Do Mushrooms Have Religion, Too?


  • Hollis Phelps Mercer University



Donovan Schaefer, affect theory, animals, plants, fungi, hallucinogens


I argue in the paper that Donovan Schaefer’s inclusion of animality in the realm of religion via affect rests on the exclusion of non-animal bodies. This exclusion, moreover, is wrapped up in the type of affect theory that Schaefer deploys, specifically phenomenological and psychological approaches over-against Deleuzian and Spinozistic models. Drawing on the latter, among others, and recent studies concerning plants and various fungi, I argue for the inclusion of non-animal life within the discussion of the relationship between affect and religion. I also suggest that such an inclusion may be grasped through investigation into the use and effects of hallucinogenic substances, or “ecodelics,” as Richard Doyle refers to them.

Author Biography

Hollis Phelps, Mercer University

Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Mercer University


American Academy of Religion. 2017. “Job Advertisement Data 2015–2016.”

Brown, Jerry B., and Julie M. Brown. 2016. The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity. South Paris, ME: Park Street Press.

Calarco, Matthew. 2015. Thinking Through Animals: Identity, Difference, Indistinction. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Chamovitz, Daniel. 2012. What a Plant Knows. New York: Scientific American.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. 1994. What is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University Press.

Doyle, Richard M. 2011. Darwin’s Pharmacy: Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Harvey, Graham. 2005. Animism: Respecting the Living World. New York: Columbia University Press.

Harvey, Graham, ed. 2015. The Handbook of Contemporary Animism. London: Routledge.

Kohn, Eduardo. 2013. How Forests Think. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Mancuso, Stefano, and Alessandra Viola. 2015. Brilliant Green. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Marder, Michael. 2013. Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life. New York: Columbia University Press.

Massumi, Brian. 2014. What Animals Teach Us About Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

McKenna, Terence. 1993. Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge. New York: Bantam.

Nealon, Jeffrey T. 2016. Plant Theory: Biopower and Vegetable Life. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Richards, William A. 2016. Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experience. New York: Columbia University Press.

Schaefer, Donovan O. 2015. Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Shaviro, Steven. 2015. Discognition. London: Repeater Books.

Stamets, Paul. 2005. Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

Wasson, R. Gordon. 1972. Soma: The Divine Mushroom of Immortality. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Whitehead, Alfred North. 1938. Modes of Thought. New York: Free Press.

———. 1978. Process and Reality. New York: Free Press.



How to Cite

Phelps, H. (2017). Do Mushrooms Have Religion, Too?. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 46(3-4), 4–10.