Hawk and Venus: Neo-Shamanism or Megalomania?

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A Critical Rejoinder to Raw Amanita is Always Best

By J.R. Irvin

March 31, 2008

Copyright J.R. Irvin, 2008. All rights reserved.

Introduction

The following is a rebuttal to the “journal” entry Raw Amanita is Always Best by the ambiguously named “Hawk and Venus,” August 12, 2006. This rebuttal also serves as a critique and review of their book, Sacred Soma Shamans, 2006.

Hawk and Venus are the self proclaimed “High Soma Priests” of Amanita muscaria mushrooms and authors of the book Sacred Soma Shamans, 2006.

It is essential to the safety of those interested in the use of entheogens, and especially Amanita muscaria, to understand the distortions, dangers and misconceptions of Hawk and Venus’s presentation.

On August 12, 2006, Hawk and Venus posted comments on their website www.somashamans.com that focused on a footnote from our book Astrotheology & Shamanism (Irvin and Rutajit, 2006) that briefly discusses disfavor with certain areas of their scholarship.

With the help of others I originally began researching and writing this rebuttal at the time Hawk and Venus put their comments on their website in 2006. However, due to a legal complaint to their web host provider from another author, they temporarily took it down:

Although we received a large amount of admiration in our August 12th update (in which I damned myco-urophilia), due to a single complaint to our web host, we’ve taken it down.
~ Hawk and Venus

I had since laid my rebuttal aside for more than a year thinking it wasn’t worth my time and that I’d let bygones be bygones. But do to regular interest in my thoughts on their work; as well as a slightly updated version of their commentary reappearing on the internet with the offending comments to that one author removed, I couldn’t help but complete this rebuttal and figured it is in the public’s best interest that it be completed.

The updated version of the Hawk and Venus commentary may be found online at:

http://www.somashamans.com/journal-2006.html

To show the breadth and scope of their attack as it was originally intended, one must first read their original (August 12, 2006) diatribe in full. Following their commentary I will provide a step by step breakdown of their remarks with quoted citations.

Raw Amanita is Always Best
By Hawk and Venus
August 12th, 2006

The following footnote from “Astrotheology And Shamanism” was brought to our attention:

Lies.

Hawk and Venus, the authors of “Soma Shamans,” recommend eating the Amanita raw. However, their ability to eat the mushroom raw is likely due to tolerance buildup from near daily use over many years. Eating Amanita raw goes against the overall majority of anthropological research and science on Amanita Muscaria. Their technique is NOT something we recommend for beginners, and we caution those who follow their work.

Writers Rutajit and Irvin’s research is weak to non existent in their slack representation of shamanism. They begin with the lie that we’ve eaten raw Amanita everyday for many years. There are so many problems with this one paragraph alone that we had to break our response down into sections:

“Their ability to eat the mushroom raw is likely due to tolerance buildup from near daily use over many years”

There are two problems with this absurd claim:

1) To say that we ate raw Amanita every day for many years is a fool’s lie. We’ve never made that claim. In fact, for the past 4 years we’ve lived far from our patches and can only collect 4 to 5 times during the annual season, so were lucky to eat fresh picked red Soma at most 4 to 5 times a year. Mr. Irvin and Mr. Rutajit should ask themselves where they got this information. They didn’t ask me or contact our webmaster. It’s not in our book or documentary, or internet page.

The only way to eat fresh Amanita — especially muscaria — year-round is to constantly travel the globe. Amanita muscaria is seasonal, 2-3 months in the Pacific Northwest at best.1 Not even the hardiest Yellows and Browns grow throughout the entire year. This is why we share our tips on how to prepare and store your own supply.

1. Though we do mention finding different varieties of Amanita throughout one particular year, it was obviously the exception to the rule.

2) There is no tolerance “buildup” for Amanita. We would know, don’t you think? While such fairytales are fine for movies like “The Princess Bride” (in which a heroic pirate builds up a complete tolerance to fantastic poisons), they are ill-suited for Amanita. If anything, the ability to eat the mushroom raw has more to do with our spiritual connection and skill level, not tolerance. Indeed, because of wear and tear on his liver, Hawk has decreased his dosage to a daily medicinal tonic and only ups this dosage on special occasions. The dosages he originally used when he started would now kill him.

In 6,500 years of Amanita history, the Gathas, Zend Avesta, Rig Veda, as well as all medical research, there is no mention of toleration buildup to Amanita precisely because there is no such thing.2 3

2. When Hawk says in our DVD, “Always start off with moderate doses. Then as the toxics gradually build up in your body and you get higher and higher, take more and more,” he is talking about a single experience, in which you start with a single bite and as your body acclimates to the Amanita toxins, if you want to get higher, take more. The next day, you will be no more immune to Amanita’s effects than the day before. As a matter of fact you’d be weaker because of the previous strain on your liver.

3. In our book, “Sacred Soma Shamans”, we say, “Consume at least a bite, but be moderate. Even if you find you have an extremely high tolerance to Amanita toxins, never eat more than one fresh Soma at a time, in order to freely experience its spirit and assimilate its chemistry with your own.” In this case, we are discussing a personal tolerance, based on a person’s constitution, one of the many factors that affect the strength of an ecstatic experience.

Our book and documentary, along with the Zend Avesta and Rig Veda, are the greatest sources of information on Soma in the world. Here is what it says in the Rig Veda, book 8, hymn LXXX, Verse 4, about eating Amanita raw:

1. It has the power to unite yourself with God.

2. It unites yourself with God’s will.

3. If you eat Amanita raw, God will bring you Earthly wealth.

If eating raw Amanita unites you with God and brings you preordained wealth — what more could you ask of it?

As for going against the “overall majority of anthropological research and science”, there is no science on Amanita. They haven’t even been able to determine which of the two poisons kill you. Science offers no antidote to Amanita poisoning. Indeed, my wife and I are the only ones on Earth ever to discover an antidote to Amanita poisoning, which works 75% of the time. This was a result of many years of work, research and experimentation on ourselves. This is well documented in our work, the work that these con-men, these unethical, deceitful, manipulative and ass-kissing liars (see the e-mail below) caution you against following.

“Their technique is NOT something we recommend for beginners.”

Here they make it sound as if we suggest only eating raw Amanita for everyone. What they neglect to mention is that we share many techniques; from picking to preparing, how to freeze, dry and even make Amanita tea, and we share the knowledge you need before ever attempting to go near an Amanita. We share how to meet the spirit of Soma safely. It sounds to us like they’re trying to scare people away from reading our book and learning from shamans with real experience, instead of amateur writers who are too busy parroting their “hero’s” sentiments to bother with the truth.

Besides we are sharing our preference when we say in our book, “Fresh is our favorite way to consume Amanita. At its peak, the fresh Amanita is far superior in spiritual essence. It is alive and filled with mystical power and closet [sic] to God. A truly rewarding experience awaits the Master who can determine the perfection of a willing fresh picked Soma.”

[Emphasis added]

“We caution those who follow their work.”

Then why would they offer to advertise our work, in exchange for a few pictures?

In March, 2006, two months after they published a dire warning to anyone following our advice, we received the following email:

Hello, my name is Andrew Rutajit – coauthor of Astrotheology & Shamanism. I’m trying to make a video and discuss some amanita symbolism. I was wondering if you could help me. I need a few and I have photo’s of the ones I need…meaning, I have some that are copywritten by someone else. I’d like go give all credit in the video to one source – you, if you agree. I can’t pay you because this is a zero-dollar-budget video, but I can promise a full screen ad at the end of the video with the credit for the images. I have your video and I can see that you have access to the real deal, so I figured you’d be the best to ask first.

Eagerly waiting your reply.

Cheers,
Andrew

[Emphasis Added]

Cheers?

We certainly wouldn’t caution people against an online mushroom vendor, only to later print their advertisements in our book. Why caution readers against our work one minute, then say we have access to the “real deal” and offer to give us a full screen ad the next?

So why tell people to steer clear of our book in the first place? What was their hidden agenda?

On Author Andrew Rutajit’s MySpace.com page, two of his heroes listed are Clark Heinrich and James Arthur. Heinrich is a urophile, who extols the virtues of his “rose-colored” urine and became the ultimate nasty-talking badboy when he claimed to obtain union with God’s mind directly after he drank a glass of his own piss. The other hero, urophile James Arthur was a convicted pedophile, serial child rapist and psychotic swine who committed suicide in a county jail rather than do the mandatory 15-30 sentence for his second conviction on the multiple rape of children under seven years of age. Arthur raped little girls for his pleasure.

Rutajit’s heroes have more in common than being disgusting: They both insist that the only way to take Amanita is by drinking Amanita-laced urine. We maintain this is the absolute worst thing you can do to Amanita — not to mention yourself! Of course, if more people became aware of our teachings, they might start to question why these grown men are so fixated on each other’s urine.

4. News from the San Joaquin Valley. 4-12-2005

5. Inmate’s death is ruled a suicide James Dugovic, 47, died in Madera jail cell. The Fresno Bee, April 12, 2005.

Rutajit’s hero insists that the only way to take Amanita is by drinking Amanita-laced urine. We maintain this is the absolute worst thing you can do to Amanita–not to mention yourself! Of course, if more people became aware of our teachings, they might start to question why these grown men are so fixated on each other’s urine.

Cheers, indeed.

(Every time we hear from one of these urophiles, they sign their email “Cheers”. Coincidence? We think not.)

What motivates these liars and fools? Simply, they want to seem authoritative and push their hidden agenda… a recipe for urophilia. So by contradicting me, the world’s foremost expert on picking and ceremoniously and shamanistically preparing and dosing Amanita, they hope to seem knowledgeable. Neither author has had the guts to take raw Amanita. They are frauds, and their book is garbage, a worthless read, a waste of paper. This is how they have the nerve to talk about something they know nothing about. They ignore the historical research of Amanita, then try to hide behind “anthropological research.” But observation without experience — in this case — is worthless. As it says in the Rig Veda, those who’ve never taken Soma will never understand it. We couldn’t agree more.

The entirety of that footnote is an attempt to discredit eating raw Amanita in order to push their hidden agenda, their own recommendation — urophilia. Their heroes are the perverts who recommend to first buy potency weakened devitalized dried mushrooms (for, whatever drying practice you use, a draining of potency is inevitable.) Then, they kill the Amanita by boiling it for an hour, drinking it, then drinking their recycled urine. A “cowards cocktail” which reduces the potency of Amanita by approximately 93%

This is another lowlife piece of junk, written by obscene deviants posing as Amanita experts. Do you really want a riotous romp through a ridiculous, pretend world of poor almost-educated buffoons who contradict other people’s educated work, just to make a name for themselves?

In the second edition of our book, “Sacred Soma Shamans,” we cover this gruesome subject of urophiles, profiling James Aurthr’s last days before his incarceration, and suicide, including the police reports. We got the scoop during a six hour interview with Jack Herer, Arthur’s loyal disciple.

We learned how warped this club of Pee drinkers really is — how they try to manipulate and bully others into engaging in myco-urophilia, and offend and alienate family and friends with their obsession. They defile the purity and spiritual essence of the mushroom through unclean preparation and disrespect. They lead people astray from the truth of Soma. They wouldn’t want people to find out about us, so they lie about our ways to keep people away.

People who write lies about Soma, and contaminate its purity will never be welcome in Somadise.

In our work, we strive to educate, inspire and give others the knowledge for a chance to find conscious ecstasy of the supreme Medicine-Sacrament-SOMA.

Soma Blessings From All
Hawk and Venus

A Critical Rejoinder to Raw Amanita is Always Best

To understand how unfounded Hawk and Venus’ attacks on our research are, we must first analyze the depth of their statements. They write:

The following footnote from “Astrotheology And Shamanism” was brought to our attention:

Lies.

Hawk and Venus, the authors of “Soma Shamans,” recommend eating the Amanita raw. However, their ability to eat the mushroom raw is likely due to tolerance buildup from near daily use over many years. Eating Amanita raw goes against the overall majority of anthropological research and science on Amanita Muscaria. Their technique is NOT something we recommend for beginners, and we caution those who follow their work.

Writers Rutajit and Irvin’s research is weak to non existent in their slack representation of shamanism. They begin with the lie that we’ve eaten raw Amanita everyday for many years. There are so many problems with this one paragraph alone that we had to break our response down into sections:

“Their ability to eat the mushroom raw is likely due to tolerance buildup from near daily use over many years”

There are two problems with this absurd claim:

1) To say that we ate raw Amanita every day for many years is a fool’s lie. We’ve never made that claim. In fact, for the past 4 years we’ve lived far from our patches and can only collect 4 to 5 times during the annual season, so were lucky to eat fresh picked red Soma at most 4 to 5 times a year. Mr. Irvin and Mr. Rutajit should ask themselves where they got this information. They didn’t ask me or contact our webmaster. It’s not in our book or documentary, or internet page.

The only way to eat fresh Amanita — especially muscaria — year-round is to constantly travel the globe. Amanita muscaria is seasonal, 2-3 months in the Pacific Northwest at best.1 Not even the hardiest Yellows and Browns grow throughout the entire year. This is why we share our tips on how to prepare and store your own supply.

But did we in fact say that they eat “raw Amanita every day”? What we said is: “near daily use over many years,” but our caveated statement, though it could have been written more clearly, was intended to refer to the near daily use of A. muscaria in general, and not only fresh or raw specimens. Hawk and Venus intentionally used the word “raw” as a red herring to steer the reader away from the facts: the daily consumption of Amanita is something Hawk and Venus readily admit in both their book and video!

The information and true life experiences we compiled for this book has been gained through nearly 25 years of our own extreme experimentation and devoted daily use of Soma.
~ Hawk and Venus, Introduction to Sacred Soma Shamans

In their attack on our work, in their book, and video, they claim that their spiritual and vibrational energy abilities come from their “connection and skill level, not tolerance”.

If anything, the ability to eat the mushroom raw has more to do with our spiritual connection and skill level, not tolerance. Indeed, because of wear and tear on his liver, Hawk has decreased his dosage to a daily medicinal tonic and only ups this dosage on special occasions. The dosages he originally used when he started would now kill him.
~ Hawk and Venus

We do acknowledge that clinical research does not show a buildup or tolerance to A. muscaria. But that statement, based on their video, was written in late 2004, two years before I read their book in late 2006. In their book, and contrary to the above comment on their “spiritual connection,” they admit that their ability to eat raw Amanita (and daily consumption of Amanita in general) is actually because of their daily consumption of milk thistle and manganese (more on this later). This may not be tolerance due to daily mushroom usage specifically, but it is still a tolerance buildup via the use of milk thistle and manganese nonetheless. In fact, this is why I used the word “likely” in the footnote they quoted. This was not stated as a fact, but a “likely” possibility. This fact was avoided in their response. However, I should also point out their admission in the above quote:

“Indeed, because of wear and tear on his liver, Hawk has decreased his dosage to a daily medicinal tonic and only ups this dosage on special occasions. The dosages he originally used when he started would now kill him.”
~ Hawk and Venus

Does not this quote give an admission of tolerance buildup? Does not Hawk’s admission of his former ability to consume such large amounts that “[t]he dosages he originally used when he started would now kill him” reveal some sort of past tolerance when consumed in regular large doses? It certainly appears so.

Besides their unsupported narcissistic boast that their book is one of “the greatest sources of information on Soma in the world,” Hawk and Venus don’t seem to even be able to quote the original text of the Rig Veda.

For Book 8, Hymn LXXX of the Rig Veda, Hawk and Venus claim the following:

Our book and documentary, along with the Zend Avesta and Rig Veda, are the greatest sources of information on Soma in the world. Here is what it says in the Rig Veda, book 8, hymn LXXX, Verse 4, about eating Amanita raw:

1. It has the power to unite yourself with God.

2. It unites yourself with God’s will.

3. If you eat Amanita raw, God will bring you Earthly wealth.

If eating raw Amanita unites you with God and brings you preordained wealth — what more could you ask of it?
~ Hawk and Venus

Let’s see exactly what Book 8, Hymn LXXX actually says:

HYMN LXXX. Indra.

1. DOWN to the stream a maiden came, and found the Soma by the way. Bearing it to her home she said, For Indra will I press thee out, for Sakra will I press thee out.

2. Thou roaming yonder, little man, beholding every house in turn, Drink thou this Soma pressed with teeth, accompanied with grain and curds, with cake of meal and song of praise.

3. Fain would we learn to know thee well, nor yet can we attain to thee. Still slowly and in gradual drops, O Indu, unto Indra flow.

4. Will he not help and work for us? Will he not make us wealthier? Shall we not, hostile to our lord, unite ourselves to Indra now?

5. O Indra, cause to sprout again three places, these which I declare,— My father’s head, his cultured field, and this the part below my waist.

6. Make all of these grow crops of hair, you cultivated field of ours, My body, and my father’s head.

7. Cleansing Apala, Indra! thrice, thou gavest sunlike skin to her, Drawn, Satakratu! through the hole of car, of wagon, and of yoke.

As we can see, the word Amanita is not even mentioned. The ‘Vedic text’ they provided was their own interpretation, not a quote from the Rig Veda. In fact, it is Gordon Wasson’s interpretation of Soma on which Hawk and Venus base their argument – more on that later. But “Hawk and Venus” make further claims that Amanita will bring them material wealth:

3. If you eat Amanita raw, God will bring you Earthly wealth.

If eating raw Amanita unites you with God and brings you preordained wealth — what more could you ask of it?
~ Hawk and Venus

Since it is actually earthly, material wealth that Hawk and Venus seek with the consumption of raw Amanita and not spirituality, why exaggerate to others and mislead them about being “High Soma Priests” and “Soma Shamans,” etc? But furthermore, in their book they repeatedly imply that they’re financially broke. If eating raw Amanita brings preordained earthly wealth, then why have Hawk and Venus spent much of their lives living in Northern California campgrounds with none of this preordained earthly wealth?

Camping is a favorite American pastime, but how many families can take even a month off to go? We got to go camping for three years.
~ Hawk and Venus, pg. 85

Followed up with this:

Anyone who’s ever gone camping can remember how exhausting it is, and how you crave, the comforts of home. After a weekend camping trip, you just want to go home and sit in front of the tube and relax. Imagine setting up camp and breaking it down again over and over, for three years! We would usually hit our favorite motels a couple of times a month…
~ Hawk and Venus, pg. 102

Could it be, as I’ll further show, that Amanita as Soma is only one possible entheogenic interpretation of the ancient texts? Could it also be that eating a raw mushroom or not has nothing to do with material wealth? It’s just a wild assumption, but I’m willing to bet that eating raw A. muscaria mushrooms has nothing inherent to do with wealth.

I must ask: Did Hawk and Venus actually read our book, or did they only read the single footnote brought to their attention? In fact, as I will show, they have not read our book. If they had, they would know that our book does not discuss how to prepare the mushroom at all, as they imply, other than in historical and anthropological reference. The only place boiling the mushroom is mentioned in our book is on page 111 in discussion of a piece of artwork depicting the process:

On the far left in Figure 104, the rain is falling into what looks like a spoon. Notice inside the spoon is the ouroboros biting its own tail, depicted with wings on top. Next to it, in the middle image, is the homunculus (or little man) urinating into the water and the (living) water is being boiled and recycled up. On the far right is the caduceus, completing the alchemical process of the drugs from beginning to the end. (pg 111)

That’s it. That’s the only reference. No where does our book state to boil the mushroom for an hour. Hawk and Venus are only trying to imply that because someone else wrote something in another book, that we hold that idea too.

On page 60-1 in regards to urine drinking, we say:

Was his [Wasson’s] friend Imazeki the only one who properly prepared the mushroom by roasting? It also appears that Wasson never recycled his urine while conducting personal experiments with the Amanita even though he criticized anthropologists for not doing the same. This is customary of cultures that use the Amanitas

Soma was one of the most important anthropomorphized deities in the Hindu pantheon. On the surface, Soma can be confusing because it represents so many things. Soma is a plant, Soma is the word or logos (‘vac’), Soma is a drink, Soma is a drink made from a plant [cited to Wasson and Heinrich], and the psychoactive urine of the priest who had ingested the plant.

The reference to the psychoactive urine of priests comes from the well known ethnobotanist Jonathan Ott (Pharmacotheon, pg. 332).

On page 89 we further state:

This is a description of one of the greatest mystical symbols in alchemy: the ouroboros. It needs nothing. It is a symbol of the eternal life. The word ouroboros comes from the Greek “ouron” (to make water) , and is the source of the English word “urine, ” as well as the name of the constellation of Orion [cited to: Apples of Apollo, by Ruck, Heinrich, Staples, pg. 74] on the macrocosm. The ouroboros is symbolized by a snake biting its own tail, and often it is represented as a winged dragon above a serpent, both biting one another’s tails. In Norse mythology, the sea serpent “Jormungand” grew so big that he was able to surround the earth and grasp his own tail. In the heavens, the ouroboros is the Milky Way, appearing to wrap itself around the earth like a serpent. In this respect, the ouroboric serpent it is known as Leviathan.

We provide more research on the ancient custom of mushroom urine drinking on pages 91-93, further explaining our position and backing our claims with citations from well known ethnobotanists:

Koryak, for example, learned empirically that the hallucinogenic effects of the mushroom pass into a man’s urine. As a result, men waited outside a house where the plant was being consumed in order to collect the urine of a user in special wood containers. The process was repeatable for five cycles before the drug began losing its potency. It is possible that the Siberian herdsmen learned about the relationship between the mushroom and its lingering effects in urine from their reindeer…. Every Koryak man carries a vessel made of seal skin, which he suspends from his belt as a container to catch his own urine. This is done as a means of attracting refractory reindeer. Sometimes, a reindeer will run to the camp from faraway pastures to drink urine-saturated snow, which appears to be a delicacy for them…. When reindeer eat the fly agaric mushrooms, which is not an infrequent occurrence, they behave in a drunken fashion, falling into a deep sleep… if a Koryak encountered an intoxicated animal, he would tie its legs and not kill it until the drunkenness wore off. The Koryaks claimed that if one killed an animal while it was intoxicated, the effects of the fungus would be felt by all who ate the meat. [cited to: Hallucinogens: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, by Dobkin de Rios, pg. 32] ~ Marlene Dobkin de Rios

It is well known that the urine of humans who have eaten Fly Agaric [Amanita muscaria] becomes in itself hallucinogenic. Among some Siberian populations it was customary to drink the urine of those who had drugged themselves with the mushroom to attain an even greater degree of intoxication, reputedly more powerful than that achieved by eating the mushroom itself. Even reindeer “go mad” for the urine of other reindeer or human beings who have ingested the hallucinogen. In fact, it would seem that the Siberian peoples discovered its inebriating properties by observing the behavior of the reindeer. [cited to: Animals and Psychedelics, by Giorgio Samorini, pg. 39] ~ Giorgio Samorini

Reindeer, as it happens, have an inordinate fondness for Amanita muscaria and will eat it whenever they find it, either until there is no more or until they fall over in a trance, whichever comes first…Reindeer will also nearly trample one another to eat the golden snow created when, after eating their fill of mushrooms, they urinate. [cited to: Apples of Apollo , by Ruck, Staples, and Heinrich, pg. 51] ~ Ruck, Staples, Heinrich

It is muscimole that holds the pharmacological key to the urine -drinking custom. Muscimole, they [Eugster -1967, Waser 1967 & 71] discovered, is an unsaturated cyclic hydroxamic acid that secrets through the kidneys in basically unaltered form. [cited to: Hallucinogens and Culture, by Peter T. Furst, pg. 93.] ~ Peter T. Furst

However, and besides misquoting us and implying we wrote things not found in our book, we must also point out that Hawk and Venus are completely wrong in their knowledge regarding ancient urine drinking customs. In India the practice of urine therapy is ancient and is known as ‘amaroli’ or ‘shivambu’. Amaroli has been used for healing and spiritual purposes in Ayurveda and Yoga since before recorded history.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/9012/amaroli.htm

In India, urine therapy is called “shivambu”: “Had our shivambu rishi (sage), great devotee, propagator and mighty supporter of shivambu movement, centenarian former Prime Minister of India, respected (late) Morarji Desai not boldly and emphatically declared before the world that lie drank his own urine regularly and that was the secret of his longevity and exuberant health, the most valuable and beneficial information that is being given to you through this booklet, which can prove to be a boon to our poor country and which is capable of curing a host of diseases ranging from common cold to cancer and arthritis to AIDS, would have remained hidden in some unknown quarters and the entire mankind would have been deprived of shivambu. Really speaking, late Shri Morarjlbhai by his frank and honest declaration has accorded world recognition, glory and greatness to this free yet priceless therapy otherwise considered to be nauseating. The whole world shall ever remain indebted to him for rendering this great humanitarian service. ” G.K.Thakkar

http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/urine.htm

http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/shivambu.pdf

The following biblical references are also appearing to refer to this tradition.

“Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.” – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%205:15;&version=9
Proverbs 5:15

“But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?”:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2036:12&version=9
Isaiah 36:12

See also Kings 18:27:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2018:27&version=92

Doing a search on Google for “urine therapy” will return over 10 million results!

More than three million Chinese drink their own urine in the belief it is good for their health.
http://www.8bm.com/diatribes/volume01/001/002.htm

“”Urine contains no bacterium and is more sanitary than blood,” Yang Liansheng, a professor from the Liaoning Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, was quoted as saying.”

Thais drink urine as alternative medicine.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3083577.stm

“…Dr Banchob, started recommending urine therapy a few months ago, instructing patients to collect their own urine in the morning and drink it untreated, starting with small amounts and progressing to a glassful a day.
He now says he has seen some remarkable cures – from cancer to back pain.”

“…the medical community has already been aware of [urine's] astounding efficacy for decades, and yet none of us has ever been told about it. Why? Maybe they think it’s too controversial. Or maybe, more accurately, there wasn’t any monetary reward for telling people what scientists know about one of the most extraordinary natural healing elements in the world.”

The amniotic fluid that surrounds human infants in the womb is primarily urine. Actually, the infant “breathes in” urine-filled amniotic fluid continually, and without this fluid, the lungs don’t develop. Doctors also believe that the softness of baby skin and the ability of in-utero infants to heal quickly without scarring after pre-birth surgery is due to the therapeutic properties of the urine-filled amniotic fluid.

http://skepdic.com/urine.html

Tom Brokaw reported on NBC Nightly News, October 16, 1992:

“In Egypt rescue workers found a 37-year-old man alive in earthquake rubble. He survived almost 82 hours by drinking his own urine. His wife, daughter and mother would not and they died.”

“I don’t think there’s any question that these women and the child would not have died had they simply been aware of the truth that not only would their own urine not harm them, but would, in fact, have provided a power-packed combination of liquid nutrients and critical immune factors that would have sustained them in good health until help arrived.”

Associated Press, July, 1985
http://www.all-natural.com/urine.html

“these con-men, these unethical, deceitful, manipulative and ass-kissing liars”
~ Hawk and Venus

Hawk and Venus ignored all of this readily available research, choosing instead to call us “fool liars,” amongst other things, and make childish statements in attempt to associate us, our work, as well as others not associated to the footnote, and the ancient practice of urine therapy – with pedophiles.

They continue:

So why tell people to steer clear of our book in the first place? What was their hidden agenda?

On Author Andrew Rutajit’s MySpace.com page, two of his heroes listed are Clark Heinrich and James Arthur. Heinrich is a urophile, who extols the virtues of his “rose-colored” urine and became the ultimate nasty-talking badboy when he claimed to obtain union with God’s mind directly after he drank a glass of his own piss. The other hero, urophile James Arthur was a convicted pedophile, serial child rapist and psychotic swine who committed suicide in a county jail rather than do the mandatory 15-30 sentence for his second conviction on the multiple rape of children under seven years of age. Arthur raped little girls for his pleasure.

Rutajit’s heroes have more in common than being disgusting: They both insist that the only way to take Amanita is by drinking Amanita-laced urine. We maintain this is the absolute worst thing you can do to Amanita — not to mention yourself! Of course, if more people became aware of our teachings, they might start to question why these grown men are so fixated on each other’s urine.

4. News from the San Joaquin Valley. 4-12-2005

5. Inmate’s death is ruled a suicide James Dugovic, 47, died in Madera jail cell. The Fresno Bee, April 12, 2005.

Rutajit’s hero insists that the only way to take Amanita is by drinking Amanita-laced urine. We maintain this is the absolute worst thing you can do to Amanita–not to mention yourself! Of course, if more people became aware of our teachings, they might start to question why these grown men are so fixated on each other’s urine.

Cheers, indeed.

(Everytime we hear from one of these urophiles, they sign their email “Cheers”. Coincidence? We think not.)”
~ Hawk and Venus

What would Hawk and Venus be without their “Cheers” conspiracy theory? What would they be without their vicious and insecure name calling and taking research out of context?

Heinrich is a urophile, a rotten piss drinking fool…
~ Hawk and Venus

In the updated version of their article on their website, they removed the vicious comments regarding Heinrich.

While we may consider Hawk and Venus’s research shoddy, unfounded, and often times to the level of ridiculous, we never resorted to name calling as they did: “these con-men, these unethical, deceitful, manipulative and ass-kissing liars,” nor unfounded statements such as their absurd remarks that we’re “fixated on each other’s urine.” No place have we ever suggested drinking another’s urine, much less any “fixation” to urine or religion about urine. They simply made these claims up for their own agenda.

We asked to use their photographs, not their information, for use in our video simply because getting our own photos at that time was half a day’s drive to the Pacific Northwest. Not being able to distinguish and separate personal attack from academic request or response, they felt threatened and confused by our request instead. This is revealed by their presentation of Andy’s letter to request permission to use their photos:

I have your video and I can see that you have access to the real deal, so I figured you’d be the best to ask first.
~ Andy Rutajit quoted by Hawk and Venus

When we stated “you have access to the real deal,” that meant access to Amanita muscaria. In other words, we could see from their video they had the correct mushrooms. We simply thought it would be best to ask them for photos first, via a simple email, rather than drive 500 miles to take my own photographs and have only a chance that I’d find them at the time I arrived. Of course Hawk and Venus have taken Andrew’s statement out of context as some sort of admission by us that only they have “the real deal,” and we should ask them first – the self-proclaimed “experts”. This is of course taken out of context to an absurd level of narcissism.

These “Soma Priests,” Hawk and Venus, resorted to baseless attacks and unfounded statements on something they never bothered to read. They also attacked Andrew for having Arthur listed as a “hero” on Myspace but fail to mention that Andrew also listed many other authors, including: Manly Palmer Hall, John Allegro, Ram Dass, Maria Sabina, Randy Couture, Bruce Lee, Joseph Campbell, Terence McKenna, Brian Greene, Fulcanelli and Wilhelm Reich.

Hawk and Venus have likely never consumed their own urine with Amanita muscaria, as the mountains of anthropological research on Amanita muscaria shamanism shows is a historical fact – that “real” Amanita using Siberian shamans drink their urine. Maybe they’re hiding behind the fact that they are not “real” shamans and have no understanding of the historical references to Amanita muscaria shamanism as they claim.

The Amanita muscaria, as urine, was first called to the attention of the Western World by a Swedish army officer, Filip Johann von Strahlenberg, after having served 13 years as a captive of the Russians in Siberia. His book, first published in German in Stockholm, appeared in 1730; and an English translation in London in 1736 and again in 1738 under the lengthy title beginning An Historico-Geographical Description of the North and Eastern Parts of Europe and Asia. ~ Gordon Wasson, Soma pg. 25

In the following extract about the ‘water of life’ we are reminded of the fly-agaric in one of its manifestations, as a liquid, either derived directly from the mushroom, or human urine. Should we not consider the possibility that this conception, so widespread in Eurasian and American folklore, had its origin in the fly-agaric? Here is what Jochelson says: – RGW
~ Gordon Wasson, Soma pg. 271

We also discussed this issue in our book, pg. 100:

“Bear in mind that most of them have not consumed the Amanita at all, much less in the traditional shamanic manner, which includes urine consumption.”

Why would Hawk and Venus, the self-proclaimed enlightened “Soma shamans,” feel so threatened by us, or the ancient urine drinking custom, that they would result to such childish attacks and play-ground name calling?

What motivates these liars and fools? Simply, they want to seem authoritative and push their hidden agenda… a recipe for urophilia. So by contradicting me, the world’s foremost expert on picking and ceremoniously and shamanistically preparing and dosing Amanita, they hope to seem knowledgeable.
~ Hawk and Venus

Do I sense more narcissism here? Nothing like tooting your own horn – repeatedly! On what basis does Hawk make this claim “the world’s foremost expert”? I wonder what indigenous Siberian shamans living today would think about such maniacal claims.

Andy and I are not pushing a hidden agenda. We’re discussing historical fact, something that Hawk and Venus seem to have trouble separating from personal attack.

Neither author has had the guts to take raw Amanita.
~ Hawk and Venus

This is completely untrue. I have eaten the amanita fresh or “raw” and un-dried on several occasions. However, I should like to point out that dry Amanitas are also “raw” – to which I’ve also eaten them many times.

They are frauds, and their book is garbage, a worthless read, a waste of paper.
~ Hawk and Venus

I should point out that calling us “frauds” is slander and libelous. Did they actually read our book to back their claims? Of course not. But they continue:

This is how they have the nerve to talk about something they know nothing about. They ignore the historical research of Amanita, then try to hide behind “anthropological research.”
~ Hawk and Venus

I would like to know exactly what historical research on Amanita we’ve ignored? Since their book provides no bibliography, and few, if any, citations, it’s hard to discern what historical research they’re referring to. They certainly didn’t supply citations in their attack either.

In fact, the only research available on shamanic usage, practice and effects of Amanita muscaria is via anthropological study on Siberian tribes! This is something that Hawk and Venus seem not to want their readers to know. All of the known anthropological studies (up to 1968) that reference A. muscaria consumption by Siberian shamans are located in the ‘Exhibits’ section (pgs. 233-304) of Gordon Wasson’s book Soma – who first suggested that A.muscaria is Soma. This idea, although widely accepted, is also hotly contested by many scholars today.

Our book certainly discusses both the Rig Vega and Zend Avesta – providing further evidence that they didn’t bother to read our book. It appears Hawk and Venus only read the simple footnote, ignoring not only the text connected with the footnote, but the entire book. We’re not hiding behind anthropological research, we’re actually providing it. Unfortunately, the historical evidence just doesn’t support their views.

But observation without experience — in this case — is worthless. As it says in the Rig Veda, those who’ve never taken Soma will never understand it. We couldn’t agree more.
~ Hawk and Venus

On what basis do they make this claim? Andy and I have both consumed Amanita muscaria on numerous occasions. This is clearly stated in our book (pg. 66).

In specific regard to the way Hawk and Venus use the word Soma, many scholars, including ourselves, no longer believe that Soma was only A. muscaria as Wasson first proposed. Christian Ratsch, Ph D, et al, discuss this in Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas:

There is said [to] be a total of 108 psychoactive plants that are consecrated to Shiva and are sacred, and that transport the shamans into a trance.
~ Müller-Ebeling, Rätsch, Shahi

Soma was probably nothing more than a generic term (taxon) that was used in the same way as the words “drug,” “entheogen,” “psychedelic,” or “psychoactive substance” are used today. [cited to: Shamanism and Tantra In theHimalayas , by Rätsch, Müller-Ebeling, Shahi, pg. 178.] ~ Müller-Ebeling, Rätsch, Shahi

Hawk and Venus further their fanciful claims:

The entirety of that footnote is an attempt to discredit eating raw Amanita in order to push their hidden agenda, their own recommendation — urophilia.
~ Hawk and Venus

Once again, Hawk and Venus make the false implication that we’re promoting “urophilia” by cautioning people against eating raw Amanita. They also attempt to tie us to others’ boiling practices – something we’ve not stated in our own book anyplace – simply because our supposed “heroes” do. Maybe they should stick to reading our book so they can understand what we say.

Their heroes are the perverts who recommend to first buy potency weakened devitalized dried mushrooms (for, whatever drying practice you use, a draining of potency is inevitable.) Then, they kill the Amanita by boiling it for an hour, drinking it, then drinking their recycled urine. A “cowards cocktail” which reduces the potency of Amanita by approximately 93%.
~ Hawk & Venus

From the above statement it appears that Hawk and Venus also like to make up their numbers as they go, providing no scientific evidence to support such numbers such as “approximately 93%” in reduced potency via urine consumption, aka the “cowards cocktail”. How would they know if they’ve never tried it or studied it? And if they have tried it, would they not be hypocrites? By what means did they derive this number? They don’t tell us. Maybe this number just appeared to them from the Tarot deck (below)? It certainly isn’t backed by any of the scientific studies – the ones they claim don’t exist (below).

At 17 minutes in their video they discuss how the mushroom “loses potency up to 80%, but an average of 60%”. An average by definition means that it could be less than 60%. In fact, if the high reduction of potency is 80%, with a swinging average of 20%, we can also say that many mushrooms, using Hawk and Venus’s *scientific and mathematical* deductions, could be only 40% reduced potency. However, they don’t back their claims with chemical analysis or reference to any study. Did they fabricate these numbers for the sole purpose of misleading their readers? It appears so.

More childish name calling and attacking our book that they didn’t read – and again, notice the libelous slander in bold:

This is another lowlife piece of junk, written by obscene deviants posing as Amanita experts. Do you really want a riotous romp through a ridiculous, pretend world of poor almost-educated buffoons who contradict other people’s educated work, just to make a name for themselves?
~ Hawk & Venus

Now they’ve got me wondering whose “educated work” we’re supposedly contradicting. Nevertheless, “educated work” seems to start with their own definition of the word educated as something like – “make it up as you go”. In my opinion, it seems clear that Hawk and Venus are better at making themselves look foolish than they are at educated work. In their video they adorn themselves with ridiculous gowns and sun glasses as they literally stutter and drool their way through it, high on Amanita. To watch their unprofessional performance makes one cover the face and grimace in embarrassment for them.

Now on to their crusade against the world’s evil “urophiles”. But first I thought we should start by defining exactly what an “urophile” is.

-phile relates to a love or strong affinity or preference for something – as in Pedo-PHILE (and remember, they’re attempting tie our research and writing to Arthur and pedophilia). Thusly, the term urophilie is hinted as being a sexual orientation on urine – as in “golden showers”, etc. Urophiles feel urine or urination is erotic and desire-increasing.

The term “urophilia” is being used by Hawk and Venus to make the absurd assumption that any person who studies or discusses the urine consumption tradition in relation with Amanita muscaria is obsessed not with the study of entheogens, shamanic knowledge and historical accounts; but only with the act of drinking urine or urination itself – and furthermore, pedophilia! Though it is impossible to follow logically their line of thinking, here is a quote from their book on this very topic:

The exhibitionistic myco-perverts use Soma as an excuse to engage in urophilia. The Soma urine used by the urophiliac is merely an opportunity to narcissistically consume their own waste. They want attention and this is their only way of getting it. With constant appearances on radio programs, seminars, workshops and in articles and books they are tireless in the self-discussion of urophilia as their religion.
~ Hawk & Venus pg. 294-5

Wiktionary simply defines urophilia as meaning, “One with a sexual dependency on the smell and/or taste of urine; or the sight and sound of someone urinating.”
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/urophile

Some psychologists believe urophilia is a sexual orientation developed during the infant phase, and the urophile partly stopped at this age through the course of his sexual development. However, the drinking of one’s urine has been shown to be clearly justified (after newer research results) as an instinct for the stabilization of the immune system. It seems in fact well-known by many animals that they should consume their urine for reasons of health.

Urine has been used since ancient times for the treatment of wounds. One example was its use on sailing boats for treating scurvy, and is still practiced today for such applications. The so-called “urophile” has realized an instinct which is no longer practiced by general public, most likely having been suppressed by numerous powers for numerous reasons over time.

Thus, with this understanding of the word urophile, we may see clearly that Hawk and Venus are intentionally and deceptively slandering researchers who discuss this ancient custom with their twisted association to Arthur and pedophilia.

In the second edition of our book, “Sacred Soma Shamans,” we cover this gruesome subject of urophiles, profiling James Aurthr’s last days before his incarceration, and suicide, including the police reports. We got the scoop during a six hour interview with Jack Herer, Arthur’s loyal disciple.
~ Hawk & Venus

In actuality, Jack Herer, as well as ourselves do believe, regardless of James Arthur’s hideous crimes in his private life, that he provided valuable research to this field. We also believe he committed atrocious acts.

People may live with horrific skeletons in their closets who’ve contributed huge amounts to our understanding of the world. This does not make their actions right, or their research wrong. One does not equal the other. Just because Arthur was a researcher who discussed the Amanita urine consumption custom, does not make the custom itself associated to pedophilia. Such a leap of logic is absurd. It is the logic of uneducated fools.

Furthermore, Hawk and Venus were deceptive in order to gain their so-called “interview” with Jack Herer. Herer invited them into his home where they talked for hours, never telling him it was an interview. They then attempted to use this information against him so that they could appear as the world’s leading Soma experts.

We learned how warped this club of Pee drinkers really is — how they try to manipulate and bully others into engaging in myco-urophilia, and offend and alienate family and friends with their obsession. They defile the purity and spiritual essence of the mushroom through unclean preparation and disrespect. They lead people astray from the truth of Soma. They wouldn’t want people to find out about us, so they lie about our ways to keep people away.
~ Hawk & Venus

The above statement really pushes the extremes of absurdity, if not shattering them completely. During this so-called interview with Herer, Hawk admitted that his practices of Amanita consumption have nearly killed him at least 4 or 5 times! In his own video he admits that his liver has gone bad. In their book they also discuss his having a heart attack while on Amanita. I’ve quoted several such instances below for our edification and amusement.

The recycling of urine has a dual purpose in the process of consuming Amanita. Both ibotenic acid and muscimol are excreted via the urine, which scientific studies have clearly shown for some time. The purpose of recycling the urine is essentially to increase the potency via decarboxylation of the remaining ibotenic acid into muscimol, thus increasing the high.

If not drying and/or recycling, one is left with Hawk’s method of eating them fresh. The problem is not all ibotenic acid becomes muscimol. That is why people discovered recycling! That is the problem with Hawk’s argument, which will be discussed further as we reveal the scientific research (below). He says eating them raw is best, but then says drinking urine is perverse. Then what is he getting off on? Ibotenic acid! Could this be the very reason why Hawk’s liver has been poisoned by his own methods?

I was to experience eighteen more overdoses over the years. Nothing was as bad as the first, until I experienced liver failure and had a heart attack while lying on the ground convulsing and blacking out.
~ Hawk and Venus, pg. 220

Does the above quote sound like it came from someone you want to listen to?

Though I’ve tried them raw, I don’t recommend eating raw Amanita, or any other mushroom. However, why would you? Just for an ibotenic acid high? The best and safest practice is to properly dry the mushrooms first, or make a tea, then eat; and while disgusting, recycle your urine until you reach your state of bliss.

If I’ve ever seen anything as warped, it’s this pathetic attack on our work by Hawk and Venus. I’m not quite sure how they mean that Andrew and I bully and manipulate people by providing historical and scientific references to factual information – clearly basing their attack on a single footnote. Maybe they would like to explain themselves?

If we wanted to lead people away from Hawk and Venus’ almost non-existent research, we would have just omitted any mention of their work from our book – and certainly not offered to use their photos in a video. Instead we chose to simply warn beginners from some of their practices.

We certainly hope that Hawk and Venus are capable of heeding there own words of advice:

“People who write lies about Soma, and contaminate its purity will never be welcome in Somadise.”
~ Hawk & Venus

However, this quote doesn’t sound like “Somadise” to me:

I experienced liver failure and had a heart attack while lying on the ground convulsing and blacking out.
~ Hawk & Venus

The ibotenic acid is what is primarily excreted, along with small amount of muscimol, in the urine. However, between the following article by Jonathan Ott and The Botany of Chemistry of Hallucinogens by Schultez, 1980 (below), it is clear that it is the decarboxilation of Ibotenic Acid into muscimol that is responsible for most of the high. I’ll also point out that Hawk and Venus’s statement that “there is no science on Amanita” is completely false:

As for going against the “overall majority of anthropological research and science”, there is no science on Amanita.
~ Hawk & Venus

From Pharmacotheon by Jonathan Ott:

In 1869, two German chemists published a book on the properties of muscarine, a toxic alkaloid they had isolated from Amanita muscaria (Holmstedt & Liljestrand 1963; Schmiedeberg & Koppe 1869). For almost a century, muscarine was believed to be the main toxic principle of the fly-agaric. This in spite of the marked difference between fly-agaric and muscarine intoxication. Muscarine causes profuse salivation, lachrymation and perspiration, and is not psychoactive.4 These symptoms of a stimulated autonomic nervous system are generally not seen in fly-agaric inebriation. Moreover, the concentration of muscarine in European specimens of Amanita muscaria was shown to be quite low, only about 0.0003%, by no means high enough to account for the remarkable activity of this mushroom (Eugster 1956; Eugster 1353).

The problem was complicated when Schmiedeberg isolated a base from a sample of commercial muscarine which counteracted the cardiac depression of muscarine. Since atropine and related alkaloids (from Atropa belladonna and the psychoactive Mandragora and Brugmansia species; see Appendix A) have this “antimuscarinic” effect, this new compound came to be called Pilzatropin (“mushroom atropine”) or alternately muscaridine (it has also been called “myceto-atropine” and “mycoatropine”; Tyler 1958a). Further confusion resulted when in 1955 it was reported that Pilzatropin was in fact an isomer of atropine, l-hyoscyamine, supposedly isolated from South African Amanita muscaria and A. pantherina (Lewis 1955). To make matters yet more confusing, bufotenine or 5-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine […] was reported as an entheogenic principle of A. muscaria (Wieland & Motzel 1953). Subsequent work has failed to substantiate the presence of either l-hyoscyamine or bufotenine in A. muscaria, and the evidence indicates that these reports were probably in error (Brady & Tyler 1959; Saleminck et al. 1963; Talbot & Vining 1963). In 1963, American chemist W.B. Cook (who had earlier worked for the CIA on phytochemistry of ololiuhqui seeds from Mexico; see Chapter 5, Note 8) published a preliminary paper on pharmacologically- active extracts from A. muscaria (Subbaratnam & Cook 1963).

Finally, in 1964, the true entheogenic principles of the fly-agaric were isolated almost simultaneously in three laboratories–in Japan (Takemoto et al. 1964a; Ta kemoto et al. 1964b; Takemoto et al. 1964c), England (Bowden & Drysdale 1965; Bowden et al. 1965) and Switzerland (Catalfomo & Eugster 1970; Eugster 1967; Eugster 1968; Eugster 1969; Eugster et al. 1965; Muller & Eugster 1965). These new compounds were isolated with the use of a fly-killing test, a fly-stunning test, and a mouse-narcosis-potentiating test respectively. In 1967, international agreement was reached as to nomenclature, and the compounds were named ibotenic acid5 and muscimol (earlier called agarin(e) or pantherine; Eugster & Takemoto 1967; Gagneux et al. 1965a; Good et al. 1965). Ibotenic acid was found to be alpha-amino3-hydroxy-5-isoxazole acetic acid; and muscimol its decarboxylation product 3hydroxy-5-aminomethy1 isoxazole (Eugster 1967; Gagneux et al. 1965b; Konda et al. 1985; Lund 1979). The isoxazole ring (5-membered, with adjacent oxygen and nitrogen atoms) is uncommon in natural products and drugs, and is found in the medicinal MAO-inhibitor isocarboxazid or Marplan (see Chapter 4; Budavari et al. 1989). […] In addition, a rearrangement product of ibotenic acid, muscazone, has been isolated from Swiss A. muscaria (Eugster et al. 1965; Fritz et al. 1965; Reiner & Eugster 1967) as well as American A. pantherina (Ott, unpublished). Muscazone is readily prepared from ibotenic acid (Chilton & Ott, unpublished; Goth 1967), may be an artifact of isolation procedures, and is of dubious psychoactivity. It is likely that either ibotenic acid or muscimol represents the Pilzatropin isolated by Schmiedeberg a century ago. A potentially psychoactive beta-carboline compound, methyltetrahydrocarboline carboxylic acid (MCTHC; I-methyl-3-carboxyl-tetrahydro-B-carboline has been isolated in low levels from European A. muscaria (Matsumoto et al. 1963). This compound is of unknown pharmacology, however, and Chilton and I were unable to detect this substance in North American A. muscaria (Chilton & Ott 1976). Two other compounds of obscure pharmacology, stizolobic acid and stizolobinic acid (also found in edible seeds of Stizolobium [Mucuna] species), have been isolated in good yield from Amanita pantherina (Chilton et al. 1974; Chilton & Ott 1976; Saito & Komamine 1978; Ott, unpublished laboratory data). These compounds have been proposed to be feeding deterrents in insects Janzen 1973), and were found to have such activity against Spodoptera but not a Cdllosobruchus species (Fellows 1984).

Besides Amanita muscaria, ibotenic acid and muscimol have been isolated from A. strobiliformis (Takemoto et al. 1964a) and A. pantherina (Chilton & Ott 1976; Takemoto et al. 1964c; see Table 6). Both compounds have been detected in A. cothurnata (=A. pantherina var. multisquamosa), A. gemmata (Beutler & Der Marderosian 1981; Chilton & Ott 1976) and in varieties alba and formosa of A. muscaria (Benedict et al. 1966; Beutler & Der Marderosian 1981; Chilton & Ott 1976). Thus far, these unusual amino acids are known to occur in no other plants.

EFFECTS OF IBOTENIC ACID AND MUSCIMOL

Ibotenic acid evokes entheogenic effects in human beings at doses ranging from 50 – 100mg (Chilton 1975; Theobald et al. 1968). An equivalent effect is produced by 10-15 mg of muscimol (Theobald et al. 1968; Waser 1967). After oral ingestion, the onset of the inebriation is rather slow, and generally 2-3 hours elapse before the full effects are felt (Chilton 1975). This delayed response has also been reported following ingestion of Amanita pantherina (Ott 1976a). The effects last for 6-8 hours, depending on dose. Effects are characterized by visual distortions, loss of equilibrium, mild muscle twitching (not convulsions, as has erroneously been reported), and altered auditory and visual perception (Chilton 1975; Ott 1976a).

It would appear that muscimol is the psychoactive constituent, and that following ingestion of ibotenic acid, a fraction of the material decarboxylates to muscimol, which then produces the inebriation. After oral ingestion of ibotenic acid, a substantial percentage of the drug is excreted unaltered in the urine, but small amounts of muscimol are also excreted (Chilton, unpublished). This mechanism would potentially explain the Siberian urinary drug recycling practice. After ingestion of the mushroom, the celebrant would excrete substantial amounts of ibotenic acid in his urine. A second user ingesting the urine of the first, would cause some of the ibotenic acid to be decarboxylated to muscimol during digestion, producing inebriation when the muscimol was absorbed; and the bulk of the ibotenic acid would be re-excreted in his urine in turn. Thus a 100 mg dose of ibotenic acid might potentially represent four or five 10-15 mg doses of muscimol, and Steller’s 1774 report that one dose of mushrooms could be recycled through four or five persons is certainly feasible. Muscimol itself probably does not play a significant role in urinary drug recycling, since it was found that only a small percentage of injected muscimol was excreted in the urine of mice (Ott et al. 1975a). This hypothesis has yet to be verified quantitatively in human beings, though it has been demonstrated qualitatively in preliminary experiments (Chilton 1979).

It is clear by the above scientific references, which Hawk and Venus would like their readers to believe don’t exist, that decarboxilated Ibotenic Acid, known as Muscimol, is created when the water molecule is removed from the Ibotenic acid by drying. Muscimol is up to 10x more potent than its original, Ibotenic acid, state.

The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens by Richard Evans Schultes, 1980 (Harvard)

Pg. 49

Subsequent investigations of Amanita muscaria by Eugster and others in Switzerland and by Takemoto and others in Japan led to the isolation of various amino acid derivatives with characteristic psychotropic activities corresponding to the psychic effects described following ingestion of this mushroom. These were ibotenic acid, muscimole, muscazone, and ®-4-hydroxy-pyrrolidone-(2).

Ibotenic acid is the zwitterion [A molecule or ion having separate positively and negatively charged atoms or groups] of a-amino-a-[3-hydroxy-isoxazolyl-(5)]-acetic acid monohydrate. It occurs in the mushroom in the racemic [b. Composed of dextro- and lævorotatory isomers of a compound in equal molecular proportions, and therefore optically inactive.] form (Good et al., 1965; Muller and Eugster, 1965).

It separates from water in colourless crystals, mp 145o C. Ibotenic acid must be considered a principal active constituent of Amanita muscaria, being present to the extent of 0.3-1 gm/kg of undried carpophores of material of this species collected in southern Germany and in Switzerland. Ibotenic acid easily decarboxylates and loses water to be transformed into muscimole, which is the enol-betaine of 5-aminomethyl-3-hydroxy-isoxazole.

Muscimole forms colourless crystals, mp 174o-175o C, which are extremely soluble in water. Muscimole is probably not a genuine constituent of living Amanita muscaria. It is produced mainly during extraction of the mushrooms by decomposition of ibotenic acid (Eugster, 1968; Eugster and Takemoto, 1967).

[…]

One synthesis starts with 3-bromo-5-animomethyl-isoxazole (1), which, by heating with KOH/MeOH, is transformed into 3-methoxy-5-aminomethyl-isoxazole (2). This compound, after hydrolysis [reaction in which a bond is broken by the agency of water and the hydrogen and hydroxyl of the water become independently attached to the two atoms previously linked; the decomposition or splitting of a compound in this way.], yields muscimole. Another method utilizes as starting material the ketal of y-chloro-acetoacetate (3), which is treated with hydroxylamine to provide the corresponding hydroxamic acid (4). Cyclization with dry HCI gas in absolute acetic acid affords 3-hydroxy-5-chloromethyl-isoxazole (5), which can be transformed by treatment with NH3 into muscimole.

Studies with ibotenic acid and with muscimole in pharmacology and experimental psychology have shown that there is no significant qualitative difference between these two substances; however, quantitatively muscimole proves to be at least five times more active than ibotenic acid. In pharmacological experiments on animals, the principal demonstrable effect is inhibition of motor functions. This is brought about by a central nervous supraspinal mechanism of action. Vegetative functions, however, are hardly influence by these two substances.

Psychological experiments with normal test persons showed that both ibotenic acid and muscimole cause a relatively uncharacteristic condition of intoxication.

Interest in the biological activity of ibotenic acid has shifted in recent time from psychic activity to the action on central neurons of various species of animals, which are stimulated much more efficiently than by glutaminic acid. Muscimole is a strong GABA mimeticum, which passes the blood brain barrier (Eugster, 1977).

Ibotenic acid and muscimole were detected in human urine within one hour after ingestion of Amanita muscaria. These preliminary and only qualitative experiments in man seemed to indicate that ibotenic acid does pass to the urine with relative efficiency. Quantitative measurements of the fate of muscimole in animals were made with tritiated muscimole, injecting 3H-muscimole intraperitoneally into mice. Only 27 percent of the administered counts were recovered in the urine excreted within the first forty-eight hours. It seems unlikely, therefore, that the urine of a mouse receiving an oral threshold dose of muscimole would intoxicate a second mouse. (Ott et al., 1975). This result, however, is not conclusive concerning the fate of the active ingredients of A. muscaria in man.

A CASE STUDY: Amanita muscaria toxicosis in two dogs:

“Central nervous system dysfunction results primarily from the actions of ibotenic acid and its decarboxylation product, muscimol, which are analogues of the neurotransmitters glutamate and ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA), respectively. Identification of these toxins in the urine and serum of affected dogs using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) provides a definitive diagnosis.”

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.111…4431.2005.00181.x
Muscimol, formed by decarboxylation of ibotenic acid, is similar to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Both of these chemicals can cross the blood-brain barrier (Michelot, 2003) [...] Demonstrating high affinity for GABA receptors, muscimol activates GABA receptors and thereby can act as a sedative. Many of the CNS effects of muscimol are ascribed to its ability to act as a GABA agonist. By comparison, ibotenic acid is more of a CNS stimulant, acting on glutamic acid receptors. In humans, most of the ibotenic acid ingested is excreted unchanged in the urine. Some ibotenic acid is metabolized to muscimol. About one third of the amount of muscimol ingested is excreted unchanged, one third is conjugated, and the rest is oxidized.

http://www.emedicine.com/ped/topic1505.htm

Not just in our belly:

Ibotenic acid (Ibo) is a powerful neuronal excitant also structurally related to Glu. Excitation by Ibo, however, is readily antagonised by alpha-AA, whereas GDEE has little or no effect, suggesting that Ibo preferentially activates Asp rather than Glu receptors. Furthermore, excitation of neurones by Ibo is followed by a prolonged depression of excitability which is sensitive to bicuculline methochloride, indicating that Ibo is probably converted by decarboxylation into muscimol during microelectrophoretic ejection near CNS neurones. Thus, neither KA nor Ibo seem to have sufficient specificity to be useful compounds with which to study central Glu or Asp receptors. We describe here a new class of Glu agonist obtained by structural manipulation of Ibo (Table 1). Elongation of the side chain of Ibo by an additional methylene group and introduction of different ring substituents have led to isoxazole amino acids with carboxyl groups resistant to decarboxylation. A further aim of this homologation was to convert the apparent Asp agonist Ibo into a Glu agonist.”

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v284/n5751/abs/284064a0.html

Interestingly, as if Hawk and Venus suddenly had a moment of scientific clarity regarding magical energy and Tarot-like hocus-pocus, they write:

John [Jack Herer] said James Arthur (modern day rijisi) told him that the Amanita residue in his urine was six times stronger than before, as if some magical transformation occurred. To this, Hawk said, (even if that was the case- and it isn’t) “so take six times more!”
~ Hawk and Venus pg. 207

As all of the science does show, the residue in the urine can be much stronger. And it’s not “some magical transformation”. Its scientific name is called decarboxylation. But also notice that these two dangerously recommend to “take six times more!” mushrooms, rather than reuptake the much safer urine.

Since Hawk and Venus were so kind as to provide a detailed review of our book, I thought I would return the favor by dedicating the rest of this essay to a review of their book.


Sacred Soma Shamans by Hawk & Venus, 2003/2006
The first 110 pages is mostly an autobiography on their lives and family drama, and their 3 year mushroom trip, or, more appropriately, their 3 year “camping” stint, living in camp grounds and gypsy houses in their constant search for a place to live and get a free daily high from Amanita muscaria, pantherina, or the deadly phalloides!

The Gypsies invited us to stay with them and digitally edit the movie. We stayed there off and on for a few months. (pg. 95)

Hawk is the High Priest and “Master of Ecstasy.” Using his sacred laws inspired by extreme austerities and a shamanic trip to Death’s Door, he prepares Soma for our daily sacrament and special ceremonies. (pg. 15)

We were so overcome by the desire and need for these mushrooms that we went back the next day and picked many of them. (pg. 32)

Hawk, as Master of Ecstasy, is able to sense and harmonize even the deadly Pantherinas and Phalloides (pg. 25)

The first half of this book hardly discusses Amanita muscaria at all. It’s about these two –Hawk and Venus (especially Hawk) – the self proclaimed “High Shaman-Priests of Soma.” These two (in my opinion) are Psychology 101 textbook examples of patients with delusions of grandeur. Remember Timothy Leary, the self proclaimed “High Priest of LSD” who ended up wrongly giving the drug a bad name leading to its outlaw and him working undercover for the CIA? At least Dr. Leary could write eloquently!

We are Hawk and Venus, High Priest and High Priestess of Soma, guardians of the secrets of Soma. (pg. 9)

For a while, he [Hawk] wore a monks robe, a metal crown of thorns and a huge metal dollar sign on a tire chain around his neck, carried a staff and went barefoot. People didn’t know whether to arrest or worship him (pg. 29)

In India, Hawk would be known as a holy man, just for his austerities… (pg. 49)

He [Zarathustra/Zoroaster], like Hawk and me was a purest and understood the higher spiritual qualities that await the devoted. (Pg. 48)

We also discovered that in the Vedas the Hawk brought Soma from Heaven to Earth. (Pg. 207)

They give us no citation to verify their claim about Zoroaster. They only follow up by comparing themselves to Zoroaster and the hawk of the Vedas! On their website they also say:

Hawk is a prophet, longtime nature mystic and Master Soma Shaman. This is not ego-based identity, he has earned the wisdom and has the skills to back it.

I find it humorous that they claim this statement is not ego-based, but who other than an ego or megalomaniac would claim they’re a prophet?

Megalomania (from the Greek word µe?a??µa??a) is a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, genius, or omnipotence – often generally termed as delusions of grandeur. The word is a collaboration of the word “mania” meaning madness and the Greek “megalo” meaning an obsession with grandiosity and extravagance, a common symptom of megalomania. It is sometimes symptomatic of manic or paranoid disorders.

Hawk’s delusions of prophesizing in their book goes on to say how Hawk had a vision that he’d meet his wife on a day wearing a certain pair of paints. So instead of prophesizing the specific day, Hawk wore the same pants daily for a year!

Hawk uses his cards to reach these spiritual advisers who reveal the future. pg. 67

About a year before we met, his Tarot cards said he would be wearing a particular pair of denim pants when he met the woman who would be his wife. So, he wore them all the time and laundered them so much he had to start sewing them up with decorative patches he bought on his travels. By the time we met, the pants were over three-fourths covered in patches and then I gladly helped finished the rest. […] Hawk even wore those magic pants when he helped deliver our eldest son… (pg. 29)

Obviously any woman he then happened to meet would fall nicely into his fantastic delusion, a delusion that Venus bought hook, line and sinker. Is this the sign of a prophet, or a megalomaniac who will go to any means to make his gullible partners believe his hocus-pocus?
On top of the delusions of grandeur, for the first part of the book, Hawk seems incapable of writing his own words. Wherever Hawk has something to say, it’s usually Venus annoyingly “quoting” Hawk.

Hawk says: Amanita Muscaria is the most beautiful mushroom on the planet. […]

Hawk says, “Soma is the world’s greatest aphrodisiac for the male. […]”

Was Hawk too high to sit and write more than a couple paragraphs of his own? By the end of the book I was left wondering if Venus has any thoughts of her own. As well, it doesn’t appear that Venus bothered to fact check anything “Hawk says”. I found several major errors in their (so-called) citations to other works where they hadn’t bothered to quote exactly, as above with the Rig Veda, and took entire sections completely out of context for their own agenda – more on that later. To top all of this off, this book has no footnotes, no bibliography, and no index.

This book is also of Venus, Hawk’s wife – an unquestioning loyal disciple – who (in my opinion) has clear father figure psychological issues. The two met when she was 18, high on LSD, and dreaming for her father-man-guru figure to come rescue her:

…I took some LSD for inspiration and went on a hike by the sea. [...] I was 18 years old. Now love filled my heart and I prayed out loud to meet a strong, spiritual man to be my love and my light (pg. 9)

Never had I felt so completely ready to devote my attention to someone. He was like a priest, a guru, a best friend—my true love. (pg. 11)

I’m not quite sure how many barely-legal 18 year-olds are completely ready to devote their attention to anyone!
It doesn’t end there. During one of Hawks overdoses he ends up comatose on the sidewalk, and later in the hospital, where the doctor tells him to be more careful and measure the doses. Hawk admittedly never considered something so basic and common sense as measuring doses!

The doctor asked what I had taken and how much. He then gave me an unforgettable piece of advice. After the other doctors and nurses had gone, he leaned over me and said confidentially, “Look, me and another doctor here sometimes take Psilocybin Cubensis before coming on duty, but we measure the dosage.” To measure the dosage was the first piece of mushroom advice I was ever given, and still the best. (pg. 5)

Furthermore, Venus repeatedly attempts to convince the reader that only Hawk is wise and brilliant enough to sense the “vibrational energy” of which Amanitas are safe to pick and consume:

We understand the pure vibration needed to be welcomed within the mushroom’s energy field and how to merge with its spiritual life force. My husband, Hawk, knows exactly when to approach and pick each mushroom according to its spiritual vibration and how to prepare them individually, in pairs or groups using various methods… (Pg. 16)

As far as sensing every mushroom’s energy to avoid bad trips, it’s not clear until chapter 12 when we learn that Hawk is actually taking daily doses of manganese and milk thistle to (supposedly) help control the negative side effects of the mushroom and its bad trips (more on that in a moment). So much for vibrational energy hippie power! As well, the book has many references where they have bad trips, even though Hawk had previously “sensed the mushroom’s energy.” In these situations, they blame the bad trip on some other outside force, while maintaining delusional inconsistencies in their argument.

During an overdose, I always use a minimum of 500mgs of Manganese, or a maximum of 1000mgs. The point is to stop the convulsions, and Manganese is the only thing that will. […] [manganese] is a very effective relaxant and I feel it’s not a bad idea to have at least one tablet with your Soma dose to help smooth out the ride. (Pg. 125)

The liver must detox many poisons including Amanita toxins, so do it a favor and have Milk Thistle tincture, capsules or tea with your Soma. These days, Hawk always takes it with his Soma. (Pg. 126)

Hawk and Venus furthermore claim the Amanita muscaria to be lethal:

They haven’t even been able to determine which of the two poisons kill you.
~ Hawk and Venus

…the toxicological literature does not contain a single case of lethal fly agaric poisoning: “there is no evidence of fatalities” (Garnweidner 1993, 41**)
~ Christian Rätsch, 1998/2005 pg. 638

Hawk and Venus also claim to be the sole discoverers of the Milk Thistle over-dose cure:

Science offers no antidote to Amanita poisoning. Indeed, my wife and I are the only ones on Earth ever to discover an antidote to Amanita poisoning, which works 75% of the time. This was a result of many years of work, research and experimentation on ourselves.
~ Hawk and Venus

Did you notice the made up percentages? They also directly contradict this statement in their book, admitting the German scientists are the ones who made the discovery:

In Germany, human studies have been done for 60 people with Amanita poisoning and none of the patients died though death usually occurs within 50% of people poisoned by the deadly Phalloides. The Silymarin and the mushroom toxins bond to the same sites on the liver cell membrane, then the Silymarin levels in your blood increase, the extract occupies the cell membrane receptor sites displacing the Amanita toxins. (Pg. 127)

Milk Thistle and its extracts have actually been used for many decades to treat mushroom poisoning and liver damage and used to alleviate the toxicity of Amatoxins & Phallotoxins.

Its potent extract is used in medicine under the name silymarin. Another extract, silibinin or a derivative, is used against poisoning by amanitas, such as the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) and the Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blessed_milk_thistle
http://www.iamshaman.com/amanita/milkthistle.htm

One study chose to address the hypothesis that potassium protects neurons through an effect downstream of GABA receptor activation, examining whether neuronal death mediated by direct activation of GABAA receptors was prevented by elevated potassium. They challenged cells with 10 µM muscimol, which depressed cell counts at DIV 10-12 similarly to GABA potentiators (Fig. 8G). Figure 8G shows that muscimol-induced neuronal death is indeed greatly reduced by maintaining cells in high-potassium growth medium. This result strongly suggests that the protective effect of KCl occurs downstream of GABAA receptor activation.

http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/20/9/3147#F8

So what of Hawk and Venus’s use of manganese to (supposedly) control the negative side effects of the Amanita mushrooms? I decided to check the Physicians Desktop Reference (www.pdrhealth.com) and found the following warning in regards to the use of manganese in people with liver problems:

Warnings:

Manganese should not be used in persons with liver or kidney problems.

Side Effects:
Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest

Chest pain

Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

So here we have it. Hawk admits to having liver problems all the while ignoring the medical warnings regarding the use of manganese with a bad liver! Hawk and Venus are telling other people to take manganese and Amanita together – two liver toxins! Let me repeat: Hawk and Venus are telling other people to take manganese and Amanita together – two liver toxins!

He [Hawk] said it felt as if someone had kicked a sharp blow to his liver with a pointed shoe [notice the symptom of liver failure]. Then he’d stand back up, clutch his middle, buckle and fall back to the ground. He repeated this several times. He’d lay there on the ground twitching at first, then flailing sharply in convulsions, eyes rolling back in his head. It was frightening and worse than epileptic seizures I’ve witnessed.

Hawk […] had a pained, agonized look on his face and kept gasping for air and grabbing his chest, something he’d never done and we realized he was having a heart attack. (Pg. 286)

I personally blacked out and convulsed for six hours when I ate an Amanita shaped like a pair of lips, presented in our video. (Pg. 296)

Welcome to “Somadise,” indeed!

Not only do we see that manganese can exacerbate liver problems, but we also see the symptoms of a heart attack in the side effects to a manganese allergic reaction! Ironically, Hawk and Venus have this to say about combining liver toxins in their book:

Myth #12 – Have a few drinks with Amanita consumption to help you relax.
This is TABOO. Never take Soma with alcohol. No beer, wine or liquor! Amanita toxins are a liver poison and alcohol is a liver poison and if you mix two liver poisons together you’re just asking for trouble. This could be a lethal mix for the wrong person. If you need to relax, have some cannabis or relaxing herb tea. Also manganese is excellent. (pg. 46)

Protect your liver:
Take Milk Thistle with your dose of Amanita (see next chapter for more information on Milk Thistle).
ALWAYS have a bottle of Manganese on hand, for if you start to feel too speedy, shaky or (in severe cases) start convulsing. Manganese can be a lifesaver. (See next chapter for more information on Manganese). (pg. 120)

Since milk thistle is used in protecting the liver from Amanita toxins, can we also assume that the milk thistle alone is strong enough to cancel out in the negative effects of manganese on the liver too?

Hawk started taking milk thistle for his bad liver because he saw that research showed it is used to treat mushroom poisoning and protect the liver from Amatoxins & Phallotoxins and other substances. He started taking manganese because he saw research that showed it could help treat convulsions.

Looking up manganese and convulsions: manganese deficiency has long been recognized as a possible cause of convulsions. Once again, it’s not anything that Hawk discovered. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=f…s&btnG=Search

Hawk and Venus simply started taking the two together. That is not a new cure or anti-dote. That is simply taking two existing medicines together as already proven treatments for the separate ailments; all the while ignoring that manganese can exacerbate liver problems – exactly what he’s trying to avoid.

Throughout their book Hawk and Venus discuss how Hawk always senses the mushrooms’ energy before they’re picked. However, I found this little contradiction on page 169:

One year our gypsy friends showed up from Oregon and surprised us with an incredible haul of Muscaria. Boxes upon boxes! It’s rare for Hawk to be surprised about anything [we must assume that Hawks Tarot failed him] but he could not believe his sudden windfall at the time when we weren’t going to be able to pick anywhere near our usual amount. (pg. 169)

If Hawk is the only person who can sense the mushroom’s vibrational energy, then why would he consume mushrooms picked by his gypsy friends? What about Hawk’s theory of personally testing the vibrational energy of every mushroom before they’re picked?

Besides these glaring contradictions, the first 100 pages are also filled – ad nauseum – with Venus’s Proskuneo (words of worship) for her shaman-guru-god-husband-master.

Then I’d see Hawk, tan, peaceful, a godlike man in tune with nature. (pg. 84)

She repeats over and over how wonderful her master is, trying to convince us to only believe her and Hawk -an attitude reminiscent of a young 60’s hippie on a recruiting mission for Charles Manson (psychologically speaking, the comparison is the same). Here though, they claim they don’t have disciples or apprentices – all the while claiming that in order to be the safest and to enter “Somadise,” you should only follow Hawk’s methods.

Venus also reveals that Hawk seems incapable of making any decisions on his own. Each and every day Hawk wakes up and eats Amanita and reads his Tarot deck to “communicate with the spirits of Tarot” which tell him what to do at every step throughout the day. She admits he can’t even take a trip to the store without consulting his deck:

… I discovered Hawk possessed the Ninja-like Art of Invisibility. He would deal out his cards for the day to determine safe picking times, which also kept him from being harassed by setting up a protective force field. Hawk communes with the spirits of the cards and through spiritual “conversation” they tell him what moves to make and when to make them, so Tarot is a valuable ally. (Pg. 29)

Each day, he [Hawk] takes Soma, reads his cards and plans out this day around the advice and directions received from his communication with the spirits of Tarot. This includes every day life, errands, what stores to shop, when to go somewhere, or what to do to help a family member. (Pg. 33)

The only really contributory sections of the first half of the book are their sections dispelling myths, though these are somewhat biased and admittedly completely unscientific, and Ch. 12 on Milk Thistle (not manganese!), though not their own.

Our interest and expertise is not in the realms of scientific, clinical study; our knowledge of Amanita comes from the natural truth of experience gained from long-term use, guided by the mushrooms’ superior intelligence and our obedience to the Sacred Laws. (Pg. 18)

Followed up with this contradiction on page 181:

Brain chemistry plays a big part in the Soma experience. If you are too depleted, overly nervous or anxious, always take Soma with some food and B-complex (50 or 100 mg), calcium and/or manganese. It merges easier with a calm mind. (Pg. 181)

In other words, Hawk’s energy senses have ZERO to do with the Amanita bad trips. It is sadly and painfully clear throughout their book that it’s only Venus who is naïve enough to buy this junk from her Savior, Hawk.

The first 130 pages could have been condensed down to less than 30 pages and you’d get as much or more out of it in a condensed version. The first half is NOT heavy on information about Amanita muscaria. It’s really just Venus’s Proskuneo de Hawk.
Someone who studies the history of alcohol consumption and alcohol’s effects might write a 300 page book with 500 or more footnotes and citations. A long-term alcoholic might call himself an alcohol expert and back up that foolish claim by boasting of his “26 years of devoted daily use”. An alcoholic might also destroy his liver and continue to drink daily and brag about it. It would be very interesting to study if there is any dependency related to daily use of Amanitas. Interestingly, Wasson quoted Jochelson on this very subject in Soma, pg. 272:

People addicted to the use of fly-agaric can be detected by their appearance. Even when they are in a normal condition, a twitching of the face is observable, and they have a haggard look and an uneven gait.
~ Waldemar Jochelson

The second half of their book is actually a little better, not good, but a little better. It includes a few good recipes, some history – like that of the Zulu’s suggested, but unconfirmed, use of the Amanita for war (Day of the Zulu, Lewis, 2001). And some of Hawk’s misplaced philosophical meandering in regards to violence and cultural advancement and the use of Amanita:

Soma was also historically used in times of war. The Indo-Aryans would go into battle with barrels of Soma mounted on the back of their gold inlaid chariots. They used reeds to deliver Soma into their mouths during a killing frenzy. The Vikings used it before battle in mega doses, as it kills pain, anxiety and fear by blocking the relay system that transmits these chemicals to the brain.

Soma helps you obtain superior fighting powers – it is the perfect fighters [sic] toxin.

In order to understand how extreme levels of Red Muscaria can produce the battle fury and excite the instinct to kill, I picked and ate a Red Soma with a cap as large as a frying pan. (pg. 187)

…the early Vedas were using Soma to experience the ecstasy of killing, thereby imitating Indra, the god whose ecstasy was killing his enemies while on Soma.

Therefore since Soma can no longer be used as a sacrament in that old time religion, this is how we use it in the new. (pg. 307)

I don’t make this stuff up, I just quote it.

Though Hawk took the idea that Soma is Amanita muscaria from Wasson’s book Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality, Hawk failed to recognize that Wasson also debunked the Amanita muscaria’s associations to violence and the Berserkers’ rage (Soma, pg. 157):

In these comments of various observers there is nothing that suggests the berserk-raging of the Vikings. Murderous ferocity marked the Viking seizures almost always, whereas murderous ferocity is conspicuously absent from our eye-witness accounts of fly-agaric eating in Siberia. […] The ardent advocate of the link between the fly-agaric and berserk-raging must content himself as best he can with the testimony of Krasheninnikov [4]: ‘The Kamtschadales and the Koreki eat of it when they resolve to murder anybody.’ This generalisation is hearsay: had he known about a particular episode, he would have reported it. […] ~ Gordon Wasson

Wasson is correct here. There is not enough evidence to link the Amanita with violence except for a single mention of it being used on occasion for hunting (Soma, pg. 159, ex. pg. 274), and one other unverified instance (Lewis, 2001). In fact, this gives further reason to question the single Amanita muscaria as Soma theory.

The fly agaric is most certainly not the drug of the berserkers. The only psychoactive that is able to produce real aggression, raving madness, and rage is alcohol. The berserker madness was also induced by a beer to which Ledum palustre had been added.
~ Christian Rätsch, 1998/2005, pg. 634

The book also includes Hawk’s “laws” regarding Amanita consumption. Some of them are actually good! Also included is a pathetic story on how their son got busted for Cannabis, and instead of Hawk actually contributing help to his son’s case, he sat and read Tarot every day. Of course when their son was lucky enough to win without his father’s parental support, they claim this was a “Sweet Victory, powered by Soma!” (pg. 193).

Now back to Venus’ failure to fact-check Hawk’s claims in other publications. On pages 203 to 216 Venus and Hawk go to Jack Herer’s house who they call John. They went to Herer’s house on false pretences for their own agenda, an interview, and didn’t bother to tell Herer that they were putting what he said in their book. As quoted above:

In the second edition of our book, “Sacred Soma Shamans,” we cover this gruesome subject of urophiles, profiling James Aurthr’s last days before his incarceration, and suicide, including the police reports. We got the scoop during a six hour interview with Jack Herer, Arthur’s loyal disciple.
~ Hawk & Venus

However, they didn’t take notes and didn’t record the conversation, so the entire section, as Herer told me personally, is completely distorted and taken out of context. In other words, it appears that these two, Hawk and Venus, tricked Herer into an interview so they could make their poorly argued case. This section of their book is a convoluted misinterpretation of not only of what Herer said when he invited them to his house (no surprise by this point), but also historical anthropology, and their attack on James Arthur, an ethnomycologist who was arrested for pedophilia and later committed suicide. They create some delusional attempt to tie Arthur’s private life crimes to his studies and what they call “myco-urophilia.”

Later, Hawk read Arthur’s book, Mushrooms and Mankind, in which Arthur lured two young women into the mountains with promises they’d take mushrooms. But once there, James Arthur ate Amanita and then bullied the girls into drinking his urine… (pg. 203)

Not only did they take the entire passage in Arthur’s book out of context, but there is no mention anywhere of these two “young women” drinking Arthur’s urine. Hawk and Venus appear to have intentionally made up this claim to embellish their story. In fact, where Hawk and Venus claim Arthur consumed Amanita muscaria with the women, he had actually consumed Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms with the women:

The next few days were spent in a special mountain hideaway with a wonderful (and lovely) “procreative alchemist” and her sister (Karena and Jennifer). They were a joy and an inspiration as we discussed the upcoming (astronomical) events, and the particulars we could see played a major role in the shifting of the planetary consciousness. […] P.c. (Psilocybe) plant entheogens were used and inspired great states of awareness and insight into our own current states of knowing, as well as the current ongoing process of what can be affectionately called the evolutionary collective unconscious or the collective consciousness. The plants spoke to us.
~ James Arthur, Mushrooms & Mankind, pg. 89

Hawk and Venus also act as if James Arthur only talked about urine drinking during his lectures, something that was only a very small fraction of the material he discussed. They treat the issue as if Arthur was strictly seeking people to follow him on the urine drinking custom, ignoring the rest of the material he presented:

“Hawk says, “Urophilia is all about them telling the story of how they drink their crazy glass of pee, and shocking others. It’s not about Amanita – it’s about discussing their urophilia fetish in detail to an audience.” (pg. 210)

“The Soma urine used by the urophiliac is merely an opportunity to narcissistically consume their own waste. They want attention and his is their only way of getting it. With constant appearances on radio programs, seminars, worships and in articles and books they are tireless in the self-discussion of urophilia as their religion.” (Pg. 295)

Of course these statements are extreme exaggerations. Anyone intelligent enough to read Heinrich’s or Arthur’s books, or listen to their lectures, or watch their videos, would know immediately that these statements are 100% false.

My biggest concern with the writings of “Hawk and Venus” is their discussions of eating deadly mushrooms. Though throughout their book they do constantly warn that only Hawk should eat deadly mushrooms (the one thing I actually agree with them on); I’m nevertheless concerned that some daredevil teenager, after reading their book, will want to try the deadly phalloides or virosa. And just like the kids who copy the Jackass movies’ stunts, they’ll end up permanently injured – or worse – dead.

More people die from Phalloides poisoning than any other Amanita. Avoid them. We stopped taking them for a while because our San Francisco patch got contaminated. Many Laotian people in the Bay area were dying and getting liver transplants the year we stopped.

These Phalloides mushrooms became too unpredictable and unpleasant.

We came across Phalloides several years later in upper northern California that were mellower than the Frisco variety and we resumed taking them. Of course these are always given special shamanic attention and taken very carefully. […] Do not try this on your own because if you don’t harmonize them they can sincerely be dangerous, even fatal if a particularly poisonous Phalloides can’t be purified. (pg. 134)

The majority of this book deals with Reds, Amanita Muscaria, the safest and most spiritual of the Amanitas. Never eat any Phalloides, these come in shades of greenish, brown and yellow – or any of the white varieties, especially the Virosa. Hawk, as a Master Soma Priest has a long history with these dangerous Amanitas and he is very careful when shamanically preparing them and does not recommend others trying them on their own. We have certainly tried to instill the seriousness of using these dangerous mushrooms and hope people will listen to our warnings. (pg.215)

It is this carelessness and incongruous logic by these two, “Hawk & Venus,” that is so dangerous. Their entire book is inconsistent, filled with contradictions, misquotes, misuse of information – and supplements, and careless discussions of dangerous mushroom stunts – to say the least. It would have been careless and irresponsible for us not to have put the warning in the footnote of our book:

Their [Hawk and Venus’s] technique is NOT something we recommend for beginners, and we caution those who follow their work.
~ Irvin and Rutajit, (pg. 86)

Furthermore, Hawk and Venus also use their baseless, misconstrued attack on Arthur for their unfounded attack on a completely unrelated researcher, Clark Heinrich – where they use completely unfounded and libelous dialogue:

With Arthur gone, only Clark Heinrich is left to carry on the vile tradition. (Pg. 213)

Their statement is clearly libelous on behalf of Heinrich. It leaves the reader wondering exactly what “vile tradition” Heinrich is left to carry on. Hawk and Venus chose to ignore the history of the urine drinking custom laid out by the majority of anthropologists and historians in the field of shamanic studies (see exhibits in Wasson’s Soma) in order for their own agenda against Arthur –someone who indeed committed atrocious crimes – but those crimes had nothing to do with his research, or Heinrich, or any other researcher. There are numerous scholarly publications out there on this topic, including Wasson’s own publications, as well as ancient Indian health and religious practices of urine therapy that is all enough to debunk their argument.

Do you really want a riotous romp through a ridiculous, pretend world of poor almost-educated buffoons who contradict other people’s educated work, just to make a name for themselves?
~ Hawk & Venus

I couldn’t have said this better myself. And since I’ve presented the reader with my evidence, I’ll leave it to the reader to make the decision on exactly what is the “ridiculous, pretend world of poor almost-educated buffoons”.

Thanks to Ben Maddy, Andrew Rutajit and others for their assistance in the researching and editing this article.

References:

· Allegro, John, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross : Fertility cults and the origins of Judaism and Christianity – Doubleday, 1970

· Arthur , James, Mushrooms and Mankind: The Impact of Mushrooms on Human Consciousness and Religion – The Book Tree, 2000, ISBN: 1-58509-151-0

· Dobkin de Rios, Marlene, Hallucinogens, cross-cultural perspectives – University of New Mexico Press , 1984, ISBN: 0-8263-0737-X

· Fulcanelli, Le Mystere Des Cathedrales – Brotherhood of Life, Inc., 1964, 1990, ISBN: 0914732-14-5

· Furst, Peter T., Hallucinogens and Culture – Chandler & Sharp, 1976, ISBN: 0-88316-517-1

· Greene, Brian, The Elegant Universe – Vintage, 2000, ISBN: 0375708111

· Hall , Manly P., The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Diamond Jubilee edition – Philosophical Research Society , 1928, ISBN: 0-89314-546-7

· Hawk, Venus, Raw Amanita is Always Best – an open letter to Jan Irvin and Andrew Rutajit – August 12th, 2006. www.somashamans.com

· Hawk, Venus, Soma Shamans – Red Angels Ltd., 2003

· Hawk, Venus, Sacred Soma Shamans – Red Angels Ltd., 2006, ISBN: 097437220X

· Heinrich , Clark, Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy – Park Street Press, 2002, ISBN: 089281997-9

· Herer, Jack & Arthur, James, The Most High – unpublished, 2004

· Herer , Jack, The Emperor Wears No Clothes : The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana , 11th edition – Ah-Ha Publishing, 2000, ISBN: 1-878125-02-8

· Irvin, J. & Rutajit, A., Astrotheology & Shamanism – The Book Tree, 2006, ISBN: 1-58509-107-3

· Jochelson, W., “Religion and myths of the Koryak” in Jesup North Pacific Expedition VI, I

· Lee, Bruce, The Tao of Jeet Kune Do – Ohara, 1975 ISBN: 0897500482

· Lewis, Mark, Dir/Prod., “Day of the Zulu,” in the PBS T.V. series Secrets of the Dead, 2001

· McKenna , Terence, Food of the Gods, The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge : A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution – Bantam, 1992, ISBN: 0-553-37130-4

· Müller-Ebeling, Rätsch , Shahi, Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas – Inner Traditions, 2002, ISBN: 0892819138

· Ott , Jonathan, Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic drugs, their plant sources and history 2nd edition – Natural Products Company, 1996, 0-9614234-9-8

· Ram Dass, Remember Be Here Now – Hanuman Foundation, 1978, ISBN: 0517543052

· Rätsch , Christian, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants – Inner Traditions, 2005, ISBN: 089281978-2

· Reich, Wilhelm, The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality – Penguin, 1975, ISBN: 0140218556

· Reich, Wilhelm, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, trans. By Vincent R. Carfagno, Farrar – Straus and Giroux, 1970

· Ruck, Staples, Heinrich, The Apples of Apollo : Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist – Carolina Academic Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-89089-924-X

· Sacred Writings 5: Hinduism; The Rig Veda - Montilal Banarsidass

· Schultes, Richard Evens, The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens, 1980

· Wasson , R. Gordon, Soma : Divine Mushroom of Immortality – Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1968, ISBN: 0-15-683800-1

*Online citations utilized are listed within the main body of the text.*


[1] Soma, by Gordon Wasson, pg. 25.

[2] Soma: The Divine Mushroom of Immortality, by Wasson; Magic Mushrooms in Alchemy and Religion, by Clark Heinrich .

[3] Pharmacotheon, by Jonathon Ott, pg. 332.

[4] Apples of Apollo, by Ruck, Heinrich, Staples, pg. 74.

[5] Suns of God, by Acharya S.

[6] Hallucinogens: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, by Marlene Dobkin de Rios, pg. 32.

[7] Animals and Psychedelics, by Giorgio Samorini, pg. 39.

[8] Apples of Apollo , by Ruck, Staples, and Heinrich, pg. 51.

[9] Hallucinogens and Culture, by Peter T. Furst, pg. 93.

[10] Shamanism and Tantra In the Himalayas , by Rätsch , Müller-Ebeling, Shahi, pg. 178.

  2 comments for “Hawk and Venus: Neo-Shamanism or Megalomania?

  1. Chris Johnsen
    November 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Hey guys! I liked your book. I’ve written a few unpublished books on Norse Mythology (3 of them) and they contain a smattering of info on Amanita and Norse Shamanism – I’ve also read Hawk and Venus’ book. You kind of went off on them in you post – they are obviously crazy – your post makes you look as if you are attacking retarded people. If I were you, I would delete it and say “Sorry Hawk and Venus – you guys were right!” At least then people won’t disrespect you for attacking the mentally disabled.

    • Jan Irvin
      November 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      Their work is dangerous… the review stays… no doubt it’s saved a few lives.

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