Mushrooms, Myth & Mithras – Ruck, Hoffman, Celdrán (2011)

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This book is frequently referred to in “Alchemically Stoned” which is about the entheogenic origins of the symbolism of Freemasonry and which also looks at Mithraic symbols in Freemasonry. The current title is the other way around.

The authors of the present title are of the opinion that experiences with mushrooms and other mind-altering substances form the basis of the mysteries of Mithras. Mithras with his Phrygian hat (red and spotted) is actually a mushroom. The torchbearers stand on one leg for the same reason. Other symbols are looked at from the same perspective. The results are amusing, but seldom really convincing.

The also has large parts which have little to do with entheogens. Some theories about Mithraism are dealt with and, for example, the -to me- fairly credible ideas of Ulansey are debunked quite convincingly.

And then the authors point their arrows towards contemporary remains of Mithraic mysteries which they think to find in Freemasonry. Their chapters about Freemasonry are quite weak which really takes the book down. Information from exposés seems to be taken for granted, the history is sloppy and the references to the rituals bring mostly question marks.

It is nice to find an uncommon take on a subject that many have written about, but I had hoped for some more ‘quality’, especially from a book written by three people.

2011 City Lights, isbn 9780872864702

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