The Magical World of Fantastic Fungi are Integral to our Ecosystem
How do we make the invisible visible? This challenge is the life work of cinematographer, photographer, director, and producer Louie Schwartzberg. Fifteen years ago, he embarked on the mission to turn his camera lens to the magical world of fungi. The result is the visually stunning and mind-expanding documentary film Fantastic Fungi. Through the use of his innovative use of high-end time-lapse cinematography, Schwartzberg has shown us a world that is right there before our eyes, but we would not otherwise see with our ordinary awareness.
The film Fantastic Fungi is a heart-opening experience. From its premiere in the fall of 2019, it has shown in sold-out theatrical screenings and sparked conversations worldwide. It has also brought attention to the underground world of mushrooms. The documentary was acknowledged with the rare distinction of being 100% Certified Fresh on the film review site Rotten Tomatoes. If you haven’t yet seen it, is currently available to rent or buy online….and it is streaming on Netflix. So you can even watch it on repeat. It is truly a marvel and viewing it is an experience that should not be missed. In the world today, when we need inspiration and solutions, we can find both in Fantastic Fungi.
Expanding on this global movement, Louie Schwartzberg and the team of creators of Fantastic Fungi have again traveled the world to assemble a community of expert speakers who can offer commentary on the fantastic world of fungi. They have created the Fantastic Fungi Global Summit.
Fantastic Fungi Global Summit
The three-day Fantastic Fungi Global Summit is free to watch October 15-17. This amazing weekend features a selection of world-renowned speakers, teachers, scientists, artists, and thought-leaders who offer unique perspectives on the magical mushroom movement in the world today. Speakers include: Michael Pollan, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil, Paul Stamets, Nat Kelly, Eugenia Bone, Jack Kornfield, Rick Bayless, Tony Boss, Dr. Mark Hyman, Robin Carhart-Harris, Reverend Michael Beckwith, Wade Davis, Dennis McKenna, Suzanne Simard, Merlin Sheldrake, and so many more.
The world of mushrooms is frequently described as a portal. The word “portal” is used so often in association with mushrooms for a variety of reasons. These include the ability of the psychedelic psilocybin to allow humans to move through portals of the mind and consciousness as well as how fungi are an integral part of the earth’s ecosystem. A portal of life and death, renewal and rejuvenation. Restoration and recovery. What is invisible for most of us is essential for our live on earth.
Fungi are Essential to Life on Earth
Fungi are involved in the beginning and the end of life, states Chef Eugenia Bone. Chef Bone is an expert featured in both the film Fantastic Fungi, and in the Fantastic Fungi Global Summit. She gives us some context into the immense world of fantastic fungi. “There are over 1.5 million species fo fungi, 20,000 of them produce mushrooms, of which there are an incredible diversity of shapes, sizes, and lifestyles.”
Chef Bone continues to describe fungi as the “digestive tracks of the forest” as they move nutrients through various ecological cycles. Fantastic Fungi Global Summit Speaker Tiokasin Ghosthorse describes the Earth as “the original gift economy.” A gift economy modulated by mushrooms. These are essential to the health of our ecosystem, collectively and individually. Famous mycologist Paul Stamets speaks to the essential nature of fungi in the realm of sustainability. “If we don’t get our act together and come in commonality with the organisms that sustain us today, not only will we destroy those organisms, but we will destroy ourselves.” How can we save ourselves, why are mushrooms having their day in the sun right now? It may be because as noted environmentalist and Fantastic Fungi Global Summit Speaker Paul Hawken says, “Everything else didn’t work.”
The Wisdom of the Forests
When we are searching for solutions for sustainability, planetary health, physical health, and mental heath, we might do well to be present for the wisdom of the forests and to open our hearts and minds to the existential mysteries, the dimensions of consciousness, the portals created by the network of mycelium, the threads that connect fungi. Author Michael Pollan says, “Once you start working with mushrooms, you get drawn in.” The same may be said for those of us learning more about this kingdom of flora that literally lives beneath our feet.
The world of fungi are a world of Earth-based wisdom and wellness. And the summit is an opportunity for us to experience this. As Schwartzberg says, these conversations, these scientific experiments, these awe-inspiring visuals can take the wisdom of fungi from below the ground to above the ground. Above ground, we can all experience the transformation and awakening that is necessary in these times.
Register for the Fantastic Fungi Global Summit.
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.