[INDOLOGY] Soma and Amanita muscaria

Mark Singleton ms156 at soas.ac.uk
Sun Oct 21 10:24:30 UTC 2018

[Once again, posting on behalf of Matthew Clark (who is still awaiting 
acceptance to the list):]

Greetings all, thanks for the responses. Addressing some of the points 

1. There are references in the RV (see my book) to "soma of the valleys, 
soma of the hills, soma of the rivers", etc., i.e. many somas. This is 
echoed not only in the Avesta but also in the materia medica of India. 
Soma was not one plant, it was many plants.

2. I think that the strongest argument against fly agaric is recent 
psychedelic history. Who eats or drinks fly-agaric in the West (or 
anywhere, apart from Siberia, corners of Afghanistan, and the Ojibway of 
North America)? Very few people do so (there are a few enthusiasts, of 
course: see my book). Many years ago I tried eating fly agaric: it was 
quite destabilizing. In over 40 years of global observation I have never 
come across a fly-agaric "movement". In contrast, as I mentioned, 
consider the enthusiasm for the classic tryptamines. This is not a 
"knock-out" argument, just a consideration of the weight of probabilities.

3. In soma rites, the concoction is usually consumed three times in a day.

4. The sound of vigorous pounding is amplified in the sound holes under 
the planks.

5. The soma rasa of the Vedas later becomes an internal amrita in yoga 
texts and elsewhere.

6. Although psychedelic plants are consumed occasionally in some tribal 
cultures of South Asia, I am not aware of any living psychedelic "cult" 
as such (any information on this point would be greatly appreciated). In 
my book I mention the living ayahuasca analogue cult run by Qalandar in 

More soon, no doubt. Matthew Clark.

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