Virgins, shepherds and mushrooms

Surely the words ‘virgin’ and ‘shepherd’ evoke in many of us the Marian apparitions. A Marian apparition is a supernatural appearance by the Virgin Mary, and it’s highly regarded by the Catholic Church. There are two famous cases, the apparitions at Lourdes (France) in 1858 to a shepherd, and at Fatima (Portugal) in 1917 to three young shepherds, the three children in the pic.

And the ‘mushrooms’? Continue reading.

Children of Fatima

Children of Fatima, 1917 – attributed to Joshua Benoliel – Public Domain

In these famous cases of Lourdes and Fatima the witnesses were shepherds. But there are more, for example two shepherds in Tenerife (Canary Islands) in 1392 and two shepherds in La Salette (France), 1846. Indeed, it’s remarkable the predilection that Virgin Mary seems to feel by shepherds for her appearances, while she ignores fishers, for example; or carpenters, like her caste husband, sexually ignored during his whole life.

(Digression: Was Saint Joseph virgin as well, or adulterer? The Bible doesn’t clarify this matter, I think, although I’m not an expert on the Bible. But if he was an adulterer, he wouldn’t be saint, because that is a serious sin. And the same if he had premarital sex with other women, other serious sin, very inappropriate for a God’s stepfather. So, we must assume Saint Joseph was a virgin, as her wife; but then, why isn’t he named “Virgin Joseph”?)

Forget the Virgin Joseph and let’s return to the matter of this post: why the Virgin Mary prefers shepherds?  Well, a few days ago I found a scientific reason, in this article, El twitter de la Virgen María:

Shepherds in that age, when Virgin Mary liked to do her apparitions, ate a vegetarian diet with a lot of fungi and mushrooms. It’s known that many of them have hallucinogenic effects, and this effect is strengthened by the milk, also taken by shepherds. Voilà!

A plausible and elegant explanation, isn’t it?. Also, we can look for the  next group in the preferences of Mary, reminding other Marian apparitions: a Chichimecatl native in Mexico, XVI century; three Cospe natives in Guanare (Venezuela), 1652; a Guarani native in Caacupe (Paraguay), XVII century.

Psilocybe semilanceata

Psilocybe semilanceata – Wikimedia Commons

The second group in her apparitions are latin american natives, whose consumption of hallucinogens plants for religious ceremonies is well-known. Voilà! again.

Yes, science always coming to throw rational explanations over supernatural superstitions. Anyway, the Catholic Church never has told why Virgin Mary prefers shepherds over other kind of people. Not even the ex Pope Ratzinger, so prolific writing that he published in 2012 a significant encyclical letter to claim that in the stable at Bethlehem there weren’t ox and donkey.


I wonder what had eaten, drank, smoked or injected himself our sanctimonious Interior Minister Jorge Fernández when he decided, on last February, to award the Virgin Mary with the Gold Medal for Police Merit (Officer Virgin). Unfortunately the Virgin Mary didn’t attended, likely because she died centuries ago, and the medal had to be put on a statue.

It’s said that Caligula made his horse a consul, although it could be a false legend. We have an interior minister, the man ruling security forces and secret services in Spain, who attached a Gold Medal for Police Merit on the chest of a wood statue, and this is a verifiable fact (‘Virgin Mary’ awarded top police medal). Scary, isn’t it?

(Return to digression: Why nobody sees the Virgin Joseph, with or without mushrooms? Why not a crazy minister put a medal on a Joseph statue? It seems he continues being ignored after his death, as he was during his life. Poor guy)



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