As with many illegal substances in the USA, there’s a bit of a gray area when it comes to using magic mushrooms in religious ceremonies. There are a lot of conflicting views, and certain circles enjoy slight leeway regarding the law.

 

Do you know if you can legally consume shrooms based on your beliefs?

 

Discover the varying religious views on magic mushrooms below and what the law says. We discuss the origins of religion and shrooms and the different ceremonies and practices that exist. 

 

Want to know more? Join us on a spiritual journey into the weird and wonderful world of shrooms and religion. 

 

Can You Legally Use Magic Mushrooms in Religious Ceremonies in the USA?

Scheduled substances like psilocybin are a controversial topic in the USA. Are magic mushrooms legal if it’s for religious reasons? Let’s weigh up the facts.

 

The Religious Argument

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that citizens have freedom of religion. Those who hope to use shrooms in ceremonies and rituals claim that they should be exempt from legal consequences if their belief includes this aspect.

 

The First Amendment reads: 

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

History shows that hallucinogens played a significant part in many beliefs, and those who follow the faith to this day want to partake in the rituals. They believe a religious magic mushrooms ceremony is their right—at least according to those who came before us.

 

The Legal Argument

The law surrounding psilocybin and its legal uses is still up in the air in many states nationwide. It might seem clear that if the Constitution reads this way, individuals of certain religions can consume shrooms if a ritual asks for it.

 

However, lawmakers quickly point out that saying an activity is part of your faith doesn’t mean it goes above the law. Human sacrifices, for example, are obviously illegal, and no one has ever petitioned against the fact. 

 

The use of magic mushrooms in religious ceremonies isn’t the same, but the idea remains murky without an explicit law regarding psilocybin. 

 

magic mushrooms in religious ceremonies

 

Comparing Psilocybin to Other Hallucinogens

If we can’t yet decipher the rules and regulations regarding psilocybin, we can compare it to similar controlled substances. 

 

An excellent example is peyote—a small cactus you can chew or soak to make tea.

 

Are you holding out for magic mushrooms to be legal for tribal religious purposes? The following may give you some hope. 

 

Peyote and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act

This act passed in 1978 after members of the Native American Church petitioned for the use of peyote in religious ceremonies. At the time of writing this article, the bona fide cultivation, possession, and consumption of the controlled substance are legal for church members.

 

At the moment, magic mushrooms aren’t legal for tribal religious purposes in the same way as peyote, but there’s hope. An exemption won’t be necessary if Colorado State legalizes psilocybin shrooms—let’s explore that idea more.

Will Colorado Legalize Psilocybin?

It’s no secret that the state was the first to decriminalize psilocybin, with other states quickly jumping on the bandwagon. Since then, the outlook on the magic mushrooms and the laws surrounding their usage have been swinging in favor of advocates.

 

The State of Oregon legalized shrooms for therapeutic purposes. In November this year, voters in Colorado will have their say regarding psilocybin decriminalization measures and a pathway to legalization. 

 

If any measures get balloted and passed—which is entirely possible—individuals hoping to use magic mushrooms as a religious sacrament won’t need to get an exemption.

 

Magic Mushrooms and the Origin of Religion

You now know where shrooms stand with the law regarding their use in ceremonies and rituals—but where did it all begin? Let’s travel through time to look at how religious concerns on magic mushrooms came about and how things have changed.

 

The Beginning

There’s evidence of shrooms being consumed in rituals as far back as 7000 to 9000 years ago in many parts of the world. In the Sahara Desert, prehistoric rock art depicts the use of magic mushrooms in religious ceremonies.

 

Shrooms constantly made an appearance in their scenes of harvest, adoration, and offering. This artwork was a huge find, as it showed one of the most ancient civilizations explicitly consuming psilocybin in rituals.

 

Other prehistoric paintings in Algeria, Chad, Egypt, and Libya also include shrooms—the most important being the Tin-Tazarift rock art site. 

 

The image demonstrates a variety of masked figures dancing in a line. Each individual is holding a mushroom-like shape with tubes coming out of them into their heads. Historians claim the lines represent the mystical and spiritual way psilocybin affects the mind.

 

magic mushrooms in religious ceremonies

 

A Deeper Meaning

Humans’ use of religious magic mushrooms ceremonies seems to have been focused on eliciting a deep emotional response. The sensations ranged from adoration to fear.

 

Records reveal how shrooms got used to explore the spiritual side of the mind and help people cope with uncertainties in their lives. 

 

Historical evidence suggests early humans tried to connect with deities through psilocybin. They hoped to understand better and control unpredictable events, especially births, illnesses, and deaths. 

 

Archaeologists believe the use of magic mushrooms as a religious sacrament in certain societies was used to inspire leaders. Important figures ingested shrooms to help them make decisions about war, migration, and the choice of a new leader.

 

Magic mushrooms were called teonanacatl by the Aztecs, which means “flesh of gods.” This idea shows how the ancient civilization thought of shrooms as gods themselves.

 

When Did It All Change?

When Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the Americas, they suppressed the use of hallucinogens, including shrooms. Clerics in Europe referred to the psychedelics as devil’s work in their hopes of converting them all to Christianity. 

 

With time, the rituals almost disappeared.

 

In the modern world, ideas have become mixed, with Christian concepts intermingling with old rites of magic mushrooms in religious ceremonies. There’s evidence of contemporary psilocybin use in rituals in Oaxaca tribes and Mazatecs in Mexico. 

 

Shrooms are also popular with meditation and spiritual groups, with shamans and patients consuming them. The patient describes any illnesses and thoughts much as one would to a psychiatrist—the shaman then performs a healing ritual.

 

How Does a Mushroom Trip Feel?

Members of various religions thinking about using magic mushrooms in religious ceremonies might be curious about the sensations experienced. It’s important to know what to expect before considering trying psilocybin in rituals.

 

Rabbi Gorelick of the Sacred Tribe of Denver explores their use and effects through a version of Kabbalah, the esoteric school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

 

The tribe has less than 300 members, and the Rabbi and a select few gather once a month to take shrooms. Guided breathing, music, and consuming mushrooms in a paste are all part of the process.

 

The religious magic mushrooms ceremony uses around 35 strains they grow themselves. However, a local firefighter spotted their operation and reported it to the police. The Rabbi turned himself in, believing the First Amendment protects his group and their beliefs.

magic mushrooms in religious ceremonies

 

How Do Religious Groups Prepare for a Ceremony?

Before partaking in a religious magic mushrooms ceremony, group members need to do a lot of prep. To ensure everyone is safe and to enhance the experience, all individuals involved must complete the following:

 

  • Keep the next 24 hours free and have no high-stress events coming up in the near future
  • Remove negative thoughts from their head
  • Maintain an open mind
  • Have someone sober to watch them
  • Keep plenty of water nearby

 

All members are encouraged to use light, comfortable clothing and consume magic mushrooms on an empty stomach. If shrooms get legalized soon, any tribes or groups looking to partake in ceremonies should adhere to a similar process. 

 

Keep Busy While You Wait

We understand the religious views on magic mushrooms, but we still need a clearer understanding of the legal aspect. As we wait to see the outcome of the voters in Colorado, continue to educate yourself further on shrooms and the effects they produce. 

 

Our blog is full of information, from consumption methods to tips on how to tell if a mushroom is magical. 

 

While psilocybin remains illegal throughout the country, spores are not. If you want to get more involved and buy spore syringes to do some research, head to our online store today.