Breaking the Mushroom Code

Mushrooms Encoded in Religious Art

by Carl de Borhegyi  Copyright  2017


Amanita muscaria: Mushroom of Immortality
A half century ago ethno-mycologist  Robert Gordon Wasson, author of Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality (1968, 1971), and Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Marco Allegro, author of The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (1970), both proposed the idea that the pursuit of immortality by the ancients, revolved around the covert ingestion of the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom.

According to Allegro, who first went public with his idea in 1967 (Irvin 2008, p.95), he proposed that contemporary Judaeo-Christian tradition may be traced back to primitive fertility cults associated with the adoration of the fly agaric or Amanita muscaria mushroom.

            Dead Sea Scroll scholar, John Marco Allegro:

"Thousands of years before Christianity, secret cults arose which worshiped the sacred mushroom — the Amanita Muscaria — which, for various reasons (including its shape and power as a drug) came to be regarded as a symbol of God on earth. When the secrets of the mushroom cult had to be written down, it was done in the form of codes hidden in folktales. This is the basic origin of the stories in the New Testament." (John Allegro, Sunday Mirror, April 19, 1970, p. 35).

"Paradise was for none but the favored few. The incantations and rites by which they conjured fourth their drug plants, and the details of the bodily and mental preparations undergone before they could ingest their god, were the secrets of the cult to which none but the initiate bound by fearful oaths, had access" (Allegro 1970)

The cover photo above is of an altar frontal, depicting Christ and the Twelve Apostles in the 12th century (Collection of Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona,  Note that all the Disciples are staring at what I propose are Amanita muscaria mushrooms cleverly encoded in the robe and legs of Jesus Christ. (photograph of the Amanita muscaria mushrooms by Karen Kaminsky)

Robert Gordon Wasson and his wife, Valentina Pavlovna Wasson, postulated the existence of a belief system, shared by both continents, that was so ancient that its most basic elements may have been carried to the New World with the first human settlers. The origin of this Pan American belief system, they believed, was early man's discovery of the mind-altering effects of various hallucinatory substances found in nature, among them the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The Wassons surmised that our own remote ancestors worshiped and venerated a divine mushroom god perhaps 6000 years ago (Furst, 1972, reissued 1990, p.187) ( Mushrooms, Russia and History  (1957),


              According to Wasson:

"The Nahua [Aztecs] before the Spaniards arrived called them [mushrooms] God's flesh, teonanacatl. I need hardly draw attention to a disquieting parallel, the designation of the Elements in our Eucharist: "Take, eat, this is my body ..."; and again,  "Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of  thy dear son..." But there is one difference. The orthodox Christian must accept on faith the miracle of the conversion of the bread into God's flesh: that is what is meant by the doctrine of transubstantiation. By contrast, the mushroom of the Nahua carries its own conviction: every communicant will testify to the miracle that he has experienced (Peter T. Furst 1972,  pp191-192).

Wassan expressed it best when he wrote this about the Amanita muscaria mushroom:

"Here was the Secret of Secrets of the Ancients, of our own remote forebears, a Secret discovered perhaps sporadically in Eurasia and again later in Mesoamerica. The Secret was a powerful motive force in the religion of the earliest times (Wasson 1980, p. 53)    

Allegro an Oxford-educated scholar was assigned to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran in 1947.  He believed that the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, known as the Essenes, were religiously consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms, specifically the Amanita muscaria mushroom in their rituals. Allegro surmised that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was the original sacrament of the Eucharist, that formed the basis of early Christian doctrines, including the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

            Quoting Allegro:

"The dream of man is to become God. Then he would be omnipotent; no longer fearful of the snows in winter or the sun in summer, or the drought that killed his cattle and made his children’s bellies swell grotesquely. The penis in the skies would rise and spurt its vital juice when man commanded, and the earth below would open its vulva and gestate its young as man required. Above all, man would learn the secrets of the universe not piecemeal, painfully by trial and fatal error, but by a sudden, wonderful illumination from within. But God is jealous of his power and his knowledge. He brooks no rivals in heavenly places. If, in his mercy, he will allow just a very few of his chosen mortals to share his divinity, it is but for a fleeting moment. Under very special circumstances he will permit men to rise to the throne of heaven and glimpse the beauty and the glory of omniscience and omnipotence. For those who are so privileged there has seemed no greater or more worthwhile experience. The colours are brighter, the sounds more penetrating, every sensation is magnified, every natural force exaggerated." "For such a glimpse of heaven men have died. In the pursuit of this goal great religions have been born, shone as a beacon to men struggling still in their unequal battle with nature, and then too have died, stifled by their own attempts to perpetuate, codify, and evangelize the mystic vision."

Allegro’s research on mushroom religious symbolism, along with his reputation as a scholar, was thoroughly disparaged at the time his work was published. Many of his assertions, such as the claim that Jesus did not exist as a historical figure, did indeed challenge conventional religion. However, in the past fifty years new evidence has made many of his assertions seem less shocking and outrageous. His writings are now being re-evaluated and, rather than simply being dismissed as sacrilegious nonsense, are again being considered worthy of consideration.

           According  to Allegro:

"Our present study [deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls] has much to do with names and titles. Only when we can discover the nomenclature of the sacred fungus [Amanita muscaria mushroom] within and without the cult, can we begin to understand its function and theology. The main factor that has made these new discoveries possible has been the realization that many of the most secret names of the mushroom go back to ancient Sumerian, the oldest
written language known to us, witnessed by cuneiform texts dating from the fourth millennium B.C. Furthermore, it now appears that this ancient tongue provides a bridge between the Indo-European languages (which include Greek and Latin, and our own tongue) and the Semitic group, which includes the languages of the Old Testament, Hebrew and Aramaic. For the first time, it becomes possible to decipher the names of gods, mythological characters, classical and biblical, and plant names. Thus their place in the cubic systems and their functions in the old fertility religions can be determined".

Like Wasson, and Allegro, the author's study would strongly indicate that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was one of the principal entheogenic substances through which humans aspired to ecstasy and communion with the gods. Like the god plant Soma of ancient Vedic-Hinduism, the ancient god myths of Mesoamerica contain a  sacramental food or beverage associated with sacrifice and immortality.  I  have found sufficient visual evidence in the art of Mesoamerica and South America to identify this sacramental food as an hallucinogenic substance, most notably, the Amanita muscaria  mushroom. Wasson identified this colorful mushroom as the God plant known as Soma from the Rig Veda, the world's oldest religious texts (ten books) consisting of over a thousands sacred hymns (mid second millenium B.C.E.). As such it was the inspiration of many religious ideas throughout both the Old and New World.  

           Quoting R. Gordon Wasson:

"the Soma of the Rig-Veda becomes incorporated into the religious history and prehistory of Eurasia, its parentage well established, its siblings numerous. Its role in human culture may go back far, to the time when our ancestors first lived with the birch and the fly-agaric, back perhaps through the Mesolithic and into the Paleolithic" (from Furst, 1976 p. 103).

The great religions of the Old World are derived from Vedism, the Vedas being the sacred texts that were introduced into the Asian subcontinent around 1500 BCE. by the so called Aryans (Sanskrit for noble) that postdated the Harappa/Indus civilization. Harappan civilization, the earliest in South Asia flourished approximately 2500-1500 BCE.  The Vedas being the sacred texts of the Aryans, covering the hymns of esoteric knowledge and rituals based on supernatural revelations, dating back to approximately 3500 BCE., that include the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda, and the Yajur Veda. According to Wasson:

Amanita muscaria mushrooms (Soma) encoded in heads of Harappan fertility goddesses. The use of mushroom imagery in connection with the head in areas as far distant as Southeast Asia and Central Mexico, is both striking and intriguing.

On the left is a female figurine from the Harappa culture, Indus Valley civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE). The female figurine on the right is from Puebla, Mexico, Tlatilco an Olmec influenced culture, Early-Middle Preclassic period 1300-800 B.C.E.  Both female figurines depict vulva shaped legs and hips and headdresses that encode Amanita muscaria mushrooms. In Zoroastrian religion, the same sacred plant god was known as Haoma. Like Soma, this plant deity played a major role in Persian culture and mythology

Standing female figurine from the Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa Culture 3rd–2nd century B.C.  20.3 cm (8 in.) Terracotta, modeled face and hand-modeled body Classification: Sculpture Type, sub-type: Figure Indian, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, John Wheelock Eliot Fund Accession number: 27.135 Provenance/Ownership History: Purchased by the MFA in 1927. Standing female figurine from Tlatilco culture, Puebla, Mexico, Early-Middle Preclassic periods, 1300-800 B.C. Dimension: 6.75in x 0in x 0in 17.145cm x 0cm x 0cm Purchased with funds provided by The Lake Family Endowment 2000.017.005 (


Mycolatry: is a term used to describe the study of Mushroom Worship; specifically, worship of the entheogenic mushroom species in proto and prehistory as a means for communicating in grave circumstances with the Almighty Powers (Wasson, 1980 p.XIV).


Above on the right is a Maya figurine (300-900 C.E.) photographed by Justin Kerr (K656a).  The figurine wears a headdress that I believe encodes the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The figurine's contorted face depicts the "Olmec snarl", a common motif in Olmec art that I believe metaphors the mushroom's effect of jaguar transformation and the soul's mythical underworld journey.  The figurine holds in his hands a concave mirror.  Mirrors were used by shamans to see into the past and future and communicate with ancestors and gods. I believe that in many, if not most cases, this communication was conducted under the influence of visionary mushrooms.

While one can argue that the simultaneous appearance of encoded mushroom imagery in both the early cultures of the Old World and that of the New World, is just a coincidence "Hidden in Plain Sight"  there are other, more complex, similarities to follow that suggest possible transpacific contacts between the two areas.

I believe the key to this entire belief system lies, as proposed by Wasson, in early man's discovery of the mind-altering effects of various hallucinatory substances. The accidental ingestion of these hallucinogenic substances could very well have provided the spark that lifted the mind and imagination of these early humans above and beyond the mundane level of daily existence to contemplation of another reality.

             Quoting Gerald Messadie, author of, "The History of the Devil"....

"The equilibrium of the world was maintained through sacrifices and the ritual offering of Soma, the juice of a plant that could well have been Amanita muscaria or Amanita phalloida mushrooms. The meaning of that rite is worthy of reflection: The world exists only on condition that humans inebriate themselves on certain fixed dates and circumstances, thus partaking of the nature of gods. This is the basic principle of the Greek mysteries, and it is also the basis of Judaism's reactive hatred of drunkenness" (Gerald Messadie, 1997, p.38-39)

Franciscan friar Diego de Landa recorded that the Maya drank intoxicating beverages at every ritual occasion. Quoting the late Maya archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley: "The drunkenness reported by the Spanish was undoubtedly related to an aspect of Maya ritual not well described in the ethnohistorical documents" (Morley, Sharer, 1983, p.483).

While reading through one of my father's letters to Gordon Wasson, I found that he had quoted an interesting passages from one of the native chronicles written sometime around 1554, that mentions a connection between trees and mushrooms and to the indigenous use of mushrooms in Guatemala, from The Annals of the Cakchiquels,  (1953:82-83), records:

"At that time, too, they began to worship the devil.  Each seven days, each 13 days, they offered him sacrifices, placing before him fresh resin, green branches, and fresh bark of the trees, and burning before him a small cat, image of the night.  They took him also the mushrooms, which grow at the foot of the trees, and they drew blood from their ears.?

It so happened that my father, Maya archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi, better known simply as Borhegyi, was in Guatemala organizing the vast archeological collections acquired over the years by the Carnegie Institution of Washington archaeological team. He had discovered many mushroom-shaped sculptures in the collections and found them so intriguing that he prepared a monograph about them. When Gordon Wasson heard about Borhegyi’s research he contacted him and the two began a  close collaboration, (over 500 letters) sharing information that led them to conclude that a mushroom cult based on the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom had existed in Guatemala as early as 1000 B.C.E.

Wasson published Borhegyi’s mushroom stone monograph in his famous book, Russia, Mushrooms, and History  (Wasson and Wasson, 1957) (Borhegyi de, S.F., 1957b,  "Mushroom Stones of Middle America," in Mushrooms, Russia and History  by Valentina P. Wasson and Robert G. Wasson, eds. N.T.)

            Quoting Stephan F. de Borhegyi:

"My assignment for the so-called mushroom cult, earliest 1,000 B.C., is based on the excavations of  Kidder and  Shook at the Verbena cemetery at Kaminaljuyu. The mushroom stone found in this Pre-Classic grave, discovered in Mound E-III-3, has a circular groove on the cap. There are also a number of yet unpublished mushroom stone specimens in the Guatemalan Museum from Highland Guatemala where the pottery association would indicate that they are Pre-Classic. In each case the mushroom stone fragments has a circular groove on the top. Mushroom stones found during the Classic and Post-Classic periods do not have circular grooves. This was the basis on which I prepared the chart on mushroom stones which was then subsequently published by the Wassons. Based on Carbon 14 dates and stratigraphy, some of these  Pre-Classic finds can be dated as early as 1,000 B.C. The reference is in the following".....(see Shook, E.M. & Kidder, A.V., 1952. Mound E-III-3, Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala; Contributions to American Anthropology & History No. 53 from Publ. 596, Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. letter from de Borhegyi to Dr. Robert Ravicz, MPM archives 1 December 1960 )

Borhegyi, an emigrant from Hungary with a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology and Egyptology from the Peter Paszmany University in Budapest, had been invited to Guatemala to study American archaeology by the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Working under a grant provided by the then Viking Fund of New York (subsequently the Wenner Gren Foundation) his project was to catalog the extensive archaeological collections of the Guatemalan National Museum. 


Borhegyi's proposal of an ancient Maya mushroom cult met with limited, highly skeptical acceptance at best, among his archaeological colleagues. Few in the Mesoamerican archaeological community seriously considered the possibility that the mushroom sculptures had an esoteric religious significance.

           Quoting Maya archaeologist Sir J. Eric S. Thompson:

"I had heard of the theory that these stones might represent a narcotic mushroom cult, but I would think it a difficult theory to prove or disprove... I know of no reference to their use among the Maya, ancient or modern" (Thompson to de Borhegyi, March 26,1953, MPM Archives).

Despite the reluctance of the archaeological community to accept a theory of a mushroom cult among the ancient Maya, Borhegyi supported this theory with a solid body of archaeological and historical evidence. From the time of their initial meeting in Guatemala in 1953 until my father's untimely death in 1969, the two scientists worked in close cooperation and shared a voluminous correspondence of over 500 letters. As the result of their collaborative efforts, as well as Wasson's extensive research into mushroom symbolism in Siberia and Southeast Asia, they surmised that if the mushroom stones did, indeed, represent a mushroom cult, then the mushroom itself was an iconographic metaphor, and the mushroom stone effigies would supply the clues necessary to decipher their meaning.

Borhegyi de, S.F. 1960, "Mushroom stone Discoveries". Amatitlan Field Report, MPM.

Borhegyi de,  S.F., 1961, "Miniature mushroom stones from Guatemala,” American Antiquity, vol. 26: 498-504.

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1962,  “The Enigmatic Mushroom Stones of Mesoamerica”,  in Middle American Research Records, Vol 20, No.2,:40-52, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Borhegyi de, S.F., 1963, “Pre-Columbian pottery mushrooms from Mesoamerica”,  in American Antiquity, vol. 28:328-338.

It is strange that, in the more than half century after Stephan de Borhegyi published his first articles on Maya mushroom stones and proposed their use in connection with Maya psychogenic mushroom ceremonies, little attention was paid to this intriguing line of research. It wasn't as if Borhegyi’s proposal of a mushroom cult wasn't well grounded in substantial, verifiable evidence. Besides citing his own and others’ archaeological studies, Borhegyi referred frequently to writings by the early chroniclers who witnessed and recorded what they saw of native mushroom ceremonies during the early years of the Spanish Colonial occupation. Their first-hand reports tell us that the Aztecs ate mushrooms or drank a mushroom beverage in order to induce hallucinatory trances and dreams. During these dreams they reportedly saw colored visions of jaguars, birds, snakes, and little gnome-like creatures.

It may well be that this denial is related to the worldview classification scheme established by Wasson, in which he distinguished between peoples and cultures that liked mushrooms (mycophiles) and those that feared them (mycophobes) (Wasson, 1980: XV). This classification might be extended to include all psychogenic or mind-altering substances with the exception of alcohol. Their use in the Western world is still considered to be objectionable, immoral and, for the most part, illegal. In any event, it is clear that, while the Pre Columbian peoples of Mesoamerica were decidedly mycophilic, the majority of archaeologists who have studied them are mycophobes. As a result, their centrality to ancient Mesoamerican religious rituals has been either shunned or, at best, barely acknowledged.

             Quoting Gordon Wasson:


"Some Middle American specialists may challenge my assumption of a connection between the "mushroom stones", which ceased to be made centuries before Columbus arrived on these shores, and today's surviving mushroom cult." .... "For years I had only an assumption to go on , but now, thanks to discoveries made by the late Stephan F. de Borhegyi  and us, I think we can tie the two together in a way that will satisfy any doubter"   (Wasson,1972:188n)   

In 1969 Stephan de Borhegyi died in an automobile accident.  Wasson, no longer able to continue his fruitful collaboration with Borhegyi on Mesoamerica, continued his earlier studies of mushrooms in East Indian religion and mythology.  While by this time many anthropologists and archaeologists had accepted the  idea that mushrooms and other hallucinogens were used in ancient Mesoamerica, their use was, in most cases, dismissed as relatively incidental and devoid of deeper significance in the development of Mesoamerican religious ideas and mythology.  With a few exceptions, notably the research and writings of ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst, further inquiry into the subject on the part of archaeologists came to a virtual halt.  Fortunately, a few mycologists, most notably Bernard Lowy and Gaston Guzmán, (2002:4; 2009) continued through the years to make important contributions to the scientific literature. To this day, the subject remains relatively little known and generally missing from the literature on Mesoamerican archaeology, art history, and iconography.

Inspired by Borhegyi's and Wasson's theories, I discovered that mushrooms are not only frequently identifiable in the prehistoric art of the Old and New World, but that in Mesoamerica in particular, they played a major role in the development of indigenous religious ideology, and that both the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom and the Psilocybin mushroom were worshiped and venerated as gods in ancient Mesoamerica.

Mesoamerica: is a term that "defines those areas of Mexico and Central America that witnessed the development of advanced pre-Columbian civilizations such as the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Toltec, Mixtec, and Aztec, all of which shared a number of interrelated cultural traits involving religious concepts, ritualism, architecture, arts, and crafts, hieroglyphic writing, and calendrics" (Paul Kirchhoff, 1942) (Charles Gallenkamp, 1959, revised 1985 p.3)

Quoting R. Gordon Wasson:

"I believe the whole corpus of surviving pre-conquest artistic expression should…be reviewed on the chance that divine mushrooms figuring therein have hitherto escaped detection”.  (from Thomas, 1993 p.644 11-17n)
Now, after more than a half century of virtual denial by the anthropological community, the author is able to present undeniable visual evidence of the centrality of hallucinogenic substances, and in particular the Amanita muscaria mushroom, in religion and iconography. The two species of hallucinogenic mushrooms most illustrated (encoded) were the Amanita muscaria mushroom and the psilocybin mushroom. Both mushrooms are discussed in relation to their veneration in both the Old World, and the New World, and their relationship to the symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis.

"Hidden In Plain Sight" is  dedicated to Gordon Wasson, and to the author's father archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi, who based his theory of a mushroom cult among the ancient Maya on his identification of a mushroom stone cult that came into existence in the Guatemala Highlands and Pacific coastal area around 1000 B.C. along with a trophy head cult associated with human sacrifice and the Mesoamerican ballgame.


(click above)

                 Quoting Michael D. Coe,  today's unofficial  "Dean of Maya studies"

 "These peculiar objects , one of which was found in an E-III-3 tomb, are of unknown use. Some see vaguely phallic association. Others, such as the late Stephan de Borhegyi, connect them with the cult of the hallucinogenic mushrooms still to this day prevalent in the Mexican highlands, and it is claimed that the mortars and pestles with which the stones are so often associated were used in the preparatory rites" (The Maya, 1993 fifth edition, by M.D. Coe, p. 60).


If the identification of the Vedic god Soma, the so-called mystery plant described in the Rig Veda is in fact the Amanita muscaria mushroom, first proposed by Gordon Wasson, then there can be little doubt that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was indeed the model for the numerous small stone sculptures found in the New World known as Maya "mushroom stones."    

The late great Mexican mycologist Dr. Gaston Guzmán (personal communication) also confirmed the belief shared by Borhegyi and Wasson, that the mushroom stones from Mesoamerica were modeled  after the Amanita muscaria mushroom (Guzmán, 2002:4).

Quoting anthropologist Peter Furst:

"The connection between these [mushroom] sculptures and the historic mushroom cults of Mesoamerica has not always been accepted. Though many mushroom stones are quite faithful to nature, they were, until recently, not even universally thought to represent mushrooms at all, and a few die-hards even now, in the face of all the evidence, reject this interpretation." (Furst, 1972)




           Quoting Ethno-mycologist  R. Gordon Wasson:

“There is nothing incompatible between the mushroom stones and the ball game. Those who have mastered the mushrooms arrive at an extraordinary command of their faculties and muscular movements: their sense of timing is heightened. I have already suggested that the players had ingested the mushrooms before they entered upon the game. If the mushroom stones were related to the ball game, it remains to be discovered what role they played”. (Wasson, from Mushrooms Russia & History, p. 178)


Pottery mushrooms dating to the middle or late Pre-Classic period have been found with figurines of ballplayers at the archaeological sites of Tlatilco in Burial 154 (Trench 6), and at Tlapacoya in the Valley of Mexico ( Borhegyi 1980). The pottery mushroom was found near the figurine of an acrobat suggesting that mushrooms may have been consumed to induce the super-heroic athletic ability and agility. It's important to note that the pose of the acrobat might represent an East Indian or Hindu yoga posture or a version of the “Dhanur Asan” “Vrischika Asan” which is an advanced yoga posture for people doing “Sheersh Asan”. Pottery shaped mushrooms  were likely used in bloodletting rituals. (Photographs copyright de Borhegyi)

Pre-Columbian pottery shaped mushrooms are reported to have been found in El Salvador, and Guatemala in both the highlands and the lowland Maya rain forest and in Mexico in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and Veracruz. For more on pottery mushrooms see Borhegyi de, S.F., 1963, “Pre-Columbian pottery mushrooms from Mesoamerica”,  in American Antiquity, vol. 28:328-338.

Pottery mushrooms have also been excavated at Pre-Classic Maya Lowland sites like El Mirador and Berriozabal, and in 1962 archaeologist Richard E. W. Adams reported finding several pottery mushroom specimens in the Maya Rain forest at the Olmec influenced site of Altar de Sacrificios (Borhegyi, 1963 Vol.28, No.3, p.330).

The famous bronze statue on the left, of a young women sporting a club-like hand, is from Harappa, early Indus civilization and thought to be about 4,500 years old. The standing female figurine on the right, represents a female ballplayer from ancient Mexico wearing a protective helmet, and club-like glove and wears what may be  a mushroom-inspired ballgame protective cup and belt.  (For more on "knuckle dusters" or  ballgame hand stones and ballgame gloves see de Borhegyi, 1961: 129-140. (photograph of Xochipala female ballplayer from Whittington, 2001). 


The female ballplayer figurine comes from the archaeological site of Xochipala, Mexico, Tlatilco culture in the western state of Guerrero, and dates to 1200-900 B.C.E  It is now in the  Princeton University Art Museum. Many of the clay figurines found at the Olmec influenced sites of Xochipala, Tlatilco, and Tlapacoya, in the Valley of Mexico depict ballplayers holding bats or paddles, or so-called "knuckle dusters" which are over sized hand gloves like the one depicted above on the female Xochipala ballplayer (de Borhegyi S.F. 1980, p.24).

It was easy to understand, however, why mushroom imagery had not been noted earlier. On many vase paintings, murals and figurines, the images of mushrooms, or images related to mushrooms, were so abstract, and so intricately interwoven with other complex and colorful elements of Mesoamerican mythology and iconography, that they were, I believe, quite deliberately "hidden in plain sight," in an effort to conceal this sacred information from the eyes of the uninitiated.    

For example above on the left, is a miniature stone hacha  (Late Classic Period, 600-900 C.E.),  the Spanish word for axe, from Veracruz, Mexico ( photograph from Whittington, 2001). In Mesoamerica, it was believed that both stones and mushrooms were created from lightning. Stone hachas, like the one depicted above on the left, fit into the belt or stone yoke worn by ballplayers in the Mesoamerican ballgame. The hacha above represents a decapitated trophy head of a wrinkled faced and toothless old man wearing what appears to be a cone-shaped hat. The wrinkled face and toothless mouth suggest the Old Fire God (Xiuhtecutli), however a closer look at the trophy head reveals the image of a sacred psilocybin mushroom encoded in the cheek and hat. The conical or cone-shaped hat, in this case mushroom-inspired, is a trademark attribute of the Mexican god-king Quetzalcoatl who bestowed sacred mushrooms, and thus immortality to his children, mankind. Nahua manuscripts (Annals of Cuauhtitlan) record that it was Lord Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl who invented the ballgame (Irene Nicholson, 1967 p.117).

The photograph on the right of a ballgame palma also called a palmate stone, is from the 1963 publication "The Rubber Ball Game of Ancient America", written by my father Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi, and my mother Dr. Suzanne de Borhegyi-Forrest. The ballgame palma is from Veracruz, Mexico, dating to the Late Classic Period, 600-900 C.E.. The palma, encodes a stylized trefoil that I believe represents a pre-Columbian version of the Old World Fleur de lis emblem. The palmate stone is now in the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum. Stone objects like the ballgame palma and hacha,were likely used for ceremonial purposes and not worn during actual play. The ancient Mayan word for stone, cauac, comes from the word for lightning.

Throughout Mesoamerica during the Preclassic (2000 BC to AD 250) and Late Classic period (600-900 C.E) ), depictions of human heads as trophy symbols occur on ball game paraphernalia and ball court wall panels, and that an overwhelming majority of these stone artifacts are of Preclassic and Late Classic origin (S.F. de Borhegyi 1961, p.133 and footnote 21). In Preclassic times the ritual ball game seems to be obsessively connected with jaguar and serpent symbolism associated with bloody fertility rites and decapitation (S.F. de Borhegyi 1980)


Quoting Stephan F. de Borhegyi:

 " the ballgame, and cultural diffusion may be in order"

"While human decapitation was a widespread custom throughout both the Old and New Worlds as early as the Paleolithic period, its association with ancient team games seems to have occurred only in central and eastern Asia, Mesoamerica, and South America (for ballgames in Southeast Asia, see Loffler, 1955). The use of severed human heads in the polo games of Tibet, China, and Mongolia goes back at least as far as the Chou Dynasty (approximately 1100 B.C. -250 B.C.) and possibly to Shang times (about 1750 B.C. -1100 B.C.). By the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), the polo game in China had become more refined and human heads were apparently replaced by balls. However, the custom of using "trophy heads" in the game must have survived in modern form in marginal areas, as evidence by the fact that the present day Tajik tribesmen of Afghanistan still use the head of a goat as a ball during the game (Abercombie, 1968). While more studies are needed along this line, it is tempting to suggest that the custom of using human heads in competitive ballgames be added to the growing Pre-Classic inventory of "trans-Pacific contacts". (S.F. de Borhegyi 1980, p.25)  

The pre-Columbian ball game can only be explained as a cross cultural phenomenon, for it transcended all linguistic barriers in Mesoamerica. The earliest known archaeological site from which actual ball game paraphernalia has been recovered is El Manati on the Mexican Gulf Coast. Excavations (Scott JF, 1976, no.46 pp.25-48) have uncovered a stone yoke and a serpent-shaped scepter (early Preclassic 900 B.C.) indicating an early relationship between the ball game and serpents. Gerard Van Bussel (Van Bussel 1991 Ibid pp. 256-57) analyzed the relationship between the Maya words for blood and semen, and concluded that the ball game may be an allegory of life through dynastic succession, and that the serpent-shaped scepter found at El Manati may be an insignia of power and kingship, just like the Fleur de lis symbol is in both the Old World and the New.  

While one can argue that the simultaneous appearance of encoded mushroom imagery in both the early cultures of the Old World and that of the New World could be the result of parallel outgrowths of the same Paleolithic shamanistic mushroom cult proposed by Wasson, there are other, more complex, similarities that suggest possible transpacific contacts between the two areas. One of these is the method of extraction of the hallucinogenic drink used in both areas.

In the Rig Veda, Soma, the plant around which the Vedic sacrifices took place, is described as an intoxicating liquid that was pounded or pressed out of the plant using special pressing stones, called Soma stones (Rig Veda IX.11.5-6;IX.109.17-18).

In the highlands of Guatemala where the majority of mushroom stones have been found, and where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance, archaeologists working at the Preclassic site of Kaminajuyu discovered nine miniature mushroom stones in a Maya tomb, along with nine mortars and pestles, stone tools which were likely used in the mushroom's preparatory rites (see S.F de Borhegyi,1961, 498-504).

While the actual identity of Soma has been lost through time, both its description and the details of its preparation seem to point not to a plant but to the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The flesh of the plant was crushed, using “Soma stones,” and the juices were filtered through wool into large jars. In a like manner, mushroom stones, when they have been found in situ in the course of archaeological excavation, are often accompanied by stone grinding tools known as manos and metates. Accounts of mushroom ceremonies still in practice among the Zapotec Indians of Mexico confirm the use of these tools in the preparation of hallucinogenic mushrooms for human consumption. One must conclude that these manos and metates were used for the same purpose as the sacred stones described in the Rig Veda that were used to prepare Soma.

The nine miniature mushroom stones in the Nottebohm collection, depicted above, all have a circular groove around the base of the cap, and are of Early and Late Preclassic period (1000 B.C.-A.D. 200). 

              Describing the contents of the Kaminaljuyu cache, archaeologist Stephan de Borhegyi wrote...

"The cache of nine miniature mushroom stones demonstrates considerable antiquity for the "mushroom-stone cult," and suggests a possible association with the nine lords of the night and gods of the underworld, as well as the possible existence of a nine-day cycle and nocturnal count in Preclassic times. The association of the miniature mushroom stones with the miniature metates and manos greatly strengthens the possibility that at least in some areas in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica metates were used to grind the sacred hallucinatory mushrooms to prepare them for ceremonial consumption." (de Borhegyi 1961: 498-504)

In Mesoamerica the Nine Lords of the Night, were responsible for guiding the Sun, into the underworld to be sacrificed by ritual decapitation and reborn again as baby jaguar, the new born Sun God. In Maya religion the monkey represents the first of the Nine Lords of the Night or Underworld. Called the Bolon Ti Ku, in Yucatec, the first god associated with re-birth was the Monkey (GI) and Quetzalcoatl (G9) was the last,  associated with death, decapitation and completion. The word K'uh in Classic Maya glyphs was assigned to the monkey god and in glyphs his monkey profile was used to describe "holy" or "sacred," referring to "divinity" or "god" (M.D. Coe 2001, p.109).

The late Maya archaeologist and epigrapher David H. Kelley, noted the similarity between the Mesoamerican calendar and the Hindu lunar mansions. He saw the resemblance between the Mesoamerican cycle of the Nine Lords of the Night, to the Hindu planetary week of nine days, and noted the parallel belief of four previous world ages and their cataclysmic destruction (Susan Milbrath 1999, p.292).  Unfortunately for researchers Kelley's  work was often criticized and ignored for his insistence to carry on his studies of long range cultural contacts via trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic voyages.


             Quoting  Maya archaeologist David H. Kelley:

 "Much of Aztec religion looks like a modified Hinduism in which one important change was the deliberate abandonment of religious eroticism" (Man Across the Sea, 1971, p.62). 


According to testimony recorded in 1554 in the Colonial document entitled El Titulo de Totonicapan (Land Title of Totonicapan), the Quiché Maya revered mushroom stones as symbols of power and rulership, and before them they performed rituals (of blood sacrifice) to pierce and cut up their bodies. (Sachse, 2001, 186).


 "  The lords used these symbols of rule, which came from where the sun rises, to pierce and cut up their bodies (for the blood sacrifice). There were nine mushroom stones for the Ajpop and the Ajpop Q'amja, and in each case four, three, two, and one staffs with the Quetzal's feathers and green feathers, together with garlands, the Chalchihuites precious stones, with the sagging lower jaw and the bundle of fire for the Temezcal steam bath."

In my examination of pre-Columbian art, I was also surprised to discover that the gods and kings that are crowned with the Fleur de lis symbol are also linked to a World Tree,  a Trinity of gods, and a sacred beverage linked to a mushroom of immortality. Although the symbol known as the Fleur de lis is perhaps best known through its association with French royalty, it's origin in the New World is of far greater antiquity.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, the emblem of the Fleur de lis in pre-Columbian art and iconography carries the same symbolism of "King" or "Lord", linked to a triad or Trinity of gods, a World Tree, and a mushroom of immortality.
The ancient symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis appears in the art of Mesoamerica at approximately the same time in history as the rise of the ancient Olmecs (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.).

The discovery, of the Fleur de lis symbol encoded in Pre-Columbian art leads me to believe that, in addition to the ancient mushroom cult first proposed by my father Stephan F. de Borhegyi, (de Borhegyi, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963), other Vedic traditions migrated to the Americas as early as 1000 B.C.E.

The ancient cultures of the Nahua, Zapotecs, and Maya developed similar ideologies and mythologies from the same Olmec roots. The sacred mushroom ritual shared by these cultures was intended,  I believe, to establish direct communication between Earth and Heaven (sky) in order to unite man with god. As told in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the ancient Quiche Maya, the sun-god of the Maya, Kinich Ajaw, and his Aztec equivalent, Huitzilopochtli, would be extinguished in the underworld if not nourished with the blood of human hearts. Quetzalcoatl's essence in the world as a culture hero was to establish this communication. Quetzalcoatl taught that mankind must eat the sacred mushroom and make blood sacrifices in order to achieve immortality.

The author presents plenty of evidence supporting the proposition that Mesoamerica, the high cultures of South America, and Easter Island shared, along with many other New World cultures, share elements of a Pan American belief system so ancient that many of the ideas may have come from Asia to the New World with the first human settlers. The author presents visual evidence of encoded mushrooms that supports Wasson's identification of the revered and deified mystery plant of the Rig Veda, called Soma in Indo-Aryan folklore, and called Haoma in Zoroastrian and later Persian mythology, as the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Mushrooms were so cleverly encoded in the religious art of the New World, "Hidden in Plain Sight" that prior to this study they virtually escaped detection.

There is still a great deal of debate concerning the true identity of Soma the mystery plant mentioned over 100 times in the Rig Veda,  the only plant / beverage known to have been deified in the history of human culture, (Furst, 1972:201). Wasson's identification of Soma as the Amanita muscaria mushroom has not been universally excepted by scholars. His arguments for the Amanita muscaria, were based on coded poetic references which discribe the Soma plant as lacking seeds, roots, branches leaves and blossoms, but having a stem that is juicy and meaty,  a perfect description for the Amanita muscaria mushroom (Furst, 1976 p.97). While the hymns about Soma have come down to us through time, the botanical identity of Soma still remains a mystery. The abandonment of the true Soma plant and its replacement by surrogates likely occurred because the original Soma plant was very difficult to obtain, or was no longer available once the proto Indo-Iranians or Aryans migrated from their original homeland. Wasson theorized that Soma was only available in the mountains, and would have been scarce in the Indus Valley where the Indo-Aryans came to reside (Kevin Feeney 2013 p.294). To this day the leading candidate for the mystery Soma plant is a species of ephedra, a stimulant also used by indigenous people for a variety of medicinal purposes.

In the Rig Veda, this mysterious plant called Soma was the source of an intoxicating drink of divine immortality known by the same name. Soma is described in the Rig Veda as being the father of the gods, the supreme being created before the three Vedas. "Soma, the supreme dappled bull, is the father of the diversity of existences". In Vedic Mythology..."The thing that makes the transposition possible is the intoxication of ecstasy... and that is what the gods seek" "Only when the gods, especially Indra have drunk of it, and thus cast off the inherent limits of their specific nature, can they accomplish the highest missions with which they are charged"...(Larousse World Mythology, 1965 edition, p. 232, 233). Of the ten books of hymns which make up the Rig Veda there is one book that is devoted entirely to the glory of Soma. The Rig Veda describes Soma "the Lord of ananda", as a small red plant having no leaves, and lacking both roots and blossoms.

"We have drunk the Soma and become Immortal; we have attained the Light, and found the Gods". (Rig Veda, 8.XLVIII.3)

We are told that drinking Soma provides great physical strength and stamina, enough so, to pick up the earth itself, and the power of flight, to go beyond the limits of heaven and earth (Furst, 1976 p.97). Several hymns in the Rig Veda contain references of healing and increased life spans of Soma users. "This here is Soma, never restrained, active, all conquering bursting forth, a Seer and Sage by sapience. All that's bare he covers over; all the sick he medicines, the blind man sees, the cripple walks." (Rig Veda 8LXVIII 1,2)

According to Wasson, "as early as the first millennium B.C., the real Soma plant disappeared from Vedic ritual and the name came to be applied to various substitutes, of which none had the same psychic effects as the original Soma, and all of which were known at least to the priestly caste to be substitutes" (Furst, 1976 p.98).  We know that Soma was the focal point of Vedic religion, and that drinking Soma produces immortality, and that the gods drank Soma to make them immortal. 


              Ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson...  


"What was this plant that was called "Soma" ? No one knows. Apparently its identity was lost some 3,000 years ago, when its use was abandoned by the priests. The earliest liturgical compositions of the Indo-Aryans, called the Brahmanas and put together after the hymns had been assembled, discuss the surrogates to be used for Soma in the ritual but fail to describe the original plant."

 " I believe that Soma was a mushroom, Amanita muscaria (Fries ex L.) Quel, the fly-agaric, the Fliegenpilz of the Germans, the fausse oronge or tue-mouche or crapaudin of the French, the mukhomor of the Russians. This flaming red mushroom with white spots flecking its cap is familiar throughout northern Europe and Siberia. It is often put down in mushroom manuals as deadly poisonous but this is false, as I myself can testify.[3] Until lately it has been a central feature of the worship of numerous tribes in northern Siberia, where it has been consumed in the course of their shamanic sessions. Its reputation as a lethal plant in the West is, I contend, a splendid example of a taboo long outliving the religion that gave rise to it. Among the most conservative users of the fly-agaric in Siberia the belief prevailed until recent times that only the shaman and his apprentice could consume the fly-agaric with impunity: all others would surely die. This is, I am sure, the origin of the taboo that has survived among us down to our own day."

           (from Wasson's, Soma of the Aryans:  ttp:// aryans.htm)

A few hymns in the Rig Veda contain clear references to healings and increased life spans of Soma users, so why the taboo ?

Quoting John A. Rush author of "The Mushroom in Christian Art" and author and editor of " Entheogens and the Development of Culture" 2013:

 "It is appropriate for the sacred plant to be taboo and supposedly repulsive, shielding it from profane use."

In Siberia the Amanita muscaria mushroom or fly agaric, grows in a symbiotic relationship with the birch and pine tree, which gave rise to the World Tree within the cosmology of several Siberian tribes, and that an eagle is described as perched in the tree, while a serpent dwells at its base, a myth that is paralleled in both the Old and New World  (Wasson 1968, p.214)

             Quoting R. Gordon Wasson...

  "In brief, I submit that the legends of the Tree of Life and of the Marvelous Herb had their genesis in the Forest Belt of Eurasia". "The Tree of Life, is it not the legendary Birch Tree, and the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Life, what else is it but the Soma, the fly-agaric, [the Amanita muscaria] the pongo of the Ugrian tribesmen?" (from Furst,1972, p.212)

In Vedic Hindu mythology its an eagle named Garuda (Gayatri,) who gives the Soma beverage to the gods. Soma was considered to be the most precious liquid in the universe, used in sacrificial rituals to the gods, particularly Indra, the warrior god. The Rig Veda states that the gods consumed the Soma beverage in order to sustain their immortality.

In the mythology of ancient Mexico, there is a Nahua legend of a paradise of nine heavens that was dedicated to the Wind God Quetzalcoatl, called Tamoanchan where there was a sacred tree that marked the place where the gods were born and where sacred mushrooms and all life derived... "In Tamoanchan...On the flowery carpet...There are perfect flowers...There are rootless flowers" (Hugh Thomas 1993, p.474).    
Above is a page from the Codex Borgia, one of the few remaining pre-Conquest codices. These pictorial documents contain much valuable information pertaining to native history, mythology, and ritual, related to a pantheon of supernatural gods. Unfortunately, due to Spanish intolerance of indigenous religious beliefs, only eighteen pre-Conquest books attributed to the people of Highland Mexico have survived to the present day. The painting from the Codex Borgia depicts the World Tree", or "Tree of Life" emerging from the body of a death god in the underworld, (life from death). Perched atop the spectacular tree with its branches encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol is a harpy eagle, a symbol of the Morning Star and the new born Sun, and the avatar of the god-king Quetzalcoatl. (

It may not be coincidental that in Mesoamerica there is a parallel belief in a Tree of Life. In the Mayan creation story told in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiche Maya of Highland Guatemala, a great bird known as Itzam-Yeh, the Principal Bird Deity, 7 Macaw or Vucub Caquix, that sits atop the World Tree.


In Mesoamerican mythology the harpy eagle is associated with the World Tree, as well as with both the resurrected sun, and the planet Venus as a resurrection star. In both the Old World and the New World the Fleur de lis carries the same metaphoric meaning of divine resurrection. The manifestation of this star in Mesoamerica being the "Feathered Serpent", the winged god-king Quetzalcoatl. It is said that when Quetzalcoatl died he was changed into that star that appears at dawn. This dualistic aspect of Venus is why Venus was venerated as both a God of Life and God of Death. It was said that, they [the Quiche Maya] gave thanks to the sun and moon and stars, but particularly to the star that proclaims the day, the day-bringer, referring to Venus as the Morning star (The Title of the Lords of Totonicapan, 1953 third printing 1974, p. 184).
Above is a mural scene from the Temple of Feathered Conches at the ancient city of Teotihuacan, (150 B.C.E.-750 C.E.). The Fleur de lis symbol appears in this scene with a harpy eagle. The ancient metropolis of Teotihuacan is located on the outskirts of Mexico City and thught to have been established sometime around 100 B.C.E. (photo © Robin Heyworth – Photo taken 10th December 2001)

In Aztec (Nahua) legends the sun, descends each night into the underworld to battle the forces of death in order to return, triumphant, each morning to the sky on the wings of an eagle. Note that the sacred beverage (Soma?) depicted above in the Codex Vaticanus B, an Aztec ritual and divinatory manuscript, encodes what I would argue are two Fleur de lis symbols, that may allude or be code for the Evening star, and Morning star aspects of Venus as a resurrection star. As the Morning Star the God-king Quetzalcoatl's avatar was the harpy eagle.

The Toltec /Maya polychrome vessel above is from Quintana Roo, Mexico, postclassic Maya, 1200-1400 C.E.  The vessel depicts the image of a "diving god", in the guise of the harpy eagle, attributes that link this diving deity to Quetzalcoatl as the Morning Star. It's my belief that the objects in the hands of Quetzalcoatl (Kukulcan in Yucatec Mayan) are the severed caps of psilocybin mushrooms. The removal of the head of the mushroom or mushroom cap is a symbolic reference to ritual decapitation in the Underworld. Wasson writes that the stems of sacred mushrooms were removed and the mushroom caps consumed ritually in pairs prior to self-sacrifice. (Polychrome ceramic container with diving god wearing harpy eagle headdress. ht. 11.4 cm. U.S. Library of Congress, J. Kislak Collection)

"Earth-diver myths are common in Native American folklore but can be found among the Chukchi and Yukaghir, the Tatars and many Finno-Ugrian traditions. The pattern of distribution of these stories suggest they have a common origin in the eastern Asiatic coastal region, spreading as peoples migrated west into Siberia and east to the North American continent" (Wikipeda).

In 1980 Eyhno-mycologist Bernard Lowy, proposed that the "diving gods" depicted in the Dresden Codex, were portrayed as under the influence of psychotropic mushrooms (LOWY  BERNARD, 1981, Were Mushroom Stones Potter’s Molds?, Revista/Review Interamericana, vol. 11, pp. 231-237.)

Pre-Columbian drinking vessel that I propose encodes the fruit from the legendary Tree of Knowledge or Tree of Life, as sacred mushrooms. (Source: Metropolitan Museum 1978.412.113)

In both hemispheres serpents are associated with the Tree of Life and immortality by virtue of renewing themselves, through the shedding of their skin.  Above is a closeup scene taken from the pre-Conquest manuscript known as the Codex Laud. The scene, I believe, portrays the serpent deity Quetzalcoatl the Feathered Serpent as the World Tree, encoded with three Fleur de lis symbols, alluding to a trinity of creator gods in Mesoamerica.

The Feathered Serpent, is one of the oldest and the most important deities of Mesoamerica. In Aztec accounts, the Feathered Serpent, Quetzalcoatl, turns himself into a serpent and then back again into a god with human attributes and form. Quetzalcoatl’s name represents a blending of serpent and bird; the quetzal, a blue-green bird that inhabits the cloud forests of Mesoamerica, and coatl, the Nahua word describing both sky and serpent. Among the Mixtecs of Oaxaca, Quetzalcoatl was known by his calendrical name "9 Wind."  The Maya of Yucatan called him Kukulcan.

In the Mayan languages the word chan or kan means both sky and snake, and is code for the vision-serpent-sky portal and alludes to the path the gods and ancestral dead travel in their journey in and out of the Underworld during bloodletting ceremonies, and at death and resurrection.

Haoma is the Persian pronunciation of Soma, a sacred drink of the Indo-Iranians, Iranian being cognate with Aryan. Haoma was made from a plant of immortality  connected in myth with a World Tree, that inspired the prophet Zoroaster to create a new religion (the Mazda religion) that became the state religion of the Persion Empire. Like Soma, the Haoma beverage, appears to be a source of divine power and strength, as well as bestowing the sacred knowledge that leads to divine immortality. Zoroaster didn't actually create a new religion he simply reformed the existing Vedic religion, elevating the Haoma sacrifice ceremony to the highest act of worship, but condemning the orgiastic excesses that accompanied both sacrifices and the ritual consumption of Haoma.

In Zoroastrian cosmology Haoma grows in the World Tree, which stands in the middle of the world sea, where a benevolent, mythical bird resides known as the simurgh. The simurgh is often depicted in Iranian art as a giant winged creature with feline features.

There is a legend in Zoroastrian religion, that the prophet Zoroaster was conceived after his parents drank the Haoma beverage, made from Zoroaster's divine essence that had fallen from heaven (Bennett and McQueen 2013,  p.63). Haoma was regarded by Zoroaster as the son of the creator god Ahura Mazda, who was believed to be the incarnate of that sacred plant that was pounded and pressed to death in order to squeeze out it's life giving juices so that those who consumed the Haoma might be given immortality. In Zoroastrianism Haoma is the name given to a yellow plant, from which a juice was extracted and consumed. (Donald E. Teeter, 2005 p.8).           

The Mazda religion of the Persian Empire (Zoroastrianism) developed by the prophet Zoroaster, had a profound impact on the much later religions of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.

              Quoting Gerald Messadie, author of  "The History of the Devil"

"A prototype of Jesus, as the legend of Zoroaster's birth goes to show, he was the founder of the first true monotheism, as his "evangelical" hymns, the Gathas, prove and as Pahlavi texts and Greek historians confirm (Messadie 1993, p.82).

"By all accounts, both in his own day and over later centuries Zoroaster was considered not just a prophet but a supernatural being, which has led some Iran experts to call him a myth, mush as some historians have called the existence of Jesus into doubt".
The Amanita muscaria mushroom contains the powerful hallucinogen muscimol, which is known to cause euphoria and the feelings of increased strength and stamina. Wasson believed its ingestion, either purposeful or accidental, may even have provided the spark that lifted the mind of early man from mundane to sublime awareness of another level of consciousness. The Amanita muscaria mushroom also ranges in color from bright red to orange to bright yellow. (Photograph by mycologist Eric Osbourne)

While at first glance the face of the "Weeping God" above gives the illusion of a deity with dangling eye-balls. However as "I discovered", if you look closely at Quetzalcoatl, you will see that the dangling eyeballs are actually encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms "Hidden In Plain Sight." This bearded and fanged deity shared feline, serpentine, and bird-like features. Identified as a Feathered or Plumed Serpent by archaeologists in his earliest representations, he took on many additional guises and attributes over the years, and became known by a great variety of names throughout the New World. I have elected to refer to him, as did the Toltecs and Aztecs, as Quetzalcoatl. (photo of a "Weeping God" above is from VanKirk, Jacques, and Parney Bassett-VanKirk, Remarkable Remains of the Ancient Peoples of Guatemala, Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1996.)

             According to Mesoamerican archaeologist Stephan F. de Borhegyi:

"...fanged anthropomorphic individuals with dangling eyeballs, are commonly associated with the god Quetzalcoatl in his form of Ehecatl the Wind God”. ( S.F. de Borhegyi 1980:17)

Spanish chronicles document that when the Aztecs spoke of their history it was always said that they had been preceded by a marvelous people who called themselves Toltec, the people from Tollan, where political dynasties throughout Mesoamerica claimed decent from the rulers of a city called Tollan.

We know from the early chronicles that Quetzalcoatl (known in the Maya area as Kukulcan and Gucumatz) was a Toltec ruler, and was apotheosized as the planet Venus.  Quetzalcoatl's mushroom ritual of underworld jaguar transformation and Venus resurrection was so sacred that, if one gave one's own life in sacrifice, the act emulated Quetzalcoatl, himself.  (Wauchope, Ekholm and Bernal, p.323)   

The followers of Quetzalcoatl, I believe, came to the conviction very early on that, under the influence of the sacred mushroom, a divine force actually entered into their body--a state described as "god within".  Because mushrooms appeared to spring magically over night  from the underworld, apparently sparked by the powers of lightning, wind and rain,  it would have been easy for these ancients  to conclude that they were divine gifts  brought to them by the wind god Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, and the rain god Tlaloc, both of them avatars of the planet Venus.

Mesoamerican scholars are now beginning to recognize that Venus was the centerpiece of Maya mythology and cosmology. Priests in charge of the calendar plotted the stations of Venus over periods of 52 and 104 year cycles, and measured lunar phases, eclipses, solstices, equinoxes and other celestial movements, by which the Maya regulated their lives. Fortunately for scholars, the Maya recorded this information in the Dresden Codex (Susan Milbrath 1999:51).
The mushroom Venus resurrection religion, as I see it, was spawned by early man's fear of death and his hopes for resurrection, if not in this life, then in another reality. Through shamanic rituals, very possibly springing from the discovery of the mind-altering effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms, he hoped to transcend the former and assure himself of the latter. (Wasson,1980). The shamans, in turn, looked to the most powerful forces in the natural world—the sun, the moon, and the stars, wind, lightning and rain, and such fearsome creatures in their environment as the jaguar, eagle, serpent, and shark—as a means of understanding the place and fate of human beings within this divine framework. In time the shamans unraveled the mysterious but ultimately knowable and predictable movements of the stars and planets, and interpreted these movements as an avenue for understanding man’s relation to time, space, and immortality.
These beliefs, over time, spawned a great variety of gods bearing different names in different culture areas but with numerous identifiable similarities linked to divine rulership associated with lineage and descent. Westernized efforts by archaeologists and art historians to sort out and catalog the many overlapping names and identities have been frustrated by the fact that ordered and demarcated categories run counter to the fluidity that characterizes native American belief systems. A multiplicity of identities is a basic feature of the Mesoamerican supernatural realm.

It is reasonable to propose that a belief in the redemptive power and divinity of the mushroom could have spread from one culture to another, and that our remote ancient ancestors worshiped and venerated a divine mushroom god perhaps 12,000-6,000 years ago.

The Origin of a Mushroom cult in the Old World:

The cult of the hallucinogenic mushroom has been traced back to ancient Siberia by mycologists, where the Amanita muscaria mushroom ranging in color from bright red to yellow grows in abundance. The earliest evidence of the use of the Amanita muscaria mushroom in shamanistic rituals can be seen in many prehistoric petroglyphs in Siberia dating back to the Paleolithic period. The petroglyphs found in the Chukotka region of Northeastern Siberia (see below) were studied by Dikov (1971) and later by Samorini (2001).

It's generally excepted that before the Pleistocene Ice Age, early humans migrated to the Americas through the Bering Strait region where Siberia is only a hundred miles or so from Alaska. Controversy continues as to how early the migrations began, and whether these early migrants used boats or walked across a land bridge that later flooded. We know that Asiatic traits filtered through Siberia into the American Arctic throughout the prehistoric period and have continued to do so among the modern Eskimo (Miguel Covarrubias 1954, p.150).

The earliest records of the use of mushrooms in Asia are in connection with a nomadic people living in northwestern Siberia. Possibly as early as the Paleolithic, their shamans developed an ecstatic cult based on the consumption of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.  Its around 1600 BCE, when these nomadic shaman priests who called themselves Aryans moved down into what is known today as Afghanistan and the Indus Valley, they brought with them their religious cult and its hallucinogenic drink called Soma, along with the observance and celebration of certain celestial laws that they believed were essential to keeping the world in balance. This balance was maintained through acts of ritual sacrifice. At some point in their history the simple shamanism of their Siberian homeland was expanded into a rich and complex religious tradition based on the worship and ecstatic experience achieved by consuming the plant known in Proto-Indian-Iranian as "sauma". It is this religious tradition that is recorded (undated) in the hymns in the Rig Veda that exalted the power of priests, in which ritual was the underpinning of a society and priests were the masters..

We know from the Rig Veda, that Soma was an intoxicating plant worshiped as both a god and holy beverage by a people who called themselves Aryans. The Seers and Sages, who later composed the Vedas in an archaic form of Sanskrit, describe the mountainous habitat and brilliant red and gold appearance of the Soma plant.

Mushroom-headed figures recorded in ancient Siberian petroglyphs:
Above are paleolithic petroglyphs from the Chukotka region of Northeastern Siberia depicting mushroom-headed people and sea vessels that likely skirted the coast of the Pacific ocean. The Wassons reported on the ritual consumption of fly-agaric or Amanita muscaria mushrooms among Siberian and northern Asian peoples, suggesting the antiquity of an ancient mushroom cult to Stone Age times.
Recently, more petroglyphs have been found in Siberia that also appear to portray mushroom-headed people, carved on large rocks and on cliffs, at Kalbak Tash in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. The Altai Mountains in Siberia border Russia, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan, and are home to tens of thousands of petroglyphs that depict hunting scenes of an ancient people who lived in the Altai Mountains over a period of 12000 years. The oldest petroglyphs at Kalbak Tash have been dated from 11,000 to 6,000 BC.
The psychoactive properties of the flesh of stupefied animals may have been discovered through the ease of their capture. According to Wasson: "Wild reindeer that have eaten (fly agaric or Amanita muscaria mushrooms) are often found so stupefied that they can be tied with ropes and taken away alive; their meat then intoxicates everyone who eats it, but only if the reindeer is killed soon after being caught; and it appears that the communicability of the narcotic substance last about as long as it would have affected the animal's own nerves (Alan Piper 2013 pp. 241-242)
 It's likely that the origin of Soma and its rituals, as proposed by Wasson, is rooted in the shamanism of the Siberian forest people and came to the New World as early as the Paleolithic. Wasson noted ancient Hindu scriptures depicting urine drinking as bestowing spirituality, just as Siberian shamans drink the urine of Amanita muscaria-fed reindeer which exhibit appropriate signs of mushroom intoxication in order to gain insight and wisdom".


Another interesting observation regarding the Altai Mountain petroglyphs, are that all the mushroom-headed figures carry what appears to be a sac of some kind behind their back ?

Two very fascinating observations regarding the Altai Mountains of Siberia, are petroglyphs above that strangely look like rocket ships, and even more strange, rock formations below, that are ironically called "mushroom stones".

Maybe even more fascinating is that the Altai Mountains in Siberia, was also home to three distinct variety of ancient man, Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans. Denisovans descended from hominids who reached Asia earlier than modern humans. Knowledge of the Denisovan hominids derives primarily from DNA evidence, and artifacts. In 2008 scientists unearthed a finger bone fragment from Denisova Cave of a young female believed to have lived around 41,000 years ago. Scientists believe that human ancestors lived in Denisova cave as far back as 280,000 years ago.

According to Journal Science 2010,  "the analysis on the Denisovan finger bone and molars, as well as cave material, shows these little-known ancient people 'occupied the cave surprisingly early and came back repeatedly'.  "The young female 'lived at least 50,000 years ago and that two other Denisovan individuals died in the cave at least 110,000 years ago and perhaps as early as 170,000 years ago'. (source Siberian Times: Olga Gertcyk,  February 15, 2017)

In his controversial book,  Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge, A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution,Ethno-botanist Terrance McKenna, psilocybin mushrooms may have provide the evolutionary spark for mankind, from which language,  religion, philosophy, science, and all of human culture sprang.

McKenna proposed that certain hallucinogens, opened a so-called portal to a "parallel dimension", that enabled an individual to encounter 'higher dimensional entities". McKenna speculated on the idea that psilocybin mushrooms may be a species of high intelligence, which may have arrived on this planet as spores migrating through space, and which are attempting to establish a symbiotic relationship with human beings. He postulated that "intelligence, not life, but intelligence may have come here to Earth, in this spore-bearing life form".

According to McKenna...

"What I think happened is that in the world of prehistory all religion was experiential, and it was based on the pursuit of ecstasy through plants. And at some time, very early, a group interposed itself between people and direct experience of the 'Other.' This created hierarchies, priesthoods, theological systems, castes, ritual, taboos." (

McKenna's theory has been criticized by scholars for a lack of citation to any of the paleo-anthropological evidence relative to our understanding of human origins, and his controversial theory has now been given the name the "Stoned Ape Theory” (

McKenna believed that the Soma beverage of the Rig Veda was a combination of water, cannabis indica, and the psilocybin mushroom. McKenna based his theory on the premise that the Amanita muscaria mushroom is widely recognized to be a poisonous mushroom, and that the Amanita muscaria mushroom does not produce a hallucinogenic experience. He writes that because he and Wasson never had an ecstatic experience from ever eating the Amanita muscaria that it was an unlikely candidate for the Vedic Soma.

             According to Wasson:

"Among the Aryans, only the Brahmans were privy to the secret of Soma; they alone knew how it was prepared and imbibibed. Similarly, in the Valley of the Ob, in Siberia, the Vogul laid down a severe taboo on the ingestion of the fly agaric: only the shaman and his acolyte could consume the mushroom with impunity, all others would surely die" (Peter T. Furst 1972,  p.195)

McKenna writes that Wasson became convinced that some method of preparation must have been involved, but that no ingredient or procedure has ever been found that reliably transforms the often uncomfortable subtoxic experience of Amanita muscaria into an ecstatic visionary journey to paradise. McKenna writes that he ate the Amanita muscaria mushroom in 1965 and again in 1966, and stated that the results were disappointing,"nothing like what happened when I took the psilocybe mushrooms in Mexico"

             According to McKenna:

"In the prehistoric but post-Archaic times of about 5000 to 3000 B.C., suppression of partnership society by patriarchal invaders set the stage for suppression of the open-ended experimental investigation of nature carried on by shamans. In highly organized societies that Archaic tradition was replaced by one of dogma, priestcraft, patriarchy, warfare and, eventually, "rational and scientific" or dominator values.

(Map of the ancient cultures of Central Asia, 4000 - 3000 BC., from C. George Boeree 2013)

C. George Boeree, Prehistory of the Steppes 2013, writes that "the original people of the western and central steppes were likely Proto-Uralic (the ancestors to Finnish, Hungarian, Samoyede, etc.) They would include the neolithic Samara culture of the Volga valley, as well as the fishing communities of the Kelteminar culture near the Aral Sea".

The Finno-Ugrian theory that claims the Hungarians originated from primitive Siberian hunter-gatherer nomads has been under strong criticism because it fails to take into consideration a substantial amount of scientific data which contradicts it. It should also be noted that according to the scientific review "Nature" (20/02/92), the quality of the research conducted is rather poor, and this also seems to apply to the Finno-Ugrian research orientation. More on the controversial origin of the Hungarians a bit later.

According to Wasson, in several of the Uralic languages a person inebriated on mushrooms is said to be "bemushroomed", and that the tribes speaking those languages before the arrival of the Russians seem to have not known alcoholic inebriation. In Nahuatl the language of the Aztecs, the Nahua have a similar word for mushroom inebriation, ipan mjtoa monanacavia, meaning "he is bemushroomed" (Wasson 1980  p.52).

Siberian shamanism incorporates ecstatic trances brought on by a ritual of dance and the inducement of hallucinations, most commonly through the consumption of Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The intention of the Shaman was to open communication directly with the spirit world, often through a form of animal transformation. In both Siberia and Mesoamerica the divine mushroom speaks through the voice of the shaman (Wasson 1980, p.52). In Siberia the Amanita muscaria mushroom was often fed to a domesticated reindeer, and then the shaman most of whom were female shamans would then drink the reindeer's toxic urine to induce ecstatic trances and hallucinations..

"Unfortunately when Buddhism came to Siberia and Mongolia many of these female healers were ruthlessly persecuted and exterminated by the misogynist monks. As a result their extensive knowledge of herbs and plants used for natural healing was either lost completely or taken over by Buddhist healers and only practiced in a debased or diluted form" (Michael Howard 2013, Secrets of Siberian Shamanism).

Berthold Laufer an anthropologist and historical geographer with an expertise in East Asian languages, demonstrated that the word shaman is of Turkish-Tungusian origin in contrast to earlier beliefs that it came from Sanskrit, and that it was introduced to Siberia by Buddhist monks. In Siberia and the Turic-speaking areas of Mongolia, shamanism was known as Tengrism, the "Sky God religion", a Central Asian religion characterized by ancestor worship, and the animistic belief that everything in the natural world was alive and inhabited by spirits. It was the prevailing religion of the Turks, Mongols, Hungarians, Xiongnu, and Huns, and the religion of  the five ancient Turkic states: Gokturk Khaganate, Western Turkic Khaganate, Great Bulgaria, Bulgarian Empire, and Eastern Tourkia (Khazaria), and is known as Turuk Tangrisi or "God of Turks" (Wikipedia).

According to Michael Howard, author of Secrets of Siberian Shamanism 2013, "The revival of shamanism in its modern Tengrist form would seem to hearken back to a romantic past that probably never existed in reality. Its increasing popularity among urban Russians is based on an idyllic image of yurts on the steppes, a nomadic lifestyle and living in harmony with nature.
            Quoting Michael Howard 2013, Secrets of Siberian Shamanism 2013:

"In Siberian and especially Mongolian shamanism the yurt, a traditional dwelling constructed from a framework of wooden poles covered with animal skins and with a central smoke-hole in the roof, was a microcosmic symbol or representation of the universe. For this reason all movement inside the yurt was conducted, if at all possible, in a deosil or sunways direction. This also reflected the traditional direction of movement used in shamanic rituals and dances. The centre of the yurt, where a fire burnt in a hearth and was seldom extinguished, was symbolic of the actual centre of the world or universe. The column of smoke that drifted up from the fire and left the yurt through the central smoke-hole in the roof was symbolic of the axis mundi – the World Mountain, World Pillar or World Tree. This links the underworld below with the heavens above and ends at the North and Pole Star around which all the other stars revolve in the night sky".

(Special thanks to Nuray Bilgili personal communication Sept. 9, 2017)

Above is a logo from Altay also spelled Altai, depicting a symbol that we recognize today as the Fleur de lis. The author proposes that this symbol along with an Amanita muscaria mushroom cult, may have its origin in Central Asia, in the region of the Altai Mountains.

High in the Altai Mountains where the subsoil is frozen, the organic remains of a people called Scythians buried in kurgans have been preserved. The Scythians, also called Scyth, Saka, and Sacae, were a group of nomadic tribes who originally lived in what is now southeren Siberia.
Scythian felt applique carpet or wall hanging, depicting felines below and the Fleur de lis above in association with the Tree of Life, and the four cardinal directions and its sacred center, Pazyryk barrow no. 5, 252-238 BCE, excavated 1949 Altai, Siberia (photo from Christoph Baumer,"The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors" 2012, p. 195)

It should be noted that when the Scythians fought on foot their weapon of choice was a battle-axe (British Museum, 30th May 2017).  The battle-axe was also the weapon of choice of the ancient Olmecs of Mesoamerica.

It's reasonable to propose that a belief in the redemptive power and divinity of the mushroom and the symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis, could have spread from one culture to another. The first mushroom cult in the New World, identified by its powerful artistic expression of the were-jaguar, that dominated Olmec culture as early as 1500 B.C. As early as 850 B.C. a were-jaguar cult begins to appear in South America, identified in the religious art of the Chavin and Paracas cultures of Peru.

Diffusionism: is a term often used to describe the origins of cultural characteristics and their spread from one society to another.

I found undeniable evidence of pre-Columbian contact. Note the exact similarty of the cross symbol on the Scythian-Saka feline inspired drinking vessel (above middle), to the same exact symbol depicted above on the South American feline flask (above right) encoding a Fleur de lis symbol in the feline's head.  The ceramic polychrome feline flask (above right) from Peru, South America Wari, (Huari) culture AD 500 to 1000, that depicts a feline with three Fleur de lis symbols encoded on its head, back, and tail (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The feline image above on the left with a Fleur de lis symbol encoded in his head is from the Nagyszentmiklos Treasure discovered in 1799, near the small town of Nagy Szent-Miklós in western Romania, near the border with Hungary. The treasure consisting of 23 gold vessels is dated from the 6th to the 10th century.  Scholars have connected the Nagyszentmiklos Treasure with the Avars, a nomadic people of uncertain origins and ethno-linguistic affiliation. The language of the inscription on the gold vessels is not clearly known but thought to be a Turkic language. Several theories propose a partially Mongolic, Turkic, or Tungusic origin for the Avars (Wikipeda)

According to Christoph Baumer,  author of "The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors", the most sacred animals of the Scythians of the Pazyryk Culture, was the leopard, deer, and the eagle, all of which are native to the Altai Mountains.

            Quoting Allegro:

"It is not surprising that the mushroom should have become the centre of a mystery cult in the near east which persisted for thousands of years. there seems good evidence that from there it swept into India in the cult of soma some 3,500 years ago; it certainly flourished in Siberia until quite recent times, and is found even today in certain parts of South America" (Allegro 1970)

In both hemispheres the symbol we recognize as the Fleur de lis is associated with mythological deities of a feline, serpent, and giant bird, all associated with a Tree of Life, and a trinity of creator gods.

In the Old World, there is an ancient belief that the Sun God was born from the sea and soared into the sky like an eagle. For this reason, ancient solar deities were often depicted as half-man and half-fish, or half-man and half-bird.
In Assyro-Babylonian art of Mesopotamia the Sun God is also portrayed at times as a "half-man, and half-lion deity" depicted above crowned with a Fleur de lis symbol.

I believe that I have found sufficient visual evidence from the corpus of existing pre-Columbian art to identify this sacramental food as the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom. Like the Vedic god Soma, the Amanita muscaria mushroom of Mesoamerica assumes, from earliest times, the persona of the god itself. In Mesoamerica this god took the form of the underworld "were-jaguar".

Mushroom intoxication, according to Spanish reports gave sorcerers (priests or shamans), the power to seemingly change themselves into animals, and that the powerful visions and voices the mushrooms produced were believed to be from God.

Above, "hidden In plain sight,"  the ceramic pre-Columbian mask depicts the transformation of a human into a "were-jaguar," a half-human, half-jaguar deity first described and named in 1955 by archaeologist Matthew W. Stirling. The were-jaguar appears in the art of the ancient Olmecs as early as 1200 B.C.  I believe this mask symbolizes the soul's journey into the underworld where it will undergo ritual decapitation, jaguar transformation, and spiritual resurrection. An Amanita muscaria mushroom (actual specimen shown in the photo on the right) is encoded into the head and nose of the human side, while the left half of the mask depicts the effect of the Amanita mushroom as resulting in were-jaguar transformation. The were-jaguar eventually came to be worshiped and venerated throughout Central and South America. 

(photo above of the "Were Jaguar" from Prof. Gian Carlo Bojani Director of the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, Italy) (Photo of Amanita muscaria by Richard Fortey)  

The worship of animal spirit companions and the concept of human-animal transformation is so ancient, that the origins of these beliefs appear to predate the development of agriculture. Since these beliefs are also present throughout North and South America that they may very well have been brought there by the first hunters and gatherers to reach the New World. However we do find the first evidences of these shamanistic rituals in Mesoamerica in the art of the ancient Olmecs along with the development of agriculture, food production, and settled village life.

Quoting Ethno-archaeologist Peter T. Furst:

"It is tempting to suggest that the Olmecs might have been instrumental in the spread  of mushroom cults throughout Mesoamerica, as they seem to have been of other significant aspects of early Mexican civilization......" It is in fact a common phenomenon of South American shamanism  (reflected also in Mesoamerica) that shamans are closely identified with the jaguar, to the point where the jaguar is almost nowhere regarded as simply an animal, albeit an especially powerful one, but as supernatural, frequently as the avatar of living or deceased shamans, containing their souls and doing good or evil in accordance with the disposition of their human form" (Furst 1976, pp. 48, 79)." 

The Underworld Jaguar God of ancient Mexico is depicted above in a pre-Columbian Mixtec manuscript called the Codex Zouche-Nuttall or Codex Tonindeye. The painting depicts the Underworld Jaguar God sitting on a thrown encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol above his head, and three upside down or inverted Fleur de lis symbols.

Scythian gold jewellery depicting felines

(Photo and excerpt from British Museum: Introducing the Scythian exhibition May 30th 2017)

The Saka peoples of Central Asia and Southern Siberia were the successors of a branch of people who belonged to what archaeologists call the Andronovo culture, (see map below) a Bronze Age culture of the 2nd millenium BCE. considered by most scholars to be proto Indo-Iranian, Iranian being cognate with Aryan. The descendants of the Adronovo culture who remained on the steppes of Central Asia were known to the Greeks and Persians as "Skythians" and "Saka" respectively. " (source and excerpt from Europa Barbarorum Wiki)

It is generally accepted that the first Turkic people lived in a region extending from Central Asia to Siberia, with the majority of them living in China historically. It has often been suggested that the Xiongnu, mentioned in Han Dynasty records, were Proto-Turkic speakers.[69][70][71][72][73] Although little is known for certain about the Xiongnu language(s), it seems likely that at least a considerable part of Xiongnu tribes spoke a Turkic language.[74] However, some scholars see a possible connection with the Iranian-speaking Sakas.(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia redirected from Origin of the Turks).

The Altai Mountains have been identified as being the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon[13] which arose during the Bronze Age around the start of the 2nd millennium BC and led to a rapid and massive migration of peoples from the region into distant parts of Europe and Asia. 

Seima-Turbino phenomenon refers to a pattern of burial sites dating around 1500 BC found across northern Eurasia, from Finland to Mongolia, which has suggested a common point of cultural origin, advanced metal working technology, and unexplained rapid migration. The buried were nomadic warriors and metal-workers, traveling on horseback or two-wheeled chariots. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Diffusionism: is a term often used to describe the origins of cultural characteristics and their spread from one society to another.

Chariots in the Americas: The discovery of pre-Columbian wheeled toys, also called chariots (A.D. 300-900) in Mexico and El Salvador has caused some scholars to re-examine the notion that the principle of the wheel was not known anywhere in the Americas before Columbus. Researchers have noted the similarities of wheeled clay toys dug up in Mexico with wheeled clay toys from Mesopotamia, Syria, China, and India. Wheeled animal figurines were commonly placed in Chinese tombs to represent sacrifices (Alice B. Kehoe, 2008, Controversies In Archaeology, p.160).

Transpacific diffusionist Gordon F. Ekholm believes that the wheeled toys were most likely derived from the better-known toy chariot cult, of the Bronze Age Near East (3300-1200 B.C.). Ekholm reported the discovery of wheeled effigies (American Antiquity 1946) that were excavated at the Olmec site of Tres Zapotes in Veracruz, Mexico. Tres Zapotes was an Olmec center boasting Colossal heads that was founded just a few centuries before 1000 B.C. The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mesoamerica (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.) rising up in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, at the centers of San Lorenzo, La Venta, Laguna de Los Cerros, and Tres Zapotes, in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco. The influence of these ceremonial centers extended in all directions and Olmec culture seemingly laid many of the foundations for the Zapotec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Toltec, Mixtec, and Aztec civilizations that were to follow. The question remains, of whether the invention of the wheel could have been made independently in both the Old Word and the New World.

"Throughout the forest belt of Siberia the tribes all have great reverence for the birch tree, and that the birch tree is considered the tree of the shaman. The Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in mycorrhizal relationship with the birch tree. The birch is the Tree of Life , the Axis Mundi, the Piller of Heaven and the Amanita muscaria or fly agaric mushroom is the Marvellous Herb "(Wasson 1968).

The poets of the Rig Veda repeatedly speak of Soma as growing in the Mountain heights. We are told that the Aryans of the Rig Veda had come down from the north on horse and chariots, but know one knows from where. We now know that the Turkic Saka people or Yakuts of the Verkhoyansk area of Siberia still prepare a ritual drink from the caps of the Amanita muscaria mushroom for ceremonies performed by shamans (Gerrit J. Keizer 2013, p.163) ( Keizer 1997)

"We know that some of the Saka tribes must have worshiped the cult of Haoma, since one of the Saka tribes known to the Achaimenid Persians and seen on the inscriptions at Persepolis and Naqsh-i-Rustam were "Saka Haomavarga" or "Haoma-drinking/Haoma-consuming Saka". Haoma was the name of both a plant and a deity in the Zoroastrian religion. The mystery plant Haoma was used in the Zoroastrian ritual of Yasna where the plant was pounded in a mortar partly filled with water and then its juice squeezed into a cup to be drank by a Zoroastrian priest" (source and excerpt from Europa Barbarorum Wiki).

Richard J. Williams, author of "Soma in Indian Religion: Etheogens as Religious Sacrament", writes...

" With the aid of certain magical herds and plants, man may have invented religion. When the Aryans came down from Siberia they brought with them their Ur-religion and an urgaritic language, which became the Vedic and Persian religious expression and later the Indo-European language, which includes Sanskrit and Persian, and the dialects of Greek. Finnish, German, Hindi,and Urdu". (Williams 2009 p.7)

In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, travel writers and natural scientists described the ritual use of  Amanita muscaria mushrooms among certain tribes in Siberia, and on the curious practice of secondary intoxication with urine suffused with Amanita muscaria mushrooms (Furst, 1972 ix).

According to Wasson:

"People generally claim that the effects of the mushroom poison becomes more intense and more beautiful when it has already passed through another organism. Thus an intoxicated man will often be followed by someone else who wants to collect his urine, which is supposed to posses this effect to a particularly high degree) (Wasson 1968: 257).


  According to Ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst... 

 "It happens that not only Siberian shamans but their reindeer as well were involved with the sacred mushrooms. Several early writers on Siberian customs reported that reindeer shared with man a passion for the inebriating mushroom, and further, that at times the animals urgently sought out human urine, a peculiarity that greatly facilitated the work of the herders in rounding them up—and that might just possibly have assisted their reindeer-hunting ancestors in early efforts at domestication:

 . . these animals (reindeer) have frequently eaten that mushroom, which they like very much. Whereupon they have behaved like drunken animals, and then have fallen into a deep slumber. When the Koryak encounter an intoxicated reindeer, they tie his legs until the mushroom has lost its strength and effect. Then they kill the reindeer. If they kill the animal while it is drunk or asleep and eat of its flesh, then everybody who has tasted it becomes intoxicated as if he had eaten the actual fly agaric. (Georg Wilhelm Steller, 1774, in Wasson, 1968: 239-240)

The most famous literary account of urine intoxication suffused with Amanita muscaria mushrooms was presented by Oliver Goldsmith in 1762, regarding the use of Amanita muscaria mushrooms in northeastern Asia by the Tungus, Yakuts, Chukchies, Koryaks, and Kamchadales tribes. Among the Khanty peoples of Western Siberia only the head or cap of the Amanita muscaria mushroom is eaten. One Amanita muscaria mushroom was a prize that was traded for with as many as four reindeer. According to Goldsmith "a rich owner of mushrooms would have a woman chew a couple of the mushrooms into a sausage, which the male would ingest. Then when he walked outside to relieve himself later, the urine was saved in a wooden pot and reused. Apparently the active substances are even more potent in the urine than in the original material. The tradition was called "passing the pot." An entire village could remain high for a week on one to several mushrooms."   (from  Literary accounts of Amanita muscaria mushroom rituals in northeastern Asia, Goldsmith from

According to Wasson, The Parsees, descendants of the Zoroastrians, drink bull's urine in there rites to this day (source Soma of the Aryans: an Ancient Hallucinogen?). The bull the animal of sacrifice, was a recurrent theme in Persian Art.  On the occasion of the bull sacrifice, "at the resurrection of the bodies when the bull Hadayans is put to death, a drink that will confer inmortality on all men is prepared from the fat of the animal mixed with haoma" (Larousse World Mythology, 1965 edition, p. 199).  According to the Vedas, Soma was known as "the supreme dappled bull" (Larousse World Mythology, 1965 edition, p. 232, 233). The Greek historian Strabo reported that in 676-675 BC the Phrygian King Midas II after the collapse of his kingdom in central and western Anatolia, chose suicide by drinking bull's blood (Christoph Baumer, 2012  p. 225).

In his book In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Archaeology and Myth 1989, J.P. Mallory cites that all the evidence indicates that Indo-Europeans of the Andronovo culture settled in western Siberia during the Bronze Age.
Late 3rd-early 2nd millennium BCE, stamp seal from the Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex (B-MAC), located in Central Asia, that thrived 2300 to 1700 BCE. The seal has been described as a figure holding snakes, when in reality, I believe this figure represents a shaman with god eye and horns, attributes that are common in the depiction of shamans in ancient art, and that the so called snakes surrounding the shaman are actually encoded mushrooms, encoded to portray divine ecstasy and the mushroom as the medium.

Bactria-Margiana Artifact Description: Openwork copper or bronze stamp seals, often called "compartmented" seals, were cast in both geometric and figural patterns in Bactria-Margiana and are distinctive to that region. This copper-alloy example represents a male figure dressed in a short kilt and mountain boots with upturned toes. If his horned headdress is similar in meaning to examples found in Mesopotamia and Iran, the figure may be divine. The arrow-shaped forms emerging from his shoulders and under his arm may represent snakes or lightning bolts.

Surprisingly, as I discovered, the ancient symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis appears in the ancient art of the Americas at approximately the same time in history as the rise of the ancient Olmecs (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.).  I believe that the Fleur de lis symbol along with several other symbols migrates from Central Asia to the Americas, along with the Amanita muscaria mushroom cult.

Zapotec urn from (Tomb 7) from the Olmec infuenced site of Monte Alban, in Oaxaca Mexico. The urn portrays a ruler or deity with facial features that appear remarkably similar to those found in the cultures of Asia. Note the familiar "Olmec snarl" symbolism of a snarling underworld jaguar. The ruler or deity portrayed is crowned with a symbol of rulership that I believe represents a New World version of the Old World Fleur de Lis symbol. (photograph of Zapotec urn from

The earliest evidence of writing in Mesoamerica appears on a stelae at the ancient Zapotec ceremonial site of Monte Alban. New evidence would suggest that the ceremonial center at Monte Alban, was Olmec influenced, and begins to develop under Olmec influence about 700-800 B.C. Radiocarbon dates by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus, of the oldest Zapotec palisade, range between 1680 and 1410 B.C.E. (Charles C.Mann 2006, p.237). The stelae with inscriptions officially known as the danzante with glyphs (or Monument 3 at San Jose Mogote), was carved sometime around 600 B.C. (Josephy 1991, p.159). Shortly after the conquest, Spanish chronicler Pedro Perez de Zamora, in his "Relacion de Teticpac", Papeles de Nueva Espana 1580, reported the use of sacred mushrooms among the Zapotec Indians, in the Valley of Oaxaca. (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, p. 37 1962).

The hallucinogenic mushroom cult still survives to this day among certain tribes like the Zapotec, Chinantec, and Mazatec Indians of Mexico  (S.F de Borhegyi,1961, 498-504).

Above is the list of the 20 Zapotec day signs from Javier Urcid (2000). The Zapotec glyph on the bottom right, encodes a symbol into the headdress which I propose is a pre-Conquest or New World version of the Old World Fleur de lis symbol, representing ruler or lord. In Mesoamerica, as in the Old World, the royal line of the king was considered to be of divine origin, linked to the Tree of Life.
Hunnic-Magyar diadems were made out of bronze plaques and then plated with gold. The diadem above and below has an eagle perched on top of it. Birds of prey were often the symbols of Hun and Magyar nobility (source Note the similarity of diadem with Fleur de lis symbolin Olmec art.

The Olmec figurine obove on the left has been described in the book The Olmec & Their Neighbors 1981, as analbite-and-jadeite seated figure, ten centimeters high, wearing a helmet with three-pronged element at the top, said to have come from Tabasco Mexico (Elizabeth P. Benson 1981, p.103) Above on the right also described in the book The Olmec & Their Neighbors 1981, is Stela 9, Kaminaljuyu, Mound C-III-6. Columnar basalt, Height, 145 cm. (No. 2359, Museo Nacional, Guatemala. Drawing by Ryntha J. Gibbs).  The monument is from the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu, located just on the outskirts of Guatemala City. This powerful city in the highlands of Guatemala controlled trade of the obsidian deposits of El Chayal since Early Preclassic times (1000 BC) The stela portrays an important figure crowned with what appears to me to be a Fleur de lis symbol similar if not exact in shape and meaning as the Hunnic diadem. The art style of this period is called Olmecoid Substyle, or Epi-Olmec or  Post-Olmec (Lee A. Parson, 1981 p. 264-265)
Hunnic cauldrons have long claimed the attention of archaeologists because of their mushroom shaped handles, which until 1896, (Reinecke 1986) were classified as Scythian cauldrons. It should be noted that "a passage in Jordanes' Getica 30 seems to betray some knowledge of the Huns in their ancient sites in the East. Jordanes writes: "Scythia is formed like a mushroom, at first narrow and than broad and round in shape, extending as far as the Hunni, Albani, and Seres." (source..The World of the Huns:Studies in Their History and Culture: page 445, 1973)

The symbol that we have come to recognize as the Fleur de lis, first appears in the art of the ancient Sumerians (see Sumerian cylinder sea above). Historians propose that Sumer was settled between 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people and that ancient Sumer was known as the "land of the civilized kings". The earliest written literature of the Sumerians dates from about 2600 BC. The Sumerian word for "Lord" is apu, the same exact word for "Lord" used in the New World by the ancient Inca civilization of Peru (Quichua language of Peru) (Hugh Fox, 2005 p.7).

            Quoting Dead Sea Scroll scholar John M. Allegro

"All roads in the Near East lead back to the Mesopotamian basin, to ancient Sumer. Similarly, the most important of the religions and mythologies of that area, and probably far beyond, are reaching back to the mushroom cult of Sumer and her successors"

Like Mesoamerica, Mesopotamian religion was highly polytheistic a system based on the belief of many gods, or deities. The earliest Sumerian gods were nature deities, concerned with fertility, but by the third millennium BCE. Mesopotamian gods were referred to "Lords or Masters" and mirrored the actions of human rulers (Bodley p.180).
The World Tree, or Tree of Life is a common motif found in Sumerian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hittite, and Hebraic art, and mentioned in the Books of Genesis and Revelations. In Mesopotamia the Fleur de lis was a symbol of Lord, or King linked to the Tree of Life, and the Sumerian-Babylonian Trinity, of Nimrod, Tammuz, and Simerimas.

In Mesoamerica, as in the Old World, the Tree of Life represents the symbolic center of the earth, the Axis mundi, or pillar of the world. In both Mesoamerica and in the Old World, the royal line of the king was considered to be of divine origin, linked with the Tree of Life. Descendants of the Mesoamerican god-king Quetzalcoatl, and thus all Mesoamerican kings or rulers, were also linked to the Tree of Life encoded in both the Old World and New World with the trefoil symbol, we recognize as the Fleur de lis emblem.

The origins of the Hungarians can be traced back to Ancient Mesopotamia through the Sumerian-Scythian-Hun-Avar-Magyar ethno-linguistic continuity, which, together with the evidence of the archeological artifacts of Sumerian origin found in the Carpathian Basin, indicates that the ancestors of the Hungarians were the first permanent settlers of the Carpathian Basin"(source

"The medieval Hungarian sources refer to the story of the Biblical Nimrod, son of  Kush, and Eneth, whose two sons, Hunor and Magor, led the Huns and the Magyars from the regions neighbouring Persia to the land known as Scythia - a designation generally given to the region stretching from the Carpathians into Central Asia. From Scythia, first the Huns (5th c. AD), then Árpád's Magyars (895-896 AD) established themselves in the Carpathian Basin. It is also stated in these sources that Árpád was a descendent of Atilla, and that therefore, under Árpád's leadership, the Magyars reconquered Hungary as their rightful inheritance from their Hun forebears. The contemporary Persian, Armenian, Arab, Greek, Russian and Western sources generally concur with the Caucasian-Caspian origin of the Magyars and with the Scythian-Hun-Avar-Magyar identity "(source

The controversial Hungarian adventurer Juan Moricz, born Janos Moricz Opos, in Hungary, in 1923; believed that, after the Deluge, the so-called New World of the Americas became the mother of civilization and that its culture was ancient Magyar:  The similarity between the old Magyar and Sumerian tongues, declared Moricz, cannot be attributed to coincidence: apart from philological similarities - such as nap for 'light of the Sun', Ur for 'lord' and Isten for 'god' - there are ethnographic, religious, artistic and folkloric connections. Moricz proposed that the Magyars of the Carpathian Mountains of Europe are of American origin, that between 8000 and 7000 BC they arrived in Lower Mesopotamia in boats made from balsa wood found only in South America. Upon leaving the Andes they brought across the Atlantic idiomatic elements of the Magyar language, together with an accumulation of legends, traditions and beliefs: that, in Ecuador - as elsewhere in the Americas - the Cayapos, Jibaro-Shuar, Tschachis, Saragurus, Salasakas and others speak versions of the old Magyar tongue; that place-names and dialects of Ecuador, although many have been eroded by acculturalisation, or eliminated by force, are numerous (From Magyars Moricz and Mother Language)

In the northern Peruvian highlands of South America, the ancient Chavín civilization flourished, that in many ways paralleled the contemporary Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. Both were major early civilizations and both used feline images in their sacred iconography. Pioneer archaeologist Marshall H. Saville was the first to call attention to certain Mesoamerican influences he called "Mayoid" in archaeological material from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian highlands and Pacific coastal areas of South America (Saville, 1907, 1909, 1910). Since Saville's first observation numerous archaeologists have reported other apparent artistic and ideological similarities between the two areas dating from as early as the Preclassic and continuing through the Postclassic, a time span from 1500 B.C. to A.D.1400. There is now a consensus that this exchange likely occurred by sea.
Moche portrait vessels from Peru, both wearing Amanita muscaria mushroom inspired headdress. The Moche culture reigned on the north coast of Peru during the years 100-800 A.D.
Above is an incense burner from the north coast of Peru, South America, Chimú culture, that portrays a fish deity wearing a conacle shaped hat crowned with what appears to be two Fleur de lis symbols. The Chimú people of South America, were known as the great navigators of the sea, and that they were the heirs to a great knowledge gained through the centuries by peoples who came before them. The Moche or Mochica civilization (1st century to 8th century C.E) has been identified as Early Chimú.

In Iranian (Persian) and Vedic-Hindu mythology, both the Haoma and Soma plant are connected in myth with a ritual beverage and Tree of Life. For reasons that may never be known, the ceremonial use of Amanita muscaria mushrooms and the drinking of Soma, was later replaced in Vedic and Hindu rituals, and Soma's true identity became a mystery. In the Persian sacred texts called the Zend-Avesta, the bible of the Zoroastrians, there is a passage in which Zoroaster asks, when will the practitioners get rid of the "urine of drunkenness" that the priests have been using to delude the people (Clark Heinrich 2002, p.20).

              According to Jenny Rose, author of  Zoroastrianism: An Introduction 2011,

 "The Gathas do not mention the plant haoma, although the epithet duraosha, which is used exclusively of haoma in the Young Avesta, is referred to in conjuction with usage by corrupt kavis. This, and another obscue reference to intoxication, has led many to assume that the practice of using haoma was castigated altogether. But in the later Avesta,  haoma is recognized as an integral part of the liturgical and mythical schema, receiving many positive epithets, and identified as an element praised by Zarathushtra [Zoroaster]. As many scholars have pointed out, it is corious that followers of the Gathic teachings would retain, or reintroduce, a practice into the liturgy that was so obviously criticized in the Gathas, while the Gathas themselves formed the core of that liturgy (Rose 2011, p.15)

Its likely that in the Persian Empire (see Persian Sassanian period plate above depicting a spotted feline and World Tree) the psilocybin mushroom later replaced the Amanita muscaria mushroom in the Soma ritual, (called Haoma in Zoroastrian and Persian mythology), where the Amanita muscaria mushroom was unavailable or not as abundant. The Vedas' repeatedly mention that Soma grows high in the mountains.
Terracotta horse-shaped vessel from Azerbaijan (Maku) 8th -7th century BCE. Central Asia, that encodes what appears to be a Fleur de lis symbol (Archaeology Museum, Tehran, Iran).
The Kalash people from the mountains of the Hindu Kush in Pakistan, have fascinated anthropologists for a long time, because  of their unique culture, and religion, that differs completely to the contemporary Islamic people of that region. Anthropologists characterize Kalash religion as a form of animism that objects, places, and creatures all possess a divine spiritual essence. The Kalash are believed to be the descendants of the Central Asian peoples that called themselves Aryani, that migrated from Central Asia to the Iranian plateau around 2,000 BC. Those who settled in the Iranian plateau and the Indus Valley recorded their use of Haoma in the Zoroastrian scriptures called the Avestas, and the use of Soma in the Indus Valley in theRig Veda (Allen Piper 2013, p. 214).
Above, "embroidered in woollen thread on the thin cloth is a procession of Zoroastrian warriors marching towards an altar; one of them, standing at the altar, is holding a mushroom in his hands. For the first time, we can see vivid evidence, embroidered on an ancient cloth discovered by archaeological excavations (2009), for the use of mushrooms for religious purposes, probably, to make Haoma, a “sacred drink.”  "For over a hundred years now, scientists have been discussing what plant was used to prepare Soma (Haoma), a sacred drink of the ancient Indians and Iranians, which "inspired poets and seers, made warriors fearless." The hypotheses were plenty: from ephedra, cannabis, and opium poppy to blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea) and fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). The answer was found in a grave of a noble woman buried in an elite burial ground of the Xiongnu, the famous nomads of Central Asia" (Excerpt from “We drank Soma, we became immortal...” : Science First Hand 03.09.2015)


            Quoting R. Gordon Wasson....   


"It can of course be argued that the two great mushroom traditions, that of New World Indians and that of the peoples of Eurasia, are historically unconnected and autonomous, having arisen spontaneously in the two regions from similar requirements of the human psyche and similar environmental opportunities. But are they really unrelated?     

The prevailing anthropological view of ancient New World history is that its indigenous peoples developed their own complex cultures independent of outside influence or inspiration.  Any suggestions to the contrary have been generally dismissed as either fanciful, racist, or demeaning. The peoples of the New World, scholars have argued,  were fully capable of developing their own civilizations as sophisticated as any found in Asia or the West. Today trans-oceanic contact between the hemispheres is still considered highly unlikely despite the exception of the Viking outpost discovered in Newfoundland in the 1960's, and the recent awareness that early humans reached far distant Australia by boat as many as 50,000 years ago. After viewing the visual evidence presented below, readers of this study may wish to challenge this outmoded view of New World history with a more open-minded acknowledgement of the capability of ancient peoples to explore their environment and disperse their intellectual heritage to its far corners. 

This view was strongly challenged by a number of anthropologists around the middle of the twentieth century. Among them were Robert Heine-Geldern, an Austrian pioneer in the field of Southeast Asian studies, and Mesoamerican archaeologist Gordon Ekholm. They argued that numerous Old World-New World contacts may have occurred, the majority of them by boat.Ekholm proposed multiple transpacific contacts between the Old and New Worlds beginning as early as 3000 B.C., While Heine Geldern was fascinated by, and wrote about, the significant parallels he found in the symbolic arts of Southern Asia and Middle America, Ekholm made an investigation of possible Old World/New World connections a major focus of his career. Heine-Geldern speculated that the Chinese, during the Chou and Han dynasties, undertook planned voyages to and from the western hemisphere as early as 700 B.C.E. At the time, an abundance of convincing evidence appeared in print supplied by Ekholm and other anthropologists as well as by scholars from different disciplines (Riley, et al, 1971). In addition to providing examples of probable animal, plant, and technological exchange between the continents, they argued that most American prehistorians, being landlubbers, underestimated the ability of ancient seamen to build a craft capable of navigating the oceans. These well-reasoned and documented arguments notwithstanding, acceptance by American anthropologists of the possibility of significant trans-oceanic contacts between the Americas prior to 1492 CE. was not forthcoming. Even with the recent awareness that early humans used boats to explore their world as early as 50,000 years ago, when they reached the shores of Australia, this denial has remained as intractably lodged in the minds of New World archaeologists as the possibility of a Worldwide mushroom-based religion.

Buddhism is named for its reputed founder Gautama also known as Siddharatha Gautama, who came to be known as the Buddha, an Indian prince of the 6th century B.C.  Above is the figurine of Gautama Buddha under what appears to me to be an encoded  mushroom. According to legend, Buddha eventually reaches Nirvana or enlightenment, under the bodhi tree but only after he dies from eating a poisonous mushroom.

           Quoting Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein......

"In the legendary biographies of some Buddhist adepts from the 2nd- and 9th-centuries there are some clues which can be interpreted to reveal that the adepts were consuming psychedelic Amanita muscaria, 'fly agaric', mushrooms to achieve enlightenment."  (from Hajicek-Dobberstein 1995, Soma siddhas and alchemical enlightenment: psychedelic mushrooms in Buddhist tradition) 

In the late 1940s Ethno-archaeologist Gordon F. Ekholm boldly proposed that Chinese visitors from the Shang Dynasty crossed the Pacific and taught the Olmec how to write, build monuments, and worship a feline god. Ekholm proposed multiple transpacific contacts with the New World beginning as early as 3000 B.C. He believed that this influence on New World civilization came from China, or Southeast Asia, and argued that the Chinese, during the Chou and Han dynasties undertook planned voyages to and from the western hemisphere as early as 700 B.C. Ekholm contends that scholars have underrated the maritime capabilities of the early Chinese, who not only invented the compass, but used a more seaworthy rudder than those used in the voyages of Columbus.

           Quoting Gordon Wasson...

"Now if, as seems likely, the Chinese once worshiped an hallucinogenic mushroom and employed it in religious ritual and medicine, and if some of their sages reached the New World, by accident or design, they could of course have introduced some of their own advanced pharmacological knowledge, or at least the idea of sacred mushrooms, to the ancient Mexicans. The same would apply to early India, whose calendrical system, like that of China, bears a perplexing resemblance to its pre-Hispanic Mexican counterpart" (Furst, 1976 p.104
Mural from the Mogao Caves, also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. The Mogao Caves are located in Gansu Province of China. The caves are strongly linked to the history of transcontinental relations and of the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia. The Mogao Cave mural above of the sitting Buddha, encodes what I believe are sacred mushrooms  "Hidden in Plain Sight" ! (
Seated Buddha meditating under what I believe is a encoded Fleur-de-lis symbol, esoteric code for the Tree of Life, and Tree of Knowledge, and a mushroom of immortality. Nalanda Site Museum, Bihar, India.
The Amanita muscaria mushroom, appears not only to have played a role in the early history of  Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrian, Judaism and Christianity, but also may be the metaphorical key to decoding the esoteric religions of ancient Mesoamerica, and South America, including Easter Island.
Visual evidence of encoded mushrooms that supports Wasson's identification of the revered and deified mystery plant of the Rig Veda, called Soma, cleverly encoded in the religious art of the New World, "Hidden in Plain Sight" that prior to this study sacred mushrooms virtually escaped detection.

After examining thousands of artifacts, a project that would have been impossible before the existence of the computer and the Internet, I discovered a wealth of mushroom imagery. Surprisingly, most of this mushroom imagery concerned the Amanita muscaria, or Fly Agaric mushroom, rather than the better known hallucinogenic Psilocybin mushroom. Both varieties, however, as well as others were represented. The fact that they had not been noted earlier is explained by the way these images were so cleverly encoded into the art that they became almost invisible. Invariably the mushroom imagery was associated with ritual sacrifice in the Underworld, with jaguar transformation and period endings, and with the decapitation and resurrection of the Underworld Sun God by a pair of deities associated with the planet Venus as both the Morning Star and Evening star. Mushrooms, in fact, are so closely associated with underworld jaguar transformation, and underworld jaguar resurrection, that they must have been believed to be the vehicle through which both were accomplished. They are also so closely associated with ritual decapitation, that their ingestion may have been considered essential to the ritual of decapitation, whether in real life or symbolically in the underworld.
The earliest evidence of a mushroom-based religious cult in the New World, appears to date to approximately the same time period, around 1000 BC, and the beginnings in Mesoamerica of Olmec culture (1200 B.C. to 400 B.C.) (de Borhegyi to Wasson, June 14th 1953). This sophisticated culture, with its distinctive art style and mythology, pyramids and megalithic stone sculpture adorned with the images of gods and rulers, appeared quite suddenly in full blossom, first along the Pacific coast of Guatemala and Mexico, and shortly thereafter in what is now the state of Veracruz, Mexico.

The religion of the ancient Olmec was grounded in sacrifice, and the need to offer men, women, and children to the gods. The ritual custom of decapitation and its relationship to the pre-Columbian ball game goes back to Olmec times (S.F. de Borhegyi 1965, p.26). Olmec religion set the tone for many of the future religious beliefs in the New World.

My father theorized that Maya civilization developed as the result of direct influences from the Olmec civilization of La Venta, and suggested that the Olmec of La Venta most likely spoke a Proto-Mayan, living among such other Maya speakers as the Huaxtecs, and proto-Totonacs (S.F. de Borhegyi 1965a p.19). Words like muxan and okox (mushroom) are two of several words borrowed or loaned by the ancient Maya, perhaps as early as 1000 B.C. (Furst, 1976, p. 79) Terrence Kaufman and Lyle Campbell, two linguists  studying the diffusion of languages in Mesoamerica, postulate that the language of the ancient Olmec, (San Lorenzo ?) the so-called "mother culture" of New World civilization, was Mixe-Zoque.

Above is an Olmec ceramic whistle, that most likely comes from the San Lorenzo phase of Olmec culture, 1200-400 B.C.E. These infantile baby-faced figurines, many of which depict the symbolism of a snarling jaguar, and facial features that appear remarkably similar to those found in the cultures of Asia, are a distinctive feature in Olmec art. This figure appears to represent a baby holding on to a tree or gigantic Amanita muscaria mushroom. According to the late great ethno-mycologist Gastón Guzmán, one of the effects of the Amanita muscaria mushroom experience is to see objects as gigantic in size. (Guzman, 2010). (Photo of Amanita muscaria, Fly Agaric Mushrooms from Salvia Space Ethnobotanicals)

The rise of the ancient Olmec in the New World has puzzled archaeologists for some time. The Olmec, the first complex civilization of the New World emerge from the jungles of the Gulf Coast of what is now present day Mexico, sometime around 1500-1200 B.C. Archaeologists contend that the Olmec culture appears to come from out of nowhere in full bloom at the site of San Lorenzo, in Veracruz, Mexico. Carbon 14 dates place Olmec civilization at San Lorenzo at 1200 B.C. E. (M. D. Coe, 1970, p.21). The ancient Olmec appear on the scene having already developed a highly evolved system of writing, where no earlier or simpler forms have been found. Renowned Maya archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley, noted that there was also the lack of known direct antecedents of Maya culture in the Maya region (Morley 1946, p.46). Morley noted writing as a perfect example, that even in its earliest known forms, it was already a highly evolved system, that no earlier, simpler forms of writing out of which it might have grown are known anywhere (Stephen C. Jett 1971,p.46).

Over the years the author has discovered plenty of evidence that the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom, like the Vedic god Soma, was worshiped and venerated as a god in ancient Mesoamerica. In the New World, just as Soma was the Vedic god who came down from the heavens and manifested himself in the form of a god and a plant of immortality, so in the New World it was the culture hero, god-king  Quetzalcoatl who brought the sacred mushrooms and the hope of immortality to the natives of Mesoamerica. The Aztecs and Toltecs called this divine mushroom teonanacatl, signifying “God´s flesh.”

Spanish chronicles tell us that the Aztecs and Toltecs attributed their enlightenment to Quetzalcoatl. In the 16th century Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun recorded in his Florentine Codex, a multi-volume compilation of priceless Mexica ethnographic information, that the Toltecs were, above all:

"thinkers for they originated the year count, the day count; they established the way in which the night, the day, would work; which sign was good, favorable; and which was evil, the day sign of wild beasts. All their discoveries formed the book for interpreting dreams."

"They [the Toltecs] could do practically anything, nothing seemed to difficult for them; they cut the greenstone, they melted gold, and all this came from Quetzalcoatl - arts and knowledge." - Fray Bernandino Sahagun.

The Vedic-Hindu gods and goddesses of East Indian philosophy are in many ways very similar to the pantheon of gods of Mesoamerica, for they too derived much of their strength from the sacrifices of men. Vedic Hinduism and the religions of Mesoamerica both believed in a three-tiered cosmos, with celestial gods traveling back and forth from the heavens to the Underworld, and saw a triadic unity in their gods that was essentially related to cosmic forces such as wind, rain-lightening, and fire, and the unity of creation, preservation, and destruction creating the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In Hindu mythology Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma, make up the Hindu Trinity of gods. The early Vedics, Hindus, Buddhists, and Persian Zoroastrians, like the Mesoamericans, also believed in four great eras or world periods that ended in cataclysm prior to the present, fifth, and final world.


Archaeological evidence of a trinity of creator gods among the ancient Maya, appear at numerous archaeological sites including Palenque, Cerros, Uaxactum, Caracol and at Tikal, during the Early Classic Period 250-400 C.E. (Proskouriakoff 1978:116) (Milbrath 1999:102). According to Maya archaeologist David Freidel:      


"as the most ancient and sacred of all Maya deities, these three gods played a crucial role in the earliest symbolism of kingship that we saw at Cerros, Tikal, and Uaxactun. " (Maya Cosmos 1993)

Evidence of a trinity of gods among the ancient Maya was also supplied by the late Ethno-mycologist Bernard Lowy, who linked sacred mushrooms with lightening and a creation myth, and a trinity of creator gods, associated with divine rulership.

           Quoting Ethno-mycologist Bernard Lowy.....

"Maya codices has revealed that the Maya and their contemporaries knew and utilized psychotropic mushrooms in the course of their magico-religious ceremonial observances" (Lowy:1981) .


"During a visit to Guatemala in the summer of 1978, I stayed in the village of Santiago de Atitlan, a community where Tzutuhil [Mayan] is spoken and where ancient traditions and folkways are still maintained. There I learned that in Tzutuhil legend mushrooms are intimately associated with the creation myth.  In the Quiche pantheon the god Kakulja, he of the lightning bolt, one of a trilogy of supreme gods, is revered above all others, and in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book in which the traditions of the Quiche people are recorded (Edmunson, 7), his position of ascendency is made clear".    (from Lowy, Revista/Review Interamericana, vol. 11(1), pp. 94-103, 1980) 


Lowy reported in 1974, "Amanita mucaria and the Thunderbolt Legend in Guatemala and Mexico" page 189, that cakulha was not only the Quiche term for thunderbolt but is also the Quiche name for Amanita mucaria mushroom. In the Popol Vuh, the mushroom gods of the Quiche Maya were named Thunderbolt Hurricane, Newborn Thunderbolt, and Raw Thunderbolt, alluding to a Trinity of gods also named in the Popol Vuh as Tohil, Auilix, and Hacauitz. 

The Popol Vuh is the sacred book of the Quiche Maya, written sometime around 1550, it has a reference to the Old World as a point of departure, and of coming from "the other side of the sea" (Alma Reed, 1966 p.9).

Anthropologist Dennis Tedlock who translated the Popol Vuh into English in 1985, mentions that the principal gods among the Quiche Maya are listed “again and again” as Tohil, Auilix, and Hacauitz (beginning on p. 171 and ending on p.222) and calls these three gods, "the three Thunderbolts". The god Tohil, has been identified by scholars as a Quiché variant of the god-king Quetzalcoatl.

Tedlock who has identified five episodes in the Popol Vuh involving underworld decapitation and self-decapitation in the Popol Vuh notes that based on evidence discovered by my father Stephan de Borhegyi, he does not rule out the presence of an Amanita muscaria mushroom cult in the Popol Vuh, as well as among some present-day highland Guatemalan shamans (Tedlock, 1985, P.V. p.250).  In one episode, in the Popol Vuh, the ball playing Hero Twins decapitate themselves in the underworld in order to come back to life.
Mesoamericans in general believed that Quetzalcoatl created both the universe and humankind. Along with mushrooms, maize and fire, Quetzalcoatl also gave to man the sciences, the calendar and writing, and the knowledge to fix certain days for feasts and blood sacrifice. Rulers bestowed with this divine knowledge were believed to be incarnates of this god.

In the Codex Chimalpopoca, the god-king Quetzalcoatl is referred to as a spirit of regeneration and as the Morning star. A passage from that Codex reads..."Truly with him it began...Truly from him it flowed out...From Quetzalcoatl all art and knowledge" (Neil Baldwin 1998 p.34).

Photograph © Justin Kerr

Maya vase K1185 from the Justin Kerr Data Base, depicts a Maya scribe with what I believe is a sacred mushroom encoded into his headdress. Painted Maya vessels like the one pictured above may have contained a sacred drink concocted from the Amanita muscaria mushroom or other hallucinogenic mushrooms in a manner very similar to that described for the legendary Soma. Soma was prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain mystry plant. That mystry plant was likely the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Soma was the divine beverage of immortality in the Rig-Veda, and Soma was referred to as the "God f "Father of the Gods" seemingly giving him precedence above all other Gods (RV9.42). Among the present day Mixtecs of Highland Mexico, the sacred mushrooms must be gathered by a virgin. They are then ground on a metate, water added, and the beverage is than drunk by the person consulting the mushroom (S.F. de Borhegyi, 1961).


In the Old World, Soma was considered to be the most precious liquid in the universe, and therefore was an indispensable aspect of all Vedic rituals, used in sacrifices to all gods. Supposedly, gods consumed the beverage in order to sustain their immortality. In this aspect, Soma is similar to the Greek ambrosia (cognate to amrita) because it was what the gods drank and what helped make them deities.


             Quoting Anthropologist Christian Ratsch...

 "The Fly agaric [Amanita muscaria mushroom] has been known since antiquity. The Egyptians called it "raven's bread," a name which it has retained in Central and Eastern Europe to the present day. It was said that Saint Anthony ate this raven's bread before the ancient pagan gods appeared to him as demons. Among the ancient Germans, the fly agaric was associated with Wotan/Odin, the god of ecstasy and the discoverer of the magical runes. According to legend, fly agarics appeared where the foam from Wotan's horse fell onto the earth. The name raven's bread refers to Wotan's two all-knowing, all-seeing ravens.  According to Graves (1961), the followers of Dionysos consumed fly agaric during the Dionysian festivals and mysteries, for it "bestows enormous physical power, erotic potency, delusional visions, and the gift of prophecy." One author has even argued that Christianity began as a fly agaric cult (Allegro 1970). There is also some evidence that the pre-historic "Beaker People" of Stonehenge, and later the British Celts, used fly agaric in a cultic context (from The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants).

Egyptian sandstone carving (18th Dynasty 1570-1342 BC), depicting Pharaoh Akhenaton and wife Queen Nefertiti in profile, with hands raised in the air to venerate what appear to be two Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The Pharaoh is known to have introduced a "new religion" (Soma / Haoma ?) into Egypt, based on the worship of the sun god Aten. (source of authenticity...

Researchers have proposed that Pharaoh Akhenaton's wife Queen Nefertiti may have been a Hittite princess, who came from the land of Mitanni, a small kingdom of Indo-Aryan people, just north of the Upper Euphrates, in what is today northern Iraq. The Hittites were an ancient people who established their empire in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC., in what is today, modern day Turkey. Pharaoh Akhenaton is best known for introducing a new religion to Egypt, that was strongly supported by Nefertiti, that made the Aten, the sun disc, the center of Egypt’s religious life. She may have brought with her the worship of an intoxicating plant called Soma and a pantheon of Vedic Gods, like Indra, Mitra, and Varuna. After the death of Akhenaton sometime around 1334-1336 B.C. Egypt would return to its original pantheon of gods and religious beliefs. (Online source, Was Nefertiti, An Aryan Princess? by K. Gajendra Singh

There's evidence of the worship of Vedic gods among the Hittites in the Hittite-Mitanni tablets discovered at Bogaz-Koz in present day Turkey, venerating such gods as Mitra, Varuna, and Indra, Mitra being the light and power behind the sun. Images of the Persian Sun God Mithra (Avestan Mithra) portray Mitra as a sun disc in a chariot drawn by horses.
Above is a Hittite relief carving dated around the 9th-8th century B.C. from Anatolia, in modern day Turkey. The relief carving depicts a scene of two figures following a horse drawn cart carrying what I propose is a sarcophagus encoded with three sacred mushrooms, symbolic of a Trinity and divine resurrection. Its my belief that the wheel of the cart in this scene esoterically alludes to the resurrecting Sun God or sun disc, and that the three encoded mushrooms on the rulers or priest's  sarcophagus is code to a Trinity of gods responsible for divine resurrection. It may be that the two figures on the left following the cart, represent the dualistic aspects of the planet Venus as both Morning Star and Evening Star, a dualistic star responsible for the death and underworld resurrection (rebirth) of the Sun God. 

Human habitation in Anatolia dates back to the paleolithic, and that the ancient Anatolian language is believed to have been spoken in Anatolia since at least the 19th century BCE. and that some linguists propose that Anatolia was the homeland of the Indo-European language family. The Anatolian Hypotheses proposes that the dispersal of Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in Neolithic Anatolia and that the origin of Indo-European goes back about 8,500 years ago, the first split being that of the Hittites  (, Anatolian hypothesis, and Proto-Indo-European homeland).

The Hittites of Anatolia were an enigmatic civilization from Anatolia that disappear from the historical record after the collapse of their empire around 1180 B.C.E. They were an Indo-European people, who were contemporaries of the early Assyrians and Babylonians, and were known to have possessed stone idols that had the appearance of anthropomorphized mushrooms.

Göbekli Tepe is a Epi-Paleolithic archaeological site in Southeastern Anatolia in modern day Turkey. Archaeologists believe that Göbekli Tepe was built by hunter-gatherers around the 10th millennium BCE. making Göbekli Tepe the oldest religious site yet to be discovered anywhere. The mushroom -headed female figure above center, is from Göbekli Tepe and demonstrates the antiquity of the mushroom-goddess fertility cult in ancient Turkey The female fertility goddess on the right with mushroom inspired head is from the Anatolian archaeological site of Alaca Hoyuk in north-central Turkey.

William Eichman, writing about his studies of the ancient Anatolian city of Catal Huyuk in modern day Turkey: Catal Huyuk, (pronounced Chat-al Hoo-yook), is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date. It was a thriving and completely planned and developed city by 6500 B.C. According to Eichman, the religion of Catal Huyuk utilized psychedelic drugs and points out that Catal Huyuk is located in an area where  Amanita muscaria mushrooms, are commonly found.

           According to William Eichman:

"This is the reason that esoteric practitioners need to study the ancient cultures. We are working with the damaged and fragmentary remains of an esoteric tradition which, stretching back many thousands of years, has taken innumerable forms as it was adapted to the needs of culture after culture"...."The Vedas and the Sutras, the Torah, Bible, and Koran, cannot be understood out of context; their true, complex, interwoven levels of meaning are distorted by translation, and the world in which they were based, the agricultural city-state civilizations which dominated our planet thousands of years ago, is entirely foreign to us. We have little hope of understanding the original ideas and practices of the great spiritual teachers unless we can, at least to some degree, put ourselves in their place. Thus, the study of the archaeology and history of spiritual traditions is one of the few ways we can test the quality of our modern esoteric material. With this in mind, let us turn to the Near East, the rough northern edge of the Fertile Crescent. the cradle of civilization. The time is 8,000 years B. C., the place is Anatolia, the rich central plateau of what is now modern day Turkey For millennia Anatolia has been a fountainhead of the Esoteric Tradition. And it all started at Catal Huyuk."

It just so happens that the successors of the Hittites, the Phoenician have several (Aryan) traits very similar with those of Easter Island and the ancient Olmec such as hieroglyphic writing, child sacrifice, cranial deformation, cannibalism, the flaying and wearing the skins of sacrificial victims, the use of incense, and the worship and veneration of the sun and moon and the planet Venus to whom they raised their pyramid temples for. Evidence of cannibalism from household refuse appears very early on at San Lorenzo, an Olmec ceremonial center dating around 1500 to 800 B.C.

Archaeologist John Gray in his book Archaeology and the Old Testament World, (1962, p.106) that the discoveries of literary, ritual, and administrative texts inscribed on clay tablets found at Ras Shamra, near the coast of north Syria, inscribed in a alphabetic cuneiform script, according to Gray, "may safely be taken as evidence of the culture of the Phoenicians of the Late Bronze Age, which we recognize on Biblical evidence to be essentially that of the Canaanites, the native population of Palestine at the Hebrew settlement."

Among the ancient Greek and Romans Mitra, known as Mithra in the Greco-Roman world, was the Sun God, and mediator between heaven and earth. Worshipers of Mithra had a complex system of rituals and initiations known as the Mithraic mysteries, and initiates were required to swear an oath of secrecy and dedication.(.

            According to Carl A. P. Ruck Professor of Classics at Boston University:

"Mithraism was the way that Zoroastrian monotheism spread the mushroom haoma sacrament of the Persians into Europe as an element in the sevenfold stages of its secret drug-induced initiation" (Ruck 2013,  p.367)

The myth of the birth of Mithra's the Sun God among the Romans will sound familiar to Christians. Mithra like the savior Jesus was born of a Virgin in a cave, announced by prophets, with his miraculous birth heralded by the appearance of an exceptionally bright star on the winter solstice December 25th, "Christmas" a claim based on the Calendar of  Filocalus or Philocalian Calendar (c. 354 AD/CE) Mithra is believed to be the Mediator between God and man, he has twelve satellites, (twelve disciples of Jesus) and his symbol is the Lamb (Mithra: The Pagan Christ by Acharya S/D.M. Murdock)

In ancient Greece there were three main mysteries, the Dionysian, the Eleusinian, and the Orphic. The most popular of the mystery cults in ancient Greece was the Eleusinian Mysteries, initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone, known simply as the religion of the two goddesses, where a sacred beverage called kykeon was consumed that like the Soma beverage of the Indo-Aryans promised immortality.   
             Quoting Carl A. P. Ruck, author of Sacred Mushrooms of the Goddess: Secrets of Eleusis

"At Eleusis itself, the religion toward which the ancient traveler made his way was shielded from profane observance by the sanctuary's fortification wall, and the essential dogma was imparted only to those who, under pain of death, had vowed to keep it secret and had undergone a lengthy preparation for their initiation" ( p.10)

On the left is a Scythian gold pendant representing the head of the goddess Demeter, 4th century B.C. (Kiev Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine). Note the encoded Fleur de lis and Tree of Life symbolism in Demeter's headdress. On the right is a wall carving of Persephone and Demeter adoring a sacred mushroom, from the Temple of Eleusis 450 B.C.

Quoting R. Gordon Wasson:

"The Eleusinian Mystery, a sacred rite of purification and initiation related to deities of the earth, was celebrated in September or early October, the season of the mushrooms in Europe.  At the heart of the Mystery of Eleusis lay a secret. In the surviving texts there are numerous references to the secret, but in none is it revealed. Yet Mysteries such as the one at Eleusis played a major role in Greek civilization, and thousands knew the experience" (Furst 1972, p.193).

In his groundbreaking book, titled "Mushrooms, food of the gods" (1957, pp.73-77), Robert Graves writes that the followers of Dionysos consumed fly agaric [Amanita muscaria mushrooms] during the Dionysian festivals and mysteries, for it "bestows enormous physical power, erotic potency, delusional visions, and the gift of prophecy (Christian Ratsch: The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants)".
Greek vessels like the one above (4th century B.C.) now in the Archaeological Museum of Florence, appear to encoded mushrooms in scenes involving the use of mirrors.  Mirrors were used by shamans, priests, and rulers in their rituals to see into the past and future and communicate with ancestors and gods. I believe that in many, if not most cases, this divine communication was conducted under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Mirrors were also a common ritual object in Central Asia, and China, as well as in the Americas. Terracotta skyphos (deep drinking cup) lower left, mid-4th century BC Metropolitan Museum of Art.

According to Carl A. P. Ruck, Professor of Classics at Boston University and authority on the mystery rituals of the god Dionysus, "that Greek wine may have been diluted with hallucinogenics at the Dionysian Anthesteria festival that celebrated the completion of the wine's fermentation, specific mention was made of a drug in the wine that was responsible for opening graves and allowing the departed spirits to return to Athens for a banquet with the living" (Ruck 2006, p.96).

Above is a vase painting of Dionysus the Greek God of the Vine, and Winemaking, and Ritual Madness, and dispenser of divine ecstasy. Note what I believe are encoded mushrooms emerging from Dionysus chalice suggesting a mushroom based ritual beverage.

            Quoting Robert Graves.. (Deyá, Majorca, Spain, 1960)

"SINCE revisiting The Greek Myths in 1958, I have had second thoughts about the drunken god Dionysus, about the Centaurs with their contradictory reputation for wisdom and misdemeanour, and about the nature of divine ambrosia and nectar. These subjects are closely related, because the Centaurs worshipped Dionysus, whose wild autumnal feast was called 'the Ambrosia'. I no longer believe that when his Maenads ran raging around the countryside, tearing animals or children in pieces and boasted afterwards of travelling to India and back, they had intoxicated themselves solely on wine or ivy ale.

I now believe that ‘ambrosia’ and ‘nectar’ were intoxicant mushrooms: certainly the amanita muscaria; but perhaps others, too, especially a small, slender dung-mushroom named panaeolus papilionaceus, which induces harmless and most enjoyable hallucinations. A mushroom not unlike it appears on an Attic vase between the hooves of Nessus the Centaur. The ‘gods’ for whom, in the myths, ambrosia and nectar were reserved, will have been sacred queens and kings of the pre-Classical era. King Tantalus’s crime was that he broke the taboo by inviting commoners to share his ambrosia. Sacred queenships and kingships lapsed in Greece; ambrosia then became, it seems, the secret element of the Eleusinian, Orphic and other Mysteries associated with Dionysus. At all events, the participants swore to keep silence about what they ate or drank, saw unforgettable visions, and were promised immortality. The ‘ambrosia’ awarded to winners of the Olympic footrace when victory no longer conferred the sacred kingship on them was clearly a substitute: a mixture of foods the initial letters of which, as I show in What Food the Centaurs Ate, spelled out the Greek word ‘mushroom’. Recipes quoted by Classical authors for nectar, and for cecyon, the mint-flavoured drink taken by Demeter at Eleusis, likewise spell out ‘mushroom’.

Above is a Roman mosaic from Tunisia 3rd century A.D. of the triumphal march of Dionysus (or Bacchus, as he was known in Rome) in a chariot drawn by tigers through the lands of India. Note what I propose are cleverly encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms in the robe of the Maenad playing the tambourine. The procession is presumed to be the followers of his mushroom cult.

It has been suggested that the woman worshipers who celebrated the Eleusinian, Orphic and other Mysteries associated with Dionysus, called maenads or "madwomen",  ripped apart human beings and devoured them.

In Robert Graves book "What Food the Centaurs Ate", Graves proposed that centaurs and their Maenad women drank a beverage to wash down a stronger drug, that Graves believes was the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom, which induces hallucinations, senseless rioting, prophetic sight, erotic energy, and remarkable muscular strength. According to Graves:

"The Maenads’ savage custom of tearing off their victims’ heads may refer allegorically to tearing off the sacred mushroom’s head—since in Mexico its stalk is never eaten. We read that Perseus, a sacred King of Argos, converted to Dionysus worship, named Mycenae after a toadstool which he found growing on the site, and which gave forth a stream of water. Tlaloc’s emblem was a toad; so was that of Argos; and from the mouth of Tlaloc’s toad in the Tepentitla fresco issues a stream of water. Yet at what epoch were the European and Central American cultures in contact?"

Both the Amanita muscaria (red cap) and Amanita pantherina (brown cap) mushrooms are encoded in this stained glass window at Chartres Cathedral Eure-et-Loir, France 1217, in association with a centaur.

Above is a painted vessel in the Museo de Metales Preciosos Precolombinos, in La Paz, Bolivia (Colección Fritz Buck) Tiahuanaco culture, that clearly depict a light skinned Centaur, a mythological  half- horse, half- man, deity of Old World mythology. The ruins of Tiahuanaco are located in western Bolivia, on the shores of Lake Titicaca where there is an Inca legend of white men with beards who built a great city on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Last but not least, Graves writes that the formulae for ambrosia and nectar in ancient Greece can be arrived at by writing down the insipid recipes given by the ancient writers, discovering that the initial letters spell "mushrooms" (R.G. Wasson 1962 p.51)

According to Richard J. Williams author of "Soma in Indian Religion"  Etheogens as Religious Sacrament (2009 p.2 Introduction): The Gods agreed to share this mighty elixir, calling it Amrita, or Amrit which is a Sanskrit word for "nectar", a sacred drink, or Holy Ambrosia, that grants their gods immortality.


Mushrooms encoded in Christian Art:

            Quoting Dr. John A. Rush author of, The Mushroom in Christian Art (2010: 138-139).

"Most people read Christian art as pictures, as snap shots representing historical events, but that is not what Christian art is about. An icon is a representation of something that cannot be represented; icons are spiritual renderings of another world, a spiritual geography; what you see is not what you get. A cross is not a cross, a book is not a book, an angel is not an angel, and a mushroom is not a mushroom. This being the case the Apostle’s Creed is likewise an icon, a mega-icon because it encapsulates all others. Again, this is not history; it is an elaborate, artistic, spiritual attempt to explain and pay homage to the mushroom experience."

Above are mushrooms encoded in the mosaics at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built around 350 A.D. over a cave that Christians believe marks the birthplace of Jesus. The Basilica was commissioned by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena.

Dead Sea Scroll scholar John Marco Allegro surmised that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was the original sacrament of the Eucharist, that formed the basis of early Christian doctrines, including the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is the mystical sharing in the blood and body of Christ. According to Allegro:

" The fungus recognized today as the Amanita muscaria, or Fly Agaric, had been known from the beginning of history. Beneath the skin of its characteristic red and white-spotted cap, there is concealed a powerful hallucinatory poison, its religious use among certain Siberian peoples and others has been the subject of study in recent years, and its exhilarating and depressive effects have been clinically examined. These include the stimulation of the perceptive faculties so that the subject sees objects much greater or much smaller than they really are, colours and sounds are much enhanced, and there is a general sense of power, both physical and mental quite outside the normal range of human experience" (Allegro 1970)

Adoration of the Magi, 1569-1649 by Juan Bautista Maino of Spain (Wasson 1957).
Adoration of the Christ child under an Amanita Muscaria mushroom ? St-Martin-Chartres-Cathedral, France 12th century A.D.
 “The Last Supper” portrayed in the Church of St. Martin, Nohant-Vic, France ca. 1120.  In this scene, authors Jerry B. Brown, and Julie M. Brown,  authors of  Psychedelic Gospels, 2016; have identified what appear to be encoded mushrooms in the robes of several disciples beneath the table of the Last Supper (photo by Julie M. Brown).

Close-up images of encoded mushrooms just to the left of the mural of The Last Supper, 12th-century Church of St. Martin, Nohant-Vic. Berry, France.  (photos by Julie M. Brown).

             According to researcher Julie Brown, May 2005...JOHN ALLEGRO AND THE CHRISTIAN MYTH:

"John Allegro observed the way the Jesus story echoed events and ideas in Gnostic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Old Testament, and he identified the doctrine of divine light as the unifying theme. This is expressed in myth and imagery and is a key to understanding a range of mythologies – including Christianity. If we compare the Christian story with other contemporary writings and also with recurrent themes in the mythology of other cultures, we see it in the context of a much older and deeper current of religious thought. And if we observe this as students of human thought rather than as devotees of a particular religion, it is not to belittle Christianity as a phenomenon of history but to strengthen it as an expression of human understanding" .


The living bread and the sacramental wine are the sacred sacraments of Christianity:


Jesus says at the Last Supper.....

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever” (John 6:51)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whosoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:53-54)?

Quoting James Arthur, author of “Mushrooms and Mankind”


 "The statement that Jesus makes ‘Unless you eat and drink you have no life in you’ would seem to condemn the replacement of whatever the real thing is with a placebo (substitute).”

“This is saying pretty clearly that the eating and drinking is physical. My body is flesh indeed, and my blood is drink indeed, and the added statement that when you eat, it is inside of you leaves little room for debate that this is a substance, not a phantom symbol alone. For those who choose to debate this I ask that they show me their substance because according to Jesus' words unless you eat and drink of ‘It’ you have no life in you. 

I found mushrooms encoded in this ca. 1465 altar frontal, that portrays Jesus as the Lord and Savior, wearing his Crown of Thorns, and displaying the bloody wounds from his Crucifixion (Textile ca. 1465, made in Nuremberg: Cloisters Collection, 1991).  According to Wasson the Mazatec Indians of Mexico spoke of the sacred mushrooms as the blood of Christ, because they were believed to grow only where a drop of Christ's blood had touched the earth.

Above, is a humeral veil used by the 17th century Dominican Cardinal, Thomas Howard, which encodes the Fleur de lis symbol below, circled in yellow, in association with an upended toad, a symbol of rebirth in both the Old World and New World. The Cardinal's veil now belongs to the Dominican Priory in Oxford. (Photo from  

Note that the image of the cross beneath the crown, once you add the white spots looks very much like an encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom.

Gordon Wasson was the first to call attention to the pervasiveness of the toad and it's association with the term toadstool, with the intoxicating or poisonous Amanita muscaria mushrooms in Europe. Wasson noted the recurrence throughout the northern hemisphere of a toad deity associated with the entheogenic mushroom (Wasson 1980, p.184-185). 

Above is an image of the Holy Trinity, that I would argue esoterically encodes the red and white spot colors of the Amanita muscaria mushroom.
The stained glass images all esoterically encode the Amanita muscaria mushroom. The 13th century image of Jesus on the far right is from Notre Dame Cathedral de Laon France.
The church of All Saints, North Street, Early 15th Century, located in the center of the medieval city of York in northern England. Quoting mycologist  Eric Osbourne:  "It is difficult to see anything except mushrooms" (personal communication 2016)
Amanita muscaria mushroom encoded above the doorway at the East entrance to the Basilica de San Vicente, in Avila, Spain. (Close up of Amanita muscaria mushroom from Ruck 2006, p. 26)    

Mushrooms appear encoded in this 14th century tapestry, known as the Apocalypse Tapestry, at the castle of Angers in France 1377- 1382. The Apocalypse Tapestry depicts the events in the Book of Revelations written by  Saint John the Divine of Patmos who is most likely portrayed standing on the left. Above  Saint John of Patmos, holding the scroll that is sealed with the seven seals is the Lamb of God the Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ).  On the right above the mushrooms and next to what must be the Tree of the Knowledge or Tree of Life, in the Garden of Eden,(note snake)  is the third horseman of the Apocalypse signifying famine.
Possible Amanita muscaria mushroom ? Note the snake is encoded in another scene of The Apocalypse. This painting is titled: “Death on a Pale Horse” (1796) by Benjamin West, Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Bible never tells us exactly what manna was and where it came from, but there are many Old Testament passages which describe its physical qualities and conditions associated with its appearance. Manna easily fits the description of psilocybe mushrooms. The Bible's first reference to manna is in the Book of Exodus as the children of Israel are fleeing from Egypt and following Moses into the wilderness. After six weeks of wandering, they began complaining to Moses that they are tired and hungry. What happens next is truly extraordinary: (Manna from Heaven, by Steve Kubby)

Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will vain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or no (16:4).

And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground (16:14). And when the children of Israel saw if, they said one to another It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

The Hebrews of the Old Testament refer to the manna given to them by Moses as a sign of God's promised covenant. Jesus on the other hand asserts that the manna from heaven was from God and not from Moses, and that the people who ate the divine manna were nourished on their journey but ultimately died. In contrast, according to the gospel, Jesus offered living bread, and whoever ate this bread would have eternal life or immortality (Wikipedia, Manna). Gospel of John 6:48-51 reads, "I am that bread of life. 6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Above on the left is the painting called the Sacrifice of Isaac, by Alesandro Allori ca. 1607. Florence, Italy. Note the red with white spots, hallucinogenic  Amanita muscaria mushrooms, in the foreground of the painting. Was the Amanita muscaria mushroom a divine symbol of immortality in ancient times? Could it be that the prophet Abraham was under the influence of the Amanita muscaria mushroom when he heard the voice of God telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac ? (J.R. Irvin 2008)
Above is mural depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac by the prophet Abraham. Note what I would argue are three mushrooms cleverly encoded in the robe of  Abraham, in a scene of ritual decapitation in association with the Tree of Life on the left.

Gordon Wasson believed that the origin of ritual decapitation lay in the mushroom ritual itself, that in many languages instead of the "cap" of the mushroom people speak of the "head"; time and again in the Rig Veda  (Wasson 1968 pp.45-46). In the Rig Veda, there are recurring themes that allude to decapitation and the spiritual potency of the head. In the ancient Hindu texts known as the Brahmanas, that follows the Vedas, one of the cups of Soma is referred to as the head of Gayatri, the eagle who bore Indra down from the heavens after beheading the dragon Vrtra, and obtaining Soma, only after Vrtra's beheading, known in the Vedas as Ahi meaning "snake" (Kevin Feeney 2013, p. 296).

With so much visual evidence suggesting that hallucinogenic mushrooms were consumed prior to ritual decapitation, it seems reasonable to propose that they were considered essential to the ritual itself, whether in real life or symbolically.

Above center is a Greek vessel that depicts a decapitation scene at the foot of the Tree of Life. Note the mushrooms encoded by the artist in the upper left hand corner of this esoteric scene.
The quest for immortality can be traced back to Sumerain times, it was the basis of the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh dating back to around 2000 BCE. Above far left is a reproduced image from a Sumerian cylinder seal, 3rd millennium BCE, that depicts the decapitation of the Sumerian deity Humbaba, "Guardian of the Pine/Cedar Forest". The scene is from the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which god's guardian deity Humbaba is decapitated by Enkidu and Gilgamesh. Its my belief that the Sumerian artist who carved this cylinder seal encodes the secret fruit of immortality, to which Enkidu and Gilgamesh quest for, as a divine mushroom, encoded in the feet of the deity Humbaba.

Rituals of Resurrection:

In both the Old World and the Americas, I have notice the esoteric pattern of encoding mushrooms and the Fleur de lis in scenes of decapitation associated with rituals of resurrection. In Mesoamerica the ritual of decapitation was believed necessary to save mankind from calamity and the cosmos from collapse. Since the greatest gift one could offer the gods was one’s own life, the purpose of human sacrifice was to preserve life rather than destroy it. I believe strongly that this concept of life from death via decapitation was mushroom-inspired.
The Gniezno Doors (Polish: Drzwi Gnieźnieńskie) are a pair of bronze doors at the entrance to Gniezno Cathedral in Gniezno, Poland, a Gothic building which the doors pre-date, having been carried over from an earlier building. They are decorated with eighteen scenes in bas-relief from the life of St. Adalbert, or Wojciech in Polish, whose remains had been bought for their weight in gold (shown in scene 16), and carried back to the cathedral and set up in a shrine there.[1][2] They were made in about 1175 during the reign of Mieszko III the Old and are one of the most significant works of Romanesque art in Poland.From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I believe that the Guienzo Door is my Rosetta Stone to breaking the mushroom code.
To my knowledge I am the first to note the sacred mushrooms encoded on the Guienzo Door.
Surprisingly,  I found all  the elements of the mushroom cult that emerges in the New World on this bronze door from Gniezno Poland.
The Gniezno Door includes mushroom and Fleur de lis imagery associated with, a feline deity,  a bird deity and Tree of Life, a ritual beverage, linked to ritual decapitation, and last but not least a trophy head associated with mushrooms and divine resurrection.
Much of our understanding of Mesoamerican religion has been pieced together from Spanish chronicles and pre-Hispanic and Colonial period manuscripts called codices. Above are all close up scenes from pre-Conquest Codices, that depicts the Fleur de lis esoterically encoded with a feline, a sacred beverage, a bird deity that sits atop the World Tree, and a trophy head associated with ritual decapitation.

In Mesoamerica, rituals of self-sacrifice and decapitation, whether in real life or in the Underworld, are a metaphor that allude to the sun's nightly death and subsequent resurrection from the Underworld by a pair of deities (twins) associated with the planet Venus as both the Morning Star and Evening star. Note that the Nahua artist appears to encode a Fleur de lis symbol in these esoteric scenes of decapitation.

The belief in a "World Tree" or "Tree of Life" that interconnects the upper world with the underworld, is a concept that has it's origin in the Old World. Throughout northern and central Asia, the Amanita muscaria mushrooms grow in a symbiotic relationship beneath giant pine and birch trees. This fact likely gave rise to belief in a Tree of Life, and in Asia it was believed to have been surmounted by a spectacular bird, capable of soaring to the heights, where the gods meet in conclave. (from Furst 1976, p.102) There are repeated references to the Food of Life, the Water of Life, the Lake of Milk that is hidden, ready to be tapped near the roots of the Tree of Life." "There where the tree grows near the Navel of the Earth, the Axis Mundi, the Cosmic Tree, the Pillar of the World." (from Furst 1976, p.103)

The iconography encoded above the entrance to San Stefano Monastery, in Bologna Italy (circa 11th 13 th century) appears to me to portray a giant bird perched atop what looks like an Amanita muscaria mushroom.

Was Quetzalcoatl a foreigner? We know that Quetzalcoatl was a historical person who was the ruler of the Toltec empire, and that succeeding rulers or High Priests may have also used his name. Fray Toribio de Benavente (Motolinía) ,(1858, Vol. I: 23), who was one of the first Spanish chroniclers to report on the ceremonial use of hallucinogenic mushrooms among the Aztecs, writes, "the Indians of New Spain regarded Quetzalcoatl as one of their principal gods.They called him the God of air and wind, and built temples to him. Motolinia goes on to say that "Quetzalcoatl initiated the scarifying of ears and tongue, not, as was claimed, to serve the Demon, but to perform penance for the sins of evil speech and hearing. The Spanish missionaries who reported these mushroom rituals were repulsed by what they perceived to be similarities to holy Christian communion. As a result, the Cathlic Church made no attempt to record the rituals in detail and banished all forms of mushroom use. In his Memoriales, (chapter 29), Motolinia describes the great ceremony to Quetzalcoatl which lasted eight days. Coincidentally, this is the same number of days that, according to legend, Quetzalcoatl was in the underworld creating humanity by bloodletting on the bones of his father and the bones of past generations. He then emerged from the underworld as the Morning star.     

The story of creation and destruction, death and rebirth appears frequently in pre-Columbian art. When we look at pre-Columbian art and see images that celebrate death, we must keep in mind that death to all Mesoamericans was just a prelude to rebirth--a portal to divine immortality.

Above is a close up scene from the Codex Vaticanus B that depicts a sacrificial victim (painted blue the color of sacrifice) emerging from a sacrificial bundle, holding an axe in one hand, encoded with the Fleur de lis symbol, and what I would argue are three sacred mushrooms in the other hand.
On the left is a scene from the Codex Bodley, a Mixtec manuscript from Highland Mexico, painted sometime around A. D. 1500. I would argue that the artist intentionally encoded a Fleur de lis symbol, as a symbol of divinity on top of a sacred mushroom, and that the three dots below the Fleur de lis is code for a trinity of gods.
Above is a close up scene from the Codex Selden, another pre-Conquest Mixtec manuscript from Highland Mexico, painted sometime around A. D. 1500. I believe the Mixtec artist intentionally encoded the Fleur de lis symbol emerging from the four branches of the World Tree, or Tree of Life, as a symbolic reference of the four cardinal directions, and it's sacred center. In Mesoamerican mythology the World tree, with its roots in the underworld and its branches in the heavens, represents the axis mundi or center of the world. In Mesoamerica a celestial bird usually sits atop the tree.

The "Tree of Life", located in a paradise of immortality, or the "Garden of the Gods", is one of the most pervasive and enduring legends in the history of religion. In the Bible, in the Genesis account of the origins of humanity, there is a "tree of life" and a "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" found growing in the Garden of Eden, and that God is afraid of humans attaining the secret knowledge from that tree of eternal life.

Mural painting of Adam and Eve eating the fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge”. Mural from the apse of Sant Sadurní in Osormort Spain, 12th century (Image from April Deconick 

In the Book of Genesis, God told Adam that he was forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge. God told Adam that if he ate the fruit he would die.  Later, Eve who was deceived by a serpent, ate the fruit which she then took to Adam and he ate it, knowing he had disobeyed what God had explicitly told him. God expelled them from the garden, and through this act, sin entered the world. We don't know what kind of  fruit this tree had, that would cause Adam and Eve to die, (some Amanitas are poisonous) but the idea that the deadly fruit was an apple was introduced by John Milton in his epic poem  Paradise Lost.

The Book of Genesis never mentions apple or forbidden fruit, only the "fruit of knowledge" and the "fruit of everlasting life". Ethno-mycologist Robert. Gordon Wasson, and other notable scholars have written that the mythological apple is a symbolic substitution for the Amanita muscaria mushroom. 

Genesis 3: 3-7, "The fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it neither shall ye touch it, lest you die."

                          4. "And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die."

                           5. "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."


Above is a fresco of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge, superimposed over an encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom cap.  The fresco is from the ceiling of St. Michael's Church, Hildesheim Germany 1192 AD.    


Above is the Plaincourault Fresco circa 1291, Plaincourault Chapel Merigny, France.  (see Wasson and Allegro on the Tree of Knowledge as Amanita, by Michael Hoffman 2006).

Quoting John Allegro, “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross”

"The cunning reptile prevails upon Eve and her husband to eat of the tree, whose fruit ‘made them as gods, knowing good and evil’ (Gen 3:4). The whole Eden story is mushroom based mythology, not least in the identity of the ‘tree’ as the sacred fungus, as we shall see. 

Even as late as the thirteenth century some recollection of the old tradition was known among Christians, to judge from a fresco painted on the wall of a ruined church in Plaincourault in France. There the Amanita muscaria is gloriously portrayed, entwined with a serpent, whilst Eve stands by holding her belly.”(Allegro p.
Above is a scene from the Book of Genesis depicted on the famous bronze doors of the 11th century Hildesheim Cathedral, in Hildesheim, Germany. The bronze door portrays God scolding Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit from the "Tree of Knowledge". Adam and Eve are portrayed standing under a mushroomic looking tree that mycologist Georgio Samorini (2001) has identified as two Psilocybe semilanceata mushrooms.

In Mesoamerica as in the Old World, the Amanita muscaria mushroom is later replaced in the Soma ritual by several different species of psilocybin mushrooms, in the areas where the Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina mushroom are not available or not abundant, as apposed to the psilocybin mushroom which are found in abundance as reported by Sahagun in the sixteenth-century.


In 1651 the physician to the King of Spain, Dr. Francisco Hernandez, wrote a guide for missionaries in the Spanish colonies, Historia de las Plantas de Nueva Espana. In it he stated that there were "three kinds" of narcotic mushrooms that were worshiped. After describing a lethal species of mushroom, he stated that other species of mushrooms when eaten caused madness, the symptom of which was uncontrolled laughter. Other mushrooms, he continued " without inducing laughter, bring before the eyes all kinds of things, such as wars and the likeness of demons".   (Wasson, 1962: 36; see also Furst, 1990 rev. ed., 9)

Stephan de Borhegyi's mushroom studies revealed that mushroom stones first appeared in the Preclassic period in the highlands of Guatemala and at sites along the Pacific slope.  In 1957  he published a typological breakdown of mushroom stones according to their chronology and distribution (Wasson and Wasson, 1957) noting that the mushroom stones from the lower altitudes were of the late type and either plain or tripod. While mushroom stones are absent from the Classic period, he believed that they may have been re-introduced to Guatemala and El Salvador in the Post Classic period by the Pipils, another group like the "Tajinized Nonoalca", or Olmeca-Xicallanca  from the Mexican gulf Coast. Taking this into consideration de Borhegyi postulated that these late type, plain or tripod mushroom stones may have represented a secondary manifestation of the original idea (Borhegyi to Wasson, June 14th 1953). Mushroom stones that carry an effigy of a human (god?), bird, jaguar, toad and other animals, occurred earlier in time and have been mostly found at the higher elevations of the Guatemala Highlands. This is an area of woodlands and pine forests where the Amanita muscaria mushroom grows in abundance. It  is more than likely, therefore, that this mushroom was the inspiration or model for the earliest mushroom stone carvings.

Preclassic mushroom stones from the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu in the Guatemala Highlands. Both sculptures depict a mushroom emerging from the back of a crouching jaguar. Mushroom stones with a double edge or groove on the underside of the cap, have been dated to the Late Pre-Classic period about 300-100 B.C. by Stephan F. de Borhegyi based on the few mushroom stones that have been excavated in context at Kaminaljuyu (BORHEGYI, STEPHAN DE: "The enigmatic mushroom stones of Mesoamérica," M. A. Research Records III. New Orleans, 1959).

That the Amanita muscaria mushroom was used in Pre-Hispanic times, is suggested by early dictionary sources which describe a mushroom the ancient Maya called xibalbaj okox meaning “underworld mushrooms”, and k’aizalab okox, meaning “lost-judgment mushrooms." The Mayan word for mushroom in Keqchi  is ocox  (Spenard 2006:72).


According to first-hand reports written at the time of the Spanish Conquest, the Aztecs ate the mushrooms as well as drank a mushroom beverage in order to induce hallucinatory trances and dreams. During these dreams they saw colored visions of jaguars, birds, snakes, and little gnome-like creatures (Manuscript of Serna 1650)

Is it just coincidence, that in Mesoamerican folklore and mythology a bearded gnome or dwarf, also appears to be esoterically linked with the Amanita muscaria mushroom, just as it is throughout the Old World.  In Germanic mythology the dwarf is connected to the so-called "Mead of Inspiration" or "Dwarfs Mead".


Spanish chronicler Jacinto De La Serna, drew the analogy between the Christian Eucharist and the eating of the mushroom; Serna suggests that the Indians regard the flesh of the mushroom as divine, or as he considers it diabolic (source, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, by R. Gordon Wasson and Stephan F. de Borhegyi, Harvard University, 1962).


Jacinto de la Serna, 1892 (The Manuscript of Serna): described the use of sacred mushrooms for divination:

"These mushrooms were small and yellowish and to collect them the priest and all men appointed as ministers went to the hills and remained almost the whole night in sermonizing and praying" (Quest for the Sacred Mushroom, Stephan F. de Borhegyi 1957).

Above is a page from the Codex Ríos, a Spanish colonial-era manuscript, now in the Vatican library (also called Codex Telleriano-Remensis), attributed to Pedro de los Ríos, a Dominican friar working in Oaxaca and Puebla between 1547 and 1562. The codex itself was likely written and drawn in Italy after 1566. The "bearded" deity above wearing what I would argue is a psilocybin mushroom inspired headdress is Lord Quetzalcoatl, the god-king in Mesoamerica who bestowed sacred mushrooms and immortality to his children, mankind.  It's my belief that the drinking vessel in Quetzalcoatl's right hand encodes a Mesoamerican version of the Fleur de lis symbol, emeriging from a sacred beverage with what appears to be two psilocybin mushrooms also emerging as the artists clue to the sacred sacriment involved.
Above left is a Late Classic Period (A.D. 600-900) Maya figurine that portrays a bearded gnome, or dwarf, wearing a hat that I would argue is an encoded upside down or inverted Amanita muscaria mushroom (Princeton Art Museum). In Mesoamerican mythology the dwarf guides the dead in their descent into the underworld. On the right is a photograph of an Amanita muscaria mushroom. (photograph of Amanita muscaria mushroom copyrighted and owned by the artist, Esther van de Belt ).

According to Stephan de Borhegyi....


"The little red topped mushroom with white polka dots occur frequently in Hungarian folktales, usually in connection with little dwarfs who live under them" (letter from de Borhegyi to Wasson April 29th, 1953  Wasson archives, Harvard University)   

In Siberia and in Mesoamerica going back to Olmec times, the sacred mushrooms evoke an imaginary world of little people more or less the size of mushrooms (Wasson 1980 p.52).

Above is a figurine from Nayarit, Western Mexico, dated 100 C.E-, depicting an figure sitting under what appears to be a gigantic Amanita muscaria mushroom.  The figurine, which is 7.5 cm tall,  is now in the INAH Regional Museum in Guadalajara Mexico. (photo of Amanita muscaria mushroom by : © Michael Wood)

According to the late Mexican mycologist, Dr. Gastón Guzmán, (2010, 2013 p.489) one of the effects of the Amanita muscaria mushroom experience is to see objects as gigantic in size (macropsia) a property immortalized in the fiction of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.   


I wonder what the broken object of worship, from Central Asia, may have been ?
Late Formative (300 B.C. to A.D. 200 ) ceramic grouping of figurines from the Ixtlan del Rio style of Nayarit, Western Mexico, depicting four figures worshiping a giant mushroom as if it were the Tree of Life.



Not long after the fall of the Aztec capital it was reported to Hernando Cortes that the Indians were using certain mushrooms in their religious ceremonies, consuming them as Spanish friars put it, in a demonic religious communion and calling these sacred mushrooms teonanacatl, meaning " Gods flesh”  ”Teo" meaning god in the language of the Aztecs. The Spanish friars and Conquistadores who reported on the religious use of mushrooms, shortly after the conquest were repulsed by the apparent similarities of the mushroom ceremony to the holy Christian communion. The Spanish clergy was understandably horrified at what they interpreted as a devil-inspired misinterpretation of the Holy Eucharist.

Spanish chroniclers recorded that the Aztecs drank or ate certain mushrooms to induce hallucinatory trances and dreams during which they saw colored visions of jaguars, birds, snakes, and little gnome-like creatures”.


Unfortunately, for our understanding of the role of mushrooms in this religion, the Spanish missionaries who reported these mushroom rituals were repulsed by what they perceived to be similarities to holy Christian communion.  As a result, they made no attempt to record the rituals in detail and banished all forms of mushroom use.


One of the first twelve missionaries to arrive shortly after the conquest of Mexico was Toribio de Paredes, who the Indians affectionately called Motolinía "poor man". Motolinia ends his disquisition with the observation that the Indians served the mushrooms in Holy Communion (source, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, by R. Gordon Wasson and Stephan F. de Borhegyi, Harvard University, 1962).

Motolinía recorded...


“They had another way of drunkenness, that made them more cruel and it was with some fungi or small mushrooms, which exist in this land as in Castilla; but those of this land are of such a kind that eaten raw and being bitter with them a little bees honey; and a while later they would see a thousand visions, especially serpents, and as they would be out of their senses, it would seem to them that their legs and bodies were full of worms eating them alive, and thus half rabid, they would sally forth from the house, wanting someone to kill them; and with this bestial drunkenness and travail that they were feeling, it happened sometimes that they hanged themselves, and also against others they were crueler. These mushrooms, they called in their language teonanacatl, which means 'flesh of God' or the devil, whom they worshiped.”  (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin)

Above is a sixteenth-century drawing from the Florentine Codex, Book 11, by Frey Bernadino de Sahagun. The image depicts the mushroom ceremony and the sacred mushrooms of the Aztecs, called teonanacatl meaning "Gods Flesh". The seated figure wearing a white robe, and drinking from a goblet is depicted in front of two severed mushroom caps.

The sixteenth century Florentine Codex, is a collection of well documented ethnographic information written by Spanish chronicler Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, organized into twelve books consisting of over 2400 pages and over 2000 illustrations drawn by native artists.  The illustration above is from Sahagun's Florentine Codex of teononacatl, the hallucinogenic mushroom of the Aztecs.  (Sahagun,1950 p. 517).


Above is a sixteenth-century drawing from the Florentine Codex, Book 11, by Frey Bernadino de Sahagun. The image was described by Sahagun as the sacred mushroom of Mexico, called teonanacatl by the Aztecs, which means "Gods Flesh". The image of a bird perched on top of the mushrooms is a metaphor that alludes to the bird deity that sits atop the world tree in Mesoamerican mythology. In Mesoamerican mythology the World tree, with its roots in the underworld and its branches in the heavens, represents the axis mundi or center of the world. The branches represent the four cardinal directions. Each of the directions was associated with a different color while the color green represented the central place. A bird, known as the celestial bird or Principal Bird Deity, usually sits atop the tree. The trunk of the World Tree which connects the two planes, was seen as a portal to the underworld.

After the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in 1521 the Catholic Church ordered the burning of all native manuscripts. Called codices, these pictorial documents contained much valuable information pertaining to native history, mythology, and ritual, related to a pantheon of supernatural gods. Unhappily, due to Spanish intolerance of indigenous religious beliefs, only eighteen pre-Conquest books attributed to the people of Highland Mexico have survived to the present day.

A human sacrifice ceremony observed by Spaniards at a temple adorned with what I would argue are six Fleur de lis symbols (Lienzo de TlaxcalaFolio 239r). Lienzo de Tlaxcala Caption in Náhuatl describes how people are killed in the "house of the devil". The Tlaxcala Codex (Lienzo de Tlaxcala), is a mid Sixteenth Century Mexican manuscript history of the Tlaxcaltecas and the Spanish in their wars against the Aztecs and the evangelical battle for Christianity.

Spanish chronicler Fray Toribio de Benavente, affectionately called Motolinia by the Indians, recorded that the Indians of New Spain regarded Quetzalcoatl as one of their principal gods. They called him the God of air and wind, and built temples to him. Motolinia recorded in chapter 24 of the Memoriales,  that the principal gods of Tlaxcala, known as Cholula and Huexotzinco, were known by three names and that Huexotzinco was also called Quetzalcoatl and Camaxtli. Motolinia called into question the legends that described Quetzalcoatl as opposing human sacrifice, and writes that the Holy city of Cholula, was where human sacrifices were performed in honor of Quetzalcoatl. In his Memoriales, (chapter 29), Motolinia describes the great ceremony to Quetzalcoatl which lasted eight days. Coincidentally, this is the same number of days that, according to legend, Quetzalcoatl was in the underworld creating humanity by bloodletting on the bones of his father and the bones of past generations. He then emerged from the underworld resurrected as the Morning star. Motolinía describes a star,  (Venus) he calls Lucifer, of which he writes:
Quoting Fray Motolina:

"the Indians adored this star more than any other save the sun, and performed more ritual sacrifices for it than for any other creature, celestial or terrestrial....The final reason why their calendar was based on this star, which they greatly revered and honored with sacrifices, was because these misguided people believed that when one of their principal gods, called Topiltzin or Quetzalcoatl, died and left this world, he was metamorphosed into that radiant star." (LaFaye, 1987)

One of the most renowned Spanish chroniclers, Fray Diego Duran, wrote in his Histories of New Spain (1537—1588)  mentions that the word for sacrifice, nextlaoaliztli, in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, meant either "payment", or the act of payment. He writes that young children were taught that death by the obsidian knife was a most honorable way to die, as honorable as dying in battle or for a mother and child to die in childbirth. Those who were sacrificed by the obsidian knife were assured a place in Omeyocan, the paradise of the sun, the afterlife.
            Quoting Fray Diego Duran:

“All the ceremonies and rites, building temples and altars and placing idols in them, fasting, going nude and sleeping on the floor, climbing mountains, to preach the law there, kissing the earth, eating it with one's fingers and blowing trumpets and conch shells and flutes on the great feast days-- all these emulated the ways of the holy man, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl”.  (Duran, 1971: 59).

Above is a page from the Post-Conquest, Manuscript of Glasgow, Historia de Tlaxcala Mexico: 1585, that depicts two Spanish Friars destroying and burning down a temple inhabited by demons. Note that the temple being destroyed in this scene is adorned with what I believe are three Fleur de lis emblems, a symbolic representation of Lord Quetzalcoatl's mushroom-Venus religion. Descripcion de la ciudad y provincia de Tlaxcala, Historia de Tlaxcala Mexico: 1585, Manuscript of Glasgow. Reprographics: Marco Antonio Pacheco / roots.

We know from early chronicles that in the Postclassic, Quetzalcoatl was revered both as a god and as a Toltec ruler. We are told by the Aztecs that the human culture hero Quetzalcoatl died in the year 1-Reed, one 52 year cycle from his birth. It is further recorded in 1570 in the Nahua manuscript known as the Annals of Cuauhtitllan, that he was apotheosized as Venus and transformed into the Morning star in the “land of writing,” which has been interpreted by scholars as being the Maya area  (Susan Milbrath 1999:177).

Above is a Classic Period Teotihuacan inspired Maya polychrome plate, that depicts at it's center, the Mexican god Tlaloc. Tlaloc is surrounded by what appears to me to be four stylized Fleur de lis symbols, and Tlaloc wears what could be encoded mushroom inspired  ear flairs. The Mexican god Tlaloc, who represents the Evening Star aspect of Venus, shared the same temple as Quetzalcoatl, who represents the Morning Star aspect of Venus, at the great city of Teotihuacan in highland Mexico.


The late Maya archaeologist J. Eric S. Thompson identified this configuration of five as the quincunx, a variant of the Central Mexican Venus sign. The design of this symbol symbolize the four cardinal directions and its central entrance to the underworld where the World Tree is located. The symbol of the quincunx is of great antiquity, having been found at the Olmec site of San Lorenzo on Monument 43 dated at 900 B.C. The quincunx design also appears on Maya Venus Platforms. The Olmec and Maya believed that It was through this portal that souls passed on their journey to deification, rebirth and resurrection. According to Maya archaeologist David Freidel, the Maya called this sacred center, mixik' balamil,  meaning "the navel of the world" (Thompson,1960:170-172, fig. 31 nos.33-40; Freidel & Schele, 1993:124) 


According to Thompson the idealized Venus cycle always ended on the day 1-Ahau, (Milbrath p.170). The synodic revolution of Venus, from Morning Star to Morning Star is 584 days, and that these revolutions were grouped by the Nahuas and Maya in fives, (see Maya  Dresden Codex) so that 5 x 584 equaled 2,920 days, or exactly eight solar years (Nicholson, 1967 pp. 45-46).

At the time of the conquest, Spanish historians concluded that the Indians of the New World must have been the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, who sailed (as related in the Old Testament) to the New World after their expulsion from Samaria by the Assyrians around 721 B.C. (Charles Gallenkamp 1959 p.40).


Fray Diego Durán who was one of the first Spanish chroniclers to write about mushroom ceremonies, was a firm believer that the Aztecs were the decedents of the lost tribes of Israel, writing that the Indian traditions with which he was familiar with, were similar with the ancient Jewish customs and beliefs that were described in the Old Testament (J.H. Parry 1976, p.318). Duran called these mushroom ceremonies "Feast of the Revelations" (Histories of New Spain (1537—1588)


              Fray Diego Duran:

"They became so inebriated and witless that many of them took their lives in their hands. With the strength of these mushrooms they saw visions and had revelations about the future, since the devil spoke to them in their madness".

" Because of their nature we could almost affirm that they [the Aztecs] are Jews and Hebrew people, and I believe that I would not be committing a great error if I were to state this fact, considering their way of life, their ceremonies, their rites and superstitions, their omens, and false dealings, so related to and characteristic of those of the Jews" (Duran 1964 The Aztecs: p.3). 


Duran writes that the Indians were ignorant of their origins and beginnings, but they have traditions regarding a long and tedious journey, and that they were led by a great man who gathered a multitude of his followers and persuaded them to flee from persecution to a land where they could live in peace. This great leader was said to have gone to the seashore with his followers, and fleeing his enemies, he parted the sea with a rod that he carried in his hand, and his followers went through the opening. The pursuing enemies seeing this opening of water followed them in only to have the waters return to their place, and the pursuers were never heard from again (Duran The Aztecs, 1964, p.149).  Duran writes...

“I am convinced, and wish to convince others, that those who tell this account heard it from their ancestors; and these natives belong, in my opinion, to the lineage of the chosen people of God for whom He worked great marvels. And so the knowledge and the paintings of the things of the Bible and its mysteries have passed from father to son. The people attrib"ute them to this land and say that they took place here, for they are ignorant of their own beginnings"  (Duran The Aztecs, 1964, p.5). 


Duran writes that the Christianization of the Aztecs would remain arduous, and that the "heathen" religion of the Aztecs, and "the whole of their culture is impregnated with the old values."  Duran mentions that his writings would most likely go unpublished claiming, “some persons (and they are not a few) say that my work will revive ancient customs and rites among the Indians”, and “that the Indians were quite good at secretly preserving their customs”. 

Duran tells us that the Catholic Church, in its zeal to obliterate all aspects of native culture which could threaten Christian religious belief, ordered the destruction of all native documents pertaining to history, myth, and legend. The Church also banished all aspects of native religion in favor of Christianity, and made no attempt to study or further record mushroom rituals.  

Not surprising, Duran’s writings were locked away and were more or less unknown to scholars until the 19th century, when it was discovered in the Madrid Library by José Fernando Ramírez. In 1848 Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg an ordained priest, came to the Americas in search of rare manuscripts and religious artifacts and while visiting Mexico City, Bourbourg obtained permission to have the Church archives opened to him, where he discovered a copy of Fray Diego Duran’s, Histories of New Spain

Bishop Bartolome de Las Casas also believed the Aztecs were descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel. Trying to prove Las Casas's theory, Lord Kingsborough, (1831-48) spent years and a fortune in the publication of his colossal work Antiquities of Mexico (Miguel Covarrubias, 1954 p.10). In a manuscript written in Quiche in 1554 by several Maya Indians, its Spanish translator, Padre Dionisio-Jose Chonay, had this to say:

 "It is supposed in the manuscript that the three great Quiche nations mentioned in particular are descendants of the Ten Tribes of the Kingdom of Israel, whom Shalmaneser reduced to perpetual captivity, and who, finding themselves in the confines of Assyria, decided to emigrate."


The Book of Mormon also tells of an Ancient Hebrew People who came to America, leaving Jerusalem around 650 B.C.    

Most Book of Mormon scholars propose that Olmec culture relates to the Jaredite culture, referring to customs and traditions of those in and about Jerusalem and Egypt (Diane Wirth 2007) The Book of Ether (1:33) tells us that the Jaredites, Jared and his people, left the Middle East when the languages were confused at the tower of Babel, sometime around 2500 B.C., and that they voyaged across the ocean to the Promised land.                                                          

Quoting Diane E. Wirth author of Why “Three” is Important in Mesoamerica and in the Book of Mormon © 2012)


 "The Popol Vuh of the Quiché Maya speaks of three creator gods, and many Mesoamerican sites had a triad of gods. Each polity had a different set of names for their three deities. Some speculate that is why Christianity was accepted so readily by the natives. After the Spanish Conquest, a Spanish priest by the name of Francisco Hernandez studied the natives and concluded the Indians already believed in the Trinity. He sent a letter to Bartolome de las Casas, a Bishop of Chiapas in the mid 1500’s, and las Casas reported what Hernandez wrote":


"They knew and believed in God who was in heaven; that that God was the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. That the Father is called by them Icona [Içona in the Spanish text] and that he had created man and all things. The Son’s name was Bakab who was born from a maiden who had ever remained a virgin, whose name was Chibirias, and who is in heaven with God. The Holy Ghost they called Echuac ".  


In both Vedic (Hindu kalpas) and Mesoamerican cosmology (Popol Vuh) there was the belief in a cyclical creations, a multi-tiered heaven and underworld, deities who reside at the four cardinal directions and its sacred center.

In the course of my studies I not only found mushroom-related symbolism "Hidden in Plain Sight" throughout Mesoamerica, but also in the ancient art of the Inca, Mochica (Moche), Chavin, Chimu, and Paracas cultures of South America, and in the Rapa Nui civilization of Easter Island. 

It is therefore particularly interesting that my study of mushroom symbolism in  pre-Columbian art has led me to a number of striking parallels between the visual imagery of Central and Southeast Asia, and Mesoamerica, and South America, including Easter Island.

The author, while no expert on Easter Island archaeology, has been struck by the similarity of some Easter Island petroglyphs, as well as rituals such as monument building, and monument mutilation, with those of the ancient Olmec culture that appears to come from out of nowhere in full bloom at the site of San Lorenzo, in Veracruz, Mexico. Carbon 14 dates place Olmec civilization at San Lorenzo at 1200 B.C. E. (M. D. Coe, 1970, p.21).

The quincunx configuration above also appears on Easter Island. In Mesoamerica this design symbolize the four cardinal directions and its central entrance to the underworld. The Olmec and Maya believed that it was through this portal that souls passed through on their journey to deification, rebirth and resurrection. As mentioned eariler the Maya called this sacred center, mixik' balamil,  meaning "the navel of the world".  The Rapa Nui of Easter Island also referred to their Island as the  "the navel of the world".  
The Olmec were jaguar above known as Monument F, is from the Olmec site of Tres Zapotes in Veracruz, Mexico. Tres Zapotes was an Olmec center boasting Colossal heads that was founded just a few centuries before 1000 B.C.

In 1886, William Thomson a U.S. Naval officer and Easter Island's first scientific researcher visited Easter Island. According to Heyerdahl, Thompson found many representations of catlike figures symbolizing their supreme god, a Sun God they called Make-Make. He noted that this was remarkable because there were no members of the cat family on Easter Island or anywhere else in Polynesia.
Cave artifacts discovered by Easter Island archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl and his team include numerous stone trophy heads, and figurines that resemble were-jaguars. Carbon dating of many of these Easter Island artifacts suggests an occupation of Easter Island around A.D. 380 A.D, about a thousand years earlier than scientists previously speculated. According to Heyerdahl the legends of these people claim that the first inhabitants of the island arrived from the east. Heyerdahl's work, although, initially discounted, gained some support after he presented his studies at the Tenth Pacific Science Congress in Honolulu in 1961.

Quoting ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst...

 "Little is known of the pre-Hispanic mushroom use in South America, with the single exception of an early Jesuit report from Peru that the Yurimagua Indeans, who have since become extinct, intoxicated themselves with a mushroom that was vaguely described as a "tree fungus" (Furst, 1976 p.82).     
Pre-Columbian ceramic Moche portrait vessels, from Peru wearing what are arguably headdresses encoded with  Amanita muscaria mushrooms. The Moche culture reigned on the north coast of Peru during the years 100-600 A.D.

The painted textile above is from the Chimu culture of Peru, 1000-1400 C.E.  The textile depicts a figure standing above what I would argue is a sacred  mushroom. The figure is accompanied by two jaguars with spots. Gordon Wasson (1968, 1971), was the first to connect the motif of 'spots' with the Amanita muscaria mushroom cult. The spotted jaguars may symbolize the underworld journey of the deceased, emulating the Sun God in his daily journey into the Underworld. The esoteric association of mushrooms and jaguar transformation was earlier noted by ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst (1976:78, 80).  

The Inca Indians of Peru, told Spanish conquistador (1532–1572) Francisco Pizarro that they were the last descendants of the Viracochas. The Viracochas, they said, were a divine race of White men with beards. They were so like the Spanish that the Europeans were called Viracochas the moment they came to the Inca Empire. The Incas thought they were the Viracochas who had come sailing back across the Pacific. According to the principal Inca legend, before the reign of the first Inca,... the sun-god, Con-Ticci Viracocha, had taken leave of his kingdom in present day Peru and sailed off into the Pacific with all his subjects. The White men had abandoned their pyramids and statues and gone with the leader, Con-Ticci Viracocha, first up to Cuzco, and then down to the Pacific. They were given the Inca name of Viracocha, or "sea foam', because they were white skinned and vanished like foam over the sea. (Heyerdahl, ibid.-American Indians in the Pacific) (Frontiers of Anthropology 2013)

There is an Inca legend of White Men with beards  who inhabited the shores of Lake Titicaca, who built a great city, 2000 years before the time of the Incas. In a letter to Borhegyi, archaeologists Marion and Harry Tschopik, described the stone monuments  at the Inca ruins of Chucuito in Peru, on the shore of Lake Titicaca as mushroom stones (Letter from Gordon Ekholm to Stephan de Borhegyi, March 12, 1953, Borhegyi Archives, MPM).


Phallic stones or mushroom stones ? Inca ruins of Chucuito in Peru, not far from Lake Titicaca. The photo of the tallest and most noticeable monument  above appears to resembling a penis, however I would argue that these stone statues actually do represent mushrooms, some of which appear to have been ritually decapitated. (© South American Pictures/ Tony Morrison, photo from internet,


Without doubt early man noticed the likeness of certain mushrooms to a human penis. This association could have led them to draw metaphors with fertility and birth. According to Nahua mythology, it was the god-king Quetzalcoatl who created mankind, and he did so from the blood he drew from his penis in the underworld. There are numerous historical reports that link mushroom consumption to such self-sacrificial religious activities as blood letting and penis perforation. In Mesoamerica, sacred mushrooms were most likely consumed by priests before the holy act of penis perforation. In this ritual blood was drawn from the penis and sprinkled upon the exhumed bones or cremated ashes of deceased ancestors, thus emulating in myth the way of Quetzalcoatl.  It was through blood sacrifice that Mesoamerican rulers and priests nurtured the gods who had been their ancestors. This bloodletting mushroom ritual was I believe, the medium, to establish direct communication between Earth and Heaven (sky) in order to unite man with god. Quetzalcoatl's essence in the world as a culture hero was to establish this communication. Quetzalcoatl taught that mankind must make blood sacrifices to transcend this world in order to achieve immortality.

The mushroom ritual was probably timed astronomically to the period of inferior conjunction of the planet Venus. At this time Venus sinks below the horizon and disappears into the "underworld"   for eight days. It then rises before the sun, thereby appearing to resurrect the sun from the underworld as the Morning Star. For this reason mushroom induced bloodletting rituals were likely performed in caves, which I suspect was timed to a ritual calendar linked to the movements of the planet Venus as both a Morning Star and Evening Star. The mushroom experience, as well as caves and ballcourts were believed to be entrances or portals into the underworld.

As mentioned earlier, Maya archaeologist David Kelley noted the similarity between the Mesoamerican calendar and the Hindu lunar mansions. Kelley saw the resemblance between the Mesoamerican cycle of the Nine Lords of the Night, to the Hindu planetary week of nine days, and noted the parallel belief of four previous world ages and their cataclysmic destruction (Susan Milbrath, 1999, p.292).    

The carved relief panels above and below are of a series of six carvings in the vertical side walls of the South Ball Court at El Tajin, in Veracruz, Mexico. The carved panel at the top depicts a ruler or Underworld god, with were-jaguar fangs, in the sacred act of drawing blood from his penis. Note that the figure in the water below receiving the blood offering, wears a fish headdress, which may be a symbolic reference to a mythological ancestor from a previous world age, who survived a world ending flood by being changed into a fish. Most importantly, note what I would argue are tiny mushrooms encoded in both panels on the limbs of a trees (drawings from M.E. Kampen "Classic Veracruz Grotesques and Sacrifical Iconography")

There is a Nahua legend in ancient Mexico of a paradise of nine heavens that was dedicated to their god Quetzalcoatl, called Tamoanchan where there was a sacred tree that marked the place where the gods were born and where sacred mushrooms and all life derived (Hugh Thomas 1993, p.474).

I believe that the mushroom was consumed in rituals of human sacrifice and self sacrifice. Self sacrifice by means of ritual bloodletting was likely the most important ritual among the ancient Maya. The act of bloodletting was so sacred in fact that according to Michael D. Coe, today's unofficial  "Dean of Maya studies", that the perforator itself was worshiped as a god (from Olmec Bloodletting: An Iconographic Study 1991). 

The drawing above by Daniela Epstein-Koontz, is another one of the ball court relief panel from the archaeological site of El Tajin, in Veracruz Mexico. Upon noticing the turtle in this creation scene I knew right away that this ballcourt scene from El Tajin was a version of the Hindu/Buddhist myth known as "The Churning of the Milk's Ocean", a creation story often depicted in Hindu art. According to Vedic,Hindu, and Buddhist literature, the Gods got together at the beginning of time and churned the ocean to extract a substance which would offer them immortality. According to Richard J. Williams author of "Soma in Indian Religion" Etheogens as Religious Sacrament (2009 p.2 Introduction), The Gods agreed to share this mighty elixir, calling it  Amrita, or Amrit which is a Sanskrit word for "nectar", a sacred drink also in Buddhist mythology that grants their gods immortality.

As it turns out I wasn't the first researcher to make the connection. The late great archaeologist and epigrapher David H. Kelley, noted the similarities years ago, but his work was often suppressed and criticized for his insistence to carry on his studies of long range cultural contacts via trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic voyages. Kelley noted the striking similarities between the Late Chow decorative styles of China of 700-200 B.C.E. and those of the El Tajin culture of Veracruz, Mexico, of A.D. 500-1000 (Stephen C. Jett 1971, p.44) (Heine-Geldern, 1959a).

The art style at El Tajin is reminiscent of the Cotzumulhuapa culture on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, and there is little doubt that there must have been close contact between the two regions. Cotzumahlhuapa's imagery also depicts serpents, jaguars, human skulls and skullracks, and bloody sacrifices performed by were-jaguars (see Lee A. Parsons 1963, 1965a, b, 1966 a,b, 1967).

Although Soma's actual identity has been lost through time, Soma was described as a god, and as a  "heavenly liquor"  that was guarded by a Serpent.  Note that in the drawing above by Daniela Epstein-Koontz of the Tajin ballcourt panel, that a dual headed serpent lurks below at the bottom of the scene, emerging from the ocean's depth. The turtle at the bottom of the scene, may indeed represents the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu who acts as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism which is composed of an intertwined serpent being pulled at both ends by sky deities (four cardinal directions) who create the new born Sun (Vishnu ?). Note that the tail of the serpent end directly above the symbol of the new born Sun just above the turtle in a three-lobed stylized design of the Fleur-de-lis emblem, esoterically alluding I believe to the trinity of creator gods. The three arrows penetrating the Sun in the scene alludes to the triad and the Sun's life giving rays of light. If this ballcourt scene does represent Hindu mythology, and I feel certain that it does, than the two deities behind the central characters hold containers or ritual buckets in their hands filled with the Soma beverage.
For documentation of motif of ritual bucket (bag?) held by figures in hieratic scenes in Mesoamerica see Drucker, Hiezer, & Squier, 1955: 198. For documentation of motif of ritual bucket (bag?) held by figures in hieratic scenes in the Old World see H. Frankfort, 1955: pl.83.  

Evidence of pre-Columbian contact? The Makara (Sanskrit; Javanese: Makårå) often called "the water monster vehicle", or "sea dragon", is a Hindu-Buddhist mythological sea creature, often depicted with its trunk tilted up and its mouth spread wide open, and at times from which a deity emerges. The Makara is a common motif in Hindu and Buddhist iconography, generally portrayed guarding the entrance of many ancient temples in Indonesia. The drawing above the Makaras, is by the late Tatiana Proskouriakoff, taken from the palace at the ancient Maya ruins of Sayil, in Yucatan Mexico (1946: p.53).

The drawing above is of a Mural from the Maya site of Tulum, Structure 5, in Yucatan Mexico, that depicts what I propose is a Post Classic Maya version of the Hindu myth, The Churning of the Milk Ocean. Note the intertwined serpents in the main section of the scene as well as a serpent swimming below in the primordial sea along with a fish and a turtle in the lower section. The turtle bears the so-called head of a god scholars have identified as God N (see  Schellhas).  Once again the turtle acts as the central pivot point, below the churning mechanism, which is composed of intertwined serpents. The characters above likely depict the gods from the four cardinal directions representing both life and death, upper world and underworld.  The four deities use hand gestures to churn the Milk ocean, and together with the serpent and turtle, (both are avatars of the planet Venus), create and resurrect the reborn sun god.  (drawing of Mural 1 from Tulum from Milbrath 1980) (drawing by Felipe Davalos G)

Mural inside the Maya Temple of the Frescoes, known as Structure 16. The mural is from the Late Post Classic Maya ruins of Tulum, in Quintana Roo, Mexico. A close up view of the mural depicts what I would argue are encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms. (Photograph of Tulum mural taken by Fadrique R. Diego)
Mushrooms encoded in ancient Maya murals, Tulum Temple of the Frescoes, Structure 16.

Mushrooms encoded in ancient Maya murals, Tulum Temple of the Frescoes, Structure 16.
Above on the left is page 19, from the Madrid Codex, also known as the Maya Tro-Cortesianus Codex that depicts what I believe are also elements of the same Hindu inspired myth The Churning of the Milk Ocean. Note that the deity above the turtle is painted blue, just like the Hindu god Vishnu is in Hindu art, and that the turtle below once again acts as the pivot point for the churning stick. The serpent's intertwined body is the mechanism by which the gods churn the milk's ocean. In the scene above the artist depicts the importance and creative forces of self sacrifice by substituting a rope for the serpents long body, in a blood letting ritual, in which the rope is being pulled through the penises of the deities above. The glyphs in the scene marked with the X-symbol, may represent the Maya word jal, a verb meaning to create ( see Reading the Maya Glyphs: 2001 p.163). The Vedic god who may have been the inspiration or prototype for the ancient Maya rain god Chac, depicted in the scene above on the upper right with an elephant, or makara inspired nose, was the Vedic rain god Indra, a warrior god who according to the Vedas assumed many of the attributes of the god Soma. Note that the page on the right also from the Madrid Codex clearly depicts not just mushrooms, but Amanita muscaria mushrooms, "Hidden in Plain Sight".

Quoting R. Gordon Wasson...

"It [the mushroom] permits you to see, more clearly than our perishing mortal eye can see, vistas beyond the horizons of this life, to travel backwards and forwards in time, to enter other planes of existence, even (as the Indians say) to know God."

 To be continued....