Tuesday, November 07, 2006


For nearly 150 years Vedic Scholars have been in search of the mysterious plant of the 4000 B.C.E. Rigveda known as Soma. Soma was the plant around which the Vedic sacrifices took place and that was said to cause an ecstatic altered state of consciousness. But Soma was more than a plant, it and its expressed juice were also considered a god which was commonly used interchangeably with the god Agni, the god of fire.

The idea that Soma was a fungus, specifically the red capped Amanita muscaria mushroom, was first presented by the ethno-mycologists R. Gordon Wasson and his wife Valentina Wasson in the 1960’s and published in their 1968 volume "Soma: The Divine Mushroom of Immortality."

W.L. Reese, in his Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, states that "Agni (Soma) represents the trinity of earthly fire, lightning, and sun. In this extended sense he was the mediator between the gods and man." As in many other cultures it seems possible that a hallucinogen, in this case Amanita muscaria, was the doorway to entering the realm of the gods.

Wasson, R. Gordon. Soma: The Divine Mushroom of Immortality. Harcourt Brace Jovanovick, Inc., 1968.

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