Monday, October 24, 2011

the hidden world

Video - excerpted interview with Prof. Carl Ruck.

Amazon | A thorough investigation of European fairy tales reveals a rich and enchanting psychedelic lore.

In this academic masterpiece, Professor Carl Ruck and his band of sleuthers (Prof. José Gonzalez, Dr. Blaise Staples and Mark Hoffman) uncover the facts regarding whether or not entheogenic drug use was prominent throughout European fairytales, legends and folklore, teasing out the intricate clues in their most thorough investigation on this topic to date.

By comparing these ancient stories and untangling the threads that seem unrelated in their weaves, we come to see that the mysteries of the entheogenic rites were not lost to the Europeans, and that European folklore is rich with evidence that should make anyone who cares to investigate the many thorough citations a believer without a doubt.

In 1968 Gordon Wasson published Soma in which he argued that the Hindu Soma of the Rig Vedas was the Amanita muscaria or fly-agaric mushroom. Wasson opted to argue in this and subsequent publications that he could find no evidence of mushroom use in European ancestry. As he states on page 176: "I shall begin by saying where in Europe's past I have not found the cult of the sacred mushroom." He then goes on to discuss witchcraft, the druids and berserkers.

But from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to the werewolves and the mysteries of lycanthropy, to vampires, to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, to the berserkers and many others, by following the threads of these stories Ruck and crew find shamanic stories embedded throughout European folklore stemming from Druidic, Mithraic, Manichaean and Catharic histories, right into modern-day Christianity.

This book is a linguistic, as much as historical and mythological investigation of religious and folkloric themes. It's a deep and powerful book. It's one of those books I would happily read several times over to discover what previous reads missed.

As someone who has read many, if not most, of their citations, I can attest to the thoroughness of their investigation. I am genuinely impressed by the quality of this presentation - the eloquence of which they lay on the late Dr. Staples. But it is clear that in this book they've all gone out of their way to present a thorough and well argued masterpiece.

Charting new territory

The Hidden World as a title does not refer to the theme of occult secret societies and mystery schools (like Eleusis) and the suppression of pagan rites in the Pharmacratic Inquisition, but to the hidden world of the fairies, the gnomes and dwarves - the hidden world that lies just beyond our normal senses. It is important that people understand this while reading this book. I should make clear that the book does discuss those themes. However, it is important to understand the proper context of the hidden world on which the authors are focused.

This book should be recognized as one of the best pieces on entheogenic scholarship to date. It is by far, in my opinion, the authors' best work. The writing pose, the depth of the study, the quality and originality of research all weigh heavily in my evaluation; and I'm not one who has shied away from being critical of these authors in the past.

Weaknesses in the book, two of which should have been properly addressed by the publisher but were not, include: A) lack of illustrations. It is grueling to have to look up the illustrations one by one (even if I already had many of them). This book was clearly written with the intention of illustrations being included, but for some reason, their publisher did not include them. For the price of the book, the publisher could have easily done so. Thankfully the included DVD contains wonderful illustrations for the section Heretical Visionary Sacraments (chapter 2). B) There is no standard bibliography, which I find a great hindrance to researching their citations. You have to go to the footnotes of each page to find the citation there, rather than a simple bibliography at the back of the book. C) Lastly, this book discusses at length the many stories of Amanita muscaria and the shamanic tradition of urine consumption. But it should be noted that other mushrooms (psilocybe), and other entheogens, can also be recycled. A more encompassing investigation with this inclusion might yield some fantastic information and is something that deserves focus.


nanakwame said...

Sad it didn't stop centuries of war, where Buddha teachings detachment. I wonder of test have been made on two extremes in human thinking the concrete and the abstract persons, while on psilicybe.  Pray this helps the generations to come, for our parents and mine are just about dead. I have a grandson named Salman.