Lucky Fellows – Fungi Experts

Die Mykologen - Glückspilze - Lucky Fellows - Fungi Experts

Die Mykologen – Glückspilze” (“Lucky Fellows – Fungi Experts”) by H. Koppdelaney. Licensed CC BY-ND 2.0.

Artist’s notes (translated from German): The Amanita Muscaria is not as toxic as would be claimed. Siberian shamans, to this day, eat the mushroom to fall into a trance in which they fly in the Hereafter. It also plays a magical role in the classic tale Alice in Wonderland. There’s a mushroom upon which a caterpillar sits, very pleasurably smoking a hookah, and giving Alice a few interesting notes about the world.

The mushroom is a fungus that could lead travelers to Wonderland, but one should be warned about the possibility of nausea and muscle cramps. It also tastes a little disgusting, so its consumption has nothing to do with enjoyment. This does not seem to have mattered to the shamans, because they always looked forward to finding this sacred mushroom.

It was believed that they could travel to the afterlife with its help, in the realm of gods and spirits. There they were able to communicate with animals, with spirits and the ancestors. The shamans also ask ravens for advice. Ravens are considered as sacred, for many, as the mushrooms themselves. With their help, the shamans can cure people of illnesses. For many indigenous people, the fungus was regarded as medicine. Who found it, could find healing and was lucky. Here lies the origin of the name Glückspilze (Lucky).

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