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Maya Mushrooms

Kaminaljuyú, in Guatemala is a Pre-Columbian site of the Maya civilization. Primarily

occupied from 1500 BC to AD 1200, Kaminaljuyú was once the most populous Maya city in the southern highlands of Guatemala. The name Kaminaljuyú means “Hill of the Dead” in the Mayan language K’iche’.

Archaeologists have uncovered mushroom stones in Kaminaljuyú whose stalks are decorated with anthropomorphic figures in the act of grinding sacred mushrooms into a powder.

The discovery of 9 mushroom carved stone figures in particular, reveals that hallucinogenic mushroom rituals may have been a central aspect of Maya religion and that both the hallucinogenic Amanita Muscaria mushroom and the Psilocybin mushroom were worshiped and venerated as gods in ancient Mesoamerica.

The Aztecs who later occupied this area were also known for their ritual use of hallucinogenic mushrooms. They referred to them as Teonanacatl, which means “Gods Flesh”.

A manuscript written by Spanish colonizer, Hernando Ruiz de Alarcon between 1617-1629, titled “Treatise on the Heathen Superstitions That Today Live Among the Indians Native to This New Spain” records that the indigenous Aztec people believed their sacred plants to be Gods. He also describes a tawny-colored mushroom whose juices were used to make a beverage used in religious rituals.

Shown Below: Maya Stone Figure, Pacific Slope region Late Preclassic/Protoclassic, ca. 300 B.C-AD. 300

Description: the ''mushroom' stone in the form of the acrobat figure, with legs sharply thrown up and supporting the domed cap on both feet, with squared torso and arms, large squared eyes and wearing a turban knotted on the forehead; in gray-tan basalt.

Shown Below: Maya Culture Mushroom stones, Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala

Late pre-classic period (250 BCE - 250 CE)

Shown Below: A panel taken from the Madrid Codex, features a God (right) presenting what appears to be an Amanita Muscaria to a seated figure.

The ruler on the throne most likely represents the Underworld Sun God prior to self sacrifice. The character on the right presenting the sacred mushroom may represent the god Ikal Ahau or Black Lord, as the god of death among the Tzotzil Maya.


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