SVAMPARNAS HISTORIA Människor har använt svamp som berusningsmedel i flera tusen år. I Latinamerika var svampen ett redskap som användes av medicinmännen hos mazateker, azteker, zapoteker och andra stammar.

Även längre ner i Sydamerika har man funnit bevis i form av svampstenar och annan konst som tyder på att svamparnas kraft var allmänt känd, och användes tillsammans med andra psykoaktiva växter för att komma i kontakt med gud(ar) och andevärlden. Den äldsta svampstenen som hittats är från 1500 f.Kr.

Exempel på aztekiska målningar med förekomst av svampar
Aztekerna kallade svampen för teonanácatl, vilket betyder "köttet från gud" (eller "guds kropp"?). Arterna de använde var Psilocybe caerulescens och Psilocybe mexicana. Psilocybe cubensis introducerades först senare med spillningen från boskapet som nybyggarna hade med sig från Europa.

När Cortez besegrade aztekerna 1521 så förbjöds användandet av alla droger utom alkohol. Trots det fortsatte bruket av svampen bland medicinmännen, men det rituella bruket vid högtiderna minskade bland folket.

Européerna intresserade sig inte så mycket för svampen fastän det fanns anteckningar från spanjorerna om hur indianerna använde teonanácatl. Informationen glömdes med åren bort och återupptäcktes först på 1930-talet då Blas Pablo Reko, Robert J. Weitlaner, och Harvard-botanisten Richard Evans Schultes reste till staden Huautla de Jimenez i den mexikanska regionen Oaxaca. De lyckades identifiera teonanácatl och fick 1939 även bevittna en ceremoni där de lokala indianerna åt svampen.

Men sen kom andra världskriget och det dröjde flera år tills nya expeditioner kunde bege sig till Mexico. R. Gordon Wasson, som sedan tidigare var intresserad av svamparnas koppling till kultur och religion, hade hört talas om teonanácatl och reste till Huautla de Jimenez 1953. Han hade vissa problem att få lokalbefolkningen att prata om svamparna. Ett spår från spanjorernas förbud flera hundra år tidigare. Men 1955 fick Wasson och hans fotograf Allan Richardson tag på Psilocybe caerulescens och hittade en Shaman, Maria Sabina, som kunde genomföra en svampceremoni med dom.
Wasson berättar med egna ord:

"we all ate our mushrooms facing the wall where the small altar table stood. We ate them in silence, except for Cayetano's father, don Emilio, who was consulting the mushrooms about his infected left forearm. He would jerk his head violently with each mushroom that he swallowed, and utter a smacking noise, as though in acknowledgment of their divine potency. I was seated in the corner of the room on the left of the altar. The señora asked me to move because the word would come down there."

"I joined Allan immediately behind the señora, we took about a half hour to eat our six pairs of mushrooms. By eleven o'clock we had finished our respective portions, the señora crossing herself with the last swallow..At about 11:20 Allan leaned from his chair and whispered to me that he was having a chill. We wrapped him in a blanket.. A little later he leaned over again and said, `Gordon, I am beginning to see things,' to which I gave him the comforting reply that I was too."

"The patterns grew into architectural structures, with colonnades and architraves, patios of regal splendor, the stonework all in brilliant colors--gold and onyx and ebony--all harmoniously and ingeniously contrived, in richest magnificence extending beyond the reach of sight. These architectural visions seemed oriental, though at every stage I pointed out to myself that they could not be identified with any specific oriental country..."

"At one point in the faint moonlight the bouquet on the table assumed the dimensions and shape of an imperial conveyance, a triumphal car, drawn by zoological creatures conceivable only in an imaginary mythology, bearing a woman clothed in regal splendor. The visions came in endless succession, each growing out of the preceding ones. We had the sensation that the walls of our humble house had vanished, that our untrammeled souls were floating in the empyrean, stroked by divine breeze, possessed of a divine mobility that would transport anywhere on the wings of a thought. Only when by an act of conscious effort I touched the wall of Cayetano's house would I be brought back to the confines of the room where we all were, and this touch with reality seemed to be what precipitated nausea in me."

Wasson skrev senare flera artiklar som publicerades i tidningar i USA. Allmänheten blev intresserad och snart var det fler och fler som reste till Mexico för att få vara med i svampritualer. Svamp började säljas på stadens marknadsplats. Wasson var inte helt nöjd med hur svampens krafter exploaterades, han kände ingen gemenskap med knarkare och hippies. Senare begav han sig till Indien för att undersöka om den legendariska drogen "Soma" kunde vara psykoaktiva svampar. Han skrev även flera böcker om sina upptäckter innan han dog 1986.

Den franske mykologen Roger Heim följde 1956 med Wasson på en expedition till Mexico. Tillsammans hittade och identifierade de flera nya svampsorter. Heim skickade några prover till kemisten Albert Hofmann (skaparen av LSD). Hofmann extraherade alkaloiderna och gjorde först försök på djur i labbet och sedan på sig själv. Senare isolerade och identifierade han psilocybin och psilocin, ämnena som gav svampen sin magiska kraft.

Albert Hofmanns beskrivning av 2.4g svamp:

"Thirty minutes after taking the mushrooms the exterior world began to undergo a strange transformation. Everything assumed a Mexican character. As I was perfectly well aware that my knowledge of the Mexican origin of the mushroom would lead me to imagine only Mexican scenery, I tried deliberately to look on my environment as I knew it normally. But all voluntary efforts to look at things in their customary forms and colours proved ineffective. Whether my eyes were closed or open I saw only Mexican motifs and colours.

When the doctor supervising the experiment bent over me to check my blood pressure, he was transformed into an Aztec priest and I would not have been astonished if he had drawn an obsidian knife. In spite of the seriousness of the situation, it amused me to see how the Germanic face of my colleague had acquired a purely Indian expression. At the peak of the intoxication, about 1½ hours after ingestion of the mushrooms, the rush of interior pictures, mostly abstract motifs rapidly changing in shape and colour, reached such an alarming degree that I feared that I would be torn into this whirlpool of form and colour and would dissolve. After about six hours the dream came to an end. Subjectively, I had no idea how long this condition had lasted. I felt my return to everyday reality to be a happy return from a strange, fantastic but quite really experienced world into an old and familiar home."

Hippierörelsen och alla andra som var intresserade av att använda LSD på 60-talet gjorde svamparna allmänt kända, så kända att de förbjöds i slutet på 60-talet. Trots förbudet spred sig bruket, mycket tack vare personer som exempelvis Terence McKenna och andra psykedelia-pionjärer. Man hittade psilocybin i andra svampar, bland annat våran svenska toppslätskivling. Detta ledde till artiklar i kvällspressen om problemet med ungdomar som letade knarksvamp på golfbanorna. :)


En sju tusen år gammal målning av en svampmänniska. Finns i en grotta på Tassili-platån i Norra Algeriet.

Stenvägg i Angkor Wat, Kambodja från 1200-talet föreställande guden Shiva som håller i en svamp

Xochipilli, en av aztekernas gudar, kallas även "the prince of flowers". Läs mera här

Nedan: Exempel på svampstenar från Sydamerika.

Maria Sabina, Schamankvinnan som guidade Wasson på hans första svamptripp skriver om svampens effekter:

The mushroom is similar to your soul. And not all souls are the same. Marcial [her second husband, a violent and drunken man] had taken the teo-nanácatl [sacred mushrooms], had had visions, but the visions served no purpose. Many people of the sierra have taken it and are taking it, but not everyone enters into the world where everything is known. Also Ana María, my sister, began taking them together with me, had the same visions, talked to the mushrooms, but the mushrooms did not reveal all their secrets. The secrets that they revealed to me are enclosed in a big Book that they showed me and that is found in a region very far away from their world, a great Book. They gave it to me when Ana María fell ill . and seemed almost near death. So I decided to return again to the teo-nanácatl. I took many, many more than I had ever taken before: thirty plus thirty.

I loved my sister and was ready to do anything, even to make a very long trip, just to save her. I was sitting in front of her with my body, but my soul was entering the world of the teo-nanácatl and was seeing the same landscape that it had seen many other times, then landscapes that it had never seen because the great number of mushrooms had taken me into the deepest of the depths of that world. I was going ahead until, at one point, a duende, a spirit, came toward me. He asked a strange question: 'But what do you wish to become, you, María Sabina?' I answered him, without knowing, that I wished to become a saint. Then the spirit smiled, and immediately he had in his hands something that he did not have before, and it was a big Book with many written pages.

'Here,' he said. 'I am giving you this Book so that you can do your work better and help people who need help and know the secrets of the world where everything is known.'

I thumbed through the leaves of the Book, many written pages, and I thought that unfortunately I did not know how to read. I had never learned, and therefore that would not have been of any use to me. Suddenly, I realised I was reading and understood all that was written in the Book and that I became as though richer, wiser, and that moment I learned millions of things. I learned and learned . I looked for the herbs that the Book had indicated to me, and I did exactly what I had learned from the Book. And also Ana María got well.

I didn't need to see the Book again because I had learned everything that was inside it. But I again saw the spirit that gave it to me and other spirits and other landscapes; and I saw, close by, the sun and the moon because the more you go inside the world of teo-nanácatl, the more things are seen. And you also see our past and our future, which are there together as a single thing already achieved, already happened. So I saw the entire life of my son Aurelio and his death and the face and the name of the man that was to kill him and the dagger with which he was going to kill him because everything had already been accomplished. The murder had already been committed, and it was useless for me to say to my son that he should look out because they would kill him, because there was nothing to say. They would kill him, and that was it. And I saw other deaths and other murders and people who were lost - no one knew where they were - and I alone could see. And I saw stolen horses and ancient buried cities, the existence of which was unknown, and they were going to be brought to light. Millions of things I saw and I knew. I knew and saw God: an immense clock that ticks, the spheres that go slowly around, and inside the stars, the earth, the entire universe, the day and the night, the cry and the smile, the happiness and the pain. He who knows to the end of the secret of the 'teo-nanácatl' can even see that infinite clockwork.

LÄNKAR Wasson:
The Rediscovery of Teonanacatl av Charlie Kidder
Teonanácatl - Divine FleshHistorian om återupptäckten och foton
Seeking the Magic Mushroom Allt om Wasson, tillsammans med många foton från resorna till Mexico
Artiklen i Time Magazine som kom ut efter Wassons upptäckt. Många foton!
Erowid R. Gordon Wasson Vault Här kan man läsa mer om Wasson
"Teonanácatl and Ololiuqui, two ancient magic drugs of Mexico" av Albert Hofmann
"LITTLE FLOWERS OF THE GODS" av Schultes & Hofmann
The Ascent and Spread of Psilocybian Mushroom Consciousness by John W. Allen with James Arthur
The oldest Representations of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms in the World
Erowid: Timeline Viktiga årtal i historien om människans kontakt med svampar
Mushrooms And Mankind av James Arthur
Mushrooms From Heaven Kan bibelns referenser till "Manna" handla om Svamp?
Och var hade jesus lärt sig sina krafter?
Erowid Psilocybin Mushroom Vault : Psilocybe Mushroom History Erowid text om svampens historia
"The Mushrooms of Language" av Henry Munn