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According to Mckenna, both events occurred in Africa, and began during the prehistoric, nomadic, hunting/gathering period of man's existence.
The conclusion that Stropharia cubensis was "The Tree of Knowledge" was based on the elimination of plants containing entheogens that are available in Africa.
It was argued by Terrence Mc Kenna that they were a leading stimulant in the evolution of the human brain, and the origin of language and religion. In 1986, shortly before his passing, Gordon Wasson put forth his own theory on the origin of religion from hallucinogenic mushrooms, specifically Amanita muscaria, with examples from several cultures that he had previously described, in details.
In addition, Wasson also believed that Soma was responsible for: "A prodigious expansion in Man's memory must have been the gift that differentiated mankind from his predecessors, and I surmise that this expansion in memory led to a simultaneous growth in the gift of language, these two powers generating in man that self-consciousness which is the third of the triune traits that alone make man unique.
In most cases the mushroom imagery was associated with ritual sacrifice in the Underworld, with jaguar transformation and calendar period endings, and with the decapitation and resurrection of the underworld Sun God by a pair of deities associated with the planet Venus.
Mushrooms were also closely associated with Tlaloc and the ritual warfare carried out in his name that is known as Tlaloc warfare.
The pine-cone has a strong symbolism, being a reference to the 'Third-eye' or 'pineal-gland', so named because of its similarity in shape.
In 1988, David Lewis-Williams of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, launched one of archaeology's longest-running controversies when he proposed that the vivid cave paintings of Upper Paleolithic Europe were produced by shamans whose consciousness had been altered by drugs or self-induced trances.
Mckenna further restricted the plants considered to those having entheogens with indole compounds, which are characteristically strong visionary entheogens.
With these prerequisites, the list of hallucinogenic plants was short: Tabernanthe iboga and Peganum harmala (Syrian Rue).
The Psychopharmacologist Rick Strassman believes the Third Eye/Pineal Gland to be the source of the psychedelic Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in our bodies .
Strassman has hypothesized that large amounts of DMT are released in our bodies during heightened states of spiritual consciousness, such as birth, death and near-death experiences -- or perhaps during the awakening of our Kundalini in a moment of Enlightenment.