Botanical Ecstasies by Matthew Clark
Botanical Ecstasies: Psychoactive Plant Formulas in India and Beyond (2021) by Matthew Clark
Soma and hoama are among the earliest recorded plants that produce religious ecstasy. Mentioned in the sacred texts of the Brahmans, the Vedas, and in the Zoroastrian Avesta respectively, the mystery of their identity has long been contested by scholars.
Many plants and fungi have been proposed, including Amanita muscaria and Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, the sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), and even ergot (from which LSD was first derived). None of which, however, reliably fit available evidence.
In Botanical Ecstasies: Psychoactive Plant Formulas in India and Beyond, Dr Matthew Clark proposes that soma/hoama is instead an ayahuasca-like plant complex made from many different species.
He discusses a range of candidates that reliably grow in the right areas and which in combination might produce an effect similar to the so-called 'classic' psychedelics. These early ecstatic experiences, he suggests, contributed to the emergent concept and ritual techniques of mysticism.
ISBN: 9781916266711 | PAGES: 80
Since 2004, Dr Matthew Clark has been a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. He is currently the managing editor of the Journal of Yoga Studies, and has published numerous books and pamphlets.