Everything Ancestral Medicine, Plant medicine, indigenous medicine, Curanderismo, Trauma healing, Psilocybin, Niños Santos
Psilocybin mushrooms have been used in rituals since ancient times. They were known to be a gift from the gods and an act of communion with them. Psilocybin mushrooms were called "Teonanacatl", in Nahuatl the Aztec language meaning "flesh of God". Indigenous people of Mexico and Mesoamerica knew psilocybin mushrooms as sacred and divine. In this blog post, I will talk about how psilocybin is one of many gifts that indigenous people gave us for our spiritual growth.
In 1955 Robert Gordon Wasson, an ethnobotanist enthusiast visited the Mazatec Sierra in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he learned of the famous indigenous healer from Huautla: María Sabina. From several vigils (veladas) that Wasson spent with María Sabina, he collected and recorded enough materials to publish a now (in)famous article in Life Magazine that opened up ancient indigenous traditions of spirituality and healing using mushrooms to the Western World. Needless to say, the Western market used and abused these ancestral traditions; and continued the colonization of extracting without true reciprocity and acknowledgement of native peoples.
Huautla was devastated by overwhelming numbers of hippies who took over this tiny town and did not respect the indigenous ways. Maria Sabina was temporarily outcasted from her community and experienced hardship. Nevertheless, we still honor and cherish the magic and beauty of María Sabina for what she represents: a bridge between the spiritual and material realms, and a bridge between Western and Indigenous ancestral cultures.
It is important not to continue the present-day colonization of these sacred medicines by ignoring the enormous contributions of native peoples in the psychedelic world. There is a lot more than the story of María Sabina to complete the history of sacred mushrooms in Mexico. Scientific evidence —archeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic—, as well as oral and cultural indigenous traditions show that ancient cultures from all of Mesoamerica have used different kinds of hallucinogenic (I prefer the term vision enhancing) mushrooms for thousands of years. Indigenous people have known of their corporeal and spiritual benefits for generations. Mesoamerican myths stress the importance of rituals that employ these sacred mushrooms as a form of mediation between the physical and the spiritual worlds, a way of personal introspection and communal connection.
We owe a debt of gratitude to our indigenous ancestors who kept alive the potent wisdom of sacred mushrooms. Our indigenous ancestors endured devastating violence of life, spirit and culture in order to guard the knowledge, the therapeutic and spiritual healing power, and the potential for self-growth of the sacred medicines. Only recently has western science started to acknowledge these unfathomable properties, but it is only thanks to our indigenous ancestors that kept this magic alive and managed to pass it on to future generations that we now get to enjoy and benefit so immensely from this magic.
We resisted and persisted and we are still here, our indigenous ancestors finally proved the Western world that their knowledge and their healing practices benefit humanity enormously. By acknowledging this simple and historical fact —that indigenous people saved this sacred knowledge from extinction, and they gifted it to us— we can reestablish an honest and kind relationship with these ancestral medicines.
So if you are partaking in some microdosing or non-indigenous ceremony with mushrooms I invite you to take a pause and thank the indigenous communities from the Americas who with their love and perhaps at the risk of their own life guarded these sacred medicines that we now have the privilege to have as allies in our healing.
Another way you can contribute to honoring indigenous communities and sacred plants is by choosing indigenous teachers and indigenous led ceremonies. We are still here and have generations of knowledge that we want to share.
Let's heal together.
If you want to take a journey of a lifetime join us on our next trip: Magical Medicine Journeys in In Mexico Dec 27 to January 2, 2020. We are an Indigenous woman-lead company that honors the sacred use of psilocybin mushrooms.