A Guide to British Psilocybin Mushrooms By Richard Cooper
A Guide to British Psilocybin Mushrooms (1977) by Richard Cooper is the first magic mushroom hunting guide to be published in the UK.
Strictly, this fantastic little guide is far from being an obvious inclusion in a literary review, yet it is impossible – and quite rightly – to separate the practicalities of psychedelia with its culture. Indeed, the cultural significance of Richard Cooper’s Guide to British Psilocybin Mushrooms in the UK makes it an extremely necessary book for the 21st century shroomer.
Originally published in 1977 the guide has been consistently re-printed in new editions and this reflects its overall importance to British psychedelic drug culture, which largely appeared during the same decade. In its pages are contained details of all known (at the time) British hallucinogenic mushrooms, covering not only Psilocybin and Psilocin varieties but also the Amanita grouping (which primarily includes fly agaric.) It details some history, identification, chemistry, dosage, collecting & drying, spore printing & cultivation and, of course, effects.
Since the recent classification of unprepared magic mushrooms in Britain in 2004/2005, the shroomer has been left in a very difficult position. The government, under so called ‘health reasons’, have denied the sale of checked and tested psychedelic mushrooms making those people interested in using them go and pick their own. Although, some would argue, this is only right. The commercialisation of psychedelics is an ever-present danger.
The risk is obvious to anyone who has not been indoctrinated by popular political rhetoric, the chances of eating poisonous shrooms has suddenly become that much higher and is now the central concern for safety. I would hate to speculate as to whether the government were purposefully trying to cause shroomers harm but if one was to examine their actions this does seem to be the definite outcome – let’s drive practice and information underground. But thanks to Richard Cooper however, the responsible shroomer can now take precautions against taking any deadly varieties.
The beautiful design, which reminds me very much of the park in Herne Hill, London, portrays the innocence of going mushroom picking; a far cry from the criminal Class A existence mushrooms have under the political microscope. This guide is an essential for your well-being as a shroomer; don’t let the powers that be cajole you into an accident, play it safe with Richard Cooper’s ‘Guide to British Psilocybin mushrooms.’