Continuing our Journey
by Brittney Graham
Last month we took a trip into learning about magic mushrooms. See what I did there? This month, we are going to be traveling down the rabbit hole of information on the broader term of Entheogens. Formerly known as psychedelic drugs, Entheogens have come to be much more than just a trip for kicks. Now, they can be used as a part of a wondrously conscious journey into other, more spiritual realms, and can bring powerful knowledge about ones self.
To get more scientific and less spiritual, Entheogens are plants and fungi, or sometimes lab-made substances with mind-altering properties. We are going to focus on the plant based naturally occurring substances for the sake of our plant-based medicine articles such as Peyote, Ayahuasca, and magic mushrooms. By dictionary terms, Entheogen means ‘god within’ or ‘spirit facilitating’, which makes it safe to say that it can kick start some out of this world inspirational trips or experiences.
So how does this work? In more scientific terms anyway. Well, Entheogens produce mystical or inspirational experiences by working strongly on the central nervous system. Stick with me here it gets more scientific right about now. This push on our central nervous system makes our senses sharper and improves the function on the brain that brings us mind blowing insights and creative thoughts. It is usually experienced in colors becoming more detailed or movement of objects that don’t normally are very much in a still position. This is where questions like, who am I? and Why am I here? start to get answered from within. The therapeutic benefits of these “trips” are that they bring up unconscious materials that we normally suppress, forcing us to confront them. Almost like an internal therapist that knows you better than you know yourself. It Is said that once you have taken an entheogen, it is hard to see the world in the same way ever again.
It is very important to note that this process is nothing new at all. For example, Psychedelic mushrooms have been names as the cause of huge evolutionary leaps in consciousness. In other examples, the ancient Egyptians used the sacred Blue Lotus, the Mazatec of Mexico used the Salvia Divinorum, and the Sadhus of India used Cannabis. In fact, the 1960’s ‘psychedelic’ term was changed recently to Entheogen to refer to all the plants and substances revered in sacred rituals such as the ones listed above. Now that we have a grasp on Entheogens, lets talk about a couple of them, shall we?
Peyote is a small spineless cactus that grows in the American southwest and northern Mexico. The principle active compound is mescaline, which functions similar to a neurotransmitter when consumed. Peyote is more on the mild scale when it comes to the Entheogen family. Colors can become more enhanced and life can feel like it became HD all of a sudden at small doses. At a higher dose, full fledge visions can unfold. It is important to note that the common effect of this plant-based medicine is extreme nausea and digestive discomfort. This is also known as the act of “getting well” or purging.
Traditionally, Ayahuasca has been used by indigenous cultures in the Amazon and surrounding areas in shamanic practices. However, it is safe to say it has become a widespread practice throughout the world today. Banisteriopsis Caapi and Psychotria Virdis are the two main ingredients in this powerful concoction. The latter ingredient contains DMT and is considered a Schedule I substance, but the irony is that countless species of plants create this compound including every mammal, humans included.
It tastes awful but only a shot glass full is usually taken during ceremony. Take note that this is done in a closed environment setting with seasoned individuals leading the entire process. Full fledge visions are common and most users experience vibrations of abundant energy throughout their bodies. The effects of a single drink usually last up to a few hours and during long ceremonies repeated rounds of drinking are standard. Like peyote, Ayahuasca induces the purge effect of vomiting and is considered cleansing and purifying.