Archive for Elsa Beskow

fly agaric.

Posted in Elementals with tags , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2010 by Susana Romatz

This is a set of lovely fly agaric growing at a neighbor’s house up the road. I love, love, love this mushroom because it calls up the world of the unknown, just by looking at it! I’ve heard it can be hallucinogenic (as long as you are able to live through the poison part) although they are very unpredicatble.

David Arora told a story about visiting Japan and walking up a hill to visit some mushroom hunters. He noticed that there were king boletes (Boletus edulis–a highly prized edible mushroom in the States) growing all over the hillside. He picked many of them and made his way to the Japanese mushroom hunter’s house. They scoffed at his boletes, saying that they squish them into the ground because they are so disgusting. Then they pulled out two huge bags of Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric, which is apparently a highly prized edible there. David Arora laughed and told them that in the States we squish the fly agaric into the ground because we don’t eat them.

I don’t squish Amanita mushrooms. I don’t eat them either, because, frankly, I’m a little scared of them. According to David Arora, you can eat them after you boil them and dump off the water (as they do in Japan). Some folks like to drink the water and experience the trippage…but I’m afraid of experiencing the extreme gastrointestinal distress end of that spectrum. Or the seizure aspect. Or the coma aspect. Or, even more undesirable, the dead aspect (although Wikipedia tells me that the fatal dose is 15 caps, which is a ridiculously huge amount of mushrooms to eat, even in a soup).

I do believe that fly agarics are related to elementals, mostly because of the feel of them. Whenever anyone sees a fly agaric, they are overcome with that sense of magick that only fairies bring. Lots and lots of people put them in their fairy pictures or when they want to impart a feeling of the mystery of nature:

(Moritz von Schwind)

(Elsa Beskow)

Anyway, I love the fly agaric. Maybe someday I will parboil one. Until that time, I will content myself to view them as gnome meeting grounds and treat them with respect.

(I think I caught a little brown fairy taking a rest on this one!)