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Reveals evidence of visionary plants in Christianity and the life of Jesus found in medieval art and biblical scripture--hidden in plain sight for centuries
• Follows the authors’ anthropological adventure discovering sacred mushroom images in European and Middle Eastern churches, including Roslyn Chapel and Chartres
• Provides color photos showing how R. Gordon Wasson’s psychedelic theory of religion clearly extends to Christianity and reveals why Wasson suppressed this information due to his secret relationship with the Vatican
• Examines the Bible and the Gnostic Gospels to show that visionary plants were the catalyst for Jesus’s awakening to his divinity and immortality
Throughout medieval Christianity, religious works of art emerged to illustrate the teachings of the Bible for the largely illiterate population. What, then, is the significance of the psychoactive mushrooms hiding in plain sight in the artwork and icons of many European and Middle-Eastern churches? Does Christianity have a psychedelic history?
Providing stunning visual evidence from their anthropological journey throughout Europe and the Middle East, including visits to Roslyn Chapel and Chartres Cathedral, authors Julie and Jerry Brown document the role of visionary plants in Christianity. They retrace the pioneering research of R. Gordon Wasson, the famous “sacred mushroom seeker,” on psychedelics in ancient Greece and India, and among the present-day reindeer herders of Siberia and the Mazatecs of Mexico. Challenging Wasson’s legacy, the authors reveal his secret relationship with the Vatican that led to Wasson’s refusal to pursue his hallucinogen theory into the hallowed halls of Christianity.
Examining the Bible and the Gnostic Gospels, the authors provide scriptural support to show that sacred mushrooms were the inspiration for Jesus’ revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven and that he was initiated into these mystical practices in Egypt during the Missing Years. They contend that the Trees of Knowledge and of Immortality in Eden were sacred mushrooms.
Uncovering the role played by visionary plants in the origins of Judeo-Christianity, the authors invite us to rethink what we know about the life of Jesus and to consider a controversial theory that challenges us to explore these sacred pathways to the divine.
Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., is an educator, anthropologist and activist. From 1972 to 2014 he served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami, where he taught a course on “Hallucinogens and Culture.” Julie M. Brown, M.A., is a holistic psychotherapist and health coach, who researches the role of sacred plants in religion. Together the authors coordinate the Sacred Voices Project, which documents the ritual use of visionary plants in cultures around the world.
Table of Contents
An Invitation to Readers
Map of Churches and Sacred Sites Visited
Sacred Mushroom Seeker R. Gordon Wasson (1898–1986) PART ONE
The First Religion
1 Green Man of Rosslyn Chapel Roslin, Scotland-1446
2 O Immortal Soma! Indus River Valley, India-1400 BCE
3 Santa, the Reindeer Shaman Siberia, Russia-2000 BCE
4 Eleusinian Mysteries Greece-1500 BCE
5 María Sabina and the Little Saints Mexico-1955
6 Miracle of Marsh Chapel America-1962 PART TWO
Hidden in Plain Sight
7 Battle of the Trees Mérigny, France-1291
8 The Prophet Has Spoken Nohant-Vic, France-1120
9 Down the Rabbit Hole Rennes le Château, France-1891