Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Amanita article finally available

Back in the mid-90s I was doing quite a bit of research into the potential links between mushrooms and filidecht. One of the results of that was my 1997 article, co-written with Timothy White, titled Speckled Snake, Brother of Birch: Amanita Muscaria Motifs in Celtic Legends. For a long time, I've wanted to be able to make it available online, as it has been rather influential and cited in a number of books over the years. Until this point, it's only been available by ordering the back issue of Shaman's Drum in which it appeared, or in a French translation that was previously available on my Preserving Shrine website. While the front page and the article page have not yet been updated, the article itself is available for viewing from the link above.

Early this month I spent some time scanning it and turning it into a pdf file so that the original English version is openly available to anyone wanting to read it. Please note that it was co-authored and that Timothy's position on "Celtic shamanism" is somewhat different than my own, but I felt that getting the research out there was more important than worrying about exact definitions of shamanism. I expect to also make the French translation available again sometime soon. 

I think it's also important to note that the article only deals with Amanita muscaria due to space limitations. My feeling is that other fungi could very well have been involved in the seeking of knowledge, but there was no way to include everything in the article that either of us wished to present. Psilocybe species certainly do, and did, grow in Ireland and Great Britain at the time. At some point, I may expand on this material, possibly as an appendix to the book I plan to write on filidecht. That, however, is something for the future and I can't really project too much about it at this point. My research on the geilt material is occupying a great deal of my attention at the moment.

I'm pleased to be able to make the article available online, finally. I think the research deserves a much wider distribution than it has previously received. It'll be interesting to see what comes of its new availability, and the dialogue that could potentially develop around it.


  1. Hello Erynn.. just wanted to thank you for visiting me a while ago and pleased to find your fascinating blog here :) A very happy 2009 to you

  2. Thank you Rima! It's a delight to read about your adventures, and thank you for your note! Happy 2009 to you as well.