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Mushrooms, Myths and Mithras: The Drug Cult That Civilized Europe

Mushrooms, Myths and Mithras: The Drug Cult That Civilized Europe

Paperback

By (author) Carl Ruck, By (author) Mark Alwin Hoffman, Contributions by José Alfredo González Celdrán

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  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Format: Paperback | 300 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 201mm x 20mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 11 August 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Monroe, OR
  • ISBN 10: 0872864707
  • ISBN 13: 9780872864702
  • Illustrations note: Color and B&W illustrations throughout
  • Sales rank: 474,856

Product description

This illustrated book traces the history of an unlikely force in the shaping of Western civilization: the use of psychedelic mushrooms, namely by a secret society called the cult of Mithras. Nero was the first emperor to be initiated by the group's "magical dinners," and most of his successors embraced the ritual as a source of spiritual transcendence. The cult was officially banned after the Conversion, but aspects of their rituals were assimilated or co-opted by Christianity, and the brotherhoods persist today as secret societies such as the Freemasons. This is a fascinating exploration of a powerful force kept behind the scenes for thousands of years.

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Author information

Carl Ruck is best known for his work in mythology and religion on the sacred role of entheogens as used in religious or shamanistic rituals. His focus has been on the use of entheogens in classical western culture, as well as their historical influence on modern western religions. He currently teaches at Boston University. Mark Alwin Hoffman, with degrees in Religious Studies and Philosophy from San Diego State University and based in Taos, New Mexico, is editor of Entheos: The Journal of Psychedelic Spirituality. He has written on shamanism, ancient religions, early Christianity, and the role of visionary sacraments in western mystery tradition. Jose Alfredo Gonzalez Celdran is a professor of ancient Greek based in Murcia, Spain, and is the author of Las Puertas de Moeris, an historical novel, and Homres, Dioses, y Hongos (Men, Gods, and Mushrooms) on the role of psychoactive mushrooms in myth and religion, as well as essays in collaboration with an archaeologist on entheogens.

Review quote

Praise for Persephone's Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion by Carl Ruck et al "[This book] is the pious meditation of an inspired devotee, a religious book in the deepest sense, the credo of a passionate initiate. A delightful book to read." -- Wendy Doniger, Times Literary Supplement "Mushrooms, Myth & Mithras is an extremely well-constructed academic argument proving that it is impossible to deny the connection between the use of entheogenic substances and religious practice for generations across countries and cultures. The evidence is extremely well documented in art, literature (myths and oral storytelling), and architecture. Over time, all these forms of evidence become blended into cross-cultural metaphors and ideas that show the same information coming from multiple cultures." -- Ian Jones, Verbicide "This book is all about the evolution of European culture, from ancient times right up through the advent and dominance of Christianity----and how it all started with and depended on shrooms... I feel like I took a class on the subject." -- Rio Connelly, Slug Magazine