Ixion and Fungi

In 1958, Robert Graves drew attention to an Etruscan bronze mirror in the British Museum, apparently depicting the arrogant Ixion. The story goes that his hubris so enraged the gods that he was bound to a fiery wheel and sent spinning perpetually through the heavens. Graves pointed out that the mirror originally portrayed two toadstools at Ixion's feet. While Ixion was mythologically linked with fire and lightning, the fungi depicted are not bracket fungi, the type associated with tinder. Their agaric shape, and apparent growth from the rim of the wheel, raises the possibility that they may represent mushrooms created by heavenly fire, such as those found in the fairy rings.

Image and excerpt from Adrian Morgan's Toads and Toadstools: The Natural History, Folklore, and Cultural Oddities of a Strange Association, (1995, p. 186).

For more on hallucinogenic mushrooms and their history, see:

Ixion and Fungi
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