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Kikayon

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Kikayon (קיקיון) is the Hebrew name of a plant mentioned in the Biblical Book of Jonah.

Origins

The first use of the term kikayon is in the biblical book of Jonah, Chapter 4:

And God created a kikayon, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to save him from his evil. And Jonah was exceeding glad because of the kikayon. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it ate the kikayon, that it withered.

Jonah was deeply upset

And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God prepared a strong east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, he became faint, and requested that he might die, and said: 'It is better for me to die than to live.'
And God said to Jonah: You are angry for the kikayon?' And he said: 'I am greatly angry, even unto death.'
And God said: 'You had pity on the kikayon, which you did not labor over, did not make it grow, which came up in a night, and perished in a night; and should not I have pity on Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also much cattle?'

Classification

The word kikayon is only referenced in the book of Jonah and there is some question as to what kind of plant it is. Some hypotheses include a gourd and a castor oil plant. The concurrent Hebrew usage of the word refers to the castor oil plant.

Ricinusstrauch

Young Castor oil or Ricinus plant

Entheogenic interpretation

The description may indicate an entheogenic mushroom such as fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). Mushrooms grow and wither very rapidly ("in a night"), were uncultivated in ancient times ("not labored over") due to the invisibility of mushroom spores to the naked eye, and in some cultures the Amanita muscaria mushroom is associated with–and named after– an umbrella or parasol because of its shape [1] ("a shadow over his head"). Paradoxically, the red cap of Amanita muscaria was also associated with the sun due to its round shape and color. When the mushroom cap is dried its color changes from red to gold, like the sun rising in the sky.[2] The "rising sun" mushroom cap beating on Jonah's head and causing him to become faint describes the effects of fly agaric intoxication.

In ancient times worms, maggots, serpents and dragons all fit into one category [1] (the Old English "wyrm" could mean any of these creatures), symbolizing chthonic forces, to which the Amanita muscaria mushroom also belonged. The Sanskrit mushroom names ahichattra(ka) and sarpacchattra(ka) mean "snake parasol". [2]

External links

References

  1. Müller-Ebeling, Claudia; Christan Rätsch & Surendra Bahadur Shahi (2000). Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas. Thames & Hudson. pp. 58, 169–170 & 175. ISBN 0-500-51108-X. 
  2. Heinrich, Clark (2002). Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy. Park Street Press. ISBN 0-89281-997-9. 


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