A hallucinogenic or entheogenic alkaloid (4-phosphoryloxyN, N-dimethyltryptamine) of the tryptamine family present in many species of fungi, the best-known being the genus Psilocybe, including Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe semilanceata (Liberty Cap), popularly known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms.” Psilocybin mushrooms are found in many places worldwide, and the use of them is especially associated with those cultures that have domesticated cattle, since many species are dung living.
   Gordon Wasson identified psilocybin, along with fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) and other mushrooms, as part of an “archaic mushroom cult” that spread across the globe from ancient Europe. Timothy Leary, on the other hand, promoted magic mushrooms as the key to transforming society and unlocking human consciousness, while Terence McKenna held magic mushrooms and other entheogens to be the triggers for achieving cosmic consciousness. All of these authors assumed mushroom use was intrinsically a shamanic occupation and that it was both widespread and archaic in origin. Andy Letcher has convincingly deconstructed this discourse, arguing that, apart from accidental ingestion in Europe (recorded as “poisoning”) and the deliberate recreational and sacramental use since the first recorded instance in 1970, the “folk evidence” supposed by Wasson is unverified and, outside Europe, the role of the magic mushroom use has been exaggerated.
   The principal location for magic mushroom use is Mexico, where half the world’s species exist, and it is here that Wasson met and went on to celebrate in print the Mazatec Indian curandera Maria Sabina, who privileged the help of mushrooms in inducing vomiting at least as much as she sought their aid in inducing visions. Nonetheless, magic mushrooms play significant roles in Cyberian shamanism and Pagan animism and among psychonauts.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Psilocybin —   [griechisch] das, s, Indolalkaloid, das in Form wasserlöslicher farbloser Kristalle aus dem mexikanischen Rauschpilz Psilocybe mexicana gewonnen wird (Psilocybingehalt etwa 0,3 %). Psilocybin ist neben Haschisch, Mescalin und LSD das… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • psilocybin — 1958, from Mod.L. psilocybe, name of a Central Amer. species of mushroom, from Gk. psilos bare (akin to psen to rub ) + kybe head …   Etymology dictionary

  • psilocybin — [sī΄lə sī′bin, sil΄əsī′bin] n. [< ModL Psilocybe < Gr psilos, bare (akin to psēn, to rub: see PSORIASIS) + kybē, head + IN1] a hallucinogenic drug obtained from a fungus (genus Psilocybe, esp. P. mexicana) …   English World dictionary

  • Psilocybin — Psilocybin …   Wikipedia

  • Psilocybin — Strukturformel Allgemeines Name Psilocybin Andere …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • psilocybin — noun Etymology: New Latin Psilocybe, fungus genus + 1 in Date: 1958 a hallucinogenic indole C12H17N2O4P obtained from a fungus (as Psilocybe mexicana or P. cubensis syn. Stropharia cubensis) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • psilocybin — /sil euh suy bin, suy leuh /, n. Pharm. a hallucinogenic crystalline solid, C12H17N2O4P, obtained from the mushroom Psilocybe mexicana. [1955 60; < NL Psilocyb(e) genus of mushrooms ( < Gk psiló(s) bare + kýbe head) + IN2] * * * …   Universalium

  • psilocybin — noun /saɪləˈsaɪbɪn/ A hallucinogenic alkaloid, C₁₂H₁₅N₂O·H₂PO₃, present in several species of Central American mushroom and producing effects similar to LSD. See Also: psilocin, Psilocybe semilanceata …   Wiktionary

  • psilocybin — The N′,N′ dimethyl derivative of 4 hydroxytryptamine; obtained from the fruiting bodies of the fungus Psilocybe mexicana and other species of Psilocybe and Stropharia. P. is a congener of 5 hydroxytryptamine, with striking central nervous system… …   Medical dictionary

  • psilocybin — saɪlÉ™ saɪbɪn n. hallucinogenic drug derived from a particular species of mushroom …   English contemporary dictionary

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