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Don Karp, October 27 2018

Sacred Plant Medicine

This is the story of my experiences living as an ex-pat in Mexico since 2003. It's to culminate in a published book. With your help, I'll be editing, selecting a title, and cover art: a participatory project. Your comments encouraged!

In Mexico, where law enforcement is more relaxed than elsewhere, one finds numerous ceremonies using psychoactive plants. Also known as entheogens, these plants have been used, probably by animals, before the advent of humans. Tepoztlán, in the central Mexican highlands, where I live, has an abundance of these ceremonies. This article is an extension of the previous one on healers and healing.

This statue of Cōātlīcue, the Nahuatl or Aztec goddess who gave birth to the other gods, greets us at                                  Werika, the ceremonial center shown below in the slide show. Photo by Don Karp.

Eventually the church controlled man's propensity to use plants to induce euphoria, with the eucharist, or Holy Communion, as residual to that. Next governments took over control. In some cases, laws were passed to give control back to specific spiritual groups, like the Native American Church for peyote, and the Santo Diame Church, or Ayahuasca Church.

As of today, these plants are found internationally, with growing popularity, at retreats, and with ceremonies directed by shamans trained in clan lineages where they grow. From my personal experiences, going back to the psychedelic sixties, I recommend great caution with these plants. These are not for partying. All of these need to be taken into account to avoid bad trips and have a worthwhile experience: the environment where they are consumed, the guide, and other conditions, including the mental history of those consuming.

These sacred plant medicines are used traditionally for initiation (rites of passage), healing of physical and mental problems, and for expansion of consciousness.

Peyote, Morning Glory Seeds,Mushrooms, Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca grows as a vine in the Amazon basin. It is not found growing in Mexico. Since ancient times, peyote was found and used in northern Mexico, the seeds of morning glory in central Mexico, and mushrooms in the southern part of the country. I've heard that for best results with the morning glory, the plant must be gifted by a shaman.


Top left: Peyote buttons ( photo credit). Top right: Morning glory flower ( photo credit). Bottom left: Magic mushrooms ( photo credit). Bottom right: Ayahuasca vine ( photo credit).


A Ceremonial Center and Guide in Tepoztlan, Mexico

Barry Rossinoff is a guide using the medicine, ibogaine, derived from the African plant, iboga. People come to him for healing addictions and for consciousness expansion. I interviewed Barry in the video below.

Barry showed me around the ceremonial center where he works called Werika, meaning the double-headed eagle. After the interview video, I have another--a video slideshow of the center.

                                                                                         Video by Don Karp.


                                                                                     Video by Don Karp.


Please note that the impetus for this article came from a comment by Barry at the end of my last article, Healers and Healing. Barry asked me why I didn't include the sacred medicinal plants. And this article was born.

Likewise, if you have any suggestions for articles, I'd be delighted to see them in the comments section below. Remember, if you don't want to use Disqus, you can send your comment directly to me by email to post it.

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