When I say food of the Gods I am talking about those plant wights which grow out of Midgard’s solid earth and can be a key for many to unlock great wisdom, different planes of existence, and be regarded as medicine on the mind.
A Sadhu, or holy person, smoking Cannabis in Kolkata, India
Entheogenic plants are a group of wild and sometimes intense Greenwights. Entheogens are plants which cause hallucinations and visions; the word means those substances that connect us with the Gods.
Within these plants are chemicals and alkaloids, resins, glucosides, and essential oils, which bring on the visions and hallucinations mentioned earlier. Chemicals like Psilocybin, which is found in Psychedelic Mushrooms; Mescaline, which is found in Peyote; LSA (D-lysergic acid amide), which is found in Morning Glory; and THC, which is found in Marijuana, are among the chemicals in the plants used by Shamans all across the world in order to travel to other realms to speak with the Gods and spirits.
To the Shaman these plants are friends and allies, they unlock a doorway which takes them to the place in the spirit world which they wish to ascend or descend. The regions of the world which are known for the usage of these plants in their spiritual practices would be Mexico, South America, Europe, and also some parts of Asia. When approached with respect these spirits can be very helpful, however, when approached with disrespect they can lash out against you, which is the reason people have trouble with them at times.
Technically what you are ingesting is toxic and poisonous. Poison is sacred to these kinds of Shamans and their work is delicate. A story comes to mind about the God Shiva having to swallow the venom of the serpent Vasuki, to save the world from destruction. Shiva is the Shaman God of the Shamans of Nepal, being the father of their first shaman; Ganesha. Shiva is a poison Shaman, being the Lord of Entheogenic plants. In this story we can clearly see the need for this type of work- it is a different type of connection to Mother Earth.
Shiva sucking venom from Vasuki
In the Nordic cosmology, in my practice as Völva the poison which we work with in my path is called Eitir. This is the poison which runs from Hvergelmir and Elivigar, the great well and poisonous river. It is the poison of Niflheim which brought the worlds into being, this poison is sacred and reminds us of the necessity of poison to existence. The Thursar are the beings whom protect this sacred poison, they are as old as time and came from the very poison that runs through Elivigar and through the nine worlds.
These plants are poison and should be approached with caution. Most of them are illegal, but to Shamans all across the world if the spirits tell you to do something you do it. With that said, using these plants for spiritual and ritual purposes would mean not using them recreationally, which would be disrespectful to the spirit of that plant. When opening a relationship with these plant allies you must be respectful of them, and that includes not using them just for a good time. So don’t be surprised when they bite back if you do.
Some common Entheogens used in Northern Europe were Hemp (Marijuana), which contains Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); Fly Agaric Mushrooms, which contains Psilocybin; and Opium/Poppy. Hemp (Cannabis Sativa/Indica) is associated with the Vanir deities, especially Freya in her role as Mistress of Seidhr. The seeds can be used in love spells, and Hemp was used much is Siberia and Mongolia as well. Fly Agaric Mushrooms (Amanita muscaria) are also called Deathcap Mushrooms. The tribal Siberian shamans had a long history of using Amanita and from there it spread to Europe. These mushrooms are associated with Odin and is a harsh master and teacher: they deserve the utmost respect and reverence. Opium/Poppy Seeds (Papaver somniferum) are an Entheogen also sacred to Odin. With poppy, the seeds are used most often. Poppies are the dreaming plant and can take you places in your dreams, but with Odin’s guidance. (Note: When I talk about Opium I am not talking about the harmful drugs associated.)
Sometimes Entheogens were added to Mead for ritual use and poppy was a likely one for this. Most Entheogenic plants that are used are not addictive, with the exception of poppy when used in it’s harmful version as heroine or painkillers. This article is not one that is supporting or not supporting the use of Entheogens, however it should be pointed out that this is a part of some people’s practice, and we should not judge them for it.
These types of Shamans have existed for thousands of years and continue to exist. From Maria Sabina in Oaxaca, Mexico, to the Ayahuasca Shamans in South America, to the Shamans of Siberia and Mongolia, to the Shamans of Nepal and the Himalayas, and the Shamans of Northern Europe, the elders of these special wights have much wisdom that we may not understand.
Algerian Tassili Bee-faced mushroom shaman
Always respect your spirits allies, whether it be in the form of plants or animals, they’re still spirits and they deserve respect. Take the information here with an open mind and a cautious one. The physical (medical), and spiritual (relationships with these wights) risks must be taken into consideration. Always do your research. Nonetheless, these spirits are dangerous but powerful.
- The Northern Shamanic Herbal by Raven Kaldera
- The Elements of Shamanism by Nevill Drury
- Shamanism and Tantra in The Himalayas by Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Christian Rätsch, and Surendra Bahadur Shahi
- Myrkthursablot: Nightside of The Old Norse Mythology by Nidafjöll and Wilthijaz Yggr
By Jake Kline, Feature Writer for the Hrafnarfjall Times