Magic Mushrooms – Palenque, Chiapas

Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis) thrive in the lush pastures around Palenque. Creole cattle graze the rich grasses and transform the fodder into nutrient-rich soft, squishy manure. Every morning, especially after a rain, a fresh crop of Magic Mushrooms blooms out of the shit.

Psilocybin mushrooms were everywhere. The pasture across from Mayabel was perfect. You look for semi-fresh plops of cow shit, being careful not to disturb the cattle, and keep an eye out for the elegant fungi. The whitish caps are less than an inch in diameter, sitting atop delicate stems with dark gills. The flesh on the heads turns purple if you bruise them. You could pick a dozen beauties in minutes once you got the hang of it.

Back at the palapa, the ‘hongas’ as they were known locally, would quickly go into the frying pan over the open fire along with eggs from the local farmer and peppers and fresh cheese from the market. They taste earthy, much like Oyster Mushrooms, with a sweetness all their own.

Maybe 20 minutes later you’d start to feel a bit ‘different’. The sounds would reverberate, the colors – especially the greenery in the jungle – would become more intense. Your fingers and toes would tingle.

You can control your buzz easily. If you felt like it, you could follow the forest path, past the pools and waterfalls, up to the ruins and spend the day drinking in the atmosphere. Or you could lie back and gaze up at the mahogany lattice-work that held the palapa together. Or even wander into town for a cold helado on the Zocalo and watch the world go by.

Not only is Palenque a perfect lab for propagating Psilocybe cubensis but it’s also the perfect place to eat them. Still like that, I understand.

Published by Phil Parent

Phil Parent is a geographer residing in Queenstown New Zealand.

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