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The Many Names of The Mushroom
by Mythago
With help from Erowid & Elfstone
January 2003
Updated May 2004

For an exhaustive collection of names for psilocybin-containing mushrooms, please see:
TEONANACATL: Ancient Shamanic Mushroom Names of Mesoamerica and Other Regions of the World, by Mushroom John 1997,2002.

From R. Gordon Wasson's essay, published in several books, "Divine Mushroom of Immortality", 1960:
In the language of the Mazatecs, the sacred mushrooms are called 'nti si tho'. The first word, 'nti', is a particle expressing reverence and endearment. The second element means "that which springs forth." Our muleteer [Victor Hernandez?] in 1953 had traveled the mountain trails all his life and knew Spanish, although he could not read or write, or even tell time by a clock's face. We asked him why the mushrooms were called "that which springs forth." His answer, breathtaking in its sincerity and feeling, was filled with the poetry of religion, and I quote it word for word as he gave it:

El honguillo viene por si mismo, no se sabe de donde, como el viento que viene sin saber de donde ni porque.

The little mushrooms comes of itself, no one knowns whence, like the wind that comes we know not whence nor why.

(Wasson RG, 1960)

Teonanacatl - Nahua - Mexico - "Flesh of the Gods"
nti si tho - Mazatec - Mexico - "(Little) Ones Who Leap Forth"
(Wasson RG, 1960)

The sources of the following quotes are unknown, any help identifying the references is appreciated. Also, additional languages or traditional familiar / trivial names are invited. Please contact corrections@erowid.org.

In spanish the translation of mushroom from the mazatec is "little child" (pequeño niño). I think the little child means something like prank (?) or lively fancy like the little elfs or goblins, duendes in spanish; little inhabitant who lives in the forest (pequeño habitante que vive en el bosque).

"Aluxes" (pronounced 'alushes') in the Mayan language is sometimes used for psilocybin mushrooms. JH writes: "I was born in Mexico and lived in the state of Yucatan through my youth, a state heavily populated by people of Mayan descent who still speak Maya as their first language, spanish as their second. It is usually spelled 'aluxes' (in Maya, 'x' makes a 'sh' sound). Aluxes are mythical elf-like creatures that play pranks and steal from people at nighttime. In spanish, these are called 'duendes'."

also: las mujercitas - "the little women" or las pequeñas mujeres los niños - "the children" las pequeñas hermanas - "the little sisters" niños santos - "holy children"

One of my favorite translations: noble princess of the waters (princesa noble de las aguas)

There is more about the names used in the two books by Enrique Gonzalez Rubio, Conversaciones con Maria Sabina y Otros Curanderos, and La Magia de los Curanderos Mazatecos: Despues de Maria Sabina.

References #
Wasson References: All of these quotations come from R. Gordon Wasson, who delivered his talk in the "Annual Lecture of the Mycological Society of AMerica, Stillwater, Oklahoma, August 30, 1960. It was subsequently revised and printed as one of the "Botanical Museum Leaflets" of Harvard University, dated February 17, 1961 (Vol 19, no. 7). This was subsequently published in the premiere issue of Psycheedlic Review 1 (1): 27-42, 1963. Revised version have appeared in The Harvard Review 1 (4): 7-17, 1963, and in Flesh of the Gods (P. T. Furst, ed.) Praeger, New York, 1972. The copy that I have is reprinted in Teonanacatl: Hallucinogenic Mushrooms of North America (Jonathan Ott & Jeremy Bogwood, eds.), pp 65-81, Madrona, Seattle, WA, 1978. There is more information on the names given to the mushroom to be found in Maria Sabina: Her Life and Chants by Alvaro Estrada, translated by Henry Munn, Ross-Erikson, Inc., Santa Barbara, 1981.