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Offlinerunnerup
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Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. *essay posted*
    #3287869 - 10/28/04 03:20 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Hi guys im a Freshman at CCSF and I'm doing my first big essay for an honors Latin America art history class... I just wanted to thank anyone reading this ahead of time.


In Mesoamerica, the Olmecs, the Toltecs, the Aztecs and the Mayans employed numerous visionary plants ritualistically in healing ceremonies. Mushrooms were one of the most important of the psychoactive agents employed; recorded by the Spanish as "teonan?catl".


I know there was use of Peyote, Mushrooms, and there is current debate on a third between Salvia (which has lack of evidence but i want to list it) or Cannabis (more evidence)

I know the Spanish referred to the mushroom as "teonan?catl"

I'm wondering what was peyote, and the third plant referred to as? And does anyone know any websites with information on this to aid my research? I have searched a lot of sites

If any of you are experts on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica please PM me! I'm also having trouble on how i should organize this essay.

Thanks guys you all rock.


Edited by runnerup (12/10/04 10:03 PM)


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OfflineLlamanose
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: runnerup]
    #3287968 - 10/28/04 04:07 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I wish I knew man, I'd love to read it when your done, though!  :grin:


--------------------
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"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."
~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: Llamanose]
    #3288042 - 10/28/04 05:02 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Pipiltzintzinli is the name of the wonder plant used to cure ailments and smoked for insane effects back at Montezuma's time and before.

Current lore about MezoAm is that Salvia is only taken orally, so they think cannibis may have been Pipiltzintzinli, but both issues hinge on current lore in which Mazatec people use it orally.

The Maztec origins are foggy yet they must be the survivors from a long ago civilization in turmoil, so they likely have lost the original knowledge of Pipiltzintzinli, or they could even say it is not smoked to hide secret knowledge some still have.

Also they call it Ska Maria, referencing the invader's Christian religion, further evidence that their lore has adapted or is not original. Some declare the Ska Maria reference is merely translation to christian terms of an innate female deity, but that is not consistent even though the Maztecs call mushrooms the children.

The naming may refer to the shapes of the plants only, as Salvia has a posture that alludes to dignity and suffering like a guiding good woman or sheppardess or saint.

Anyone who smokes it finds the power astonishing.
It also can soothe stomache ailments fantastically in smaller oral dosages, using fresh leaf or tea. This is corroborating evidence for it being the true Pipiltzintzinli.


Edited by redgreenvines (10/28/04 05:11 AM)


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: redgreenvines]
    #3288257 - 10/28/04 08:25 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

check out wasson's book _the wondrous mushroom: mycolatry in mesoamerica_
it does focus on psilocybes, but get into many othe rplants (& does an detailed examination of the "flowers" adorning the body on the sculpture of the prince of flowers xochipilli)
i'm sure that there are many other books & articles by anthropologists & ethnobotanists & other such scholarly folks...
poke around some of the articles & reviews & links at places like erowid.org & lycaeum.org as well as online & print journals & sites like heffter & drug-library & psychedelic-library & hoffman.org & csp.org etc.


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Invisiblemjshroomer
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: runnerup]
    #3288374 - 10/28/04 10:05 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

One such plant is Salvia divinorum, a member of the mint family which is rich in essential oils. Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann (1980) reported that it was a plant used ceremoniously by Mar?a Sabina. Mazatec shamans and sabias refer to this plant as "Hojas de la Pastora" (leaves of the shepherdess). Do?a Mar?a Sabina referred to it as "la hembra" (the female) (Wasson, 1962b). Salvia's divinatory powers can be experienced by rolling twelve to sixteen mature leaves into a plug and holding it between the cheek and gum for fifteen minutes. Profound visual effects will be noticed with eyes closed or in total darkness. Dried Salvia leaves can also be smoked for milder effects.

When the Salvia herb is not available for use in divination, the Mazatecs employ two different species of Coleus found in Oaxaca. Coleus pumilus is referred to as "el macho" (the male). Two other varieties of Coleus blumi are referred to as (1) "El nene" (the children) and (2) "el ahijado" (the godson). The psychoactivity of Coleus is debated.

Another popular plant, a perennial, is the morning glory Rivea corymbosa, whose seeds contain lysergic acid amides. Also known as ololiuhqui. In Oaxaca, Mazatec shamans refer to the seeds as "Semillas de la Virgen" (seeds of the Virgin). 50 to 300 ground seeds are soaked in cold water for 1 to 3 days and the filtered liquid is consumed in the evening. However, Mar?a Sabina had never used these seeds in any of her ceremonies.

Other plants were also employed in the treatment of different ailments, divination's and for healing or curing and were also used during different seasons. Additionally, several other minor plants were also employed when the more popular remedies were not available.

Many plants used in these magico religious ceremonies more than 400 years ago by the Aztecs and as much as 2000 years earlier by their ancestors the Olmecs and Toltecs, and quite possibly the Mayan people, are still in use today. These include peyote (mescaline), ololiuhqui-tlitlitzin (morning glory seeds = ergine alkaloids), Salvia divinorum ("Leaves of the Shepherdess" a member of the mint family), Datura (jimsom weed, also known as torna loca, toloache or tolatzin), mescal beans (cytisine), puffballs (Lycoperdon mixtecorum) or (Lycoperdon marginatum). The former is referred to as "gi-i-wa" and means "fungus of the first quality" and the latter implies "fungus of the second quality." It has been reported that they cause auditory hallucinations. Use of these alleged puffball inebrients occurs primarily among the Mixtec shamans.

Second only to peyote are the sacred mushrooms referred to by the Aztecs as teonan?catl. The majority of the sacred mushrooms of Mesoamerica belong to the genus Psilocybe, and a few quite possibly belong to the genera Panaeolus and Conocybe.

Although indigenous use of many psychotropic plants in Mesoamerica is not uncommon today, the ritualistic or ceremonial use of the sacred mushrooms and other drug/herb plants can be traced back to approximately 1000 BC.

The numerous descriptions recorded by the clergy and historians concerning the effects of these drug/herb plants
and their uses among the Aztec people are molded in fear and plastered in bigotry and false heresy. The effects of the mushrooms on those who had experienced them were often reported in a negative vein, most probably by the botanists and historians who were eager to appease their masters back in Spain. The Spanish historians often described the effects of these plants on native peoples as leaving their users in uncontrollable fits, claiming that the native people would even commit violent acts towards themselves and each other. Many would fall into rages as if in a stupor. These descriptions could very well describe an alcoholic syndrome in contemporary society.



Here are a few excerpted from Mushroom pioneers by John W. Allen (CD-ROM, still available)

mj

These were a few of the listings. You can read about Salvia in

Wasson. R. Gordon. 1962. Salvia Divinorum: A new psychotropic drug from the mint family. Botanical Museum Leaflets of Harvard vol. 20:77-84.

mju


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Offlinesublime40oz
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: mjshroomer]
    #3289516 - 10/28/04 03:33 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I would also like to place a request for the finished paper to be posted here, sounds interesting.


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Offlinerunnerup
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: sublime40oz]
    #3290435 - 10/28/04 06:57 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Thank you very much for your post's.

Funny edgreenvines you mention that about the maztecs. I was unsure myself of there origin today; I talked to my professor which informed me that the Mazatec originate from the Zapotec; Zapotec's where abundant through the Late pre classic to post classic period (400BC-1521AD Spanish Contact) in Oaxaca.

Thank you for your extensive post mjshroomer. I think I will be organizing the esasy by Hallucinogenic type; I also want to add Bufo Marinus.

does anyone know of any other hallucenogens used in ancient mesoamerica times?


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Offlinerunnerup
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: runnerup]
    #3290447 - 10/28/04 06:59 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I will post the finished paper when I'm done as well. Thanks again for your support my friends.


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Invisiblemjshroomer
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: runnerup]
    #3291315 - 10/28/04 10:45 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Well Bufo marinus contains no psychoactive compounds.

But Bufo alvarius does, thatt is the Colorado River toad.

I have posted the info about this toad and related info at http://www.thenook.org int he Tales from o the shroom in the journals section of that site.

Bufo alvarius is the toad, but then it is not known if the Mazatec used them. The mazatec are Nahuatl Indians. mj

Frank Mije wrote about the Mixtecs and Wasson the Mazatecs.

Both tribes use ceremonial potions and herbs.

mj


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Offlinerunnerup
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: mjshroomer]
    #3292311 - 10/29/04 03:08 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Do you believe that Bufo Alvarius was used by the Maya, or Aztec. Michael J Harner author of The Way of the Shaman, Hallucinogens and Shamanism, notes that in Ancient Mesoamerica there where instances of breeding Bufo Alvarius in big pools.

Now... one of my professors says, that "theory" is very radical, although he also believes that Bufo Alvarius venom was used in ancient mesoamerica.


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: mjshroomer]
    #3293280 - 10/29/04 12:20 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

mjshroomer said:
Well Bufo marinus contains no psychoactive compounds.








umm, i think that the venom of the cane toad does have 5OH-dmt (bufotenine) in it... (along with a lot of other even nastier chems)...
and if "properly done up", it (bufotenine) is psycho-active (if not actually enjoyable) according to j ott...

ugh...


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Offlinerunnerup
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: gnrm23]
    #3297101 - 10/30/04 01:12 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

are you saying that both the marine toad and the colorado river toad are psycocative ?


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Invisiblemjshroomer
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: runnerup]
    #3297717 - 10/30/04 04:20 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Bufo marinus, the common cane toad (billions of them)_ is not psychoactive.

mj

Only the Colorado riover toad Bufo alvarius is and has small concentrations of 5MEO-DMT in them.

In the early 1990s, a colleague of mine, Michael E. Smith found three varieties of edible seaweed off of the coast of madagascar which contained small amounts of the same.

mj


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: runnerup]
    #3301849 - 10/31/04 07:35 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

runnerup said:
are you saying that both the marine toad and the colorado river toad are psycocative ?




i'm just saying that jonathan ott states that bufotenine (5oh-dmt) is entheogenic...
from what i've heard, it's even less "enjoyable" than cohobine (5meo-dmt)(which some people love & some people hate)...

and like mjshroomer said, only the colorado river toad venom has 5meo-dmt...

(of course, there are many plants which have extractable amounts of 5meodmt, & some with extractable amounts of dmt... some of the plants are easy to grow, & quite a few are easy to puchase from herb vendors... and extraction methods are available online in many places, right?)


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Edited by gnrm23 (10/31/04 07:35 PM)


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Offlinerunnerup
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: gnrm23]
    #3311240 - 11/02/04 09:49 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:


(of course, there are many plants which have extractable amounts of 5meodmt, & some with extractable amounts of dmt... some of the plants are easy to grow, & quite a few are easy to puchase from herb vendors... and extraction methods are available online in many places, right?)




Yes, but I am searching for evidence of more hallucinogens used in ancient Mesoamerica; I am not aware of any plants containing 5meo dmt used by anyone indigenous to mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest.


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Invisiblegdman
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: runnerup]
    #3311348 - 11/02/04 10:19 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

there certainly are, I just used one... yopo


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Offlinegnrm23
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: gdman]
    #3313049 - 11/03/04 08:44 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

well. it's been a while since i've been reading anthro lit, but if mesoamerica runs from mexico down to panama, i'm sure that some trypt-snuffs, or "black-drink" type of plantstuff was used in the area...
& everybody used some Nicotiana species...

dr schultes spent some time in mexico before he went to south america during WWII...

again, check out r g wasson's book

or schultes & hoffman's collaborations

or ott's stuff

lotta lit to check out, books as well as journal articles
(ethnobotany, lloydia, economic botany, jounal of natural products, etc...)
(& a surprising amount available online, if you know where to look... do you know where to look?)
go to your uni library, eh?


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Offlineethnobotany
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: gdman]
    #3314599 - 11/03/04 02:03 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

gdman said:
there certainly are, I just used one... yopo





Yopo is indigenous to South America. Not Ancient Mesoamerica.


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InvisibleHermes_br
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. [Re: gnrm23]
    #3334369 - 11/08/04 09:21 PM (12 years, 29 days ago)


on bufotenine:  by Dennis Mckenna

from:  http://www.spiritplants.com/guests/mckenna

" ...I think bufotenine is emerging as interesting. The conventional understanding of it was that it was mostly peripheral, not easily penetrating the BB barrier. Now it appears that has to be re-examined. Under some conditions, it can... it appears. If it did get into the brain, I have no doubt it would be a very powerful psychedelic! "

:stoned:


Edited by Hermes_br (11/08/04 09:38 PM)


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Offlinerunnerup
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Re: Questions on hallucinogen use in ancient mesoamerica. *essay posted* [Re: runnerup]
    #3480215 - 12/11/04 03:25 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

I just finished it. Sorry I have to edit and upload the figures later



A Hallucinogen Hunt
Christian Calderon
Art History of Latin America
CCSF
October 21st 2004


Abstract
It has been proven through archaeological context and artistic representation that various psychoactive substances have stood abundant throughout the history of Mesoamerican culture (1). These hallucinogens served a divinatory purpose to the indigenous of ancient Mesoamerica. The use of hallucinogens found in ancient Mesoamerica could not compare to that found in the history of civilizations in Europe (2). When the Spanish chroniclers came to Mesoamerica, they mentioned in their writings a great number of plants with intoxicating, stimulating or narcotic effects; these plants were unknown in the Old World (3). When the Spanish began to witness these substances, the church began to fear them, believing they where to possess only demonic purpose. When the Spanish took action against their phobia to the New World hallucinogens, the indigenous started to hide their ways and some started to change them. These substances are believed to have played an important role in medicine, religion, social development and the cultural structure of many groups across the new world. To have discovered these substances, it would have taken centuries of trial and error.




Introduction
The use of hallucinogens was suggested to be abundant before the fall of the Aztec empire. Through archeological context, artistic representation and written documentation we have been able to broaden our perspective on ancient Mesoamerican cultures that participated in the use of hallucinogens. According to Spanish documentation, the Aztecs abundantly used three main hallucinogens, peyotl, teonan?catl and ololiuqui. There is another possibility of a hallucinogen derived from the Bufo marinus toad, used by the Olmec and Maya. After discovering the psychic effects of what became sacred elements, the primitive cultures of Mesoamerica believed they could commit the supernatural and communicate with the outer world through their altered state. Now theories have been raised that cultural art, religion and lifestyle may have been based on what was held to be sacred elements contained and used by Mesoamerican cultures.


Peyotl (Lophophora williamsii)
Peyote (lophophora williamsii) is a member of the Cactaceae family; the main hallucinogenic alkaloid in this plant is mescaline, although there are 56 other individual alkaloid substances in peyote that may contribute to its hallucinogenic properties. Currently, peyote is used in macro-religious ceremonies in central and northern Mexico and is the basis of religious cults among Indians of Mexico, the United States and Canada. The sacred cactus that the Aztecs referred to as peyotl may have been the greatest and most traded hallucinogen in ancient Mesoamerica.
The time and culture that discovered this species of Cactaceae are unknown. Richard Evans Schultes Ph.D stated:
?The earliest European reports of peyote intimate that the Chichimecas and Toltecs of Mexico were acquainted with it as early as 300 B.C. (4)?
We currently know that the time frame of this assumption is false, due to the fact that the Toltecs did not arrive in the basin of Mexico until the 8th century A.D. and the Chichimecas a short while before. Professor Schultes?s statement was based from an early Spanish chronicler by the name of Fray Bernardino de Sahag?n. Fray Bernardino de Sahag?n knew that Peyote was used by the Chichimeca and Toltec, and estimated they used it at least 1,890 years before his arrival. Sahag?n lived most of his adult life with the indigenous tribes of Mesoamerica. During the 16th century A.D., he recorded the use of peyote with the Chichimecas:
"There is another herb like tunas [Opuntia spp.] of the earth. It is called Peiotl. It is white. It is found in the north country. Those who eat or drink it see visions either frightful or laughable. This intoxication lasts two or three days and then ceases. It is a common food of the Chichimeca, for it sustains them and gives them courage to fight and not feel fear nor hunger nor thirst. And they say that it protects them from all danger."
He was the first to document the use of peyote. It is no surprise that the Chichimecas used peyote. Peyote is native to the Chihuahuan Desert, which is the same area where the Chichimecas hunted and gathered. It is likely the Toltecs used peyote, I believe that the Toltecs discovered the use of peyote through a more primitive northern culture and not through ?trail and error? gathering.
I have come across only three archaeological finds of peyote. They have been documented at only two sites; the Shumla Caves in southwest Texas and shelter CM-79 near Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila, Mexico. Excavations of the Shumla Caves occurred in the 1930?s and were sponsored by the Witte Museum; since that time, dozens of excavations in similar dry rock shelters have failed to produce any evidence of widespread peyote use. The three individual samples from Shumla Caves were statistically indistinguishable and were determined a mean age of 5195 ? 20 radiocarbon years BP and for the specimen from the Cuatro Cienegas site, an age of 835 ? 35 radiocarbon years BP (5). These radiocarbon dates on excavated peyote document its use for roughly 6,000 calendar years. The alkaloid mescaline has a remarkable stability and may stay intact for thousands of years. Although this carbon 14 data is rather old and most likely off by a few hundred or even a few thousand years, it suggests that peyote was used north of Mesoamerica before any Mesoamerican cultures were using it. Because peyote is native to the northern desert region above Mesoamerica, this suggestion may very well be true. This information adds to my theory that peyote was brought down from the north into Mesoamerica by barter or the migration of northern cultures into Mesoamerica.
There is another theory that peyote was simultaneously and independently discovered by a number of tribes over the centuries. This may be possible, although I find it very unlikely due to the fact that there are thousands of species of cacti around the Mesoamerican region. It is also the case that 90% of all the world's plants produce no alkaloids whatsoever (such as mescaline, psilocybin, caffeine, nicotine etc). One must understand that for a cactus such as peyote to contain 57 individual alkaloids, it is truly unique. In addition, peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is currently endangered and almost all of its cultivation is done by humans; the ancient status of the Cactaceae is unknown, considering that it is unknown if the plant was cultivated in ancient times and its relatively slow growth. For numerous tribes to have independently found this cactus through trial and error over the Mesoamerican region (see figure 1.a) must be an unlikely coincidence. I find it more the case that this plant was traded throughout Mesoamerica and knowledge of this plant was passed through barter, communication, and perhaps war.
At the site of Monte Alban there was a ceramic snuffing pipe with a deer holding a peyote button in its mouth (see figure 1.b). The pipe was estimated to be from 500 B.C. Could this be proof that the early Zapotecs used peyote?
The Aztecs adapted many things from different cultures (6); one being the use of peyote. We know through Spanish documents that the Aztec participated in the peyote tradition. Tarascans received peyote by long distance trade, among goods such as cacao, animal skins, seashells, fine bird feathers, turquoise, rock crystal, serpentine, amber, pyrite, jadeite, gold, silver, copal, green and red obsidian and slaves (7). The Huichol Indians of Mexico, make an annual sacred pilgrimage to Wirikuta to collect, with complex ceremonies, enough crowns of the cactus for use during the coming year (see fig. 1.c) (8). Peyote must have been a popular trade item; it has a very long natural shelf life, due to its mescaline content. And it is easy to transport. It is possible that more tribes participated in the divine practice and use of peyote then we are currently aware of.


Teonan?catl (Psilocybe, Panaeolus, Conocybe)
In addition to peyote are the sacred mushrooms referred to by the Aztecs as teonan?catl (flesh of god). Ethnomycologist Gordon Wasson suggests that the majority of the sacred mushrooms of Mesoamerica belong to the genus Psilocybe, and a few quite possibly belong to the genera Panaeolus and Conocybe. Currently, in Mesoamerica, these mushrooms are used in the Mexican state of Oaxaca among some of the indigenous inhabitants, such as the Mazatecas, Zapotecas, and Mixtecas. Due to the westernization of indigenous peoples in Mexico, some of Indians are no longer using the mushroom in religious ceremonies. From the mid 1900?s to the late 1970?s it was popular to visit Oaxaca to participate in the mushroom ceremonies; in fact, this ceremony can still be participated in and seen in the town of Huautla de Jim?nez.
When the Spanish started to witness the use of the teonan?catl, they persecuted anyone using them. Persecution drove the Indian practices into the hinterland (9). By the time the Spanish arrived in Mesoamerica, the mushroom influence was most likely spread though all the cultures of Mesoamerica. The influence of teonan?catl would have been spread by cultural communication, barter, and even war. In addition to this time period, Terence McKenna suggests mushrooms may have been a trade item wanted by the southern American Indian cultures (11). Cultures such as the Mimbres have produced numerous pieces of art containing depictions of mushrooms.
I believe that the classic Maya used mushrooms, most likely in religious ceremonies. Hundreds of mushrooms stone artifacts have been found, and they are mostly dated to the classic period, although some are said to be dated as far back as 1000 B.C. (see figure 2.a). Besides the Mayan art that survived the conquest, we only have Mayan codices on which to assess Mayan customs and beliefs. Within two of these remaining works, the Popul Vuh and the Annals of Cakchiquels, are references to psychoactive fungi, but there is no indication as to the extent of their role within Mayan belief systems (10). It is believed that the Maya made fermented beverage with the hallucinogenic mushroom. As a method of inoculation they would receive an enema, with the alleged substance (see fig. 2.b).
It is believed by many that the Toltecs participated in the use of mushrooms. In the theory of Mesoamerican cultural Influence and adaptation, the Toltecs may have been influenced by barter or communication with the Maya. One of the influences may have well been the item in question, the hallucinogenic mushroom. If the Toltecs believed the same reminiscences of Quetzalcoatl, as the Aztecs, the Toltecs may have participated in the use of Mushrooms. Concerning Aztec belief and Quetzalcoatl?s interaction with the hallucinogenic mushrooms, the mushroom use may have been older than Quetzalcoatl himself.



Ololiuqui (Turbina/Rivea corymbosa, Ipomoea violacea)
Ololiuqui has been identified as a small lentil-like seed that comes from a vine called coatlxoxouhqui, which has been identified as a morning glory. LSA (lysergic acid amides) is the main compound responsible for the hallucinogenic effect of ololiuqui. Today, ololiuqui is being used by the Zapotecs, Chinantecs, Mazatecs, and Mixtecs. Oliliuhqui has been used since prehispanic times by the Aztecs and related tribes; just as the sacred mushrooms and the cactus peyotl have been used in their religious ceremonies for medical and religious purposes (12).
As the other hallucinogens found in Mesoamerica, we know much about the use of ololiuqui from the Spanish chroniclers. Documented in the Florentino Codex, ololiuqui is considered to be a ?gift from the devil.? Most of the studies conducted on ololiuqui was from Dr. Francisco Hernandez, who wrote about its religious use among the Aztecs between 1570 and 1575. Dr. Francisco Hernandez was the first to identify the plant containing ololiuqui to be a morning glory.
According to Peter T. Furst, coatlxoxouhqui has been depicted in mural paintings at Teotihuacan and Tepantitla; one mural is suggested to show the water goddess with a stylized vine of the sacred hallucinogenic morning glory (fig 3.a)(13). I find some of the plants, sea shells, and people in the murals tend to be less stylized and more physically accurate in the artistic depiction (see fig. 3.b); this helps scholars identify the botanical species depicted in the murals. In one mural, I found many plants containing similar flowers to the Rivea corymbosa and Ipomoea violacea species (see fig. 3.c), and even Nicotiana rustica (tobacco). Nicotiana rustica is said to have been more potent in ancient times; nevertheless, it is still not classified as a hallucinogen.


Bufo marinus, Bufo alvarius
Bufo marinus is a toad that contains a confusingly active compound called bufotenine; bufotenine is very toxic and it has debatable psychedelic property. In fact, some scholars argue that it has no psychedelic property and any visionaries induced by bufotenine are due to the poisonous compounds. Bufo alvarius is another toad that contains bufotenine as well as 5-MeO-DMT; 5-MeO-DMT is a very psychedelic compound and has tremendous vision inducing effects.
Bufo marinus is your common cane toad. Bufo marinus is a very resilient, adapting, and efficient colonizer. Bufo marinus toads have caused many problems in areas they have been introduced to. In 1965 an official from Dade County Florida wanted to put a bounty on the Bufo marinus toad for its abundant problems (14). Australians also find this toad hard to eradicate. On the other hand, Bufo alvarius is an endangered frog only found in the southwestern United States, Sonora region (see fig. 4.a); hence the common name given to Bufo alvarius, the Sonora Desert Toad. Without question Bufo alvarius venom is hallucinogenic; 5-MeO-DMT is actually 10 times more potent then DMT, which is found in ololiuqui. On the other hand, whether bufotenine found in Bufo marinus is psychoactive or not has been very questionable.
Jonathan Ott conducted a study to determine if bufotenine is in fact psychoactive, finding 5 separate methods to be psychoactive:
This chart displays 4 instances of bufotenine resulting ?not psychoactive? by 2 different references and 9 instances resulting ?psychoactive? by 5 different references. This argument shows that bufotenine clearly has some kind of effect. The question is if the effect can be classified as a psychedelic.
There has also been some debate on whether the toad used for hallucinogenic purpose in ancient Mesoamerica was Bufo marinus, or Bufo alvarius. Andrew Weil and Wade Davis published an article in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology hypothesizing that Bufo alvarius was used, based on iconographic and mythological representations of toads and on a number of speculative ethnographic reports. They reject Bufo marinus as a candidate, greatly because of the toxicity levels in its venom.
The Olmec are alleged to have used the hallucinogenic toad in religious ritual. In the June 1982 issue of Current Anthropology, Allison Kennedy states that what has long been interpreted as a jaguar in Olmec art actually represents a toad. In this theory she gives many examples of how Olmec art symbolizes the toad physically and metaphorically. According to John W. Hoopes of the Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas, Ancient Bufo marinus bones have been found In the Olmec site of La Venta (15); unfortunately I have not been able to find any estimated dating on the organic material found. Field herping (looking for reptiles and amphibians in the wild) conducted by herpetologist and ?herpers? find it popular to hunt in the site of La Venta; their studies show that Bufo marinus is the most abundant amphibian in the region. Although according to recent study by Ben Morril and Utah State University the Trans-Mexican Neovolcanic Belt may have affected and may continue to affect the colonization patterns of the Bufo marinus toad and the Bufo alavarius toad. No reports of Bufo alavarius have been found in this area. Michael Coe says the Olmec used bufotenine as a hallucinogen derived from Bufo marinus. Unfortunately there is not enough evidence to prove that the Olmec did or did not use Bufo marinus as a psychedelic. But if they did use the toad as a psychedelic, it would not be a surprise.
There is question of whether the Izapa used the toad as a psychedelic. Many scholars have argued whether the stylized animal in stela 6 is in fact a Bufo marinus/alvarius, or a fat jaguar, or even perhaps a stylized fat alligator similar to the reptile in stela 25. There is also no question that there are frogs depicted in the scenery of certain artifacts. The question is what role or significance is the toad to the Izapa. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to prove whether or not they used the toad as a hallucinogen. But it is always possible.
There is allegedly enough evidence for many scholars to say that the Maya used the hallucinogenic toad as a psychedelic and to go in to the extent of how it was used. The Maya have shown to provide toads through artistic representation abundantly (see figure 4.b); there was even a Mayan frog whistle shaped as a toad (see figure 4.c). The Mayan Curanderos, which are healers, would use the venom from the toads to create medicine and make potions. To extract the venom, they would irritate the toad. With the venom in small bowls, they would repeatedly pass the bowl over a fire to treat it. Whatever was left in the bowl became hard and would then be rolled into pills.


Many people have contributed their investigations and experiments to create the conclusions and theories about ancient Mesoamerican hallucinogen used. Peyotl, teonan?catl, ololiuqui and the hallucinogenic frog are minimal discoveries when compared to thousands of others by the Mesoamerican people. The ancestors of the Ancient Mesoamerican people have also discovered and will continue to discover new hallucinogens and medicine for their cultures. Cultures across the Mesoamerican region have made accomplishments in their findings for the unknown benefit to future generations of the world. Accomplishments of studying, copying and manipulating the compounds and active alkaloids in certain plants and animals discovered by the Mesoamerican people have been proven to create new pharmaceuticals and therapeutics that contribute to modern society. To have discovered what were considered divinities and sacred elements it would have taken millennia of trial and error. With a history proven hard to follow, I owe much gratitude to the primitive Mesoamerican people and their ancestors, to have made the important discoveries that have influenced the rest of the world.





References
1. Schultes, R. E., 1998: The Heffter Review of Psychedelic Research. Vol. 1, pp. 1-7
2. Wasson, R. G., 1963: Notes on the Present Status of Ololiuhqui and the Other Hallucinogens of Mexico. Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp. 161-212.
3. Hofmann, A., 1971: Teonan?catl and Ololiuqui, two ancient magic drugs of Mexico. Bulletin on Narcotics, Vol. 1, pp. 3-14
4. Schultes, R. E., 1938. "Peyote, an American Indian Heritage from Mexico." El Mexico Antiguo 4, nos. 4-6: 199-208.
5. Texas A&M University website, 2004: http://www.texasacademyofscience.org/2004%20tas%20program.pdf
6. Torres, E. L., personal interview, Nov 11th 2004.
7. Pollard, H. P., 1993. The Prehispanic Tarascan State ?Tar?acuri's Legacy?, pp 119 University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
8. Meyerhoff, B. G., 1974. Peyote Hunt. ?The Sacred Journey of the Huichol Indians?, pp 112-188 Ithaca, Cornell University Press.
9. Schultes, R.E, 1998: Integration. Antiquity of the Use of New World Hallucinogens Vol. 5, pp. 9-18
10. Powell, S. G., 2000: The Psilocybin Solution. Chapter 2, A.K. ?An Ancient Form of Communion? pp. 25-36
11. McKenna, T., 1992: Food Of The Gods. Bantam Books, New York.
12. Hofmann, A., 1971: Teonan?catl and Ololiuqui, two ancient magic drugs of Mexico. Bulletin on Narcotics, Vol. 1, pp. 3-14
13. Furst, P. T., 1974: Art and Environment in Native America ?Hallucinogens in Precolumbian Art? Texas Technical University, Special Publications of the Museum, no. 7, pp. 55-1 02.
14. Morrill, H, B., 2004: Phylogeography of the Marine Toad Bufo marinus across the Eastern Extension of the Trans-Mexican Neovolcanic Belt. Utah State University, Department of Biology.
15. University of Kansas website, 2004: http://www.ku.edu/~hoopes/506/Lectures/Olmecs.html


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