These days, we think of mushrooms as an everyday ingredient used for soups, risottos, and stir-fries. Perhaps, you might have seen mushrooms growing in the wild and had a go at foraging yourself. You may have even had small mushrooms growing in your garden if you live in an area with ample rainfall.
Also, we know that some mushrooms have psychedelic qualities and have been used for medicines in the past.
Since we come across mushrooms in all of these different faculties of life, it is unlikely that you’ve stopped to consider the symbolism of the mushroom in much depth. However, mushrooms have a long history of spiritual meaning.
Widely associated with the wonder of the forest, mushrooms are considered a symbol of good luck, prosperity, growth, and enlightenment.
The Motif of Mushrooms in Art
Mushrooms have been around for for millions of years, and they are an essential element of the environment. This means that we can trace them back throughout art and literature for a really long time.
Interestingly, their meaning has often changed depending on the art movement or genre they are being depicted by, or their symbolism has been heavily influenced by the beliefs of the time period.
For example, in the work of medieval artists, toadstools were often depicted as representations of Hell. Known for growing in dark areas in various colours and shapes, mushrooms were an object of suspicion. It probably didn’t help that the differences between safe, deadly, and psychedelic mushrooms were not adequately established at this point, either.
In England, Victorian illustrators created an image of mushrooms that we are more accustomed to today and began to link toadstools to fairies. The Fly Agaric mushroom (white with a red and white spotted cap) is still seen in many child’s illustrations and is often associated with gnomes or other magical creatures.
In the sixties, the symbolism of the mushroom developed again. Experiments in psychedelics meant that lots of artwork was created with the mushroom symbolizing creativity, enlightenment, and freedom.
The Symbolism Of Mushrooms in Literature
In literature, the symbolism of mushrooms is different again. It can really depend on the genre of writing, but some themes remain the same.
Writers have often turned to mushrooms when looking for a symbol for decay or rottenness. So many great poets and authors, including Edward Spenser, Percy Shelley, John Keats, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Emily Dickinson, have used mushrooms for this reason.
Perhaps the best known literary mushroom of all is the one in Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland. Alice finds that eating from one side of the mushroom makes her grow , while nibbling on the other side makes her shrink. So what does this mean?
Carroll potentially knew about the Fly Agaric and its properties when eaten. This fungus is hallucinogenic, and one side effect is that it distorts one’s perception, making objects appear larger or smaller.
Mushrooms have taken on a different meaning in science fiction. For example, in Wells’ The Purple Pileus, a mushroom changes the course of a man’s life entirely. The mushroom has been used throughout the sci-fi genre as a warning or takes on a dangerous form, often planted by the antagonist.
In children’s literature, mushrooms are often a symbol of adventure and exploration. Often, they show the reader that the protagonist is in a new environment where strange, magical happenings could occur.
Religious Symbolism Of The Mushroom
The Fly Agaric mushroom, which I mentioned earlier, has been seen to be a sacred plant that allowed a person to communicate more closely with God when they ate it.
An example of the religious symbolism of the mushroom is shown in the rituals of the Indigenous Sami people in Northern Finland in the 19th Century. They used shamans to, perform healing rituals with this red and white mushroom. This was seen to be a holy practice due to the hallucinogenic qualities of the mushroom.
The shamans would act as mediators who could communicate with both the human and spirit worlds. The mushrooms were consumed, and they were expected to make the shamans introspective and more connected to both worlds. Then, the Sami people would try to communicate with God, through the shamans. Super fascinating, right?
The Meaning Behind Seeing Mushrooms In Your Dreams
Unless you’ve been thinking a lot about them lately while awake, dreaming about mushrooms might seem quite random.
However, there are claimed spiritual meanings behind seeing fungi in your dreams. Try to cast your mind back to what you were doing with the mushrooms in your dream, as their meaning can vary depending on this.
In your dreams, mushrooms represent all things financial. Depending on what you were doing with the mushrooms, it could symbolize money, treachery, or a quick influx of wealth.
If in your dream, you were eating mushrooms and enjoying them, this means that you will experience success with money in your life very shortly. How exciting!
Unfortunately, if you dreamt of eating far too many mushrooms, this can mean you are stressed about your finances and are not handling them as well as you could, or even that someone else is damaging your wealth potential. Hopefully, you’re not having this dream.
Instead, if you remember collecting mushrooms in your dream, this represents wealth and hints at some new, positive changes coming your way.
If you are dreaming about mushrooms repeatedly, people have claimed that this means that you are indecisive.
Seeing Mushrooms Repeatedly Day To Day?
If you’re seeing mushrooms all the time in real life, you can relax. Some people even choose to have mushrooms tattooed on them so they can have the symbolism of the mushroom with them at all times – it’s that good.
Spiritually, mushrooms represent good luck, safety, prosperity, and transformation that is coming your way. So, don’t worry – keep your eye out for mushrooms!