María Sabina García. Shaman. Poet.

Sabina was a Mazatec medicine woman and sacred figure in Oaxaca Mexico (especially Huautla)... her photo can be seen on posters and T-shirts everywhere (like Che's image in Cuba) which is how I became curious about her when traveling in Mexico. Sabina allowed Westerners to participate in the healing Velada ceremony, when psilocybe mushrooms are taken... this was seen as a purification+way of connecting with the spiritual world. Thousands of people (including Bob Dylan+John Lennon) visited Sabina in the 1960s... many of them went after reading the May 1957 Life Magazine article about her. While she was initially hospitable to these 'truth seekers', their lack of respect for the sacredness of this traditional use of mushrooms caused Sabina to become bitter about the foreigners and people profiting from her name... she felt that the Velada had been polluted by the hedonistic use of the mushrooms.

"I was eight years old when a brother of my mother fell sick. He was very sick, and the shamans of the sierra that had tried to cure him with herbs could do nothing for him. Then I remembered what the teo-nanacatl [mushrooms] told me: that I should go and look for them when I needed help. So I went to take the sacred mushrooms, and I brought them to my uncle's hut. I ate them in front of my uncle, who was dying. And immediately the teo-nanacatl took me to their world, and I asked them what my uncle had and what I could do to save him. They told me an evil spirit had entered the blood of my uncle and that to cure him we should give him some herbs, not those the curanderos gave him, but others. I asked where these herbs could be found, and they took me to a place on the mountain where tall trees grew and the waters of a brook ran, and they showed me the herb that I should pull from the earth and the road I had to take to find them...[After regaining consciousness] it was the same place that I had seen during the trip, and they were the same herbs. I took them, I brought them home, I boiled them in water, and I gave them to my uncle. A few days later the brother of my mother was cured." Maria Sabina.
- Shamanic Voices: a survey a visionary narratives. Joan Halifax, Ph.D.

"There is a world beyond ours, a world that is far away, nearby, and invisible, and there is where God lives, where the dead live, the spirits and the saints. A world where everything has already happened and everything is known. That world talks. It has a language of it's own. I report what it says. The sacred mushroom takes me by the hand and brings me to the world where everything is known. It is they, the sacred mushrooms, that speak in a way that I can understand. I ask them and they answer me. When I return from the trip that I have taken with them, I tell what they have told me and what they have shown me." Maria Sabina.

...RAD woman.

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