Alien Dreaming and the Widening Gyre, part X: Psilo-Sci-Fi

A children's book from 1954.
Note classic "Grey"-type bodies and heads in aliens,
Amanita color scheme

More Grey-types, from classic fantasy artist Frank Frazetta.
(click images to enlarge)

"The Sacred Mushroom," co-starring Andrija Puharich,
on One Step Beyond

Robot's "brain" is mushroom-shaped

"Frank went on to tell me that much of the premise of Dune–the magic spice (spores) that allowed the bending of space (tripping), the giant worms (maggots digesting mushrooms), the eyes of the Fremen (the cerulean blue of the Psilocybe mushroom), the mysticism of the female spiritual warriors, the Bene Gesserits (influenced by tales of Maria Sabina and the sacred mushroom cults of Mexico)—came from his perception of the fungal life cycle, and his imagination was stimulated through the experience with the use of the magic mushroom."

The Unsurprising Psychedelic Inspiration for Dune

Dune art, appropriately recycled
for PKD's Gnostic-psychedelic treatise.
Robert McCall, official concept artist for NASA

Cloud City, from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Eye of Horus from Doctor Who,
in Amanita red and white

The Alien Revelation

PKD's final novel had a disgraced bishop search for
Zadokite mushrooms in Judean desert;
Amanita red and white again

Mothership from Cocoon,
about to emit Heavenly Beam from its center

Uniform design for Starfleet space stations,
from Star Trek:The Next Generation

ST's Starbase's modeled on "Technogea"
from Jodorowsky and Moebius' The Incal?

Star Wars:The Force Unleashed
The mushroom forest

The X-Files, also no stranger to
more explicit psychedelic mushroom stories...

...or implicit ones...


  1. I sometimes wonder that mushrooms are an alien lifeform. Fungus among us. Dennis ( I have been experienced with the sacred fruit)

  2. Paul Stamets, 6 ways mushrooms can save the world.
    17 min amazing lecture from a few years back.
    More than meets the eye

  3. I don't know if you've seen this but James Cameron just confirmed that the sequel to Avatar will focus on the oceans of Pandora:

  4. CNN seems to be following suit with a possible shift of human consciousness. The last couple of day they have had some interesting stories, mind you in their dry and dull way. Yesterday on their front page they had the headline What if there's somebody else out there?

    ...and today, Science takes a new look at psychedelics

  5. Can't forget about Cloud City.

  6. Or the mushroom/jellyfish beings from Star Trek - Encounter at Farpoint. Thanks for the link to the story about Frank Herbert:

    "When I met him in the early 1980s, Frank enjoyed collecting mushrooms on his property near Port Townsend, Washington."

    Port Townsend has become counter-culture outpost in Washington, and one of my favorite places.

    Cheers, Michael

  7. Not sure if you're familiar with this book Chris, but your second picture made me think of this late 1800's novel written by a mason.

    Definitely worth a read...

  8. That little one-legged guy sure gets around...

  9. I have managed to explore forbidden realms pretty well without ever ingesting a natural or artificial initiator.

    However, if i was to do such things it would be mushrooms, based on the connections you describe above.

  10. As always, this series is a scholarly exploration of symbolism and the psyche, not advocacy journalism...

  11. The 1895 novel by John Uri Lloyd, Etidorhpa, whose title, as you can well See(r), is Aphrodite spelt backwards, also has much entheogenic fungal interfacing going on betwixt characters, who, in their descent into the Hollow Earth, imbibe portions taken from a towering 'shroom forest ~ (•8-D

  12. Kinda off topic, but NASA just released better than IMAX quality pics of the sun today:

    Check out the green sun/full disk photo! The series of photos and video is called First Light.

    Take care --SF--

  13. Thanks Anadae, that's the book I meant to link to...
    Many huge mush-rooms in that book...

  14. well well well,i had a couple of experiences with 'magic' mushrooms when i was younger and the desire to have more has never left me.
    wonderful hallucinations and group sensations and mind reading and time distortion and too too much to just put into a comment.

    its a seasonal thing here in the uk, aug/sept being the usual time.
    I liked the one step beyond feature,and it appeared genuine although he did not appear to have as much fun as i know can be had.
    I would have struggled to explain to another,the sensations i was having.
    there are masses of info on the influence on the christian religion of mushrooms ,if I can retrace my steps I will send you some links.

  15. I was just wondering wheter you had seen this. That film with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, Men in Black. The scene were they pull a car over on the outskirts of New York and the woman has an alien baby. The Twin Towers are in the background. If you look at the whole scene again, i think its when TLJ calls the husband aside, the TT are behind TLJ, look closely and you will see 1 or 2 black 'objects' appear from the side of the screen and head toward the TT, they go into the TT because they dont come out the other side. Just have a look, it may be nothing.

  16. More mysterious imagery?

    Disney's 1951Alice and the exceedingly surreal mushroom sequence.

    Not true sci-fi, but there are elements that require someone like Steve Willner (or Terrence McKenna) to decipher.


    Alas - I can't find a video clip where she actually eats the mushroom.

  17. How about this one: in The First Men on the Moon (1901) by HG Wells, the first lunar explorers get lost in a jungle on the moon, where they discover a fleshy red fungus: "The stuff was not unlike a terrestrial mushroom, only it was much laxer in texture, and, as one swollowed it, it warmed the throat. At first we experienced a mere mechanical satifaction in eating; then our blood began to run warmer, and we tingled at the lips and fingers, and then new and slightly irrelant ideas came bubbling up in our minds.
    "It's good" said I. "Infernally good!"

  18. if you have not seen this before it is worth a watch.the pharmacratic inquisition

    mushrooms and religion.

  19. Your Green Sun? See image #2 here:

  20. yeah, pharmacratic inquisition is a pretty good watch. didn't quite go as far as i would've liked. its just the tip of the iceberg, or mushroom cap. nice introduction to the subject i suppose.

    Thanks for that Wells reference, Tristan. I'm writing my final essay for British Lit on the history of science fiction and the mythological, spiritual, esoteric themes, that really helps.

    Which reminds me: Chris, I got some great information from "Our Gods" but for obvious reasons I'm trying to focus primarily on British sci-fi. I wanted to follow that same structure of your book (the evolution of the genre from antiquity to post-modern, the archetypes, themes, etc) so if you or any of the great minds here can offer any sort of help, it would be much appreciated.

    my email is

  21. going back a few posts, but i'd thought you would like this link. "power of the pyramid" over a nice obelisk on a insurance company website.

  22. Hey caleb. If you're interested in Wells' esoteric or spiritual side, check out his short story "The Door in the Wall" online.

  23. Dennis,
    I agree, as does McKenna if I remember. Many of us have had the thought that we were ingesting a plant consciousness - different plants, different consciousness. Or, at least, that's how it has seemed to me.

    Wonderful cross-section of images. Goes a long way to proving a point.

    Off topic, but what do you make of these names: "Czervenian" and "Ostregals"?
    I was looking at some war propaganda put out by the army, and they have a graphic novel where "After the Czervenian invasion of the Ostregals, US Army soldiers rise to the challenge."

    I see the victim country as a play on Austere/Regal, but thought there might be a more historical context and you're the best source for that in my opinion.

  24. Darn you all to heck! I was hoping to be the first with the new Nazca photos of our blue-green baby, Solaris/Sol-Ares.

  25. Thanks for all the comments, folks. I'll dig into these over the weekend.

  26. Nice post, Chris. I had an experience once, and I wasn't on them at the time ;-> that made me think the Mystic Tau is an archetype more than just a mushroom. See

    And thanks! Love the site.

    Weird J.


    "Star Wars 2010? U.S. military launch space plane on maiden voyage... but its mission is top secret"

  28. I'm glad that you brought up Philip K. Dick's Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch again, as this book has stuck with me for some time. I know that I've mentioned this before, but what is striking is that he portrays mind-altering substances, distributed to Martian colonists, as being a vehicle by which an alien force is able to invade our reality. I read Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan directly after Dick's book, and was absolutely astounded as they have the very same plotline, with Winston Niles Rumfoord taking the role of Palmer Eldritch as the malevolent Demiurge who stages an invasion of Earth from Mars. And note, also, Vonnegut's synchromystically-relevant use of Sirens in the title. All of this, of course, hearkens back to the frequent theme of Martian invasion that has been spoke nof by Gurdieff, Crowley, and, yes, Icke.

    Purely by change, I read this short story, The Voice in the Night, by William Hope Hodgson:

    He and his fiancee, aboard the ship Albatross, were abandoned by the ship's crew, who took the lifeboats. Building a raft, the two escaped from the sinking vessel and found another nearby ship in a lagoon, apparently abandoned, and covered with a fungus-like growth. They attempt to remove this growth from the living quarters but are unable to do so; it continues to spread, and so they return to their raft. The nearby island, however, is also covered with this growth. Eventually the speaker and his fiancee find the fungus growing on their skin and feel an uncontrollable urge to eat the fungus. They discover that other humans on the island have apparently been entirely absorbed and become one with the strange fungal growth.

    Hodgson presents the couple as being an allegorical Adam and Eve. The woman eats the fungus first, before giving it to her fiancé. So here we have the thesis presented by Terrence McKenna, that the "forbidden fruit" was in fact a fungus. And it asks the stunning, and very Gnostic, question: is organic matter itself a sort of fungal growth that has overtaken the world of Spirit? Note also the numerous cultural recyclings of this theme, including the Japanese cult film Matango, or Attack of the Mushroom People.

    Such a question is strengthened by this passage in Johannes Helmond's Alchemy Unveiled:

    Adam (the Soul) no longer had access to the "Tree of Life" ... since he turned towards the deadly fruit of the Tree of Knowledge ... in the coarse, earthly sense, he was without clothes. That is how he lost the immortal, full Light Body of Paradise, and received the grey mortal "Coat of Skins."

  29. Reminds me also of the giant, jellyfish like, giant aliens in the very first episode of "Star Trek - The Next Generation": "Encounter at Farpoint".

  30. "When we arranged all the chapters and read through the remarkable outline, we found that Spice Planet was a unique and worthy story in its own right, not just a precursor to Dune. Although the harsh desert is very similar to the one familiar to millions of fans, the tale itself is thematically different, focusing on decadence and drug addiction instead of ecology, finite resources, freedom, and religious fanaticism"

    Kevin J Anderson on the discovery of the unpublished Herbert novel that led him to write DUNE.

  31. Warnings from eminent scientist Stephen Hawking on the alien threat.

    Also notice the photograph. Stephen Hawking, Hawk-Ra-Horus, seated on his barge, perfectly positioned to guide the Sun behind him.


  33. Also in regard to the psychoactive power of fungus, Howard V Hendrix SF novels deal with the idea of a race of alien star travelers who crash on earth and preserve their consciousness as a fungus.

  34. I am sorely behind on checking the Secret Sun...The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet was one of my favorite books...fond memories of the eclectic Scholastic Book choices at school. Have you read any of the HM Hoover series?? Thanks Chris!

  35. Странно очень- зашла на вебсайт знакомств .Удивительно, но люди не склонны там к неплохому добродушному общению,не дорожат им.Мужчины грубят ,хамят,и за этим видны комплексы.Вместо такого для того заявить девушке что-то неплохое ,предлагают секс и в случае в случае если она отказывает грубят .,хамят.Общение нет там как-такого.Придурков большое колличество.Старалась по-доброму говорить так они злятся на это.А как у вас там общение проходило? Можно ли там что-то сыскать достаточно серьезное:.И вообще им не интересно кто ты,твои интересы...Встречалась с некоторыми но ужас,все вранье.
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