[INDOLOGY] Soma and Amanita muscaria

George Thompson gthomgt at gmail.com
Tue Oct 9 18:30:48 UTC 2018

Dear Jarrod,

Thanks for this extensive series of references.  I would like to add one
more:  "A Brief Anthology of hymns in the Rgveda Having to do With Soma
(and Shamanism)" written  by me and published by me in "On Meaning and
Mantras: Essays in Honor of Frits Staal", edited by me and Richard Payne,
published by the Institute of Buddhist Studies and BDK America, Inc. 2016.
By the way, there are lots of great articles in this volume.

Best wishes to all.

George Thompson

On Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 12:14 PM Whitaker, Jarrod L. via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> I would recommend the following sources on Soma's identity (taken from
> my article “Rig Veda.” Oxford Bibliographies — Hinduism:
> http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/obo/page/hinduism. August 30, 2016):
> Falk, Harry. “Soma I and II.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and
> African Studies, University of London 52.1 (1989): 77–90.
> Falk pays close attention to the descriptions of sóma in the Rgveda and
> Avesta, and argues strongly for a type of ephedra for the identity and
> stimulant effects of the plant.
> Flattery, David S., and Martin Schwartz. Haoma and Harmaline. Berkeley:
> University of California Press, 1989.
> Argues for the identity of the sóma and Avestan haoma as wild rue
> (Peganum harmala).
> Houben, Jan E. M. “The Soma-Haoma Problem: Introductory Overview and
> Observations on the discussion.” Edited by Jan E. M Houben. Electronic
> Journal of Vedic Studies 9.1 (2003).
> In the most comprehensive study of its kind, Houben provides a detailed
> summary of past theories on the identity of the sóma and its Avestan
> counterpart haoma and concludes that a type of ephedra is the best
> candidate for the plant.
> Nicholson, Philip T. “The Soma Code, Parts I–III.” Electronic Journal of
> Vedic Studies 8.3 (2002): 1–64.
> Nicholson is concerned with the imagery of light and ecstatic visions in
> relation to drinking the substance.
> Nyberg, Harri. “The Problem of the Aryans and the Soma: The Botanical
> Evidence.” In The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material
> Culture and Ethnicity. Edited by George Erdosy, 382–406. Berlin: Walter
> de Gruyter, 1995.
> Nyberg examines the botanical evidence for Central Asia, the Hindukush
> region, and northwest Pakistan/India, and concludes that ephedra-based
> plants are the best candidates for sóma.
> Staal, Frits. “How a Psychoactive Substance Becomes a Ritual: The Case
> of Soma.” Social Research: Altered States of Consciousness 68.3 (2001):
> 745–778.
> Staal argues for a hallucinogenic/psychedelic effect for sóma since it
> plays a substantial role in generating visions for poets in the Rgveda.
> Stuhrman, Rainer. “Rgvedische Lichtaufnahmen: Soma botanisch,
> pharmakolisch, in den Augen der Kavis.” Electronic Journal of Vedic
> Studies 13.1 (2006): 1–93.
> Given the prevalence of light imagery in the text, Stuhrman argues for a
> hallucinogenic effect of sóma.
> Thompson, George. “Soma and Ecstasy in the Rgveda.” Edited by Jan E. M.
> Houben. Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 9.1 (2003).
> Thompson argues for a hallucinogenic/psychedelic effect for sóma,
> particularly given its role in visions and out-of-body experiences,
> which may be attested in several Rgvedic hymns.
> Wasson, R. Gordon. Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality. New York:
> Harcourt, Brace and World, 1968.
> Perhaps the most famous view on the identity of the plant, Wasson argues
> that sóma was the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom Amanita muscaria.
> Wasson’s conclusion, while still perpetuated by some academics and the
> wider media, is no longer thought to be credible by the vast majority of
> Vedic scholars.
> JW
> --
> Jarrod Whitaker, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor,
> Graduate Program Director,
> Department for the Study of Religions.
> Wake Forest University
> P.O. Box 7212
> Winston-Salem, NC 27109
> whitakjl at wfu.edu
> p 336.758.4162
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