Of all the Aztec entheogens, Psilocybe mexicana seems to have been subject to the most widespread and varied use. Psilocybe mexicana was known to the Aztecs as teonancatl, meaning “god’s flesh”, which underscores the mushroom’s use in religious ceremonies to bring about visions and noesis, or divine knowledge. Moctezuma II, the Aztec ruler at the time of European Contact, kept a few priests on hand who were tasked with divining the future by means of interpreting their psilocybin-induced visions.
As a close relative of Tabernanthe iboga and many other psychoactive members of the Apocynaceae family, Voacanga is generally ingested to increase endurance and stamina and also for magic and religious purposes. In West Africa, the bark of Voacanga africana is often used as a stimulant and an aid for hunting. It is also reported to be a potent aphrodisiac. The bark of Voacanga bracteata is reportedly used in Gabon as a marijuana substitute.
At the beginning of time, Father Sun practiced incest with his daughter who acquired Viho by scratching her father’s penis. Thus the Tukano received this sacred snuff from the sun’s semen. And since its still hallowed, it is kept in containers called muhipu-nuri, or “penis of the sun”. This entheogen enables the Tukano to consult the spirit world, especially Viho-mahse, the “snuff-person,” who, from his dwelling in the Milky Way, tends all human affairs. Shamans may not contact other spiritual forces directly but only through the good graces of Viho-mahse.
In central Europe, mushroom cults enact elaborate shamanistic rituals constructed around Psilocybe cyanescens. The first documentation of one of these cults appeared in 1981; that particular cult was seven years old when it was reported on, but it is possible that others began much earlier.
The San Pedro Cactus, or Trichocereus pachanoi, was in use at the very beginning of Andean civilization when it was highly prized as the “materia prima” (raw material) of the shamans of that era. In the central Andes district of Peru, as well as in the surrounding desert regions, the cactus has been an important ritual plant for thousands of years.
Anadenthera colubrina grows as a tree up to 20 meters in height. It is often found with knotty or thorny bark. Its leaves are of the mimosa type, a little like fern fronds. It has white to pale yellow spherical flowers, which form clusters and are covered in fine white hairs. The flat, burgundy-brown seeds are formed in pea-like pods, up to 35cm in length and containing anything up to 10 seeds each. It grows in open grassland throughout the Southern Andes. The climate is tropical to subtropical.
Everclear can hold about 1.5mg of salvinorin per ml. This means that every ounce of tincture (28ml) would hold about 42mg of salvinorin. Plant material reportedly helps carry salvinorin into mucous membranes, so 5 dropperfuls of “Herb Pharm Peppermint Spirits” and one teabag of “Tazo: Refresh” for every ounce would make for a pleasant tincture, with the essential mint oils and plant material necessary.
These mushrooms are used ritualistically in Mexico as well as central Europe. The shamanic use of Psilocybe cubensis was discovered during research into Psilocybe mexicana, the Mexican magic mushroom. In Mexico, Psilocybe cubensis is known as “hongo de San Isidro”, (“mushroom of San Isidro”). It’s no coincidence that to the Mazatec Indians, Saint Isidro is the patron saint of fields and meadows, as Psilocybe cubensis only grows in these areas. As cattle did not arrive in Mexico until the late colonial period, use of these mushrooms there could not have begun until then.
The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s greatest natural resource – the most powerful and bio-actively diverse natural phenomenon on the planet. Yet still it is being destroyed just like other rainforests around the world. The problem and the solution to rainforest destruction are both economic. Rainforests are being destroyed worldwide for the profits they yield – mostly harvesting unsustainable resources like timber, for cattle and agriculture, and for subsistence cropping by rainforest inhabitants.
The Maku people of the Rio Tikie of the Brazilian Amazon prepare a cold-water infusion of T. methystica bark to prepare a strongly hallucinogenic brew. There is no other plant ingredient. The drink is very bitter and has an unusual yellow hue. This may be the ” second kind” of caapi mentioned by several explorers as caapi-pinima, meaning “painted caapi.” The use of the plant was first described in 1954 by Richard Schultes.
Nymphaea caerulea (Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile) was worshiped as a visionary plant by the ancient Egyptians, and was a symbol for the origins of life. Nymphaea caerulea (Blue Lily) is also highly respected by Indians, and is a common sacred Buddhist symbol. When Nymphaea caerulea is smoked or consumed after being soaked in water or wine, it acts as an intoxicant. The flowers are suspected to contain aporphine and nuciferine, natural opiate alkaloids.
Explorer Captain James Cook, who gave this plant the botanical name of “intoxicating pepper”, first discovered Kava Kava. Kava has been used for over 3,000 years for its medicinal effects as a sedative, muscle relaxant, diuretic, and remedy for nervousness and insomnia. The rhizome (root stock) is used medicinally. This botanical marvel has been used in parts of the Pacific at traditional social gatherings as a relaxant, and in cultural and religious ceremonies to achieve a “higher level of consciousness”.