I recently picked up a fascinating book titled How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan. For those who aren't familiar with Pollan, I highly recommend you check out some of his earlier work such as "The Omnivores Dilemma" or "Cooked". He's an incredibly skilled non-fiction writer who focuses on the environment, food and human experiences.
This is his latest book and it's actually quite different, as it focuses on psychedelics, and it's 'coloured' history in the western world. I find this book fascinating because there is just so much we can learn about the natural world, consciousness, spirituality and history through these powerful plants and fungi. I'm only 100 or so pages deep and already blown away at how intricate mushrooms really are and how important they are to the environment.
For example, mushrooms connect forests together through an underground web of mycelium, a thread-like web of fungi (the roots of a mushroom). Plants can communicate between these fungi threads, creating an internet like structure throughout an entire forest.
This "mushroom internet", if you will, plays a vital role in our ecosystem. Fungi are an incredibly ancient organism that has been keeping the entire planet alive for billions of years.
Without fungi, the earth would be virtually uninhabitable for all plants and animals. Mushrooms live by eating decaying or dead organic material; they have been naturally recycling the earth for billions of years. Did you know: Mushrooms can literally been used to successfully mop up oil spills around the world?!?
I'm really excited to continue reading the book and learn more about how ancient cultures have used mushrooms to "connect" with the earth and explore the universe from an alternate reality... I never thought I'd be into this topic, as it all sounds a big woo-woo, but it's just so fascinating what we can learn from nature!