The Mushroom Ring
- The Mushrooms
- Mushrooms may grow
in naturally occurring arcs or circles. They can expand a diameter
of ten feet or more, growing into other rings. As the mushrooms
use the nutrients of the ground, they begin to die and create
dead zones. This often occurs as the mushroom rings cross into
the territory of other mushroom rings. At times, the above ground
components of a mushroom may die but leave the underlying fungus
in the soil. This can create a grassy ring, making the grass
above appear withered or varying in color. Almost appearing as
a path in the grass that has been mashed down by continue wear
- The edible Marasmius oreades is best known as the
"fairy ring mushroom", other species of fungus, some
of which are poisonous to humans, may also form arcs or rings.
- The Folklore
- Fairy ring folklore can be found through out Europe. Each
has some element of metaphysical or magikal undercurrent.
- One of the first appearances of fairy rings comes from German-speaking
Europe. Fairy rings were known as hexenringe or "witches
rings". These rings were created by witches gathering and
dancing in the forest for pagan rituals. Their energy left behind
would create a 'fungus' and mushrooms would grow in their place.
Many locals would see this as a warning sign, and avoid the area.
- In English folklore,
mushroom rings were also known as fairy or pixie rings. These
were caused by fairies or pixies
dancing in a circle. As they wore down the grass, they left a
circular pattern of basidia (a type of mushroom) behind. Toads
would then sit on the mushroom and poison them, creating a 'toadstool'.
- In Scandinavian folklore, these circles were created by elves.
Like the English legends, they were created by elves dancing
in circles leaving their magikal presence behind in the form
- Various folklore stories call these rings gateways, or transporters.
Some describe these as doorways into the fairy world. Others
tell tales of these rings transporting people who mistakenly
walk into their circle, taking them to far off places or strange
lands. Others tell of taking unwary people to the same place,
but in a different time.
- The Literature of Mushroom Rings
- Fairy rings have appeared in literature for many centuries
and continue today. Do a simple search on Amazon.com for "Fairy
Ring" and you'll be given a list of more than 160 modern
offerings. But the rings have appeared in older literature and
fairy tales as well. One of the most notable, Shakespeare mentions
the ring in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- One of the connections for Fairy rings today associates them
specifically with the Mid-summer festival sabbat. There's little
in fairy legend to make this specific connection, other than
it being a common growing season for mushroom. However, that
hasn't stopped many pagan traditions, especially Fairy traditions
utilizing these rings as part of their holiday.
- The Witch's Almanac by Elizabeth Pepper, suggests
practioners seek out a mushroom ring. For communion with the
energy left behind. The thought there being, the magikal energy
is still fresh from the dancing and celebrations during the previous
nights ritual. Like most plants, mushrooms can be utilized in
various ways. From eating on a salad, to simmering into a tea.
But it's very important to know which mushrooms are safe
and which ones are poisonous. You really need to know what you're
doing with these mushrooms before using them in food, creams
or teas. Not all mushroom rings contain non-poisonous varieties.
If you decide to pick a mushroom; make sure you know what it
is and if it's safe for using in potions, salves and alike.
Source: 1, c4,