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Author Topic: ERL & TW Article "Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch"  (Read 1485 times)

Fagan_the_Pagan

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ERL & TW Article "Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch"
« on: November 20, 2011, 12:32:51 am »
I read this recently, and I was curious to see what people thought of it.  

For reference, I am providing a link to it on Erynn Rowan Laurie's site.  http://www.seanet.com/~inisglas/AmanitaArticle.pdf

I thought it was filled with some very interesting thoughts.  The idea of psychotropic mushrooms taking a big role in Celtic ritual practice (and secretly in myths and legends) is fascinating, though in some places rather a stretch.  

I got the impression at times that the authors had come up with an idea, and were twisting the evidence to fit the theory rather than building their theory from what the evidence actually pointed to.

I know that Erynn Rowan Laurie has been pointed to as relying on UPG rather than solid fact, at times.  Most of the evidence seems to depend on salmon, and hazelnuts, red meat, and apples all being secretly mushrooms, which I have to pause at.

They made an interesting link to an Ogham called "Edad." She made some claims about it on page 14 are interesting, but I have not heard anything to verify these claims before, so I wondered if anyone could point to something that says yea or nay?
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Malkin

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Re: ERL & TW Article "Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch"
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 01:34:15 am »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;31020
I read this recently, and I was curious to see what people thought of it.  

For reference, I am providing a link to it on Erynn Rowan Laurie's site.  http://www.seanet.com/~inisglas/AmanitaArticle.pdf

I thought it was filled with some very interesting thoughts.  The idea of psychotropic mushrooms taking a big role in Celtic ritual practice (and secretly in myths and legends) is fascinating, though in some places rather a stretch.  

I got the impression at times that the authors had come up with an idea, and were twisting the evidence to fit the theory rather than building their theory from what the evidence actually pointed to.

I know that Erynn Rowan Laurie has been pointed to as relying on UPG rather than solid fact, at times.  Most of the evidence seems to depend on salmon, and hazelnuts, red meat, and apples all being secretly mushrooms, which I have to pause at.

They made an interesting link to an Ogham called "Edad." She made some claims about it on page 14 are interesting, but I have not heard anything to verify these claims before, so I wondered if anyone could point to something that says yea or nay?

 
Dunno what I think of the whole theory myself, as it's not my area of study. I did find the comparisons between Otherworldly visions and the hallucinations caused by Amanita pretty compelling. I'd have to read it again.

Erynn says that she and her co-author wrote the article in response to Irish Soma, by Peter Lamborn Wilson (alias Hakim Bey.) So if anything, her speculations are more restrained than what you might find elsewhere.

As for UPG, she's really consistent about labelling it as such when she incorporates it into her writings.

Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: ERL & TW Article "Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch"
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 02:53:24 am »
Quote from: Malkin;35655
Dunno what I think of the whole theory myself, as it's not my area of study. I did find the comparisons between Otherworldly visions and the hallucinations caused by Amanita pretty compelling.


I will give it that.  Compelling they were.  It's mostly the theory that SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS are all Amanita mushrooms, because if viewed with a casual enough glance they look vaguely similar in some way that bothered me.
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Malkin

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Re: ERL & TW Article "Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch"
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2011, 08:06:29 am »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;35659
I will give it that.  Compelling they were.  It's mostly the theory that SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS are all Amanita mushrooms, because if viewed with a casual enough glance they look vaguely similar in some way that bothered me.

 
I somewhat agree. :) I can believe that the ambiguous "red flesh" could be the mushroom. Not so much the apples, nuts and fish. I do know that apples can ferment on the branch, however, and produce hallucinations. (Happened to a friend of mine once. He had to cut the tree down.) I think it can happen with any kind of fruit...maybe hazelnuts can do that too? Maybe it's due to the coincidence of all these things that, culturally, the Irish came to understand red foods as being magical. The wood and berries of the yew are also red, and toxic, and I know they used to make drinking vessels from yew. (Pliny the Elder maintained, however, that it was their liquor that was toxic and not the wood. :p)

As for the fish, we know that young salmon really do eat the fruit of overhanging trees when they're in freshwater. It's possible that some of them might chance to eat some fermented fruit/nuts, and then retain those psychoactives in their system, and the lucky druid who found one got to reap the rewards. That's my own theory, anyway!

Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: ERL & TW Article "Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch"
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2011, 07:51:33 pm »
Quote from: Malkin;35669
Maybe it's due to the coincidence of all these things that, culturally, the Irish came to understand red foods as being magical.

Red is a color associated with magic and the otherworld in a general sense, not just with foods.  The Cwn Annwn, (Hounds of Annwn) for instance, were famously white with red ears.  I've heard such associations applied to magical cows as well. "Dearg" meaning "red" is also an epithet of multiple Irish gods, such as Bobd Dearg.
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Malkin

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Re: ERL & TW Article "Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch"
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2011, 11:07:00 pm »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;35812
Red is a color associated with magic and the otherworld in a general sense, not just with foods.  The Cwn Annwn, (Hounds of Annwn) for instance, were famously white with red ears.  I've heard such associations applied to magical cows as well. "Dearg" meaning "red" is also an epithet of multiple Irish gods, such as Bobd Dearg.

 
Of course. I think there are probably myriad reasons why a culture develops the symbols that it does.

Fireof9

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Re: ERL & TW Article "Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch"
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 11:53:06 pm »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;31020
I read this recently, and I was curious to see what people thought of it.  

For reference, I am providing a link to it on Erynn Rowan Laurie's site.  http://www.seanet.com/~inisglas/AmanitaArticle.pdf

I thought it was filled with some very interesting thoughts.  The idea of psychotropic mushrooms taking a big role in Celtic ritual practice (and secretly in myths and legends) is fascinating, though in some places rather a stretch.  

I got the impression at times that the authors had come up with an idea, and were twisting the evidence to fit the theory rather than building their theory from what the evidence actually pointed to.

I know that Erynn Rowan Laurie has been pointed to as relying on UPG rather than solid fact, at times.  Most of the evidence seems to depend on salmon, and hazelnuts, red meat, and apples all being secretly mushrooms, which I have to pause at.

They made an interesting link to an Ogham called "Edad." She made some claims about it on page 14 are interesting, but I have not heard anything to verify these claims before, so I wondered if anyone could point to something that says yea or nay?

 
I can't give you a yea or a nay on if they were used, but I have often thought that they likely were at some point or another. Halucinagens have been used for spiritual experiences in most cultures, I can't see why the Celts would be any different.
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