Flashback Friday: Flesh of the Dead


The people of Mexico call it la carne de los muertos: “flesh of the dead.” Ethnobotanist Dr. Andrew Weil, author of The Natural Mind, learned to respect the mushroom’s magic one night in the smoky hut of a curandera of Oaxaca. The following adaptation from his book The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, ©1980 by Andrew Weil) appeared in the May, 1982 issue of High Times.

Gordon Wasson, who rediscovered the ritual use of psychedelic mushrooms in Mexico, wrote some years ago that people can be divided into mycophiles and mycophobes—mushroom lovers and mushroom haters. (1) There seems to be no middle ground. To some individuals and to some entire cultures, mushrooms are not fit for human consumption, and the idea of eating them is disgusting. This deeply felt revulsion might be linked with fear of being poisoned. Stories of mushroom poisonings evoke images of ghastly deaths, and I know some persons who shun even cultivated mushrooms in the…


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