Fantastic Fungi


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by Paul Stamets (Editor, Introduction), Louie Schwartzberg (Foreword)

Contributors: Eugenia Bone, Suzanne Simard, Roland Griffiths Ph.D., Jay Harman, William Richards, Ph.D., Andrew Weil, M.D., Michael Pollan

From the Publisher: Contributions from Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, Eugenia Bone, and many more experts make Fantastic Fungi an awe-inspiring visual journey through the exotic, little-known realm of fungi and its amazing potential to positively influence our lives.

An all-star team of professional and amateur mycologists, artists, foodies, ecologists, doctors, and explorers joined forces with time-lapse master Louie Schwartzberg to create Fantastic Fungi, the life-affirming, mind-bending film about mushrooms and their mysterious interwoven rootlike filaments called mycelium. What this team reveals will blow your mind and possibly save the planet. This visually compelling companion book of the same name, edited by preeminent mycologist Paul Stamets, will expand upon the film in every way through extended transcripts, new essays and interviews, and additional facts about the fantastic realm of fungi.

Fantastic Fungi is at the forefront of a mycological revolution that is quickly going mainstream. In this book, learn about the incredible communication network of mycelium under our feet, which has the proven ability to restore the planet’s ecosystems, repair our health, and resurrect our symbiotic relationship with nature. Fantastic Fungi aspires to educate and inspire the reader in three critical areas: First, the text showcases research that reveals mushrooms as a viable alternative to Western pharmacology. Second, it explores studies pointing to mycelium as a solution to our gravest environmental challenges. And, finally, it details fungi’s marvelous proven ability to shift consciousness.

Motivating both the visually stunning film and this follow-up book is an urgent mission to change human consciousness and restore our planet.

Praise for Fantastic Fungi: Mushrooms are a big part of the story, but they remain a mystery. In fact, it’s amazing what we don’t know about mushrooms. We know more about bacteria and plants and certainly animals than we do about mushrooms. They are hard to study and haven’t received the kind of research attention these other kingdoms have, but they hold great value if we look a little deeper. There’s a brilliant chemistry to mushrooms, and endless possibilities. We’re just at the beginning of understanding them. ~ Michael Pollan

Reflect on the mysterious truth that, if you turn your attention inward, you can become aware that you are aware. When you do so, an indisputable and profound inner knowing arises that is at the core of our humanity: We recognize that we are all in this together, and an impulse for mutual care taking arises. I believe that exploration of this inner knowing through contemplative and other spiritual practices can result in a profound, uplifting shift in worldview; a waking up to a sense of freedom, peace, joy, and gratitude that many people simply find unimaginable. ~ Rolland Griffiths

Paraphrasing the eminent psychotherapist Stan Grof, psychedelics are to psychology as the telescope is to astronomy or the microscope is to bacteria. To understand our inner worlds, we need the right tools, and psychedelics have been used by both Eastern and Western civilizations for thousands of years to understand the human soul and psyche. I believe they connect us to a kind of divine intelligence and answer questions that materialist science has been ill equipped to deal with. ~ Alex Grey

I’m struck by the fact that human beings seem wired for the kind of incredible, meaning-making, transcendent experiences that are at the core of the world’s major religions. Psilocybin, when competently administered with attention to mental set, environmental setting, and appropriate dosage, has been found to reliably facilitate such mystical experiences. Because many have said that institutionalized religions have drifted from their mystical core, my colleagues and I had a radical thought: What would we learn if we invited a diverse group of spiritual leaders—ordained practitioners from Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and other traditions—to go through this important doorway? Most of them have spent the better part of their careers studying this landscape. Would there be a common experience? If so, what? If not, how would they be different? What might we discover about the genesis of human spirituality? ~ Anthony Bossis

About the Author: Paul Stamets has been a dedicated mycologist for over twenty years. Over this time, he has discovered and coauthored four new species of mushrooms, and pioneered countless techniques in the field of edible and medicinal mushroom cultivation. He received the 1998 “Bioneers Award” from The Collective Heritage Institute, and the 1999 “Founder of a New Northwest Award” from the Pacific Rim Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. He has written five books on mushroom cultivation, use and identification; his books Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and The Mushroom Cultivator (coauthor) have long been hailed as the definitive texts of mushroom cultivation. Other works by Paul Stamets include Psilocybe Mushrooms and Their Allies (out of print), Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, MycoMedicinals: an Informational Treatise on Mushrooms, and many articles and scholarly papers.

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning producer, director, and cinematographer whose notable career spans more than three decades. Schwartzberg has earned myriad awards, including two Clio Awards, an Emmy nomination, and the NAAPC Pollinator Protector Award.

Eugenia Bone is a nationally known and award-winning nature and food writer. She has published over six books, and her work has appeared in many outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Saveur, and Food & Wine.

Suzanne Simard is a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences in Vancouver, BC.

Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., is a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs.

Jay Harman is a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur dedicated to creating break through technologies through biomimicry. He continues to conduct field research leading to new biomimetic products.

ISBN 10: 1683837045    –    ISBN 13: 978-1683837046

Additional information

Weight 36 oz
Dimensions 7.8 × 0.9 × 10 in