'Mushroom Season' is a ramble through magic mushrooms, mountains and metaphysics. After heavy sanctions relegated their use to a spell in the stoner wilderness, are psilocybin mushrooms about to help reframe important social and philosophical debates about our minds, and ourselves?Where do they grow? What do they do to our brains? And why are they eschewed by the bourgois? Nina Lyon introduces us to Liberty Caps and Fly Agarics, the characters she encountered as a student tripper and the differences between home-grown hallucinogens and Mexican export. Among the anecdotes and observations are chemical facts, etymological revelations and philosophical speculation. Why are mushrooms subject to social stigma? What are the good effects they might have on us? And how does illegalisation damage a culture of free-thinking and experiment? Taking apart the teenage clichés and middle-class prejudice associated with the drug, Nina Lyon provides a wonderfully entertaining history of the magic mushroom.
Who, or what, is the Green Man, and why is this medieval image so present in our precarious modern times? An encounter with the Green Man at an ancient Herefordshire church in the wake of catastrophic weather leads Nina Lyon into an exploration of how the foliate heads of Norman stonemasons have evolved into today's cult symbols. The Green Man's association with the pantheistic beliefs of Celtic Christianity and with contemporary neo-paganism, with the shamanic traditions of the Anglo-Saxons and as a figurehead for ecological movements, sees various paths crossing into a picture that reveals the hidden meanings of twenty-first-century Britain. Against a shifting backdrop of mountains, forests, rivers and stone circles, a cult of the Green Man emerges, manifesting itself in unexpected ways. Priests and philosophers, artists and shamans, morris dancers, folklorists and musicians offer stories about what the Green Man might mean and how he came into being. Meanwhile, in the woods, strange things are happening, from an overgrown Welsh railway line to leafy London suburbia. Uprooted is a timely, beautifully written and joyfully provocative account of this most enduring and recognisable of Britain's folk images.