Monday, 23 October 2017

Toadstools

This season is full of little treats, fruits and eye bounty of colourful leaves and fungi sprouting up from the earth over night, once said to be wear lightening had struck. As I drove along, my eye was caught by a fairy tale clustering of Amina muscaria, known as Fly Agaric. Quintessential pixie toadstools in every fairytale book. The seat of many a elf's bottom,lounge for smoking caterpillars or landing pad of fairies....
Amanita muscaria

Fly Agaric



Grouped on a grassy verge outside a house, as if awaiting a party of naughty pixies to come along, I quickly stopped the car and had a closer look. So striking that I'm sure if the neighbours  saw people on their hands and knees outside they would instantly know why. Rounded globes at first, red blobs dabbed with whipped cream. Fairy tale they may look but do not be fooled for they are poisonous, containing hallucinogenic agents, muscimol and ibotenic acid in varying quantities. Not to be messed with and best left to fairy folk who dabble in such mind altering shrooms. 

Associated with shamanistic religions of the Siberia people such as the Lapps, used in their storytelling and the singing of 'heroic songs', ritualistic and mysterious. Reindeer absolutely love to eat these mushrooms and there is folklore around Father Christmas being the result of a reindeer urine drinking session or two, (taking it this way reduced the toxicity) creating visions of flying, red and white....ho ho ho. 
Young Fly Agaric

As they mature the parasols open up flat, perfect for a fairy carriage runway but soon to be gone from their mossy patch. I returned a week later to find them well past their prime and browning. Treasure of autumn, a lucky find, keep your eyes pealed for them springing up after moonshine, look but don't touch to be on the safe side.
Flat top Amanita muscaria



Toadstool





Red spotty toadstools


Wild Food UK
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFe9pLPQF30

Magic mushrooms and reindeer - Weird Nature - BBC animals
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkCS9ePWuLU

L. G. Czig√°ny. "The Use of Hallucinogens and the Shamanistic Tradition of the Finno-Ugrian People." The Slavonic and East European Review 58, no. 2 (1980): 212-17. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4208027.

Rush, John A. Entheogens and the development of culture: the anthropology and neurobiology of ecstatic experience. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2013.
group of fly agaric

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