Thursday, September 10th, 2015...10:00 am

Spirit of the mushroom

Jump to Comments

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Giorgio Samorini is an ethnobotantist and psychedelics researcher who has published a great deal on sacred plants and psychoactive compounds.  This hand-produced report appears to be documentation written by Samorini along with the color photographs from visits to the Sahara in 1988 and 1989.  We believe that it is a singular copy.  These two photographs appear to be of the same figure depicted on the stone, but the one of the left was taken in 1964 and credits Lajoux, while the color one is presumably from this current expedition of Samorini’s at the In-Aouanrhat site in Tassili, Algeria.  The art is apparently an example of an ethno-mycological cult where they worship of the spirit of the mushroom.  You can see that under the photos he writes, “Note the mushroom-like motif on the legs and arms of the anthropomorphic figure.”  And then on the close-up, “Particular of the masked head, with another probable mushroom-like motif inside the structure of the mask.”

It seems probable that this documentation that was gathered by Samorini was then used to produce his article- The Oldest Representations of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms in the World (Sahara Desert, 9000-7000 B.P.).

Other photographs include various figures found around the site holding vegetals.  On the cover of the report Samorini has inscribed it to Marlene Dobkin de Rios, a very famous anthropologist who investigated the use of psychedelic substances in cultures across the world.  She believed that healing practices, art, and cosmological views were all affected by psychedelic substances.  One of her later publications can be found at Harvard The psychedelic journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios : 45 years with shamans, ayahuasqueros, and ethnobotanists.

Sahara ethnomycologic & ethnobotanic documentation : manuscript, circa 1990 can be found at the Houghton Library.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Julio Mario Santo Domingo Project Manager, and Susan Wyssen Manuscript Cataloger, for contributing this post.

Comments are closed.