It was Chief Seattle that said, “the Earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
The more than 7 billion humans that are alive today have stamped their presence in steel and concrete and flashing lights. Information now bombards everyone constantly and it becomes easy to get lost in a sea of consumerism. The march of human progress seems unstoppable and cities are expanding with little to no regard of the devastation that this is causing on the natural environment. It seems that we have completely forgotten that our very existence depends on the biological intelligence of other organisms.
Fungi seem to be the earthiest of all organisms. They come in all shapes and colors and the bulk of their body lies under the ground or inside dead wood where it consists of a network of threads. What we commonly call a mushroom is actually the fruiting body of a fungus. Unlike plants, fungi don’t go through photosynthesis. They make their living breaking down dead wood and other organic waste. In this way, they release essential minerals back into the environment.
One particular mushroom with extraordinary properties has been able to survive despite dwindling habitats: the psilocybin mushroom. About 100 different species exist worldwide. The substance within this mushroom can induce a deeply spiritual experience. These days it’s classified as entheogenic, which is a substance able to sanctify the human psyche temporarily. By definition, an entheogen is any chemical substance used in a religious, shamanic or spiritual context that is said to induce psychological changes.
Traditionally the use of psilocybin has been associated with Mayan and Aztec civilizations. However, there’s evidence in sculptures and art that suggest that in Colombia and India, some kind of psilocybin mushroom had been greatly regarded by earlier inhabitants. Despite all this evidence, psilocybin mushrooms remain illegal in many parts of the world.
This film by Simon G. Powell seeks to bring about a new understanding of nature, particularly the gift found in psilocybin mushrooms. Obviously, the mushroom experience isn’t for everyone but the ecological awareness that it can convey is for all of us.