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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

Sigmund Freud: Man and Father

Freud, Martin. (1958).
New York: Vanguard

ISBN: none

Description: hardcover, 218 pages.

Contents: Introduction by H. R. H. the Princess George of Greece, 30 chapters.

Note: See Libraries in an Age of Mediocrity by Earl Lee for his analysis of this passage.

Excerpt(s): I always feel, as I felt nearly sixty years ago, that our walks with father were much more exciting and entertaining than those enjoyed by other families. I was going to say that this was because they were so well organized; but the word will not do because it is a cold word; and our expeditions had the warmth of a delightful story which is well constructed and never lacking a good climax. The expeditions of young children led by our father, Sigmund Freud, always had a particular purpose; it might be searching for or collecting something, or it might be exploring some particular place. Often it would be the gathering of delicious wild berries of the woods; and since our holidays extended throughout the summer, we could cover the whole range of wild berries, beginning with wild strawberries and ending with the bilberries and blackberries of early autumn.

In late summer our subject was the collection of edible fungi; but we never discussed this with local people outside our circle. They would have thought the spending of many hours day after day gathering mushrooms a very dull business, something only poor old women did with dilapidated baskets which they carried to the local market to earn a few kronen.

Every one could agree that fresh mushrooms made an excellent meal; but other fungi, very much like them, were poisonous and, it was true, few summers passed without visitors suffering from acute food-poisoning, occasionally fatal, after feasting on what they had picked as mushrooms. All of which seemed to them a good reason why wise people should leave mushrooms alone.

We had no fear. Father had taught us much about fungi, and I do not recall an occasion when we brought a poisonous species for him to inspect and pass safe. There was nothing dull about these expeditions; on the contrary, we found them exciting and exhilarating, enjoying them not much less than we enjoyed tennis, golf, shooting and other fashionable and expensive sports.

Our attack on the mushrooms was never haphazard. Father would have done some scouting earlier to find a fruitful area; and I think one of the pointers he used was the presence of a gaily colored toadstool, red with white dots, which always appeared with our favourite, the less easily seen Steinpilz, which my dictionary tells me is the yellow edible boletus. Once the area had been found, father was ready to lead his small band of troops, each young soldier taking up a position and beginning the skirmish at proper intervals, like a well-trained infantry platoon attacking through a forest. We played that we were chasing some flighty and elusive game; and there was always a competition to decide on the best hunter. Father always won.

Edible fungi vary a lot in size and even in shape, from the youngest which we called babies, small light-brown balls which hid themselves and were hard to detect, to the mature specimens which were flabby and often so large that a man's hat would not cover them. We called these Alte Herren, old gentlemen, and left them; their texture had lost firmness and there was no delicacy in their taste.

When I mentioned a man's hat, I had father's hat in mind, usually a grey-green velour hat with a wide dark-green silk ribbon. One sees these hats occasionally in England, where they are called Austrian hats. When father had spotted a really perfect fungi specimen, he would run to it and fling his hat over it before giving a shrill whistle signal on the flat silver whistle he carried in his waistcoat pocket to summon his platoon. We would all rush towards the sound of the whistle, and only when the concentration was complete would father remove the hat and allow us to inspect and admire the spoils. (pages 57-59)

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