Mushrooms, Myth and Mithras: The Drug Cult that Civilized Europe By Carl Ruck, Mark Alwin Hoffman, José Alfredo González Celdrán
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Anthropological evidence has long suggested that psychedelic plants have played important roles in indigenous communities for thousands of years, but most scholarship does not address their larger sphere of influence on western culture. In this book, Mushrooms, Myths & Mithras, classics scholar Carl Ruck and friends reveal compelling evidence suggesting that psychedelic mushroom use was equally influential in early Europe, where it was central to initiation ceremonies for the Roman elite. Through art and archeology, we discover that Nero was the first Emperor to be initiated by secret "magical dinners," and that most of his successors embraced the ritual and its sacramental use of the psychedelic mushroom as a source of spiritual transcendence. The secret religion was officially banned after Roman Conversion, but aspects of its practices were assimilated or co-opted by Christianity, and have influenced many subsequent secret societies, including the Freemasons. Mushrooms, Myths & Mithras is a fascinating historical exploration of a powerful force kept hidden behind the scenes for thousands of years.