[INDOLOGY] Fwd: Re: Soma and Amanita muscaria

Matthew Clark mahabongo at gmail.com
Tue Oct 23 01:53:51 UTC 2018

Greetings, I am not sure if my last reply was posted or not. Just in case
it wasn't, here are a few points in reply to previous questions. Best,
Matthew Clark.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Matthew Clark <mahabongo at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 16, 2018, 08:46
Subject: Re: Re: [INDOLOGY] Soma and Amanita muscaria
To: Mark Singleton <ms156 at soas.ac.uk>

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 by the Objiway 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

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 Iran.

More soon, no doubt. Matthew Clark.

On Mon, Oct 15, 2018, 23:51 Mark Singleton <ms156 at soas.ac.uk> wrote:

> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Soma and Amanita muscaria
> Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2018 08:59:31 +0530
> From: Nagaraj Paturi via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
> <indology at list.indology.info>
> Reply-To: Nagaraj Paturi <nagarajpaturi at gmail.com>
> <nagarajpaturi at gmail.com>
> To: Michael Slouber <Michael.Slouber at wwu.edu> <Michael.Slouber at wwu.edu>
> CC: Indology <indology at list.indology.info> <indology at list.indology.info>
> In Bhagavadgita, we have
> पुष्णामि चौषधीः सर्वाः सोमो भूत्वा रसात्मकः ॥ १५-१३॥
> This usage of the word Soma indicates that at least by the time of
> composition of Gita, Soma has been viewed as the Rasa that provides the
> common quality to all the (medicinal) plants.
> Even if this usage is viewed as the result of a semantic change from the
> Vedic usage, there has to be a common semantic connection between the two
> usages that lead to this semantic change.
> On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 8:05 AM Michael Slouber via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> Just a note that is it certainly untrue that South Asia lacks living
>> traditions involving consumption of psychedelic plants; shamans in Nepal,
>> for example, have a rich and diverse tradition of using dozens of such
>> plants.  On this, see the following excellent and heavily photo-documented
>> book:  *Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas* by Claudia Müller-Ebeling;
>> Christian Rätsch, 2002.
>> Michael Slouber, Ph.D.
>> Associate Professor, South Asian Studies
>> Dept. of Liberal Studies
>> Western Washington University
>> _______________________________________________
>> INDOLOGY mailing list
>> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
>> indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing
>> committee)
>> http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or
>> unsubscribe)
> --
> Nagaraj Paturi
> Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.
> Director, Indic Academy of Sanskrit and Indological Studies.
> BoS, MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune, Maharashtra
> BoS, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Veliyanad, Kerala
> Former Senior Professor of Cultural Studies
> FLAME School of Communication and FLAME School of  Liberal Education,
> (Pune, Maharashtra, INDIA )

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