Looking back at historic and ancient cultures like those of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, we can conclude that those people really hold mushrooms sacred. Indo-Iranians, the Phrygian, and Thraco-Dacians (or Indo-Europeans) hold mushrooms in a prominent place 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 particularly, there were even mushroom-growing cults that focused on typology and categorization of different kinds of mushrooms.
So, when we nowadays 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 some of the essential sources of nutrition and as such 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 regards to their own experience with different kinds of mushrooms. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
The Spiritual Symbolism of Mushrooms
Considering that tome classes of mushrooms live up to 2000 years, it is safe to say that longevity is definitely one of the main symbolism. It is also safe to say that we humans are big fans of longevity; we are obsessed with living longer, or things having a longer life span.
Either way, people of ancient cultures, and people of nowadays all look for symbols and signs of the 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 surely be amazed by the determination and try to learn something. For example, mushrooms are not able to create their own food. They do not have chlorophyll and they somehow manage to stay alive (some classes of 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 faith or changes in life. Now, this is of course a belief and one can do with it whatever they want, right?
But, considering that mushrooms have been a source of such insight into one’s life for thousands of years, we would definitely advise you to reconsider your life choices if you stumble upon a circle of mushrooms. Jokes on side, we surely believe that considering your current situation, mushrooms can surely symbolize a lot of different things; among those things are good and bad fortune and changes in one’s life.
Insight and Introspection
Now, this is where the spiritual 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? Well, that’s right!
This is because mushrooms always grow in calm, shaded, peaceful areas which are perfect for simply having a conversation with oneself and taking a deeper dive into one’s thoughts. This is also characteristic of many religions and traditions, where the spiritual awakening is only possible when we are by ourselves in a spiritually-loaded environment; and 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 up your immune system in no time, and can even help you lower your bad cholesterol levels too. For thousands of years, for reasons known and 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 with the new seasons. The rebirth symbolism could also be closely associated with the fact that mushrooms, as they decay, continue living in the form of soil fertilizers, providing nutrients for the surrounding plants.
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 hallucinogenics 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 many cases helps 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 (Jesus in this case); the belief is that they were rather under the influence of the so-called magic mushrooms. As we nowadays know the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, many claims that magic mushrooms are responsible for the existence of Christianity, and many other religions for that matter.
As we explained in the previous paragraphs, psilocybin is the active ingredient of magic mushrooms which provides an abundance of illusionary, dazed insights, experiences, and understandings of life, space, one’s body, and one’s thoughts. Also, 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 belief is just a belief; a theory that keeps the minds of people occupied as they ponder whether Jesus ever existed and whether the biggest religion on our dear planet is based on a really intense experience with magic mushrooms.
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 of course 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 too. And, as you may know, the majority of our dreams carry certain meanings and so do the ‘mushroom’ dreams. 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 and job. Prosperity is usually a part of this dream interpretation, wealth and success too. You can expect some kind of financial benefit, a chance to move up in the world and prosper. However, if you’re looking at someone else picking the mushrooms, you may start being 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 to do so.
- 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 away from your current reach, so you may start working on yourself 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 one’s 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 and fascinating they are, as well as why people, for thousands of years, have and still consider them sacred.