Science

Psilocybe Mexicana: What Is It?

When you think about magic mushrooms, what usually comes to mind? Most probably, you might think of one specific mushroom. Maybe it has a red cap with some white speckles on it. But, perhaps what also comes to mind is this psychedelically colored piece of fungus.

Unfortunately, these are some stereotypical perceptions of what magic mushrooms are. These tiny psychedelic fungi are very different.

 Magic mushrooms are also known as psilocybin mushrooms. There is more than one kind of mushroom. “Magic Mushrooms” are an umbrella term of sorts. This has several different genera and species of mushrooms. The Psilocybe genus would have the most significant number of species under it. This is among the different types of shrooms out there.

Aside from that, its appearance is different. It is vastly different from what people stereotypically think shrooms are. The majority of these shrooms are small and can range from brown to reddish-brown.

But species and appearance aside, there’s more to these psychedelic mushrooms. Each kind has its unique origin. They all carried some significance throughout history. This is considering where they came from and what people used them for. So you can say this adds to what makes them so unique.

A perfect example of this is the Psilocybe Mexicana mushroom. Judging by the name alone, you can tell that this shroom hails from present-day Mexico. But this mushroom is more than a psychedelic that’s from Mexico. The Psilocybe Mexicana carries with it a rich history. This one reflects an entire set of practices. It also revolves around a culture about psychedelics.

So, what exactly makes these Mexican mushrooms magic, and what’s so special about them?

Culture of Psilocybe Mexicana

aztec altar of the sun

The consumption of magic mushrooms is more than just a hobby or pastime in certain places in Mexico. It’s an activity that carries as much weight as a religious ceremony.

The Psilocybe Mexicana is found in Mexico. It is one of three species of psychedelics found in the mentioned country above. Known as the teotlnanácatl, which translates to “flesh of god.” This mushroom was used for spiritual and medicinal purposes.

Spiritual Practices

 People can choose from two activities. They can either take part in a ceremony guided by a shaman. Or have one by themselves for spiritual purposes. If you take part in this type of trip, consuming shrooms is the first step. Then, after a while, you will begin to feel the effects of the mushrooms.

Usually, what you would feel would be an elevated state of mind of sorts. It can manifest in many ways. The Aztecs described this as communicating with God. You feel yourself become connected. This is either with something greater than you or something around you. There is also a sense of clarity and release that comes along as you continue on this trip.

If you’re with a shaman, they will help guide you through your spiritual experience. They may be the ones speaking on your behalf, telling you what it is the mushrooms are trying to say to you. It can either give you an answer to your question or something you need to know. Either way, they’ll help dispense the wisdom that the mushrooms “speak.”

Healing Practices

Psilocybin mushrooms have also been used to help heal ailments. This is aside from a spiritual experience. But, again, you can either go to a shaman right away or do it yourself. If you were to see a shaman, they would first make you ingest the mushrooms. The shaman will interpret what the mushrooms are trying to say. Then, they will tell you what you need to do to help you recover.

Should you choose to do this healing ritual yourself, you will have to follow a rigorous process. Instead of eating the mushrooms right away, you will have to follow a diet. This demands you avoid meat and beans and avoid having any intercourse. You must do this three days before and three days after eating your mushrooms.

Aside from this, some processes will also need you to walk around the mountains in your area. This is to help your body acclimate. Also, this enables you to avoid thinking about any unnecessary concerns. Once you’ve completed the preparation, you’re ready to see the shaman.

On a ritual day, you’ll need to wash with clear water and dress appropriately. When it’s sunset, you will then take the mushrooms. The shaman will then see if you’ve properly observed the preparation rituals. Afterward, they’ll begin the purification process. This involves the burning of herbs and resins.

You, the patient, will then explain what your ailment is. The shaman will then do several things to you, such as rolling a chicken egg all over your body while saying a prayer. Once the egg has been rolled, they will crack it. Then, they will tell you what the problem is based on the egg’s contents. The shaman may end the ritual there or give you more mushrooms to consume.

The way they go about their psilocybin rituals may differ. This is so as regions in Mexico may have different practices. This would be an example of what might happen.

The Importance of the Shaman

The shamans, along with the Psilocybe Mexicana, were equally important.

The role of a shaman in these rituals is significant, but it’s not for everyone. One would need the strength to handle these shrooms. Navigation is required when it comes to the elevated state of mind. 

These shamans are the ones who understand what messages the mushrooms have to convey. They also have the wisdom to know what to do with the knowledge they have. As a result, they are the ones who are recognized to be the experts of these mushroom trips. People look to them for guidance and help. This is whenever they decide to reach an elevated state of mind through psilocybin.

A Little on Tradition

mesoamerican structure in mexico

Shrooms were a considerable part of the lives of the ancient Mesoamericans as this involved their entire culture and practices.

The Mesoamericans called these mushrooms teotlnanácatl. This roughly translates to the “flesh of god.” They believed that these fungi could let them connect spiritually. Thus, they saw it as a sacred gift and was used to help them gain wisdom and a better understanding of things.

Unfortunately, mushroom-related practices changed. This is due to when the Spanish came to colonize what we now know as Mexico. Through their evangelical mission, The Spaniards viewed shrooms as something from the devil. So, they ended up banning its usage and any practices involving these mushrooms.

So, the practices involving these mushrooms were stopped. Or so they thought. But in the 1950s, shrooms resurfaced once more. People found out that mushroom-centered were still carried out. However, this happens in secret. But thanks to a banker with a passion for mycology and the psychedelic. He was able to stumble upon these mushrooms and the practices involving them.

He set out on a mission with other mycologists to help further study these mushrooms. Because of this mission, psychoactive compounds of these mushrooms were identified. If not for Psilocybe Mexicana, we would not have learned about psilocybin.

The increased interest in these mushrooms then led to their eventual emergence. The spread of the use of these mushrooms outside of Mexico grew. These magic mushrooms are emerging once again. This is after several decades of a rather complicated relationship with these shrooms.

Also, these mushrooms are being studied in the hopes of understanding them better. At present, research has shown that these shrooms do have some use in the medical field. This is a sign that these shamans were onto something when used for healing.

Effects of Psilocybe Mexicana

The Mesoamericans believed that shrooms could help them have an elevated state of mind. This occurred thousands of years ago.

The shamans believed that the mushrooms speak to those that take them. This would explain the imagery that would come to them when they would consume the mushrooms. Also, accounts talk about how sometimes shrooms can give you nightmarish visions. This is usually attributed to the devil.

Nowadays, there’s a better understanding of the effect of these Mexican magic mushrooms. Because they contain psilocybin, the mushrooms can indeed cause visual hallucinations. But, aside from that, they do help people have mystical experiences. This is somehow seen as spiritual.

Psilocybin can also help put you in a more meditative state. This can allow you to explore your thoughts more extensively. But, you can also coast along with your thoughts and experience things as they are.

As for the account that talked about nightmarish visions, this could be a bad trip. This could be attributed to not being able to handle the effects of the psilocybin very well. A bad trip is predisposed if the person who took shrooms is not in a good state of mind.

psilocybe mexicana on a jar
Image Source: reddit.com

Key Features

The Psilocybe Mexicana is a relatively small mushroom. It is typically standing short of 2 centimeters. Its stem is hollow and rather thin, usually straw-colored or brown. On top of the stem sits a smooth cap with a diameter between half a centimeter and 2 centimeters. The cap is typically brown to straw in color but can change depending on the presence or absence of water.

As for the spore print of this mushroom, they would usually be colored sepia to purplish-brown.

Psilocybe Mexicana is known to form masses of hardened mycelium, known as sclerotia. Those familiar with magic mushrooms would call these magic truffles.

One other key feature characteristic of Psilocybe Mexicana is its tendency to bruise. Thus, should the mushroom sustain any physical damage, its flesh would bruise blue.

Distribution and Habitat of Psilocybe Mexicana

These Mexican magic mushrooms either grow alone or in small groups. You can usually find them growing together with moss, such as in trails and roadsides. They can also be found in humid cornfields or meadows, such as in the grassy borders of deciduous forests.

These mushrooms can be found at elevations ranging from 4000 to 5000 feet. They’re rarely ever seen in low elevation areas. Some places you can find them in would be in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and, of course, Mexico. Usually, you can find these mushrooms growing between May to October.

Conclusion

When you think about magic mushrooms, you might think of just one kind of mushroom. You might also feel that it’s this red-capped, rather large piece of fungi. But, unfortunately, magic mushrooms are more than just that.

Magic mushrooms are an umbrella term for hundreds of different kinds of mushrooms. There are several species of magic mushrooms—each with its unique background and origin. Psilocybin Mexicana is one perfect example. This magic mushroom indeed has a unique heritage. 

This mushroom has been an essential part of the culture of the ancient Mesoamericans. These magic mushrooms in Mexico played a significant role in people’s lives. From giving spiritual experiences to being a component of their medicinal practices. 

These magic mushrooms eventually gain interest outside Mexico. This led to missions and expeditions to find these mushrooms. The purpose is to get a better understanding of them. In turn, this helped spread the use of psychedelic mushrooms to places outside of Mexico. Thus began the somewhat complicated relationship people would have with magic mushrooms.

Some decades (and one war on drugs) later, magic mushrooms have once again emerged. Now, people have a better understanding of these shrooms along with their benefits. Things indeed have come full circle for the Psilocybe Mexicana. From having a potential therapeutic use to help meditate. It’s once again presently seen as what it once was thousands of years ago.

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