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Mushroom in Christian Art

Chapter Two

Plate 2:1a– Crypt of St. Lucina, Catacombs of St. Callixtus, dating between 100 and 300 CE  Water, fish, and bread represent emergence, where the fish is the hand, angel, or dove bringing manna, spiritual life everlasting. The priestess or shaman seems to be sternly warning us, however. This is the “loaves and fishes” story and scholars agree that we aren’t talking fish-fish and loaves of fresh sourdough. Notice the mushroom in the basket (top center) and possible mushroom caps on the priestess’s headdress (top right).

Plate 2:1b – Christmas ornaments from Russia (c.1998 CE) based on old, medieval figures. On the left is the Woodcutter with pine tree; the axe is a transmuter. The Mushroom Maiden is holding a basket with Amanita muscaria. She stands next to the fisherman with a fish (deep subconscious and emergence), while the fisherman is next to the Snow Maiden holding a tray with snowman or snowwoman (water/life). Next to the snowman are some interesting cakes (bread, manna), stacked one on top of the other, while the minstrel sings the song of life, death, and spiritual return. Notice the detailed designs in the clothing.

Plate 2:2 –  Matsya (Vishnu) in the Form of a fish (left and center), who saves humanity from a great flood. Vishnu is the sustainer god and also transformer of life. He dreams the dream of the universe while his consort, Lakshmi, rubs his feet. In the Eastern mythic traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism) the male cannot exist with the  female (Shakti) energy.

Plate 2:4a – Baptistery St. Giovanni,  Laterano Rome, c. 500 CE Notice the Amanita muscaria in the chalce and on the branchs of a pine tree. The birds flanking the Amanita are of both male and female of the species. This is similar to the Nun, the primal abyss out of which the ben-ben stone (bottom right) emerges each morning with the sun god Re, as Khepri the beetle. The Egyptian image dates to 1400 BCE, the time period of Akhenaten (from Rush 2007, Gate Card Five).  In the lower center we see Artemis as Potnia Theron or Mistress of the Animals. Artemis, a triplet goddess, exists in three forms. On the bottom left (center of mosaic) is the sacrificial lamb with the cruciform halo; this is not a pagan image as I have been told. Also note the four ankhs pointing in the four directions of the compass.

Plate 2:4b – Metternich Stela, Dynasty 30, Reign of Nectanebo II, 360-348 BCE, Alexandria, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Note the center image, the infant Horus with his top knot, on top of which is Bes flanked by Eyes of Horus. In his left hand is a lion, scorpion, and serpent, while in his right an oryx, scorpion, and serpent, all symbols of the desert. The paired opposites are the oryx (prey) and the lion (predator) as we saw with Artemis (Plate 2: 4a). Horus is flanked on his left by Thoth who is wearing an unusual Atef headdress (see Plate 2: 4c). Horus the Hawk stands on the left and on the far left is Isis.

Plate 2:4c Metternich Stela. Note the unusual Atef headdress worn by Thoth (White Nefer).  The crown appears as a pod out of which has emerged some mushroom-shaped object.  Also note the “crowns” worn by the cobras on either side.  One also has to wonder about the stave on Thoth’s right, especially the cobra in the “inverted bowl.” Also note the counterpoise on the menit hanging from the lotus crown between Horus and Thoth. Perhaps a mushroom phallus?  Some of the mushroom-shapes are sun disks, but the Aten, in my opinion, is a mushroom, Amanita muscaria

Plate 2:4d Images of the axis mundi can be seen in the rendering of the Fountain of Life (top center), and the depiction of Melisina (left—see Chapter Four) and Mother Mary (top right—see Chapter Three) at the well. The ancient tomb painting at Amarna (lower right—see Chapter Three)  is also of the same symbolic value. The center image (cross in chalice) is the symbol for Gethesmane.

Plate 2:5a The Vienna Dioscorides, c. 512 CE Compendium of pharmacological and scientific works including herbs and medicine. In the center is Princess Anicia Juliana with magnanimity on the left and a figure representing knowledge on the right. Notice the hat or crown the princess is wearing, the mushroom balanced on Magnanimity’s right, cloaked hand, and the spotted cover on the book held by Knowledge on the right.

Plate 2:5b– Note the mushroom held by magnanimity (high mindedness, generosity of spirit) on the left, the book held by Pothos, the book in Juliana’s left hand, and the book held by a figure representing knowledge on the right.

Plate 2:6 – Glory of Christ, Sixth Century, Basilica of Saint Cosmas and Damian, Rome. Here we see the human representation of the spiritual being.  He transcends nature, and his divine nature shines through. Notice the mushroom ball of fire in the left corner with the mushroom-dove descending.  Jesus is pointing to it. Notice the sacrificial lamb (Jesus) in the center frame, above which is a pine-tree stump (right) and the Amanita cluster (3), and the caps on the rocks/stump to the left (drying perhaps?).

Plate 2:7 – Ravenna, Italy, Basilica of San Vitale Christ Crowns a Martyr Saint, Sixth Century CE  The mushroom is in Jesus’ hand and the left leg possibly represents a mushroom. Notice the shapes of the rocks under the feet of the angel on the left. The crown may be a reference to  Amanita; notice the red insert, and the river of life flowing from the rocks.

Plate 2:8 – Mosaic at St Maria Maggiore, an ancient basilica in Rome devoted to the Virgin Mary, dating to the late  Sixth Century CE  Here we see Abraham playing host to the three men who appeared to him at Marme (Genesis 18). Note the mushrooms on the table and the  objects on the loaf of bread in Abraham’s hand.  Also note the “I” on Abraham’s cape a symbol of Jesus.

Plate 2:9 – St. Apollinaire, Ravenna, Italy, c.  550 CE  This is the Transfiguration of Apollinarius, not Jesus. Note mushroom at top of arch and the hand of God below It. Apollinarius is the stand-in for Jesus, an experience at this time period restricted to the few, the clergy. Apollinarius was connected to a heresy, where he maintained that Jesus was not human but an experience with God or Jesus through the mushroom path.

Plate 2:10 – Both Moses and Elijah are probably pointing to the tiny face of Jesus in the center of the cross. Mushroom, hand, halo, and cross all, in my opinion, point to Jesus in the center. Note the mushroom in the stole of both.

Plate 2:11 – Transfiguration, by Raphael 1520 CE Notice that we can clearly see Moses on the right carrying the law.  Elisha is carrying some type of object (the portal to the godhead, perhaps?), hidden from view, the mystery.

Plate 2:12a – Atum places Ankh to Nose or mouth of King Senwosret 1 (1971-1926 BCE) – Twelfth Dynasty. Hand of Atum becomes the hand emanating from the rays/arms of Aten (Adon in Hebrew). Akhenaten (1353-1336 BCE) is the most likely  model for Moses in The Old Testament. Notice mushroom above the hand in the Apollinarius mosaic to the right.

Plate 2:12b – Notice the hand and ankh coming to the nose and genitals of Akhenaten (1353-1336 BCE). Also note the mushroom offering table to  which Akhenaten is offering praise and papyrus (as a  magical scepter) to the deity, symbolizing green or youthfulness (see Plate 2: 12d).

Plate 2:12c – After Akhenaten left the scene his son, Tutankhamun reinstalled the former “fiery” Hathor with interesting menit necklace with dots possibly representing the crusty cap  of the phallic mushroom.

Plate 2:12d – Burial Chamber, King Tutankhamun (1332-1322 BCE  The cow may be Hathor or the Mother of the King.  Notice the two mushroom-shaped offering tables flanking the cow.

Plate 2:13 – Here we see the progression from mushroom, hand, halo disk, then cross, the face of Jesus, under which is standing  Apollinarius who had the experience with Jesus through the holy mushroom. Plant, top right, is from St. Mark’s (1100-1350 CE), the one on the bottom right, Ravenna.

Plate 2:14 – Notice the mushroom-trees and mushroom-rocks.

Plate 2:15 – Transfiguration of Christ, Church of the Virgin, St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, 548-565 CE Notice the mushroom clearly included in the stole of the saints. If you look closely you can see the rays of light coming from Jesus, analogous to the Aten sun disk.

Plate 2:16 – St. Apollinaire, Ravenna, Italy, c. 550 CE Jesus is flanked by an angel of light (red) with good sheep and angel of dark (blue) with evil goats.  The mushrooms are located to the right and left of Jesus’ feet, and the structure he is sitting on looks like a mushroom cap.  Notice the dreamy, other worldly look.

Plate 2:17 – Manuscript, St. Augustine’s Abby, Italian, Sixth Century. Note the mushroom at the end of the vine on the left. The vine in Christian symbology may refer to the mycelium of the mushroom. Note size of the sacrament and how the mushroom appears to grow out of Jesus’s back, on top of which is a candle holder, representing world illumination. Note shape of cloud from which hand of God emerges and the basin in which Jesus is washing feet.

Plate 2:18 – Codex Aureus, Canterbury 750 CE  Here sits Matthew, with his angel (determinative) above.  His right hand is raised in blessing while his left holds a scroll. The angel holds a book in his hands; look closely at it.  The curtains wound around the pillars, we are told, represent an opening to the mystery, the “scroll.”  Look closely and you will see the scroll is open and laid across his lap. Also, he is seated upon a “cushion”  and “bench.” This is an oppressive time period for the Church.

Plate 2:19a – Towie or stone ball dating to 2,500-2,000 BCE  They appear ceremonial because of the intricate lines, although they were once thought to be measuring devices. Mushrooms perhaps? Fingerprints? Far right: Cup-and-ring tomb markings, Scotland.

Plate 2:19b – Lascaux, France, c. 17,000 BCE  Shaman, rendered spiritually in trance, is lying next to a wounded buffalo,

Ortanto Cathedral, Southern Italy, c. 1166 CE King Arthur riding a goat in Hell.  Arthur is a sun god and he is destined to return and vanquish the foreigners, the Saxons.  He resides at Avalon, or “Golden Apple” (Amanita muscaria).

Cernunnos, Gundestrup Cauldron, 200-100 BCE  A fertility god, he is surrounded by animals (Lord of the Animals), with horned serpent (moon) in the left hand and torque (sun) in  right. Notice the interesting flowers.

Sorcerer of Trios Frere, South Central France, 15,000 BCE Shaman inside composite animal suit  (Lord of the Animals which he wears) representing the sun and the moon,  or life, death, and return.

Plate 2:20 – Tarasque de Noves, attributed to early Celts (Cavares, a Gallic tribe, France).  This is an anthropophagous statue with human body parts in its mouth, with claws penetrating the skulls of human victims.  This is Death conquering Life.  The Christians had a different story. Fertility (erect phallus) stands in back of death; out of death comes life.

Plate 2:21 – Book of Kells (800 CE, Irish) is an illustrated manuscript of the Gospels. These images remind me of the psychedelic art of the 1960s and have been referred to as a “coldblooded hallucination.” Notice how Jesus is subduing death (monsters).

Plate 2:22 – Book of Kells, Second Canon in Eusebian tables. Note the nimbus, which when seen form a distance looks like the cap of a mushroom.  Also note the mushroom breasts, 800 CE

Plate 2:23 – This is Matthew, Folio 29v (Book of Kells). Notice the cloak, book, and wings. You will see these again and again. Notice the monsters on either side of Matthew’s head and the vacant stare on his face.

Plate 2:24 – Book of Kells, The Gospel of St. John with the hand of God on either side. Hands were holding  something that seems to have been partially erased.

Plate 2:25 – “Eucharistic symbol in the Mouth of a lion, folio 29r” (Meehan 994:44). The Eucharist  is the symbolic body of Christ presented as a wheat (bread) wafer in the exoteric rites of the Catholic Church.

Plate 2:26a – Aachen Gospels or treasury Gospels, France, Early Ninth Century. Note the red “pillows” and the mushroom-tree just above the image of St. John. Called an “Illusionistic scene in a fantasy landscape.”

Above – Canopic Jars from Egypt, the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BCE) representing the four sons of Horus. From left to right: Imsety (human headed ), Hapy (baboon-headed), Duamutef  (jackal-headed), and Qebehsenuef (hawk-headed).

Plate 2:26bThe Agony in the Garden, Andrea Mantegna, c. 1460 CE Note the doves in the bottom right and the three rabbits hopping away. The three apostles have morphed, couldn’t stay fixed on Jesus, and rolled back to the pagan tradition, evidenced by the rabbits. Also notice the black crow  in the upper right positioned at the entrance to the pagan world evidenced by the boundary marker represented by the fallen log. The doves can only bring the message and never interpret it for the initiate.

Plate 2:27 – The San Paolo Bible (850-890 CE) Reims, France. Scene from Deuteronomy 32, where Moses gives his followers a lecture. In back of him are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the genealogical depth to their mythical charter. Notice what Moses and the people on the left are looking and pointing to, and notice the hems of patriarchs. Notice the hand coming out of an interesting cloud.  Also notice the mushroom shape at the end of the angel’s sash (left upper corner).

Plate 2:28 – Psalter de Paris 975 CE Isaiah with Night in the form of a woman (Greek influence). Notice the object held in the hand of God and the mushroom shapes in the toga and veil.

Plate 2:29 – Otto III c. 996 CE, by monk named Luther.  Image represents crowning of Otto III as emperor at age 16 by Pope Gregory  V. The interpretation of this image changes when magic mushrooms are factored into the equation.

Plate 2:30 – Abbatiale de Vézelay, Bourgogne, France (tympan central restauré de la façade), Ninth through Eleventh Century. Relics of Mary Magdalene are said to reside here.