About Carl de Borhegyi
"FLESH OF THE GODS"
Teonanacatl; Mushroom of Immortality
by Carl de Borhegyi
Dead Sea Scroll scholar, John Marco Allegro, has written a controversial but thought-provoking study of psychotropic rituals in early Judeo-Christianity (1971). In Allegro's book titled, "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross", Allegro suggests the possibility that contemporary Judeo-Christian tradition may be traced to primitive fertility cults associated with the adoration of the fly agaric or Amanita muscaria mushroom. Allegro an Oxford-educated scholar was assigned to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran in 1947. Allegro believed that the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, known as the Essenes, were religiously consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms, specifically the Amanita muscaria mushroom in their rituals. Allegro surmised that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was the original sacrament of the eucharist, that formed the basis of early Christian doctrines, including the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Above, is a humeral veil used by the 17th century Dominican Cardinal, Thomas Howard, which encodes the Fleur de lis symbol below, circled in yellow, in association with an upended toad, a symbol of transformation and rebirth in both the Old World and New World.
Note that the image of the cross beneath the crown appears to look very much like an encoded Amanita muscaria mushroom, once the white spots are added. Below is the fleur de lis which represents a symbol of heaven and that the toad below the Fleur de lis, is also a symbol in Mesoamerica of rebirth and transformation. The Cardinal's veil now belongs to the Dominican Priory in Oxford. (Photo from http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/muhara-picture_ba-3573.html)
Above are symbols and names for the 20 day signs in the Aztec calendar, note that the symbol on the bottom right referred to as a flower and representing the number 20, is identical in shape to the Old World Fleur de lis symbol. I propose that this Aztec symbol referred to as a flower and representing the number 20 is really a symbol for divinity, and "Lord" and represents an esoteric symbol for a trinity of gods linked to the Tree of Life and its forbidden fruit, the divine mushroom of immortality.
Christ and the Twelve Apostles, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain 12th century, note the Apostles eyes and what appear to me to be encoded Amanita muscaria mushrooms " Hidden In Plain Sight". (http://christchurchmontrealmusic.blogspot.com/2009_07_01_archive.html)
Carved image of Amanita muscaria mushroom and challis 12th century, Spain."Hidden in Plain Sight"East entrance to the Basilica de San Vicente, in Avila 12th century, Spain.
Above is a page from Diego Duran's manuscript Histories of New Spain (1537-1588) that depicts the Aztec conqueror Hernando Cortes, who the Indians believed was the incarnate of their legendary god-king Quetzalcoatl, wearing a helmet with a symbol that I propose is an encoded feathered Fleur-de-lis emblem. The Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II, believed in a prophecy that the bearded god-king Quetzalcoatl, would return in the year "Ce Acatl' to reclaim his rightful throne, coincidentally the same year that the bearded Cortes arrived in the New World in 1519. I propose that the Aztec artist who painted this image of Cortes intentionally encodes the symbol of the Fleur de lis in his helmet because it was the symbol of their god Quetzalcoatl, and the enigmatic symbol of his mushroom Venus religion.
Not long after the fall of the Aztec capital it was reported to Hernando Cortes that the Indians of the New world were using certain mushrooms in their religious ceremonies, consuming them as Spanish friars put it, in a demonic religious communion and calling their sacred mushroom, Teonanacatl, meaning " Gods flesh" "Teo" meaning god in the language of the Aztecs. One of the first twelve Franciscans to arrive shortly after the conquest of Mexico was Toribio de Paredes who the Indians affectionately called Motolinía "poor man". Motolinia ends his disquisition with the observation that the Indians served the mushrooms in Holy Communion (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, p. 37 1962).
“They had another way of drunkenness, that made them more cruel and it was with some fungi or small mushrooms, which exist in this land as in Castilla; but those of this land are of such a kind that eaten raw and being bitter they....eat with them a little bees honey; and a while later they would see a thousand visions, especially serpents, and as they would be out of their senses, it would seem to them that their legs and bodies were full of worms eating them alive, and thus half rabid, they would sally forth from the house, wanting someone to kill them; and with this bestial drunkenness and travail that they were feeling, it happened sometimes that they hanged themselves, and also against others they were crueler. These mushrooms, they called in their language teonanacatl, which means 'flesh of God' or the devil, whom they worshiped.” (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin)
The Aztecs at the time of the Spanish Conquest referred to mushrooms as flowers (R.G. Wasson, 1980 p.79). "Three Aztec deities have particular connection with them: Xochipilli, Macuilxochitl, and Xochiquetzal, all of whom serve as patrons of beauty, pleasure, and the arts" (Mary Miller and Karl Taube, 1993 p.88).
Quoting Ethno-mycologist R. Gordon Wasson....
"The flowers took them to another world where they sang their Aztec poetry to the music of their Aztec instruments, a world that they called their Tlalocan (or sometimes their Tamoanchan), a world of strange and wondrous beauty, where they reveled in sensations beyond imagining".
"If I were to postulate the nature of a mushroomic cult, it would be of an erotic or procreative character. Fray Sahagun says that the narcotic mushroom incita a la lujuria,-- excites lust. He described it in a dancing scene where it is eaten." (letter from Gordon Wasson to Steve de Borhegyi 3-27-1953)
According to Gordon Wasson (1962 p.38) one of the poems in a Nahuatl anthology mentions expressly the sacred Mushrooms. Others in the same collection use xochi, "flowers" in a sense that suggests it was a metaphor used for the mushroom. This possibility is reenforced by Motolina's lexicon, where xochinanacatl is translated by honguillos que embeodan, "little mushrooms that inebriate"..... (From "Dolor en la Amistaad" (A.D. 1600) Anonymous, translated by Angel Maria Garibay. No. 37 in Xochimapictli, coleccion de Poemas nahuas. Mexico City, 1959)
Flowers or mushrooms, symbolize (the Fleur de lis emblem) a state of the soul on its journey to full godhood and Teonanacatal, the mushroom of the Aztecs, was called "the flower that makes us drunk" (Irene Nicholson 1967, Mexican and Central American Mythology; p.90).
Motolinía also described the ritual calendar and Venus as the star Lucifer, which he said the Indians adored above all others save the sun. They performed more ritual sacrifices for it than for any other creature, celestial or terrestrial. He concludes that.....
"the final reason why their calendar was based on this star, which they greatly revered and honored with sacrifices, was because these misguided people believed that when one of their principal gods, called Topiltzin or Quetzalcoatl, died and left this world, he was metamorphosed into that radiant star." (Lafaye,1987 )
The Spanish friars, Dominican friar Diego Durán (1964, 225-6), Fray Bernardino de Sahagun (1947,:239, 247), and Fray Toribio de Benavente (Motolinía) ,(1858, Vol. I: 23), who first reported the ceremonial use of psychogenic mushrooms among the Aztecs were sparing with their words and inevitably condemnatory in their description of mushroom “intoxication.” They were, in fact, repulsed by the apparent similarities of the mushroom ceremony to Christian communion.
(see Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin, A Bibliography: by R. Gordon Wasson and Stephan F. de Borhegyi, Harvard University, 1962)
Spanish friars recorded that the Indians of the New World drank or ate the mushrooms to induce hallucinatory trances and dreams during which they saw colored visions of jaguars, birds, snakes, and little bearded gnome-like creatures”.
Photograph © Justin Kerr:
In Mesoamerican mythology, the dwarf or gnome guides the dead in their descent into the underworld. Above is a Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) Maya figurine K2853 from the Justin Kerr Data Base. The figurine represents a bearded dwarf, or gnome holding a shield in one hand and wearing what I will argue is an upside down Amanita muscaria mushroom hat, compare with mushroom below (Princeton Art Museum).
Above is a photograph of an Amanita muscaria mushroom with its trademark skirt, see dwarf's encoded mushroom hat. The Amanita muscaria, is a powerful hallucinogenic mushroom, containing the drugs ibotenic acid and muscimol. Considered as a poisonous mushroom (toadstool) the effects of the Amanita muscaria are unpredictable, and a few deaths have been attributed to this mushroom (photograph copyrighted and owned by the artist, Esther van de Belt ).
Known as the Fly agaric, the Amanita muscaria mushroom takes its name from the medieval practice of breaking the caps of the mushroom into a saucer of milk in order to stupefy flies. In Old World mythology the Fly agaric mushroom is intimately linked with gnomes and dwarfs.Spanish chronicler Fray Diego Duran’s work was more or less unknown to scholars until the 19th century, when it was discovered in the Madrid Library by José Fernando Ramírez. In 1848 Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg an ordained priest, came to the Americas in search of rare manuscripts and religious artifacts and while visiting Mexico City, Bourbourg obtained permission to have the Church archives opened to him, where he discovered a copy of Fray Diego Duran’s, Histories of New Spain.Durán believed the Aztecs were the decedents of the Lost Tribe of Israel, writing that the Indian traditions with which he was familiar with, were similar with the ancient Jewish customs and beliefs that were described in the Old Testament (J.H. Parry 1976, p.318). Duran reported that mushrooms were eaten on the occasion of the accession of Moctezuma II to the throne, the famous emperor and High Priest of the Aztecs, in the year 1502.
Duran writes in his Histories of New Spain (1537-1588) that the practice of human sacrifice was the custom that the Spanish considered most shocking. Duran writes that mushrooms were used in connection with human sacrifice. Rather than being a punishment, sacrifice was a sacred gift. As he explains, the word for sacrifice, nextlaoaliztli in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, meant either “payment,” or the act of payment [for blessings received]. Young children were taught that death by the obsidian knife was a most honorable way to die, as praiseworthy as dying in battle or for a mother and child to die in childbirth.
Spanish chronicler Fray Diego Duran ...(Duran, 1971)“The Indians made sacrifices in the mountains, and under shaded trees, in the caves and caverns of the dark and gloomy earth. They burned incense, killed their sons and daughters and sacrificed them and offered them as victims to their gods; they sacrificed children, ate human flesh, killed prisoners and captives of war....One thing in all this history: no mention is made of their drinking wine of any type, or of drunkenness. Only wild mushrooms are spoken of and they were eaten raw.”...“It was common to sacrifice men on feast days as it is for us to kill lambs or cattle in the slaughterhouses.... I am not exaggerating; there were days in which two thousand, three thousand or eight thousand men were sacrificed...Their flesh was eaten and a banquet was prepared with it after the hearts had been offered to the devil.... to make the feasts more solemn all ate wild mushrooms which make a man lose his senses... the people became excited, filled with pleasure, and lost their senses to some extent."
Duran mentions that the Christianization of the Aztecs would remain arduous, and that the "heathen" religion of the Aztecs, and "the whole of their culture is impregnated with the old values." Duran mentions that his writings would most likely go unpublished claiming, “some persons (and they are not a few) say that my work will revive ancient customs and rites among the Indians”, and “that the Indians were quite good at secretly preserving their customs”.Fray Duran tells us that the Catholic Church, in its zeal to obliterate all aspects of native culture which could threaten Christian religious belief, ordered the destruction of all native documents pertaining to history, myth, and legend. The Church also banished all aspects of native religion in favor of Christianity, and made no attempt to study or further record mushroom rituals.
Florentine Codex (Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España), by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, between A.D. 1547-1582.
Both of the pages illustrated above are from the Florentine Codex. They depict what I believe is the eating of sacred mushrooms before the sacred act of ritual decapitation. The page on the right depicts what appears to be the smiling faces of sacrificial victims, prior to their decapitation. Note that the sacrificial victim's capes have been turned around as bibs, maybe to be used after decapitation as a ritual bundle to wrap their severed heads in.Another Spanish chronicler Jacinto De La Serna, also drew the analogy between the Christian Eucharist and the eating of the mushroom; Serna suggests that the Indians regard the flesh of the mushroom as divine (Wasson and de Borhegyi 1962, The Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of Mexico and Psilocybin: A Bibliography, p. 39 1962).
Above is a sixteenth-century drawing from the Florentine Codex, Book 11, by Fray Bernadino de Sahagun. Above is another a scene, depicting a seated figure wearing a white robe, drinking from a goblet. Note that directly in front of the seated figure are two mushroom caps depicted next to the mushroom's stem which is still in the ground, strong evidence of a mushroom ritual among the Aztecs.
Above is another sixteenth-century drawing from the Florentine Codex, that depicts the sacred mushroom of Mexico, called teonanacatl by the Aztecs meaning "Gods Flesh". The image of a bird perched on top of the mushrooms is a possible metaphor that alludes to the Principal Bird Deity that sits atop the world tree, or Tree of Life in Mesoamerican mythology.Transoceanic contacts with the ancient civilizations of the New World, will continue to be ignored until it can be demonstrated without a shadow of a doubt that many traits of New World civilization, like the Fleur de lis and a mushroom ritual linked to a trinity of gods, had its origin in the Old World.For more read, "Decoding the Fleur de lis" by Carl de Borhegyi: