I'm gonna go ahead and get real with you guys for a minute here: I'm not really a "drug guy". I've made passing reference to my proclivities (or lack thereof) in the past, but just to clarify, I'm pretty close to what the kids refer to as 'straight edge'--I rarely drink these days, quit smoking long enough ago that it feels permanent, I don't smoke weed or snort coke (in fact, I find people on coke--including myself--to be just about the most annoying thing possible), shit, I only ingest prescription drugs when I'm cripplingly sick or trying to avoid becoming so. Yes, there is plenty of "psychedelic" and drug-related content here on IllCon, but I am of the point of view that the world we live in is just about as trippy as any acid trip, when viewed through the prism-like matrix that results when the complex machinery of the human brain tries to fathom the unknowable realities of quantum phenomena. The mind is stronger than any drug, and doesn't make you feel like total ass after you use it.
That being said, man... I'll eat the SHIT out of some mushrooms.
Don't get me wrong here: I don't eat mushrooms often. In fact, it's been about two years, and even if I did have a couple caps (I'm way too old and un-hip to know where to "score" and/or actually spend money on drugs), conditions would have to be just right for me to go ahead and take the plunge. But I've eaten my share in the past, and always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS had a really great experience. Never felt any physical repercussions (besides those slightly-naseous butterflies of anticipation that always arise upon ingestion), never puked or got bummed, never even had a remotely "bad" trip--and I've been called in to the company owner's office for a "half hour sit-down" at my old job while I was tripping before. The first time I ate a psilocybin mushroom I was about sixteen or so, and some older dudes took me to a really freaky "haunted house" in Arcata for Halloween--walls drenched in blood and gore, people jumping out from the shadows in masks trying to scare you--I laughed my ass off the whole way through, and came out the exit feeling like a superhero.
But enough about my experiences with psychedelics. Let's talk about John Marco Allegro.
Wikipedia: "John Marco Allegro (17 February 1923, London - 17 February 1988) was a scholar who challenged orthodox views of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Bible and the history of religion, with books that attracted popular attention and scholarly derision.
After service in the Royal Navy during World War II, Allegro started to train for the Methodist ministry but transferred to a degree in Oriental Studies at the University of Manchester. In 1953 he was invited to become the first British representative on the international team working on the recently discovered Dead Sea Scrolls in Jordan. The following year he was appointed assistant lecturer in Comparative Semitic Philology at Manchester, and held a succession of lectureships there until he resigned in 1970 to become a full-time writer. In 1961 he was made Honorary Adviser on the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Jordanian government.
Allegro's thirteen books include The Dead Sea Scrolls (1956), The Treasure of the Copper Scroll (1960), The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (1970) and The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth (1979) as well as Discoveries in the Judaean Desert of Jordan vol. V (1968) and articles in academic journals such as the Journal of Biblical Literature, Palestine Exploration Quarterly and Journal of Semitic Studies, and in the popular press."
We are here today to discuss concepts put forth by Allegro in his 1970 tome The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross, concepts that I personally find fascinating and seductive for myriad reasons (more on that later). The book in question (which you can purchase HERE or download for free in pdf version HERE) asserts the simple yet revolutionary idea that Allegro could "... prove through etymology that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults; and that cultic practices, such as ingesting hallucinogenic drugs to perceive the mind of god, persisted into Christian times."
Yup. Christianity ain't but one big ol' mushroom trip. Jesus and The Apostles never existed, rather they were just an allegory dreamt up by a bunch of dick-worshipping dirt-farmers. Polite British society of the early seventies, of course, were ready and willing to accept this fresh interpretation of the Scriptures:
"The reaction to The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross ruined Allegro's career. His detractors considered his somewhat sensationalist approach deplorable and his arguments somewhere between unconvincing and ludicrous. Prof J. N. D. Anderson observed that the book was "dismissed by ... experts...as not being based on any philological or other evidence that they can regard as scholarly." Sumerian expert Anna Partington summarized some of the problems, stating that The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross "uses a number of hypothetical Sumerian words not attested in texts"." (Wikipedia)
Our old friend Amanita muscaria , the reson Santa Claus wears red and white.
Of course, Ol' Cobras is being sarcastic again. Allegro was predictably laughed out of town on a Shame Train made of Christian dogma, and his claims that the stories in the Gospel and Acts were a "deliberate hoax" made him his fair share of enemies. It's one thing for an avowed atheist to throw stones at the Catholic church, but for an accredited Bible scholar, Dead Sea Scroll/New Testament expert, and master linguist to offer evidence against the existence of a living God? The Pope (who is also fond of red-and-white attire) wasn't having it.
And yes, if I must play Jesus' Advocate, Allegro did have a touch of the sensationalist in him. But he was a man of science, and Odin knows I would take his word over that of just about any
However you choose to view it, you have to admit Allegro had some enormous fucking cojones, as evidenced by this early television clip:
The bottom line is this: In the 1960's, John Marco Allegro was one of the world's leading philologists, meaning very few people understood historical language better than he did. Upon reading the Dead Sea Scrolls in conjunction with the New Testament, he found several uncanny parallels between the practices of the entheogen-worshipping cults of both the Far East and Mesopotamia and the earliest strains of Christianity, boiling down his ideas to the very simple and profound statement that JESUS WAS HIMSELF A MUSHROOM. A hallucination. A by-product of the early mystics' attempt at creating a bridge to Heaven through the use of hallucinogens.
A couple of these connections are brought to light thusly over at the Atlantean Conspiracy:
John Allegro shows how the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the etymology of various Mesopotamian languages all have mushroom and sexual puns/terms interwoven. This is due to the prominence in the pre-Christian world of mushroom and fertility cults. Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, the languages of the Bible, all ultimately derive from ancient Sumerian, where many original meanings had been long lost. For instance, the gods of the Greeks and Hebrews, Zeus and Yahweh (Jehovah) have names derived from Sumerian words meaning “seed of life” and “juice of fecundity.” The name Herod, as in King Herod, “ardeola” in Latin, serves as a wordplay on the Semitic “ardilia” which means “mushroom.” The name Jesus, in Hebrew “yehoshiia” comes from the Sumerian “JA U ShiJ A” which means “semen which saves, restores, heals.” This is comparable to the fertility god Dionysus, whose cult emblem was an erect phallus, and whose Sumerian name “IA-U-Nu-ShUSh” also means “semen, seed that saves.”
More: Today in Iran (Persia) the mushroom is called “SamJrukh,” which traces back to the Sumerian “ShU Mar Ugu/Aga,” or “Crown of the Womb-Favorer,” the glans/top of the fungus. The Sumerian “Bar Ia U Na,” meaning “capsule of fecundity; womb” connects to multiple names that relate the mushroom with the tiny “womb” from which the stem emerges. Another Aramaic example is “Pleasing the Jews” which comes from the Sumerian mushroom name “MashTabBaRi” or “that which is pleasing to the Hebrews/Jews.” The Hebrew “kotereih” from the Sumerian “GU-TAR” means “top of the head: penis” and is the most common Semitic word for mushroom; In Arabic it is “phutr,” in Aramaic it is “pitra,” and in the English New Testament is “Peter.” Allegro’s examples continue on like this for over a hundred pages.
The concept that Christianity could have sprung from mass ingestion of hallucinogenic "manna" like the Amanita mushroom has found quite a bit more support in recent years, in such places as Michael Hoffman's website "Ego Death and Self-Control Cybernetics", wherein you can find his most relevant work "Wasson and Allegro on the Tree of Knowledge as Amanita", co-written by Jan Irvin. Irvin also explored similar themes in 2008's The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity, as did Sierra College Professor John Rush in his book Failed God, which Amazon.com describes, in part, thusly:
"On a 2001 trip to the cathedrals of Europe, anthropologist John Rush and his wife entered St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and encountered a mosaic depicting Jesus surrounded by mushrooms with an Amanita muscaria cap in his hand. Examining the space with new eyes, they discovered images of mushrooms and mind-altering plants all over the Basilica. Intrigued, Dr. Rush spent seven years researching and reflecting on the profound effects hallucinogens had on the founding of all three major Western religions. He concluded that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are political constructions evolving out of the use of not only Amanita muscaria, but a plethora of mind-altering substances."
Like I said before, the ideas contained in The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross appeal to me on a gut level for several reasons, the most basic being that the "origin stories" of most organized religions have always sounded like a drug-trip fairytale to me in the first place. Linking the birth of Christianity right back to the same substances and practices that they seek to condemn is just too tempting, too delicious. The image of ancient magi chewing on Amanita caps as they scribble down the story of "Jesus" in a haze of Mesopotamian hippie squalor is, to me, a beautiful one--if only those poor schmucks knew the trouble they would cause for later generations!
Sure, it's safe to say that anyone adhering to the Christian faith is "trippin", but man, the revelation that the very creators of said faith were QUITE LITERALLY trippin'?
Now THAT is some theology I can get behind.
If you want to go further down the rabbit hole you can start HERE--An incredibly slow and long (but thorough and informative) exploration of Allegro's ideas via Hoffman and Irvin's Pharmacratic Inquisition/Gnostic Media:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
"The concerted and biased attempts to destroy Allegro's discoveries have failed. The confirmatory evidence is mounting in his favor. The critics can now raise their voices again. Let us hope that they do, since the matter is not settled, but they should be advised to do so with more careful consideration. This book that many have prized in secret is now available again. It demands the serious consideration of theologians, mythologists, and students of religion. No account of the history of the Church, both West and East, can afford to leave the poor despicable fungus unconsidered, nor the role that entheogens in general have played in the evolution of European civilization."