For us and many others, magic mushrooms and nature go together like peanut butter and jelly. Exploring the forest or sitting under the stars fills us with wonder and awe in ways that staring at our phones or into the bathroom mirror never can.
But while the psychedelic healing properties of such experiences may seem obvious to seasoned trippers, we think it deserves more attention than it’s currently receiving.
The Perfect Couple: Magic Mushrooms and Nature
We live in a time of tremendous environmental challenges. Envisioning solutions to these issues is essential to our collective well-being and survival. Yet for many people, we also live in a time of collective frustration as we become disenchanted with the lack of action to address this impending crisis.
To this end, fungi can be powerful allies. They offer solutions to directly address certain environmental challenges, like the creation of eco-friendly materials utilizing mushroom mycelium.
They contain powerful medicinal and nutritional benefits to help heal and feed humanity. And they’re affordable, sustainable and easy to cultivate, meaning people can grow their own high-quality food and medicine at home.
But it’s magic mushrooms, with the potential to help humanity forge a deeper connection with nature and expand our collective consciousness, that truly excites us at the Fungi Academy.
Research shows that magic mushrooms and psychedelics can make you more ecologically conscious, shift your worldview and cause you to cultivate a deeper relationship with the natural world.
Not that this is anything new. For centuries, shamans have used magic mushrooms and nature to interact with plants, animals and spirits in ways that were regularly integrated into activities and decisions made by their tribes.
Fast forward to 2021 and we’re finally beginning to remember our past. Today, a 50-year psychedelic stigma is beginning to shatter. Magic mushrooms are blazing a path towards mainstream acceptance. This momentum is coming from multiple angles, from promising clinical trials to positive media coverage to an investment “shroom boom” to the United States Food and Drug Administration recently designating psilocybin — the psychoactive compound within magic mushrooms — as a “breakthrough therapy.”
There’s no need to be even further disenchanted, though. In fact even in clinical settings, despite being wholly removed from nature, magic mushroom experiences reliably make people rekindle their understanding of the interconnectedness of everything. Many researchers who are influencing today’s mainstream psychedelic healing practice are aware of this effect, the potential it possesses and are looking for ways to incorporate the potent mix of magic mushrooms and nature into future therapeutic models.
The Science Behind Magic Mushrooms and Nature Relatedness
Studying the effect of magic mushrooms on depression, researchers found sustained changes in participants after ingesting a large dose of psilocybin, with many experiencing a remission in their depression more than six months after the event as well as a renewed sense of nature’s value and beauty.
Another study found that people who consumed psychedelics scored higher in their “nature relatedness” — how much someone includes nature as part of their identity — than those who did not consume psychedelics.
A retrospective survey found that following a psychedelic experience, 66% of people felt a more vital concern for environmental issues, with 16% of users going so far as to change their careers to more environmentally friendly ones. The psychedelic drug most associated with this healing connection? Magic mushrooms.
And in an internet survey of almost 900 people that compared psychedelics to other drugs, it was found that while cocaine and alcohol did not help people further identify with their environment, magic mushrooms and LSD did.
Magic Mushrooms: Check the Ego, Save the Planet
Why do magic mushrooms appear to have this effect?
Researchers and veteran psychonauts tend to believe it’s due to psychedelics’ unique ability to dissolve the ego.
As a study participant told his guides, “Before I enjoyed nature. Now, I feel part of it. Before, I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting. You’re part of it. There’s no separation or distinction. You are it.”
Other study participants described the “feeling of no boundaries, where I did not know where I ended and where my surroundings began” and “with every sense and fiber of my being that all things are connected.”
Ego death, when one experiences a total dissolution of self and can feel as though they are merging with the universe, is one of the main superpowers of the psychedelic and magic mushroom experience.
But what is this experience good for?
When the boundaries and illusion of separateness that our egos create begins to dissolve, increased connection to practically everything seems like the inevitable outcome, no?
Reconnection to one’s self, values, emotions, and purpose, increased empathy for others, — including the environment — and a new perspective of the world and universe are the most common results.
The ego death experience is not only powerful in the moment. Its effects can be long-lasting and far-reaching.
Studies have shown that the intensity of ego dissolution, sometimes defined by researchers as a “mystical experience,” can predict how sustained the changes in someones’ life will be after their experience. People who score highest on tests measuring the intensity of their mystical experience maintain a stronger connection with nature and report increased environmental concern and awareness.
These effects don’t seem to ever subside, either. In fact, nature relatedness and ecologically conscious behavior actually increased at the two-year mark. The cause of this phenomenon is suspected to be what’s known as a positive feedback effect, where the love of nature causes you to spend more time in nature, which makes you love and value it even further.
And all of this not only helps the planet. It makes you feel better, too!
Countless studies have demonstrated that time spent in nature can relieve stress and anxiety and lead to a better mental outlook!
Nature Is the Perfect Set and Setting
Since being in nature improves our mindset before and during a magic mushroom experience, nature can also be seen as a perfect answer to the ever-important pre-journeywork question of set and setting.
Combining magic mushrooms and nature not only has the potential to inspire you to reconnect to the planet. It can also serve as a catalyst to deepen your relationship with a nature-related healing practice like the ones mentioned above, helping you to sustain your well being over the long term when expensive therapy is not an option.
In the end, what we’re trying to shed light on is the fascinating potential of a positive feedback loop created in a relationship between you, magic mushrooms and nature.
We can sustainably grow mushrooms to improve our environment, consume them to improve our mental and physical well being and commune with them intentionally to connect more deeply to the planet, ourselves and others.
People with high amounts of nature relatedness have “reduced anxiety, greater perceived meaning in life, higher vitality, higher psychological functioning, greater happiness, and positivity.” It’s believed that our love for nature is even hard-wired into our psyches as a survival mechanism, outlined in the biophilia hypothesis, which describes the intrinsic draw nature has on all of us.
You don’t need to be out in nature for long to reap these rewards, either. As little as five minutes in nature has been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Perhaps you thought this article was going to try and convince you to magic sacred mushrooms in nature. In fact, what we’re really recommending is to just go outside!
But there’s more here. Both magic mushrooms and nature decrease anxiety, offer enhanced meaning in life and general well-being, create mystical experiences and inspire awe.
Fractal patterns? A sense of feeling small? Magic mushrooms and nature communicate to us using a very similar language.
As legendary psychedelic psychotherapist Stanislav Grof theorized, psychedelics are “non-specific amplifiers”, meaning they work by expanding whatever state one’s psyche is already experiencing. So when we understand the power of nature and the power of psychedelics on our well-being, a powerful synergy and connection become clear.
We could point to even more scientific studies. But oftentimes, looking to ancient, ancestral forms of knowledge is just as, if not more, illustrative and illuminating. To that end, let’s consider the shamanistic use of magic mushrooms around the world, which has always been rooted in nature.
Ritualistic use of magic mushrooms and other plant medicines by traditional cultures has long understood this formula. Shamans spent vast amounts of time in nature, developed complex relationships through plant and animal totems and then brought healing and teaching to their tribes.
Coincidence? We don’t think so.
Neither do many current practitioners, who are adopting these foundational approaches and trying to incorporate them into a psychedelic healing model that will work for the western world’s modern mind.
Retreat centers are utilizing biophilic design elements to create spaces that merge nature and shelter, like protected gardens combined with comfortable, natural lit, warm areas to be utilized as needed.
Practicing magic mushroom pre-journey preparation and post-journey integration work in nature, which increases mindfulness and openness to the psychedelic experience, shows promise as a powerful tool.
And helping people intentionally cultivate a relationship with nature — e.g. mushroom cultivation or horticulture therapy — as an integration practice can amplify and ground feelings of connection, helping to sustain the after-effects of a sacred mushroom journey.
In depression studies, impressive results are usually attributed to sustained therapeutic support. Empowering individuals to continue their healing through a connection to their environment is a practical, accessible way to become your own best therapist and friend.
This connection can then inspire us to improve our environment and create new, novel environments to heal ourselves and others. Restored habitats can help calm, connect and reopen closed off minds and hearts. These now open hearts and minds can then improve the environment further, creating more opportunities for others to have similar experiences and continue the feedback loop.
The cascading effects of such a loop are what inspire us so deeply!
To heal the health of the planet, we must first heal ourselves. Mushrooms aren’t the only answer but they’re definitely part of the solution and can work their magic quite quickly.
So, while conversations and research abound on how to collectively motivate and inspire the world and its peoples to save our planet — and humanity as a whole — very few possibilities seem to be actively pursued at this moment.
Maybe, for starters, we should try a collective cocktail of magic mushrooms and nature.