First, a note on taxonomy. Taxonomy is very important so pay attention. Amanita muscaria does not occur in the USA except for the yellow form that grows in the PNW. In the USA we get Amanita muscaria var. flavivolvata in most of the country, and Amanita muscaria var. persicina in the southeast. Amanita muscaria occurs in Europe and Alaska.
This method is not something simply read from a book and passed along. It is a tried and true method (by myself an many others). This wonderful mushroom has a oddly dangerous "taboo" surrounding it which is undeserved. Granted, it does contain some toxins. These have been HIGHLY overemphasized, *PLUS* there has been a great deal of misinformation about this mushroom (and its species cousins.). This is due to a number of reasons which I will try to make clear here.
First; the procedure. Make sure the cap to stem ratio is kept about 3:1, the same as it is found per mushroom in the natural state. (this probably does not matter) Dry on screen in the oven on the lowest setting with door cracked open. This only takes an hour or so at most. Render into a powder in a small electric coffee or spice grinder/mill; the finer the better. I try to attain a powder size like baking powder and certainly finer than coffee. This WILL NOT affect the activity of the end product, it only makes ingestion more difficult. Use around 1 cup water per dose and start with a bit more than this to allow for evaporation during processing.
The lower end dose/person is 8 grams dried and the upper end is 15 to 20 grams dried. What follows is the most important part of the entire ritual of preparation. Bring the water up to within a few degrees of 190 degrees (F). Use a high quality candy thermometer or better yet, a lab thermometer. This temperature shouldn't vary more than 22 degrees on the upper end. A little simmering won't kill it, but it is an indication that one has reached at least 212. You'll find stirring lowers the temperature very quickly, but it's best to keep a close eye on things throughout. Once 190 has been reached, stir in the powered material and leave to steep at least 30 minutes. I usually leave it there for at least 1/2 hour to 3/4 hour, stirring frequently.
Allow to cool until warm enough to drink. That's all there is to it!
There is little to no evidence that proper preperation of Amanita muscaria is necessary, but it's in all the books, so we keep doing it....
Some hippies eat fresh Amanita muscaria raw, others fry it in butter. Frying it in butter is the most delicious way to prepare it.
The active principle in Amanita muscaria was in the past thought to be muscarine. Dr. Albert Hofmann and Dr. Richard Schultes have discovered that ibotenic acid and muscimol as the active principles. The ibotenic acid fraction is converted, via the refluxing in water, into muscimol. Inconsequential amounts of other alkaloids ARE present, but largely inactive mentally.
Muscarine is also present in this mushroom in tiny amounts but that does not matter.
Part of the reasons behind the medical misinformation surrounding Amanita muscaria is due to the fact that many people who have presented to physicians with stated "mushroom poisoning" were generally thought to have ingested A. phalloides. They then usually promptly administer atropine, which would be retarded if one HAD INDEED ingested this toxic mushroom because the correct antidote is sillymarin. But it only exacerbates toxic effects of the raw Amanita muscaria several hundred fold, sometimes resulting in a crazy trip for the patient. Known deaths recorded from it are rare. One person ate a lot and died a hundred years ago, but it is not well documented and its hard to say why he died. Other people have frozen to death after eating Amanita muscaria, others have died by aspirating their vomit, and others have gone temporarily crazy and were killed by the police.
Abstain from ALL OTHER drugs for 24 hours previous to ingestion. (why?) Likewise during the entire experience and 8 or so after. From 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours after ingestion (preferably on an empty stomach) (but that gives you low blood sugar so probably a bad trip) you will begin to get drowsy. You may notice (on higher doses), slightly blurred vision, watery eyes and/or a bit of a runny nose. One will begin to feel increasingly relaxed. At this point it is important to lie down in a area where you will not be disturbed and sleep.
This stage is critical. I find a alchemical analogy of the body, in this case being the alembic, in which the crude product is transformed into the purest soma. (lol) Dreaming can be EXTREMELY intense, and sometimes the transition from dreaming to what seems a clear and lucid dream upon awakening presents itself. Awakening and arising is like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly. This is not like anything else.
It is most certainly NOT like psilocybin! The more you become familiar with the glorious qualities, the better the symbiosis between the two of you will be. Amazing quantities of vomit, superior pain relief, floating euphoria, effortless movement and general feelIngs of peace and well beIng are often reported. Another thing I noticed is the almost complete and effortless quieting of the "internal chatter" inside my mind. My satanic friend, Triple Six, and I both agreed that it lends itself perfectly to long periods of meditation. These are all at the 8 to 10 gram level.
Above that (which one should have a non-ingesting guide; but I suppose if I need to be telling anybody that, they shouldn't even be contemplating this anyway) one may experience out-of-body experiences, seeing and communicating with preternatural entities, unity with the object of ones attention, ESP, feelings of flying and many differing types of ecstasy.
Today, this mushroom is totally legal. Don't frivolously abuse it, and it will probably remain that way. It is unique in that it doesn't lend itself to abuse by ignorant, impulsive, impatient and/or irresponsible people. It seems to have a built in safeguard in that it requires the user to follow a few more rules and attend to more detail in order to achieve success. If not used correctly, it screens out others by making them so sick, they are in no hurry to repeat the experience. Used incorrectly, it is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst. Amanita muscaria will not kill you unless you puke and inhale your vomit, so don't do that. If someone is having a difficult Amanita muscaria experience, put them on their side so they don't aspirate their vomit and die.
Used correctly, it is pleasurable at its worst and limitlessly creative, intensely ecstatic, universally beneficial and incredibly healing at its best! You'll probably puke all over the place, so be prepared!