As the woods come alive at CoSM this Spring, we begin to notice some of our fungal friends growing on trees and rotting logs and soil along the path. Mushrooms are the fruit of a branch-like hidden mycelial body. Their rich underground mycelial intelligence network weaves through the soil of all woodlands and meadows. We love to note the likeness of fungal tangles to our brain's neural net and the body's lymphatic systems, the cytoskeletal lattice of each cell in our body, and the dark energy linking the cosmic webs of galactic clusters.
Here are some facts about mushrooms from CoSM friend, world renowned mycologist, Paul Stamets:
Some of the oldest living mushroom colonies are fairy rings growing around the famous Stonehenge ruins in England. The rings are so large, they are best seen from airplanes. Fungi started to evolve around 1,500 million years ago. The oldest mushroom found in amber is from 100 million years ago—a Cordyceps. The human species is only a few hundred thousand years old...
The spores of mushrooms are made of chitin, the hardest naturally-made substance on Earth. Some scientists suspect that mushroom spores are capable of space travel; a few even believe that some fungi found on Earth originally came from outer space! Stamets believes the mycelial kingdom evolved on earth, that they are home grown.
Under the right conditions, some mushrooms' spores can sit dormant for decades or even a century, and still grow.
Paul Stamets helped cure his mother of cancer using turkey tail mushrooms.
Mushrooms are useful not only as food and medicine, but also in bioremediation, to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides and industrial waste. At the site of the Chernobyl disaster, the 1986 nuclear accident site in Ukraine, there now grows radioactive, black mold. Discovered In 2007, growing inside and around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the fungi around Chernobyl has helped cleanse the soil, helping to restore the environment
Long-time friend of CoSM, artist, teacher and mycologist, Martin Bridge is returning to CoSM to show and tell us about the magical world of mushrooms.
Paul Stamets portrait and Martin Bridge
"The Kingdom of Fungi is perhaps one of the most overlooked elements in our natural world considering the critical role they play in building and sustaining a healthy ecosystem. The first life forms to take hold on land, they have built and continue to maintain the soils from which all subsequent terrestrial life grows from and depends on. Their significant medicinal and nutritional value is also greatly under appreciated by most." – Martin Bridge
Mycelial Messenger, Paul Stamets, by Martin Bridge
Seasoned mushroom cultivator and gatherer, Martin's workshop this Saturday afternoon will include: -- an introduction to Mycology -- basic cultivation techniques -- the potential of mushroom in bioremediation -- edible and poisonous species identification -- fascinating and mysterious characteristics of this living network, this community of beings.
To see how Martin grew Fungi into his artwork in the form of Myco-sculptures, go to: http://thebridgebrothers.com/martinclarkbridge/fungal-fascinations/
This Saturday, come for the entire journey. The pre-Full Moon Workshop, the Full Moon Ceremony, Ecstatic Dancing and a Fire Circle. Check for details and pre-register at cosm.org. CoSM's beloved friend the amazing electronic musician Nit Grit is coming to play a Full Moon set this weekend! Don't miss it!
Alex and Allyson