As an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, I believe and stand behind 92% of traditional Ayurveda. The other 8% is because there are some amazing modern health advancements and other cultural healing systems that accompany or cancel out my Ayurvedic viewpoints. Things like; Chinese medicine, fermented foods, the use of onions and garlic, plant based diets and mushrooms... to name a few.
Let's talk about BOOMERS... Yes, psilocybin, magic mushrooms. I'm a hippy at heart and I credit a lot of my personal growth from my psychedelic journeys. Not to mention, all the profound information on how psilocybin helps treat PTSD, anxiety, depression and decreases addiction. I've found that incorporating mushrooms into my life has been very beneficial.... According to a study at Timothy Leary's house in 1963... They gave psilocybin to a bunch of people and 70% had an ecstatic time, 88% learned important insights, 62% changed their life for the better and 90% wanted to try it again. Sounds pretty good!
But where are we on an Ayurvedic standpoint?
Traditional Ayurveda forbids mushrooms because 5,000 years ago all mushrooms were labeled "poisonous or psychedelic." They are also tamasic. Tamas is earth. Foods that include tamas are; meat, eggs, mushrooms, garlic, and stale foods. In Ayurvedic text, they make the mind dull and heavy. According to Yoga and Ayurveda by David Frawley, "Tamas is passive, obstructive, or negative forces that sustains previous activity. Tamas is a quality of darkness, non-feeling, death, and drags us down to ignorance and attachment."
As a modern viewpoint, I disagree with most of these statements when it comes to mushrooms. Think about 5000 years ago (when Ayurvedic was developed)- the idea of taking psilocybin could have seemed scary and gruesome because it grew on elephant poop and may take you down a terrible road of emotions. No wonder it was looked down upon in the vedic tradition. There's no research I've found so far about psychedelics in Ayurvedic texts, but we must honor all cultures healing systems.
For instance, traditional Chinese medicine prescribes medicinal mushrooms like; reishi, cordyceps, maitake, and turkey tail due to the hundreds of benefits they provide. The active compounds in these medicinal mushrooms help stabilize the immune system, boost brain power, balance hormones, relieve digestive problems, and rich in anti-oxidants. These mushrooms are also native to the certain areas of China... hence why they are advised in TCM.
The only mushrooms I could find grown in India were button, oyster, and the paddy mushroom which arn't popular in the first place. This just proves my point that healing systems are created from what people are experiencing from what the land was giving them at the time. Vedic sages also did not have access to all the beneficial data and knowledge we know of today about the use of psilocybin and other medicinal mushrooms. Though, I have found some content about a psychedelic honey from bees that can be found in the Himalayas of Nepal... thats a whole other blog post!
Monks and sages were finding enlightenment and deep connection through meditation, pranayama, eating clean, abhyanga, mantra, vedic astrology, etc... There was no need to trust strange fungis, As the vedic routines and techniques work!
What I've found, is that adhering to my Ayurvedic practice (disciplined daily meditation and morning/night devotional routine) and adding periodic psychedelic journeys has fast tracked me on my healing journey. My anxiety, panic, and general health has progressed massively in the past 5 years since I've been using psilocybin. I can say that after my collection of experiences I have gained...
- A deep sense of interconnectedness with all nature and humans
- Aha moments!
- An open mind
- Downloads on what to do next
- Willingness to take more risks, more adventure, trusting myself
- Feel more in-tune with my authentic self
- My relationships are better
As the psychedelic phenomenon is getting more popular and mainstream... I think there is something to be said about it and how well it can actually pair with Ayurvedic techniques to fast track your healing journey. We can't just take psychedelics and expect our lives to be fixed. We must have a daily meditation practice so we can integrate our downloads. As dreams are the fuel of psychoanalysis, so are psychedelics the fuel of meditation. Mushrooms won't really work unless you put the work in. It's a relationship that you need to be ready to commit to... Just like a growing partnership or dream you have.
So, we must be open to the positive advancements of information about psilocybin because it could be the window that western civilization needs to provide the right of passage for culture as a whole.