Elves and Mushrooms


The word "elf" descends from the Proto-Germanic "albiz" and Proto-Indo-European root "albh," meaning "white". This would correspond to the red and white spotted Amanita Muscaria. It is the type of mushroom associated with the elf-gnome Santa Claus, who dresses in red and white like the mushroom. In Scandinavia, reindeer are known to eat this elven mushroom and jump around wildly as if flying.

According to Grimm, the dark elves were considered a type of white elf. This may be because its Psilocybe cyanescens mushroom had a mild, euphoric effect. It is often shown as blue in religious illustrations since it bruises easily and stains the hands blue. Elves are sometimes depicted with blue hats for this reason.

The black elves were also known as dwarves who live underground. These are the kind of elves depicted in Snow White as miners. Their mushroom would be the common Psilocybe semilanceata or "liberty cap," named after the mushroom-looking cap worn by the Phrygian people. They are often dark brown, greenish-blue or purple in color and grow from the roots of plants.

As the mythology surrounding elves developed, their capricious behavior began to be mixed with deceit and trickery. In his famous description of a DMT trip, entheobotanist Terrance McKenna describes meeting the "Machine Elves", who he felt were not to be trusted.

Given the many other encounters with elf-like beings described in psychedelic studies, the mythology of elves and dwarves appears to be derived from both the appearance and effects of psychedelic mushrooms. Indeed, the pre-Christian European mythology for the winter solstice and rebirth of the sun is deeply entangled with the psychic resurrection provided by Amanita Muscaria.