How does Amanita work?

How does Amanita work?

Journal Contents:

  • Intro
  • Our Pharmacological Understanding
  • Two sides of us
    • What is our ego?
    • What is our Higher Self?
  • Out of Balance
  • So how does Amanita work?
  • How to best work with Amanita
  • Amanita is like Training Wheels
  • Conclusion



Amanita is probably the most widely recognized yet most misunderstood mushroom on planet Earth. It has the most unique red and white cap, often gracing emoji keyboards, video game designs and every kitschy souvenir shop. With such wide exposure, you’d expect everyone to know quite a bit about this mushroom, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In reality, knowledge of this mushroom is mixed. Some see it as toxic, others as a hallucinogen, some see it as food, and few as a medicinal mushroom. Even those that have had transformative experiences with Amanita rarely understand how it works.

It is as mysterious as it is magical.

How does this mushroom actually work? Why is it magical? Why do people claim it helps them release their anxiety or depression? What’s actually going on?


Our Pharmacological Understanding

Currently the pharmacology of Amanita is generally understood. There are numerous studies and blogs written about muscimol (the main psychoactive compound in Amanita) and how it works. 

The consensus is that muscimol is activates GABA receptors in the brain, more specifically the GABAa and GABAc receptors. 

What is GABA?

GABA is the main inhibitory nervous system found in the human body. These neurons are responsible for inhibiting or deactivating overactive neurons. In other words GABA is like a car brake, helping to slow down neurons that are firing too often. Without GABA, the nervous system would be out of balance. 

By activating GABA, muscimol relaxes your nervous system  This calms your mind and reduces stress and social anxiety. This is not too different from how other GABA agonists work. Alcohol and benzodiazepines, which also activate GABA have similar effects.

Unfortunately, the GABA story does not fully explain how amanita works

It doesn’t explain:

  1. The magical and mystical effects of the mushroom. Why do people experience magical coincidences, synchronicities and miracles when they work with Amanita?
  2. The unique effects of Amanita (especially compared to other GABA agonists like alcohol, benzodiazapines, and kava.) Why do people not get addicted to Amanita like they do to alcohol and benzos and why does it not have rebound effects?
  3. The lasting effects of Amanita. Why do the positive effects impact people long after they stop working with this mushroom?

If we only look at the story of GABA, we look at amanita as just another psycho-pharmaceutical bandaid of a drug. Instead it is much more than that.

So, what’s going on? 

In this article I want to lay out a novel view to how Amanita works, allowing us to better understand the mysteries of this mushroom and the true gift that lies in working with Amanita.


The two sides of us

To understand how amanita works, we must expand our view of our mind to the level of the soul.

We must understand that we are not just a human body with human thoughts and actions. Instead we are much more. We are a spiritual soul housed in a human body. You might have heard this from the phrase:

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” - Pierre Teilhard de Chard-in

Because of this, we actually house two aspects within us: our ego self and our Soul Self (also called our higher self). The ego being the part of us that is more aligned with our human form, and our higher self being more aligned with our spiritual self. This distinction is crucial if we are to fully grasp how amanita works, so let’s dive into each of them a bit further.


What is our ego?

The ego (also called the monkey mind, human self, or smaller self) is the main voice in your head. It is your personal identity or how you would describe yourself to others. (Ex: I am a mother/daughter, I work at a bank and I enjoy hiking).

The purpose of the Ego Mind is to define the singularity of your individual experience. It provides contrast, which encourages inner growth - the ultimate goal of why your soul incarnated on Earth.

Your ego is important because it helps you connect with and navigate your 3D reality. It sees existence as disconnected and difficult so it does everything in its power to keep you alive. Because survival is its main goal, it often will create false narratives and obstacles to keep you stuck where you are. Truth is not important, safety is.

Its status quo is “protect the ego, protect the status quo. Do not change and you will not die.” -The last Psychiatrist.

The biggest problem arises when we associate our entire self with our ego. We believe its constant stream of negativity and find ourselves in a state of fear, competition, and reactivity. 

When we see our ego as our whole self, we mistakenly follow its guidance. Unfortunately, the ego gives terrible guidance. It pushes us into jobs, relationships and living arrangements that are considered “safe” and “reliable”, rather than ones that bring our hearts true joy and expansion.

As we move further and further from our true path in life, we feel anxiety and depression as warning signs for our unhappiness. It is our higher self screaming at us that things are not in alignment. 

The Ego will endlessly seek pleasure, avoid pain, and attempt to escape the “void” only the light of the Soul can fill.

Unfortunately, most people live their entire lives thinking they are only their ego, forgetting they have a divine soul as well.

“The ego is a veil between humans and source” - Rumi


What is our Higher Self?

The Higher Self (also called your Authentic Self, True Self or Spirit) is the voice in your heart. It is your soul, the divine essence that brings life to your body and lives on after the death of your ego. It is connected to the fundamental fabric of reality, some call this source, consciousness, creator, or God. It is timeless, all knowing, and has the ability to manifest anything in its reality.

Your Higher Self understands the fundamental rules of reality (abundance, unity and love) so it does not feel anxiety or fear. It knows everything is always in divine order and will work out in the end. To the higher self, there is no good or bad experiences, only lessons that can help it grow and expand into the next moment. 

It is said that your Higher Self lives in the 5th dimension and above. In these dimensions time doesn’t exist and every possible timeline has already happened. This allows your higher self to know your best or “highest timelines”, ones that will lead you to the most positive, creative and soul-elevating opportunities. When we trust and follow the guidance of our Higher Self, we live a life filled with abundance, joy and luck.

Soulful expression is how we experience true happiness, abundance, freedom, connection and balance.

Unfortunately, guidance from our higher self is often easy to miss if we are not aware of it. It communicates via subtle energetic nudges, gut feelings and intuition. Often our minds are so filled with the voice of our ego, that we do not hear our higher self at all, nor realize it even exists. 

“The problem is that we have allowed our egos, the part of us that is separate from source & separate from each other, to dominate our lives” -Wayne Dyer


Out of Balance

We have become a society out of balance. Our egos run our lives and our higher self is largely forgotten. Most people don't realize their ego will tells lies so they foolishly listen to all the stories their ego tells them; keeping them in a state of fear and stagnation.

Take a look at the people you interact with and you’ll realize you are usually interacting with egos.


  • You tell your friend about an amazing new trick you taught your cat. Instead of congratulating you, they respond with a fact about their own cat, trying to pull the focus back on themselves.
  • You tell your partner you don’t like it when they slam on the brakes at a stop light. They get defensive and make arguments for why they had to do it, hopelessly trying to protect their fragile ego, while ignoring your plea for safety.

Sometimes our ego is inwardly aggressive instead of outwardly. It's harder to recognize, but can be just as insidious.


  • Your boss pulls you into a meeting and lets you know that they think you are underperforming. Your ego tells you that you are going to lose your job and worry takes over, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to look for a better job.
  • You are on a date and end up oversharing.  You spend the night replaying the convos from the evening, upset and anxious about all your mistakes.

No matter how an over-strengthened ego presents itself in your life, our mental realm is out of balance and it is negatively affecting us all. We must collectively take a step back, recognize the different layers of our mental space and bring balance back into our lives.


So how does Amanita work?

Now that we have a better understanding of our mental realm, we can understand how Amanita works. 

Remember those GABA neurons that we talked about earlier? The ones that Amanita activates to help calm your nervous system, well it goes further than that.

Amanita doesn’t just inhibit any neurons, it inhibits (or relaxes) your ego mind.

This is important because Amanita is not putting a bandaid on our problems. Instead, it is going to the source of many of our issues: an overpowered ego that has lead us to a life out of alignment with our soul’s true desires. 

“Paradoxically, it turns out that quieting the ego is so much more effective in cultivating well-being, growth, health, productivity, and a healthy, productive self-esteem, than focusing so loudly on self-enhancement.” - Scott Kaufman

By using Amanita to help quiet our ego, this helps:

1. Balance your mind and emotions

By reducing our ego, we allow our ego and higher self to become better in balance . It is when we find balance within ourselves that we feel most at peace and adaptable to what life throws at us.

2. Align with the flow of life.

Your authentic self has a unique and powerful vibration. By embodying it, you attract experiences and opportunities that are meant to help you grow. If you accept this help, life becomes easier, and you flow with it.

3. Access and hear the divine aspect of yourself.

Without our chatty ego, we are able to notice the subtle nudges and intuition that the higher self uses to communicate with us. This guidance is instrumental in helping us make decisions that will bring us the most happiness.

4. Speed up personal growth.

Our ego is resistance. It always tries to hold you back in life because the only thing it knows for certain is you are safe in your current life circumstances. By reducing resistance and fear, you gain the strength to face every challenge and life lesson in your life, speeding up your progress at a faster pace.

5. Increases personal power.

The only power you have to make changes and take action is in the present moment.  By quieting your ego, and stepping into the now moment, you regain your personal power and can transform your life for the better. 

6. Witness the magic of the universe

When you stand in the present moment and embody your unique vibration, you open yourself up to the magic of the universe. Synchronicities, coincidences and miracles become commonplace. It as if the things you think about suddenly appear in your conscious reality. You become lucky. This is the universe responding to your authenticity and conspiring to help you on your path.

7. Raise your conscioussness

Consciousness is at its core the idea of being more aware of yourself, your surroundings and the reality of the universe. By transcending your ego, you shift from lower vibrations of self-centeredness into higher vibrations of creation, allowing you to see the bigger picture of your life and how it all connects together.

8. Enhance your dreams

Your dreams become more vivid and profound. You realize that your dreams are not just a random B roll player, but messages and guidance from your higher self.

9. Improve your Health

Biologically, by living in a state of fear and anxiety, your immune system and ability to heal is decreased, so by reducing this fear, your body regains its strength and health can be restored. Spiritually, with your ego and higher self in balance, your chakras open and life force energy flows more easily through your body. Staying in this state of alignment allows your body to heal.

10. Feel peace and optimism

When you don’t have your ego fighting for attention and pulling you into fear, you realize that at the core of who you are is a sense of peace, joy and optimism. Everything you need already exists and you have the potential to create your dreams. This realization can be life changing. 

Overall, by living in alignment with your true self, you are able to attract all the people, circumstances and chance events that will provide you with the most joyful, fulfilling and harmonious life possible. 

How best to work with Amanita?

Understanding how Amanita works, helps us understand the best way to work with it.

On one extreme, consuming a large amount of Amanita has the effect of completely inhibiting the ego. Stories of people who macrodose Amanita describe falling into a coma like sleep where they experience their higher self’s many timelines congruently as well as the looping nature of the universe. Unfortunately, because these things occur during a “dream”, most people forget the most profound aspects of the journey when they awaken. 

*Remember that the goal is not to kill or remove the ego. The ego is an important aspect of ourselves.


Instead, the best way to work with Amanita is as a microdose over a longer period of time.

This allows you to weaken your ego mind just enough to create balance between it and your higher self. In time, you are able to experience the beauty and magic that is in your life, that you weren’t able to experience before. With time, you are able to follow guidance from your higher self to course correct your life into alignment.

These things are something you can access without Amanita, but we have forgotten what it is like to live from this perspective. Once you experience your life in this new light, everything changes. You can’t go back. The door has been opened.


Amanita is like Training Wheels 

Most people go through life walking, slowly making progress through life as their ego resists change and keeps them in a a state of fear. A few people awaken and realize they could travel faster and flow through life by aligning with their soul self. These people bike through life.

Just like learning to bike for the first time, it's scary, and we often struggle and fall off until we get a hang of it. To help us practice, we can use training wheels.

I liken Amanita to these training wheels. It can show us the potential beauty and magic of living in the flow of life. With time, we learn how to do it ourselves so we no longer require the help of Amanita.



As we rediscover the healing potential of this mushroom, it is essential for us to piece together how it works. Not just at the level of neurotransmitters, but also at the level of the soul, which ultimately is the source of our healing.

Though there's still much to uncover, I hope this novel viewpoint helps further your understanding so you can get the most out of this most beautiful mushroom.


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