3.2.4 Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric #

Binomial / Botanical Name Amanita Muscaria
Street Names Beni Tengutake
Major Active Compound Ibotenic Acid & Muscimol
Indigenous Source Northern Hemisphere
Form Fungus
RoA Oral / Smoked
Personal Rating On Shulgin Scale + / +*


Visibly, amanita muscaria is probably the most famed psychedelic mushroom. Almost all readers of this book will have seen the bright red cap with white dots adorning children’s books, cartoons, and a vast array of both serious and fantasy imagery. Usually there is no reference to its psychedelic properties, although often there are hints, couched in terms of magic or myth.

Its use as an hallucinogen has a long and varied history, sometimes embedded in folklore, but in many cases, carefully recorded in word or image.

A rather hideous chapter of its history stems from the fact that, subsequent to its ingestion, its psychoactive components remain potent when expelled in urine, whilst the more noxious chemicals tend to be metabolised. I am aware of two variants of this particular story.

The first is that in Lapland and northern Europe herders engaged in the practice of drinking reindeer urine as a means of inducing hallucinogenic intoxication. It has been mooted that this habit was actually the source of the trip-like fable of Santa Clause flying through the air with his reindeers.

The second is that, particularly at Christmas, the poor folks of both Lapland and Siberia would collect and drink the urine of the intoxicated wealthy, either by recovering it from the snow or by other means. Indeed, it is suggested by a number of historians that this was the original source of the term “to get pissed”.

I think we can now move on.

My own experiments bore relatively disappointing results. Having secured a 5g sample, I dosed low, partly because, at the time, there were a handful of stories in circulation which warned of a degree of toxicity, and partly because of related suggestions of a high body load.

I chewed 2-3g and swallowed. In due course there was a reaction, a mild reaction, which was limited to a change of headspace. It was there, and it was of a psychedelic nature, but it bore no remarkable or compelling features. Eventually it faded, and that was that.

At a later date I decided to grind some of the material and smoke it via a bong, having seen this recommended in a variety of Internet forum posts. This came on more quickly, as would be expected, and was more intense. Again, however, it comprised largely of a mild headspace and a broad psychedelic feel.

I had hoped for more, but I believe that a combination of my reluctance to dose ambitiously, and the age and condition of the fungus itself, eliminated the prospect of an intense experience.

Whilst there is absolutely no doubt that this mushroom is a strong psychedelic, this outcome is fairly common. Inducing the requisite reaction appears to be easier said than done. Should the opportunity arise at some point in the future, I will revisit.

A familiar sight?

A familiar sight?