Gordon Wasson

Robert Gordon Wasson 1898-1986

Harvard-botanisten Richard Schultes reste i slutet på 1930-talet till den mexikanska regionen Oaxaca där han lyckades identifiera Teonanácatl (Psilocybe aztecorum) och 1939 även bevittna en ceremoni där de lokala indianerna åt svampar. Sedan blev det krig i världen och det dröjde många år innan fler expeditioner kunde göras.

R. Gordon Wasson, som sedan tidigare var intresserad av svamparnas koppling till kultur och religion, hade hört talas om aztekernas bruk av Teonanácatl genom Schultes rapportering och reste till Huautla de Jimenez 1953. Han hade vissa problem att få lokalbefolkningen att prata om svamparna. Det var ett spår från spanjorernas förbud att använda svampar, utfärdat flera hundra år tidigare. Men 1955 fick Wasson och hans fotograf Allan Richardson tag på Psilocybe caerulescens och hittade en Shaman vid namn Maria Sabina, som kunde genomföra en svampceremoni med dem.

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.

Wasson om sina upplevelser med psilocybinsvampar:

"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."
— Gordon Wasson om sin första upplevelse med svampen 1955[1]

"As your body lies there in its sleeping bag, your soul is free, loses all sense of time, alert as it never was before, living an eternity in a night, seeing infinity in a grain of sand. What you have seen and heard is cut as with a burin into your memory, never to be effaced. At last you know what the ineffable is and what ecstasy means.... The bemushroomed person is poised in space, a disembodied eye, invisible, incorporeal, seeing but not seen. In truth, he is the five senses disembodied, all of them keyed to the height of sensitivity and awareness, all of them blending into one another most strangely, until the person, utterly passive, becomes a pure receptor, infinitely delicate, of sensations."
— Hallucinogenic Fungi of Mexico av Robert Gordon Wasson[2]

Externa länkar

  1. Wasson's First Voyage. The Rediscovery of Entheogenic Mushrooms av John Allen
  2. Hallucinogenic Fungi of Mexico av Robert Gordon Wasson

Life Magazine May 13, 1957 - The Discovery of Mushrooms That Cause Strange Visions Många foton från resan.

Erowid R. Gordon Wasson Vault

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