Name: Toadstool – Fly Agaric or amanita muscaria
Meaning: ‘Curiosity’ (Meaning for all mushrooms)
All mushrooms are edible – but some only once (1). The Fly agaric is poisonous, and causes psychoactive delirium and occasionally death, (although it is by no means the most poisonous fungus) However the unceasing and apparently quite universal human desire to experience altered consciousness means that many cultures, such as Siberian, Finnish, and Afgans have found ways to prepare and consume the Fly Agaric to ‘fly’ whilst not actually dying. This quality means the fly agaric has been incorporated in the Shamanic rituals. It is also apparently a handy insecticide, although given its other qualities, maybe not a particularly user friendly one.
There are very strong fokloric associations with fairies, elves and pixies. The difference between these different types of magical folk is unclear but evidently you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of them. A circle of tall, dark grass within a ring of toadstools, accompanied by a ring of dark earth, was called a Fairy Ring. Stepping into it could change your luck for good or for bad and cause or cure illness. Alarmingly unspecific as a medical technique, consult your GP first.
According to mythologist Robert Graves, this was the ambrosia of the gods and the food that centaurs ate. Go on, you always wondered didn’t you?
Day 21 #100daysnz
Painting inspired by image by Katie Scott, P13 Botanicum
(1) This is a saying, not advice. Don’t eat mushrooms unless you’re 100% certain on their identification.