. The psychoactive in the mushroom will cause intoxication if eaten.
A documented report of magic mushroom intoxication involved a British family in 1799. The family prepared a meal with the mushrooms they picked from London’s Green Park. According to chemist Augustus Everand Brande, the family experienced symptoms with ingestion, pupil dilation, laughter, and delirium.
Fly Agaric grows all over the world and is stronger than the Liberty Cap mushrooms. Fly Agaric’s contains ibotenic acid. Shamans of N.E Asia and Siberia used this type of mushroom. Currently, Fly Agaric use is rare, but Liberty Caps are still popular.
Although the hunting for these mushrooms does occur, people not familiar with identifying Liberty Caps may eat the wrong kind of mushroom, which could be fatal. The strength of a magic mushroom depends upon the size, age, and storage, making it impossible to know the potency. Hallucinogens affect everyone differently and once you take these mushrooms, you have about nine hours to deal with the effects because a “trip” cannot be stopped. Even the smallest of mushrooms can be deemed the most potent, which is why they are deemed illegal in many countries, including the US, Canada, and all of Europe. Whether the mushrooms are fresh or dried, they have the same Class A drug status as heroin, LSD, and cocaine.
A special thanks to Fungusfun.com and Serita Stevens and Anne Bannon’s, Book of Poison.