Thursday, November 20, 2008

Maria Sabina






All of the pictures you see are from the amazing mural in the town hall.
María Sabina García (1888 - November 23, 1985) was a Mazatec medicine woman.
Sabina was the first contemporary Mexican curandera to allow Westerners to see a partake in a healing vigil in which the psilocybe mushroom is used as a sacrament to open the gates of the mind. This ritual is seen as a purification and as a communion with the sacred and the later use of the mushrooms as less sacred or even for recreation was seen as a terrible sacrilege.
Maria Sabina had visions on the "little saints" that someone (Wasson) was coming and would take the tradition to the world after 500 years of secrecy under Spanish rule. As a result of that action, giving the secrets of the "little saints" to outsiders, her son was murdered and her house burned to the ground. During the later years of her life she lamented that "the power of the sacrament had been lost in the clouds," and ending up speaking English instead of the Mazatec. She lived to age 91, passing away on November 22, 1985.
In 1955, ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson visited her hometown of Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca, and brought spores of the fungus, which he identified as Psilocybe mexicana to Europe where the fungus was cultivated its active ingredient was later duplicated as the chemical psilocybin in the laboratory by Albert Hofmann in 1958.
American youth began seeking out Sabina and the "holy children" as early as 1962, and in the years that followed, thousands of counterculture mushroom seekers, scientists, and others arrived in the Sierra Mazateca. Sabina cultivated relationships with several of them, including Wasson, who became something of a friend. It is rumored, that many important 60s celebrities visited María Sabina, including rock stars such as Bob Dylan and John Lennon.
Eventually the lack of respect for the sacred and traditional purposes caused Sabina to say that she felt that the ceremony of the mushrooms had been desecrated and polluted by the hedonistic use: "From the moment the foreigners arrived, the 'holy children' lost their purity. They lost their force, they ruined them. Henceforth they will no longer work. There is no remedy for it."

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