Drawing upon myth, folklore and Sanskrit word-play, Mike Crowley demonstrates that the peacock was used in both Hinduism and Buddhism as a symbol for psychedelic mushrooms, particularly those which bruise blue, such as Psilocybe cubensis. This hypothesis offers an explanation for the association of peacocks with amrita (the tantric psychedelic sacrament) and various deities (Amitabha, Mahamayuri, Janguli, et al.). It also may account for the curious name of a Shaiva monastic order known as matta-mayuri ("the intoxicated peacocks"). While this is the main focus of the talk, it may well provide a jumping-off point for other topics covered in the book Secret Drugs of Buddhism.
Mike Crowley was born in Wales and, in the mid-1960s, encountered psychedelics and Buddhism. A chance meeting with a Tibetan lama in London led to his becoming a lay-member of the Kagyud order in 1970. Following intense practice and study, Mike was ordained as a lama in 1987. Mike has lectured on Buddhist epistemology at the Jagellonian University, Cracow, Poland, on Tibetan history at the Museum of Asia and the Pacific, Warsaw, Poland and on various aspects of Buddhist practice at the Polish National Buddhist Center. He has also presented at various conferences including Mind States (San Francisco), Entheogenesis (Vancouver, BC), Sacred Elixirs (San Jose, California) and Breaking Convention (Canterbury, UK). He now lives in rural seclusion in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, northern California.