Observations placeholder

Bernardino de Sahagún – the Florentine Codex (1545–1590)



Type of Spiritual Experience


There is evidence to suggest that psychoactive mushrooms have been used by man in religious ceremonies for thousands of years.

Rock art discovered near the town of Villar del Humo in Spain offers evidence that Psilocybe hispanica was used in religious rituals 6000 years ago; similarly, murals dated 7000 to 9000 BCE found in the Sahara desert in southeast Algeria suggest prehistoric usage of psilocybin mushrooms.

In the Mayan and Aztec cultures, psilocybin mushrooms were used for rituals and ceremonies; in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the mushrooms were called teonanacatl, or "God's flesh".

Following the arrival of Spanish explorers to the New World in the 16th century, chroniclers reported the use of mushrooms by the natives for ceremonial and religious purposes. According to the Dominican friar Diego Durán in The History of the Indies of New Spain (published circa 1581), mushrooms were eaten in festivities conducted on the occasion of the accession to the throne of Aztec emperor Moctezuma II in 1502.

A description of the experience

Bernardino de Sahagún – the  Florentine Codex (1545–1590)

Coming at the very first, at the time of feasting, they ate mushrooms when, as they said, it was the hour of the blowing of the flutes. Not yet did they partake of food; they drank only chocolate during the night.

And they ate mushrooms with honey.

When already the mushrooms were taking effect, there was dancing, there was weeping....

Some saw in a vision that they would die in war. Some saw in a vision that they would be devoured by wild beasts....

Some saw in a vision that they would become rich, wealthy. Some saw in a vision that they would buy slaves, would become slave owners. Some saw in a vision that they would commit adultery [and so] would have their heads bashed in, would be stoned to death....

Some saw in a vision that they would perish in the water.

Some saw in a vision that they would pass to tranquillity in death. Some saw in a vision that they would fall from the housetop, tumble to their death ...

All such things they saw....

And when [the effects of] the mushroom ceased, they conversed with one another, spoke of what they had seen in the vision."

The source of the experience

Aztecs and the Mexica

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps