Category Archives: Psychodelic Mushrooms

AZTEC DRUGS and Herbs

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Psychotropics , herbs and plants used in Prehispanic Rituales

The Indian tribes of Mexico had a Cornucopia of plants to choose from in their natural medicine chest. It was said that after the Conquest (1519 – 1521) that within a 3 or 4 year period the Apothecary shops of Europe tripled in size because of the newly discovered plants that were discovered.

For the most part because of the huge amount of herbs I will stick to the better known  ones that people are familiar with.

In Mexico City at the Museum of anthropology you can see a statue of Xochipilli, the goddess of flowers, dancing and love games. Around the base of the statue you can see different types of plants and flowers.  There are psylicibin mushrooms, tobacco, cacao flowers and white and blue morning glories.

Xochipilli goddess of flowers   sinicuichi   wildtobaccoinarizona

Also pictured is a plant called sinicuichi (sun opener) which causes auditory hallucinations. I would surmise that the priests would eat these to hear what the gods had to say to them

Another well known plant is Toloache or the devils herb as the Spanish called it. It was used to induce visions for hunters to help them catch prey, supposedly.  It’s from the Datura family and the Indians believed it would give them supernatural powers.  I have heard of women on the Gulf Coast (Yucatan) putting it in men’s coffee because they thought it would cause them to fall in love  with them. A very dangerous and potent drug if it’s given in too high a dosage.

the Devil's Herb  Toloache Datura plant

The Huichol Indians  in the USA and parts of Northern Mexico have a ritualistic pilgrimage every year to gather Peyote, an extremely hallucinogenic cactus that causes visions similar to LSD causing them to go into a trance of altered state.

Huichol Indians   peyote painting

Morning glory seeds were also given to natives being counseled by high priests are Shamans. Thirteen seeds would be ground and added to a drink then the patient would be taken to bed and the priests would listen to his “dream” to decide what needed to be done.

morning glories

And of course magic mushrooms , Psylicibins, which are common around the Oaxacan area were used in Aztec times and even now Shamans there perform a ritualist Velada or Wake.

magic mushrooms  images (1) Maria_Sabina tim leary

waltcri-cri/ francisco soler dylan

dancing hippos burning aztec books

An article appeared in Life magazine  in 1957 about the mushroom rituals and many famous people went to try them. It’s chemical composition is very similar to LSD. Amongst home were people like, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, Timothy O’LearyKeith Richards, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Writer Aldous Huxley and surprisingly… Walt Disney visited well known  Shamaness Maria Sabinas on six different occasions . It was said he would go to Oaxaca and stay a couple of months each year at a hotel near the village.  Much of this is hearsay and hard to confirm but it makes us wonder about Fantasia and Alice in Wonderland Now. Disney did an animated cartoon for Mexican songwriter Francisco Javier Soler. Francisco was known Internationally as Cri-Cri and he wrote childrens songs. Disney said he was a Genius who understood the minds of children.
Many plants were used for their curative powers but the knowledge of many of them were lost when the Spaniards deemed the Codex Books of the Aztecs were demon possessed and ordered thousands of them to be burned.

CHASING A LEGEND

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Back in the mid fifties   Gordon wasson, vice president of J.P. Morgan Banking Firm and Fashion photographer Alan Richardson came to Mexico to do a study of a mushroom culture they had heard about in the mountains of Oaxaca.They went to the village of Huautla, Oaxaca to interview Maria Sabinas was a Shaman known as the mushroom priestess. While there they participated in a nocturnal ceremony and became the first Anglos to experience the hallucinagenic effects of Psylocibin mushrooms.

Psilocybe_caerulescens       Shorly thereafter they wrote an article describing their trip in LIFE magazine  inspiring many people  such as Dr. Timothy Leary and others to investigate also, thus ushering in the Psychodelic age.

These ceremonies had been going on for centuries amongst the indigenous tribes of Mexico. It was claimed that while under the influence a person could receive messages from God(s) telling them how to cure illnesses or what lay ahead of them in the Future and unlock their Inner being.  Shamanes or Curanderos as they were known had been handed down the secrets of halucinogenic plants from one generation to the next since Aztec times. Now the knowledge became public and Maria Sabinas became an Iconic figure. Born about 1900, she was a simple Indian lady suddenly thrust into the limelight of fame. But fame had its negative effect, Maria never sought fame or fortune, but now her village was deluged with hippies and heads in search of a new high. Other Shaman’s jealous of the attention she was getting and angry at her for revealing age old secrets burned her house and forced her out of the village, some of her children were mysteriously murdered. The police intervened and harassed her thinking she was selling drugs to tourists. Maria died alone in a shack without any luxuries or basic necessities at the age of 85 .

Maria_Sabina

Before her death many famous people were lured to the village in search of a new adventure, amongst the more famous visitors were, Bob Dylan, Peter Townsend, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Aldous Huxley, Walt Disney, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Amongst this group it is surprising to see Walt Disney, It was said that after this meeting with Maria Walt created the Cartoon epic “Fantasia”, I recall seeing some dancing mushrooms in that picture, Did Walt partake of mushrooms on that trip?

Did these visits to a small mountain village change the way music and movies were made? Almost nothing is recorded about these visitors and what they experienced.

images (1)

According to legends John Lennon and Yoko Ono went to Oaxaca about 1980 and clandestinely met with Maria Sabinas and had a session with her. Maria Sabinas said she recalled a light skinned boy with an oriental girl visiting her for a ceremony that lasted a few hours, afterwards she said the boy told her in perfect Spanish,  “Thank you, I have seen my death on this voyage”. He wrote a note and left it on the table with some dollars, the note was in English which she couldnt read but it was signed, John Lennon.  A few months later John Lennon was murdered in New York.   Another legend says that in 1969 a Cessna plane landed at an airstrip in Oaxaca , its pilot was Carlos Avila Camacho and its passengers were, John Lennon, George Harrison and an Anthropologist named Brenda. They went to see Maria Sabinas for a ceremony but she had been up all night at another session and was exhausted and told them it would have to be another day. They decided they couldnt wait so they contacted another curandero for a session during which John had a bad trip and started screaming, “I won’t let him kill me “. Then he said this is bullshit, we’re leaving.  There’s no way to authenticate these stories but they have a ring of truth about them.

I’ve met people who swear they were at a session and John Lennon was there but I suspect they are just trying to inflate their own egos.  It is also said that after a ceremony with Maria that Paul and John wrote “Let It Be”, which supposedly hints that “Mother Mary”mentioned in the song is possibly  Maria Sabinas.

The writer Carlos Casteñeda, author of  “A Separate Reality”, used Maria Sabinas and another Chaman as a model for the character of Don Juan in his novel.

200px-A_separate_reality

We may never know if a wizened, wrinkled old lady in a remote Oaxacan village in the mountains of Mexico was responsible for a great change in Music and the inspiration of A Magical Mystery tour.

tour

HALUCINOGENS OF MEXICO

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magic mushrooms

magic mushrooms

The five major halucinogenic plants that were used in Aztec times were mushrooms, peyote, morning glory seeds, Toloache (Datura) and tobacco.

Yes tobacco was used as a hallucinogenic, the Aztecs had tobacco, Christopher Columbus took it back to Europe with him, but the Indians didn’t go around smoking Marlboros. It was used aas a ritualistic drug. Will it produce a hallucination? If you’ve never smoked before and light up tobacco in its pure form, (not this chemically enhanced stuff you get at the smoke shop, then probably it will. I recall my first cigarrette, I was 8 or 9 and my cousin & I sneaked some Bull Durham and some cigarrette papers into his tree house. I was so dizzy I damn near fell out of the tree. I havent smoked in 40 years now so it would probably have the same effect on me.

Using psychotropic meds will help you overcome depression , over 10% of the U.S. use them. Unfortunately many people feel that if a little bit helps then a whole lot will help more. No wonder the States are so screwed up. Pharmaceutical companies have synthesized tmany products from these plants which just puts the psyche in limbo.But the Aztecs were using them in a search for the “soul”. They believed that a person had two forces in them known as “Tonalli” & “Yalyotl”An idea that came from the Toltec Indians who also brought the worship of “Quetzalcoatl” the plumed serpent. They believed these forces entered a person at birth and had to be cared for to keep from losing them. Loss of tonalli was associated with sickness and death. They believed that these inner elements could be seen and manipulated . To regulate these forces they used these sacred plants, administered by shamans or magic medicine men. Chewing or smoking tobacco would induce a trance, drinking a tea of datura seeds or morning glory seeds would give them a clearer vision of this force, peyote and mushrooms would open the force.

Spaniards translated the word tonalli as meaning “soul”, so were the Aztecs looking for their souls? Maybe.

peyote cactus

peyote cactus

Peyote, causes auditory halucinations amongst other things. I knew this guy, his name was Gypsy Red, he got busted for walking down mainstreet in Fargo at midnight, naked with nothing on but a book bag full of peyote. He did a year for possession , I saw him a year later when he got out , I told him, “Red, the Lakota Indians have a religion in wwhich they use peyote as a part of the religious ceremony, you should’ve told the cops you were in that religion”. He said, “Well that might explain the peyote but do they also walk naked down main street at midnight?? I guess not Red.

Like Ronald Reagan said or as Red called him “Ronald Raygun”., …Just say NO.

toloache or datura

toloache or datura

heavenly blue will do

heavenly blue will do

tobacco

tobacco

Use moderation in all things my friends….have a good day !

Magic Mushrooms

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The Drug (and Sex) Revolution is over and we”re left in the trenches staring out at the No Man’s Land of Crack & Aids. So this is in memory of my companions who just couldn’t say NO. Ronald Reagan warned them but they just wouldn’t listen. Which makes me wonder…Did Chesterfields bring on Reagans Alzheimer??

Reagan

Reagan

 

 


 

Pipe used in Aztec ceremonies

Pipe used in Aztec ceremonies

 



Some people rationalize and say they aren’t addicts because a Doctor prescribe the meds to them…yeh, …Dr. Feelgood. Thats what Michael J. said…he learned it from his father in law…El said the same thing. Well that might make it Legal but they’re still dead!!

During the 60’s halucinogenics were the fad, now it’s just chemicals, (say goodbye to your brain).

I was in downtown Puebla one day and I spot this kid, staring at the Cathedral, he was about 20, had long hair, a handwoven Mexican vest, and a back pack…stood out like a sore gringo thumb. So i edged over beside him and said, as I pointed Southward…”Oaxaca is that way.” He just about jumped out of his skin… He stared at me and said, “How did you know I was going to Oaxaca?”

 

psylocibe mushrooms

psylocibe mushrooms

 

I told him, “Well, you look like Head, and all heads go to Oaxaca to look for Magic Mushrooms”

He laughed and told me he had been to Oaxaca the year before to do just that. He had went out to the pyramids of Monte Alban and found ‘shrooms growing on cow patties early in the morning before the sun came up. After eating a few he got all spaced out, he said a group of elementary school kids came by with their teacher and they all started pointing at him and laughing. He must have been totally wasted.

When I was in Oaxaca a few years ago I noticed a sign in one of the restaurants at the Zocalo that said: NO HIPPIS ALLOWED!!. I asked the waiter what did they have against the hippys? He said, “They eat those mushrooms, then they come and sit at a table with one cup of coffee for twelve hours. Oh Yeh, Space Cadets!!

Psilocybin is the active ingredient in these mushrooms, known to Prehispanic natives as “Teonanacatl” or The Flesh of the Gods. Its use was strictly regulated by the High Priests and it was used in ritualistic ceremonies in which people “communicated” with the Gods, in order to see the future.

 

'Shroom visions

'Shroom visions

 

In the 60’s the Hippie Movement with the idea of expanded consciousness used these halucinogens in a recreational psychedelic form .

Legend has it that John Lennon came to Oaxaca and tried ‘shrooms with the mushroom priestess Maria Sabina and during a trance like state she predicted his assasination (unconfirmed).

 

Maria Sabina

Maria Sabina

 

Unfortunately drugs have fell into the hands of organized crime and created Mafias and problems worldwide. Probably the best thing to do would be to legalize them to at least take the profits away from the underworld gangs.