World-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist Christian Ratsch provides the latest scientific updates to this classic work on psychoactive flora by two eminent researchers. • Numerous new and rare color photographs complement the completely revised and updated text. • Explores the uses of hallucinogenic plants in shamanic rituals throughout the world. • Cross-referenced by plant, illness, preparation, season of collection, and chemical constituents. Three scientific titans join forces to completely revise the classic text on the ritual uses of psychoactive plants. They provide a fascinating testimony of these "plants of the gods," tracing their uses throughout the world and their significance in shaping culture and history. In the traditions of every culture, plants have been highly valued for their nourishing, healing, and transformative properties. The most powerful of those plants, which are known to transport the human mind into other dimensions of consciousness, have always been regarded as sacred. The authors detail the uses of hallucinogens in sacred shamanic rites while providing lucid explanations of the biochemistry of these plants and the cultural prayers, songs, and dances associated with them. The text is lavishly illustrated with 400 rare photographs of plants, people, ceremonies, and art related to the ritual use of the world's sacred psychoactive flora.
The origins of modern religion in human sacrifice, ritual cannibalism, visionary intoxication, and the Cult of the Dead • Explores ancient practices of producing sacred hallucinogenic foods and oils from the bodies of the dead for ritual consumption and religious anointing • Explains how these practices are deeply embedded in the symbolism, theology, and sacraments of modern religion, specifically Christianity and the Eucharist • Documents the rites of Cults of the Dead from the prehistoric Minoans on Crete to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews to early and medieval Christian sects such as the Cathars Long before the beginnings of civilization, humans have been sacrificed and their flesh used to produce sacred foods and oils for use in religious rites. Originating with the sacred harvest of hallucinogenic mushrooms from the corpses of shamans and other holy men, these acts of ritual cannibalism and visionary intoxication are part of the history of all cultures, including Judeo-Christian ones, and provided a way to commune with the dead. These practices continued openly into the Dark Ages, when they were suppressed and adapted into the worship of saintly bones--or continued in secret by a few “heretical” sects, such as the Cathars and the Knights Templar. While little known today, these rites remain deeply embedded in the symbolism, theology, and sacraments of modern religion and bring a much more literal meaning to the church’s “Holy Communion” or symbolic consumption of the body and blood of Christ. Documenting the sacrificial, cannibalistic, and psychoactive sacramental practices associated with the Cult of the Dead from the prehistoric Minoans on Crete to the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews and onward to early and medieval Christian sects, Earl Lee shows how these religious rites influenced the development of Western religion. In particular, he reveals how Christianity originated with Jesus’s effort to restore the sacred rites of Moses, including the Marzeah, or Feast for the Dead. Examining the connections between these rites and the mysterious funeral of Father Sauniere in Rennes-le-Château, the author explains why the prehistoric Cult of the Dead has held such power over Western civilization, so much so that its echoes are still heard today in our literature, film, and arts.
Uncovering the Greatest Secret of the Ancient World
Author: Luke A. Myers
Gnostic texts are filled with encounters of strange other worldly beings, journeys to visionary heavenly realms, and encounters with the presence and spirit of the divine. In Gnostic visions, author and Gnostic scholar Luke A. Myers presents evidence demonstrating how Gnostic visions were created and the connection these visions have to naturally occurring visionary compounds that are still in existence today. The culmination of more than ten years of research, "Gnostic Visions" advances the understanding of classical ethnobotany, Gnosticism, and the genesis of early Christian history. In this book the author discusses the prehistoric foundations of early human religion as well as the visionary religious traditions of the classical Greeks and Egyptians. Using these as a foundation, the book presents new and never before seen research explaining how Gnostic visions were created and what types of compounds were used by these ancient people to create them. "Gnostic Visions" presents evidence directly linking visionary Ayahuasca analogs with the creation of Gnostic and Hermetic visionary experiences. "Gnostic Visions" also describes the decline of Gnosticism, other visionary practices used in the Dark Ages and gives a brief tour of the visionary plants of the new world. In Gnostic visions, Myers tells of his personal experience with the divine and includes some of his own reflections of the importance of mankind's relationship to the natural world. He communicates that altered states of consciousness have been responsible for many of the most profound mystical religious experiences in human history.
This study examines plants associated with ritual purity, fertility, prosperity and life, and plants associated with ritual impurity, sickness, ill fate and death. It provides detail from history, ethnography, religious studies, classics, folklore, ethnobotany and medicine.
Despite its small size, Belize is one of the most ecologically and culturally diverse nations in Central America. Over 3,400 species of plants can be found here, within a diversity of ecological habitats. Because of this, Belize is paradise for ecotourists, hosting over 900,000 visitors annually, who enjoy the natural habitat and friendly people of this nation. Many of the plants of Belize have a long history of being "useful," with properties that have served traditional herbal healers of the region as well as those who use plants as food, forage, fiber, ornament, in construction and ritual, along with many other purposes. With Messages from the Gods: A Guide to the Useful Plants of Belize, Drs. Michael Balick and Rosita Arvigo give us the definitive resource on the many species of plants in Belize and their folklore, as well as the natural history of the region and a detailed discussion of "bush" uses of plants, including for traditional healing and life in the forest, past and present. Both Balick and Arvigo bring important perspectives to the project, Balick as ethnobotanical scientist from The New York Botanical Garden, and Arvigo as a former apprentice to a Belizean healer and an experienced physician. The book has been decades in the making, a culmination of a biodiversity research project that The New York Botanical Garden and international and local collaborators have had in motion since 1987. Drs. Balick, Arvigo and their colleagues have collected and identified thousands of plants from the region, and have worked extensively with hundreds of Belizean people, many of them herbal healers and bushmasters, to record uses for many of the species. This collaboration with local plant experts has produced a fascinating discussion of the intersection of herbal medicine and spiritual belief in the area, and these interviews are used to compliment and contextualize the numerous species accounts presented. The book is both a cultural study and a specialized field guide; information is provided on many different native and introduced plants in Belize and their traditional and contemporary uses including as food, medicine, fiber, in spiritual practices and many other purposes. Richly illustrated with over 600 images and photographs, Messages from the Gods: A Guide to The Useful Plants of Belize will serve as the primary reference and guide to the ethnobotany of Belize for many years to come.
Shamanism can be defined as the practice of initiated shamans who are distinguished by their mastery of a range of altered states of consciousness. Shamanism arises from the actions the shaman takes in non-ordinary reality and the results of those actions in ordinary reality. It is not a religion, yet it demands spiritual discipline and personal sacrifice from the mature shaman who seeks the highest stages of mystical development.
Guide to cultivating peyote and other psychoactive cacti and extracting active properties, including obtaining seeds, growing a variety of cacti, cloning, and grafting, and extracting the maximum output of mescaline and other alkaloids, descriptions of procedures used for extracting mescaline from peyote and San Pedro, and legal aspects prepared by Attorney Richard Glen Boire.
Anzar was known as a crazy eccentric scientist. Nobody paid much attention to his weird pseudo -scientific experiments. When unexplained accidents started to happen around his derelict house it took a young I.P.F lieutenant named Cameron to find out what was going on... Then Cameron vanished. The I.P.F sent another man after Cameron, he went too. That started the full scale attack; an attack that was repulsed before it started. Anzar was ready. Maybe Anzar wasn't crazy? Maybe Anzar was the outstanding scientific genius of the 22nd century? What strange power did his yellow mist possess? What became of the men who got caught in it? As Cameron blacked out he wondered whether there was flesh and blood behind the metal . . . Above all, what mystery lay locked in the great steel cylinder?
Ripinsky-Naxon explores the core and essence of shamanism by looking at its ritual, mythology, symbolism, and the dynamics of its cultural process. In dealing with the basic elements of shamanism, the author discusses the shamanistic experience and enlightenment, the inner personal crisis, and the many aspects entailed in the role of the shaman.
Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico's War on Drugs
Author: Isaac Campos
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Historian Isaac Campos combines wide-ranging archival research with the latest scholarship on the social and cultural dimensions of drug-related behavior in this telling of marijuana's remarkable history in Mexico. Introduced in the sixteenth century by the Spanish, cannabis came to Mexico as an industrial fiber and symbol of European empire. But, Campos demonstrates, as it gradually spread to indigenous pharmacopoeias, then prisons and soldiers' barracks, it took on both a Mexican name--marijuana--and identity as a quintessentially "Mexican" drug. A century ago, Mexicans believed that marijuana could instantly trigger madness and violence in its users, and the drug was outlawed nationwide in 1920. Home Grown thus traces the deep roots of the antidrug ideology and prohibitionist policies that anchor the drug-war violence that engulfs Mexico today. Campos also counters the standard narrative of modern drug wars, which casts global drug prohibition as a sort of informal American cultural colonization. Instead, he argues, Mexican ideas were the foundation for notions of "reefer madness" in the United States. This book is an indispensable guide for anyone who hopes to understand the deep and complex origins of marijuana's controversial place in North American history.