Can Mushrooms Cause Mystical Experiences?

Great White Monster Mushrooms Bag 2

While the way we use psychedelics now sometimes seems like a cultural holdover from the 1960s, Mesoamerican religious ceremonies and customs have long used them. Since psychedelics have always been associated with mystical or spiritual experiences, modern-day psychonauts are naturally interested in the origins of their hobby.

The growing body of research being done on mushrooms can’t help but show these effects when they do occur—and the powerful benefits to be had from a mystical experience of your own. While things like “mystical experiences” can seem hard to quantify or understand through analytical research, it is becoming increasingly clear that they are.

Let’s get started because we have a lot of articles to examine today.

History of Usage

Although psilocybin mushrooms naturally grow all throughout the world, Mesoamerican populations were primarily responsible for their pre-modern use. They have a long and illustrious history of use in mystical and religious rituals there. We’ll start by looking at a few studies that outline this historical background and serve as a transition to the current era in which mushrooms are seeing an exponential rise in popularity.

Hallucinogenic drugs in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures

  • Authors: F.J. Carod-Artal
  • Journal of Publication: Neurologia
  • Date of Publication: January 2015

This page makes an effort to present an anthropological analysis of the usage of hallucinogens and psychedelic drugs throughout history in the Americas. The author points out that they have a long history of use (up to 3500 years in Central Mexico! ), and that hallucinogens in general played a significant role in the mysticism, religious experiences, and divination practices of the Mayan and Aztec peoples. These included Psilocybe cubensis, the well-known and adored magic mushroom.

Diversity, biology, and history of psilocybin-containing fungi: Suggestions for research and technological development

  • Authors: R.C. Van Court, M.S. Wiseman, K.W. Meyer, D.J. Ballhorn, K.R. Amses, J.C.Slot, B.T.M.Dentinger, R.Garibay-Orijelg, and J.K.Uehling
  • Journal of Publication: Fungal Biology
  • Date of Publication: April 2022

The authors of this study contributed to the contextualization of some of the history of psilocybin mushroom use and cite a Mixtec manuscript as the first documentation of its use. The central role that mushrooms played in the mystical and religious experiences of Mesoamerica’s inhabitants before Columbus is indicated by an image of their gods eating mushrooms. The tradition has persisted today despite the Spanish’s best efforts to eradicate it, and it has a distinct place in the religious history of the Americas.

Psilocybin: from ancient magic to modern medicine

  • Authors: David E. Nichols
  • Journal of Publication: The Journal of Antibiotics
  • Date of Publication: May 12, 2020

Our third piece fills in the knowledge gap between how these mushrooms were used in the Americas before Columbus and how we currently use and grow them. The present interest increase in psychedelics can probably be attributed to a Spanish Franciscan monk named Bernardino de Sahagn, who studied anthropology in Mexico and used “teonanacatl,” the sacred fungus of the locals. Even if this wasn’t well regarded by historians for a long time, there is a clear connection between this text and Wasson’s influential essay “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” from 1957, which helped psilocybin enter the public consciousness.

We’ve shown that psychedelic mushrooms were crucial for religious ceremonies, so it’s a bit surprising to see their current use be so closely associated with

Mystical Experiences: A Closer Look

But what is a mystical experience exactly? Such an idea is inherently subjective, thus it’s difficult to debate it in depth unless we all agree on the topic at hand. In order to achieve this, we will apply the criteria supplied by Alan Watts in a review written in 1968, at the beginning of the current psychedelic research boom. According to him, mystical experiences are “those strange states of consciousness in which the person discovers himself to be one continuous process with God, with the Universe, with the Ground of Being, or whatever name he may use by cultural conditioning or personal preference for the ultimate and eternal reality.”

People who use psilocybin regularly describe this sense of unity and oneness, and these experiences can be very potent. in addition to future events having more significance in one’s life. Psilocybin use is regularly cited by users as one of their most significant or meaningful life experiences, and this seems to be inextricably linked to these potent spiritual experiences.

While there is historical evidence of mushrooms being utilized for spiritual and mystical purposes, this does not necessarily imply that these mystical experiences were sparked by mushrooms. Fortunately, the evidence record does that just fine! We’ll talk about three studies that provide some support for the hypothesis that psilocybin is associated with these mystical encounters, as well as potential beneficial effects for the individual who has them and underlying causative mechanisms.

Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance

  • Authors: R. R. Griffiths, W. A. Richards, U. McCann, and R. Jesse
  • Journal of Publication: Psychopharmacology
  • Date of Publication: May 27, 2006

The first of these studies made an effort to offer a more thorough and quantifiable explanation for how, why, and how frequently people have these mystical experiences. The authors were able to conceal who was actually receiving the psilocybin from both the participants and the monitors by using a double-blind, multi-stage experimental design. They discovered that psilocybin users had a high rate of mystical encounters, and participants frequently listed their high-dose psilocybin experience as one of the five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives. It is not unexpected that these results, together with the finding that 79% of individuals found that psilocybin either “moderately” (50%) or “very considerably” (29%) boosted their general contentment with life

Classic Hallucinogens and Mystical Experiences: Phenomenology and Neural Correlates

  • Authors: Roland R. Griffiths, Matthew W. Johnson, William A. Richards, Brian D. Richards, Robert Jesse, Katherine A. MacLean, Frederick S. Barrett, Mary P. Cosimano, and Maggie A. Klinedinst
  • Journal of Publication: Psychopharmacology
  • Date of Publication: October 11, 2017

This study separated the participants into three groups and gave them various doses and intensities of counseling and spiritual direction over the course of multiple sessions over two months, following which it assessed the participants’ changes six months later. Between the groups who received a modest dose of psilocybin and the two that received higher doses, they discovered statistically significant improvements in the quality of life measurements they employed. The dosage strength seems to have a stronger influence on the results than the degree of support. However, they also discovered that the high dose group who received a lot of support throughout their sessions performed a little bit better on the measures than the group who received only a moderate amount of support.This shows that while both the dosage and the location are significant, mystical experiences are more likely to occur when the dosage is higher.

Classic Hallucinogens and Mystical Experiences: Phenomenology and Neural Correlates

  • Authors: Frederick S. Barrett and Roland R. Griffiths
  • Journal of Publication: Current Topics in Behavioural Neuroscience
  • Date of Publication: August 23, 2019

Our final article’s function as a literature review and aggregator, gathering and condensing many of the more crucial findings from other studies in the area, is an important feature. The links between psilocybin and mystical experiences as well as between those experiences and general quality of life indicators become quite obvious when looking at the results as a whole. The authors make an effort to create a hypothesis for a causative mechanism for these experiences as well as to describe the similarities between the mystical experiences induced by psilocybin and those induced by meditation methods.

Psilocybin and these mystical experiences are strongly correlated, as evidenced by the lengthy history of the use of psychedelic mushrooms in religious and mystical ceremonies and the rigorous experimental design used in research conducted in the last 20 years. The research has also demonstrated improvements in participants’ overall quality of life and mental health, which raises the possibility that these experiences may have potent therapeutic effects.

The investigations also confirmed that dosage is the single most crucial factor in these experiences, with higher dosages significantly increasing the likelihood that such intense experiences will occur. The trials were designed in a way to encourage these experiences, and while set and setting undoubtedly play a key influence in your experiences as well, they don’t seem to be as important as the dosage.


Psilocybin use appears to be strongly correlated with experiencing mystical experiences, and it also appears that most people who have these experiences benefit greatly from them. We may confidently draw a relationship between these notions thanks to higher sample sizes, even if it is evident that not everyone would have the same experiences.

If you want to have some mystical experiences of your own, keep in mind that, although dose is the most crucial element, your surroundings will also have a significant impact on your experiences. You’ll have the finest experience possible if you’re in a calm setting with positive individuals nearby.

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