Looking back at historic and ancient cultures like those of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, we can discover that people really held mushrooms sacred. Indo-Iranians, the Phrygian, and Thraco-Dacians (or Indo-Europeans) held mushrooms in a prominent place in their lives and saw them as symbols of fertility and immortality, but also as a source of divine vision and insight into life and faith.
Of course, such celebration of mushrooms and fungi spread across Asia and Europe as it became clear that mushrooms are truly marvelous. People started to grow, harvest, and process mushrooms, taking into consideration their abundant health and nutritional benefits. In China, there were even mushroom-growing cults that focused on typology and categorization of different kinds of mushrooms.
So, when we ponder about the meaning and symbolism of mushrooms, it can be difficult to provide a straightforward answer. Depending on different cultures and traditions, the symbolism changes. But, one thing remains sure; for thousands of years mushrooms have been an essential source of nutrition and were highly celebrated and considered sacred.
Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we’ll attempt to bring some of the different symbolism and meaning together. We’ll provide the general explanations, but you are welcome to interpret the symbolism to your own liking, just like many nations, cultures, and traditions do in terms to their own experience with different kinds of mushrooms. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
The Spiritual Symbolism of Mushrooms
Considering that some classes of mushrooms live up to 2000 years, it is safe to say that longevity is definitely one of the main symbols. It is also safe to say that we are big fans of longevity; we are obsessed with living longer, or with things having a longer life span.
Either way, people have always looked for symbols and signs of longevity of any kind; mushrooms seem to fit perfectly into this symbolism hunting. Many consider that mushrooms symbolize long, healthy life, while others see them as a symbol of long-term success (in your personal life or work).
By observing the way mushrooms grow, live, and survive, we can amazed by the determination and try to learn something. For example, mushrooms are not able to create their own food like plants because they do not have chlorophyll. Yet they somehow manage to survive and thrive – some mushrooms live for hundreds or thousands of years.
They do this by feeding off deceased and decaying matter surrounding them. This shows how mushrooms hold onto life and never give up; this is their only way to survive and they have simply mastered it. So, what can we learn from the mushrooms? Working hard, staying determined, and using the resources at hand can truly contribute to a life of prosperity, longevity, and wealth.
Good and Bad Fortune
There is a belief out there that if you walk in the woods and you see a circle of mushrooms, it is a symbol of either good or bad luck, or changes in life.
But, considering that mushrooms have been a source of such insight into one’s life for thousands of years, you may want to reconsider your life choices if you stumble upon a circle of mushrooms. We surely believe that through considering your current situation, mushrooms can symbolize a lot of different things.
Insight and Introspection
Now, this is where the symbolism of mushrooms gets really spiritual. Did you know that some cultures practice praying and meditating in front of mushrooms to reach insight and introspection, or self-actualization?
This is because mushrooms always grow in calm, shaded, peaceful areas which are perfect for having a conversation with oneself and taking a deeper dive into one’s thoughts. This is also characteristic of many religions and traditions, where spiritual awakening is only possible when we are by ourselves in a spiritually-loaded environment. No such environment is better than the woods.
Mushrooms are some of the most nutritional, healthiest foods in the world. And, from the very beginning, people knew this. Of course, we’re not talking about those inedible, toxic mushrooms (although, people must have suffered in the past determining which mushrooms are edible and which are not).
Either way, mushrooms are simply incredible; they can help you boost your immune system, and can even help lower cholesterol levels. For thousands of years, for reasons known and some still unknown, our ancestors have used mushrooms for their abundant medicinal properties. As such, mushrooms have become a symbol of good health.
Soul Healing and Rebirth
As we mentioned in the introduction, mushrooms have been seen as sacred by many cultures and traditions across Asia and Europe. One of the reasons for this lies in the so-called ‘soul-healing’ properties of mushrooms. Because mushrooms only grow/appear with the arrival of new seasons (solstice celebration), people have made a connection between season changes, growth of mushrooms, soul healing, and rebirth.
Of course, thousands of years later, people still make the same connections and happily wait for the arrival of mushrooms and a chance for a new beginning.
Ever heard of the so-called ‘magic mushrooms’? Well, people have experimented with hallucinogenic mushrooms for hundreds of years. As such, the mushrooms have become a sacred companion on the journey of illusions and hallucinations. Also known as ‘magic mushrooms’, hallucinogenic mushrooms are some of the oldest drugs known to humans.
Magic mushrooms work and cause hallucinations thanks to the chemical reaction that happens in our bodies and brain after consuming them. Psilocybin is the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms that disrupts the communication between brain regions. As a result, one experiences a distorted perception of time, space, senses, and self, which in medical cases can help people deal with their mental illnesses, PTSD, anxiety, or even addictions.
Religious Symbolism and Dreaming of Mushrooms
Mushrooms in Christianity
There is a belief that ancient prophets never actually witnessed miracles or have seen God or Jesus; the belief is that they were under the influence of the so-called magic mushrooms. As we now know the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, some claim that magic mushrooms are responsible for the existence of Christianity, and many other religions for that matter.
Considering that mushrooms were an essential nutritional source of the ancient people, it is safe to assume that some of them came across magic mushrooms as well.
Of course, this is just a belief; a theory that keeps the minds of many well occupied.
Mushrooms in Dreams
We can never know what will pop up in our dreams. From nightmares to fantasy worlds and paradise, we are able to dream anything. And so, some people encounter mushrooms in their dreams too. Some dream of eating them, while others dream of picking them. Some people simply encounter mushrooms in weird scenarios. And, as you may know, the majority of our dreams carry certain meanings. Let’s take a look at the symbolism of mushrooms when they appear in our dreams;
- If you’re picking the mushrooms in your dreams, you may encounter success in your private life or job. Prosperity is usually a part of this dream interpretation, success too. You can expect some kind of financial benefit, a chance to move up in the world. However, if you’re looking at someone else picking the mushrooms, you may start to become more aware of people in your life trying to take your opportunities for success away from you.
- If you’re cleaning mushrooms in your dream, this might be a symbol of your character; cleanliness, discipline, and sincerity are things associated with cleaning mushrooms. It can be difficult to clean mushrooms properly without ruining them, so such dreams can truly showcase your determination to do things right and take enough time in the task.
- If you’re dreaming about encountering or eating poisonous mushrooms, this may be a sign that some obstacles and hurdles are awaiting in your future life. This kind of dream can also imply that your success and peace of mind are pretty far away from your current reach, so you may want to start working on your mindset and surrounding yourself with the right people.
Mushrooms, generally, are a symbol of prosperity, new chances, and personal rebirth. Hopefully, you will focus on this spiritual meaning and see it as a sign of the need for hard work, determination, self-actualization, introspection, prosperity, and good luck.
Hopefully, this article has provided a proper insight into the spiritual meaning and symbolism of mushrooms. We advise you, the next time you buy or pick mushrooms, to truly take a good look at them. Make sure to observe how amazing they are, as well as why people, for thousands of years, have considered them sacred.