In this paper, I think about what it means to call psilocybin mushrooms the “gateway mushroom.” As a counterpoint to the newfound visibility and legitimacy of psilocybin, DIY mycology attests to the significant underground permeation of psychedelia in the last half-century, especially its influence on popular ideas about natural science, technology, and nonhuman life within North American countercultures.
DIY mycologists draw on the accumulated know-how of Psilocybe cultivators and elaborate on philosophical and practical currents associated with American psychedelia. The human-fungal relationship epitomized by DIY mycology is an intertwined interspecies trajectory. Shaped by the constraints of criminalization, by the unique morphology of fungi, and by countercultural and biocentric ethos, this relationship eludes typical modern categories (e.g., wild/domesticated, subject/object). Looking ahead, possibilities for further intertwining are explored as these and other beloved species co-evolve into our homes, labs, factories, gardens, and public spaces.