On a recent tip to Arizona, I visited the Navajo reservation, Hopi ruins, meteor crater, Sunset volcano and the Grand Canyon. This was an academic trip with my daughters school and I had a great time.
After reviewing my photos, one in particular from the Desert View Watchtower caught my eye. A portion of the Hopi Snake Legend mural appears to feature a fist full of Psilocybe mushrooms being passed from one man to another and near his feet is a very distinct smoking pipe.
The known sacred sacraments of the Hopi are:
Datura (Jimsonweed & Desert Thornapple)
Nicotinana trigonphylla & attenuata
I researched the Hopi ethnographic / ethnobotanical literature I had access to and found only vague descriptions of entheogens. I found no mention of mushrooms as shown in my photo (above). Kachinas, Hopi mythology and folklore are all very representative with those of a shamanic culture. The Hopi religion is rich mythology and has many sacred rituals. They are polytheists, having many supernatural beings or "gods". The head of each clan was a Shaman who had a number of initiated helpers. They believed the soul of the ecstatic could leave the body and visit the realms of gods, animal and ancestor spirits. They also brought the rains, ensured a good harvest, and healed the sick. Hopi ceremonies are for the benefit of the entire world.
Hopi is a derived form of Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, "The Peaceful People" or "Peaceful Little Ones". (Maria Sabina called Mushrooms "Little ones") The culture's religion focuses on spirituality, its view of morality and ethics. The Hopi follow divine instructions and prophecies received from the caretaker of this world, Maasaw. They are anti-war and have a total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of the Creator or Caretaker of Earth.
Why no reference to the mushrooms? This could be due to most traditional Hopi knowledge being passed down orally with very little existing in the form of written records. If a few generations did not have access to or use the mushroom, this practice could have been lost as was the case with many other extinct traditions.
According to the Hopi, they are a gathering of people from many separate tribes from distant areas. Should this be true, the Hopi ancestors would have had a very diverse pharmacopeia and Psilocybe coprophilia is native to the Colorado Plateau so it is plausible they were used. The artist of this mural is Fred Kabotie who was a Hopi born in 1900, was he trying to preserve this shamanic knowledge on the verge of being lost?
I would like to conclude with I am NOT an expert on the Hopi people and my research was somewhat limited. If there are any inaccuracies in this post or if you have any thoughts or answers about this mystery. Please do share them in the comments or email me. Thanks!