Selections from Soma Shamans, the new book by Hawk and Venus

Before I'd honed my skills as Priest of Soma, I undertook extensive experimentation with the world's deadliest mushrooms. For eleven days in a row I ate huge, fresh Red Somas, Amanita muscaria, and when I couldn't find anymore I picked a yellow Pantherina bulb, known to some people as the “Brain-buster” This type of bulb has a mutation that prevents it from flowering. Its spores are never released — it is a virgin. These are extremely potent. I came to call this type of Soma the Ark, as it takes you to another shore: The energy field between life and death.

The Ark is only to be consumed by Nature's most hardy adventurers, who are so spiritual that they despise physical death. The only information I had on this yellow mushroom was that I could tell it was an Amanita. What I didn't know was that I was about to eat a mushroom that was listed in authoritative mycology as a deadly poison.

There were two mushrooms growing next to each other, exactly alike in every respect. Choosing the one closest to my right hand, I picked and consumed the entire Soma. I wanted to find out what it was like to take a powerful shamanic journey to the other side — where the mushroom was reputed to give its user visions of the future. I could tell that Pantherina was more concentrated in energy than the muscaria. I soon learned just how much. In power the Ark was twenty times stronger. One bulb is enough to kill two men.

First, I started walking at a rapid pace, and within twenty minutes I began to have finger, hand, arm and shoulder convulsions. I really didn't know what was going on. This had never happened before.

Forty-five minutes later, I stopped at a restaurant and ordered a meal, naïvely thinking that food would soak up the poisons. By the time I had finished eating, I was having blackouts of the most alarming kind.

Suddenly it was as if my consciousness had been erased — literally shoved aside from my brain. Then, I would come back to consciousness within seconds and grab the table. Meanwhile, the convulsions were becoming critical. I took out my Tarot cards and prayed to God that I would live, while doing a reading on, “What's going on?” The spirit of the Charioteer said to me, “Congratulations, you have just lost all control over your life and are now dying.”

Word for word, it is a message I have never forgotten.

I had just one reading left, as my hands were so badly convulsing that I was in danger of losing the cards from my grip. Propping my elbows on the table to stabilize myself, I asked the question, “What should I do?”

Keeping the cards from flying all over the restaurant was important to me because if I died, I wanted to die with my bible, Tarot, next to my heart. I knew at my present rate of convulsions that I could never pick them up, as I lacked the finger coordination. I was literally hanging on to my life.

The reading said, “Go straight.” I got up and proceeded to march straight up the street, towards the bay. So hard did I strike the staff I carried against the sidewalk with each step I took, in order to keep from collapsing, that it snapped in contact with the street.

I took it as a bad omen, as I had carried my staff since I'd gone into my robe of rags. Finally, after about a mile of forced marching, I collapsed on the sidewalk. Coming to, I saw a well-dressed woman standing over me. She asked if I was epileptic. I said no, and she asked “What can I do?” and I said, “Call an ambulance.” I blacked out again. The next thing I knew, I was being loaded into an ambulance. I always felt as if this kind lady saved my life.

When I regained consciousness, my eyes still shut; I sensed a bright light above me. I honestly didn't know if I was in Heaven or in a hospital. Taking a breath and opening my eyes, the first thing I saw was a nurse writing on a note board. As I sat up, she exclaimed, “He's alive!”

A doctor rushed over and said, “Of course he is! I knew he'd make it. He fought it all the way.” The doctor asked how I was doing. I exclaimed, “I'm alive!”

The doctor then said to the nurse to get Dr. Such-and-Such, as this would cheer him up. Upon his arrival, they asked me again how I felt. Once again I exclaimed, “I'm alive!” They sent for another doctor, who asked me the same question, and in my weakened state, all this attention was going to my head. I overdramatically exclaimed, “I'm alive!”

“Now, just calm down,” the doctor said as he comforted me. I asked what time I had been admitted. It was nineteen and a half hours ago, and I was still convulsing. This worried me, as I saw the extreme danger of the situation. The doctor asked what I had taken and how much.

He then gave me an unforgettable piece of advice. After the other doctors and nurses had gone, he leaned over me and said confidentially, “Look, me and another doctor here sometimes take Psilocybin Cubensis before coming on duty, but we measure the dosage.” To measure the dosage was the first piece of mushroom advice I was ever given, and still the best.

Six days later I went to the field and picked the twin brother of the other one. It was neither decomposed in shape, color or body. I knew if there was a repetition of the first episode, this time I would die. I didn't have the spiritual energy or physical strength to survive two sessions this close together, but in order to learn measurement I would have to risk my life.

Only eating one half this time, the temperate measurement put me on a great trip without any complications. I then knew I had the spiritual strength and nerve to take not one, but two deadly mushrooms. One was a killer and in moderation the other was heavenly. This had been a shamanic initiation, for I had boarded the Ark.

- from Chapter 1: The Day I Nearly Died.

The full moon appeared slowly from behind a curtain of clouds and a beam of light seemed to pour right into our kettle of Amanita. At that instant, the water began to boil as if heated by lunar energy—a cosmic blessing from the gods. Then as flames from our ritual fire leaped high into the heavens, we merged with the spirits of Soma and welcomed them back to the earthly plane

Though it was autumn in the year 2001, there was an ancient feeling to this night. The air was pure and the only sound was from a choir of lingering summer crickets. Gnarled branches of Manzanita cast shadows across the mossy boulders and everything was bathed in the glow of silvery blue light.

We could imagine a scene much like this happening thousands of years ago when robed figures of the Holy Ones chanted over the Soma in a sacred grove. A time when God sent His Angels in the form of beautiful red mushrooms and spoke to the Wise Ones of Earth.

Like these sacred ancestors, we commune with the mushroom through pure love. We treat them like royalty and on this magical night we drank our sacrament and were filled with heavenly light.

For nearly twenty-five years, we've devotedly explored the Amanita kingdom together, sometimes, living outdoors as Soma nomads to follow the Soma season. We've enjoyed many Full Moon ceremonies and glorious Solar ones too, held in the mountains, by pristine lakes and rivers in northern California and Pacific Northwest.

- from Chapter 3: Welcome to Somadise.

Soma at its peak can double your physical strength and produce divine visions of the future. On Soma, your mind is floating on a sea of ecstasy. When Soma becomes one with you, mind and spirit, you will be on the best high of your life.

The “Red Treasure,” a name for Soma in the Vedas, (ancient Indo-Aryan bibles) increases intelligence, builds spirit, strengthens will, and raises consciousness. It elevates you to a higher Heaven, connects you to a higher God, and helps you speak with the Angels, gods and goddesses.

This heavenly elixir is an excellent ally that can take you on a journey to a spiritual realm for wisdom, knowledge and truth.

Soma is the divine love of God through His transmission to His elite. Soma is a living temple of God, an edible deity. — Hawk

- from Chapter 3: Welcome to Somadise.

Buy Fly Agarics

Hawk & Venus