A Meditation on Fungi


Otherwise Titled:  Why I eat mushrooms and love mushroom medicine

With spring moving into summer and the longer days I find myself filled with creative energy as well as a restlessness.  While my first inclination is to reach towards more stimulating herbs and caffeinated beverages to continue in this energetic flurry, I know from experience that path will only lead me to exhaustion and burn out.  This is where my sense must preside over my desires and my self-care routine shifts to include deeply nourishing and grounding herbs, especially mushrooms.

cluster of mushrooms growing from a mossy stump

Restorative herbs and tonics are in continual use but I like to change which herbs I’m using to align with my current emotional/physical state as well as environmental factors.  This time of year the long days are becoming hot and dry, my energy is peaking and I feel that I am full of air, space and expansiveness.  My go to nourishing restoratives are Ashwaganda and milky oats (Avena spp.), I always appreciate having these on hand, but I love adding in mushrooms like Reishi, lion’s mane and turkey tails.

large polypore mushrooms bolete on oak forest floor

My heart melts and gets a bit gooey at the mention of fungi.  For some people they get mushy over cute cats, funny animal videos, heartwarming stories, emotional music, etc.  For me, it’s mushrooms.  I squeal with delight when I spy them and my kids know pointing out any they see along the way will result in smiles.  I never imagined myself a mushroom person, I had my labels neatly boxed as a plant person.  I envisioned that’s where I would firmly stay, not venturing in to the overwhelming world of mycology.   But that’s the funny thing about labels… they are human constructs to try and define our world and often create more limitations than order.  So I moved out of the box I thought I fit in and tried to allow myself to just be.  I explored what interests me without attaching expectations.

In this sun-ruled season I find myself daydreaming of cool walks in the woods.  Traversing familiar land by sense rather than sight.  The fog so heavy that anything further than arms-reach dissolves into grey.  I anticipate the wandering, waiting to explore the spongy mycelial bodies that arrive from the dark.  It is a time of mystery and magic where intuition and shadows govern.  As we move closer to the summer solstice, connecting with this subtle energy of the moon and the grounding energy of the earth brings balance. 

pine trees in a forest with dense fog and dormant ferns

I consume mushrooms year round, appreciating the sense of grounding and connection they provide.  In the fall/winter I am most likely eating the fungal bodies I have foraged.  During the dry season I turn to dried versions, often drinking them in teas or adding powders to the meals I’m cooking. 

The wisdom in these tiny aerial versions of an incredibly expansive, connective network is profound.  Just as their mycelial network connects the fruiting bodies to the entire forest floor, mushrooms echo universal wisdom that lies deep within each of us.  The mushrooms help to connect us and ground us in this primordial knowledge, reminding us of our inherent connections to all the energies of the universe.  Meditating on the vibrations I become aware of an ancient voice, a forgotten wisdom, and I recognize the intelligence behind it.

We are drawn to nature.  From finding solitude in the wilderness to congregating in urban parks.  We become aware of our connection to this earth.  That we come from the Earth and are not separate.  Mushrooms are one of the many ways I am reminded of my connection with this place I call home.  I too have sprung up from the world just as the mushroom rises miraculously from the dirt.

empty park bench overlooking a crowded city

One last thing.

For mushrooms I haven't foraged I enjoy the quality of Mountain Rose Herbs (I am not affliated, I just really like their products and ethics.)  I also had the pleasure of meeting Yarrow Willard at the Good Medicine Confluence and have been using his mushroom blend daily, so good!! (Again, not affiliated just really lovely products!) 


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