This is a question for Peter McCoy, author of Radical Mycology, who is visiting the forum this week.
Without wanting to go TOO tangential to permaculture, I'm interested about your take on how important mushrooms were to ancient cultures. I've read here and there about how important certain mushrooms have been to world's religions, but don't know much about their more mundane (and more important?) use as food stuffs and medicines.
To give some context, the most recent place I heard about mushrooms as an inspiration was in Robert Graves' The Greek Myths - he mentions consumption of, I think, Fly Agaric, as a religious practice in ancient Greece. There are also theories, many of them arising in the 1960s and 70s, about how important 'holy' mushrooms were to proto-Christian groups like the Essenes (John Allegro wrote books about this), the Vikings (there are theories their berzerkers took mushrooms just before battle), and I'm pretty sure there are references in ancient Indian texts too to use of psychedelics.
Anyway - my question is more on what we know about everyday use of mushrooms in ancient cultures. Feel free to answer in any way that makes sense, as this is a really open question.