Diviners Sage

Closely associated with the Indian mushroom cults is the use of another psychoactive plant Hierba de la Pastora (Salvia divinorum). It is not entirely clear if it was used i i the pre-Spanish times. It is possible that it was the Pipiltzintzintli of the Aztecs.

The male or female shamans of the Mazatecs of Oaxaca use Salvia divinorum, which is also known as hoja de la

Page 165 top left: Painted nettle is used by the Mazatecs as a replacement for Salvia dvinorum

Page 165 top right: Coleus pumilus is considered by the Mazatecs to be related to Salvia divinorum.

Page 165 middle: Salvia divinorum in the Mexican rain forest.

pastora (leaf of the shepherd) or pastora, in rituals associated with divination or healing, generally as a substitute for the otherwise preferred psychoactive mushrooms. María Sabina remarked: "When I am in the time that there are no mushrooms and want to heal someone who is sick, then I must fall back on the leaves of pastora When you grind them up and eat them, they work just like the niños. But, of course, pastora has nowhere near as much power as the mushrooms."

The ritual use is remarkably similar to the use of mushrooms. Salvinia divinorum rituals take place at n'ght in complete darkness and stillness, Either the healer is alone with the patient or there are also other patients and possibly some healthy participants present. Before the shaman chews and sucks on the leaves, they are held over some burning Copal incense, and some prayers are said to consecrate the leaves. After chewing the leaves, the participants lie down and remain as still and silent as possible. Salvia rituals last barely longer than one to two hours, as the effects of the leaves last a significantly shorter time than those of mushrooms If the visions are strong enough, the healer finds the cause of the illness, or some other problem. He or she gives the patient appropriate advice and ends the meeting.

Salvia divinorum, which is also known as Aztec sage, is native to the Mazatec areas of the Sierra Madre Oriental in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It grows naturally in tropical rain forests in an altitude of three hundred to eighteen hundred meters. Salvia divinorum, because of its limited geographic habitat, belongs to the rarest of psychoactive

Sage The DivinersPipiltzintzintli

What Was Pipiltzintzintli?

plants, but is cultivated by plant lovers all over the world. This reproduction is achieved with cuttings.

The Mazatecs take thirteen pairs of fresh leaves (twenty six leaves altogether) and twist them into a kind of cigar or chaw, which is put into the mouth and sucked or chewed. The juice is not swallowed, but the active ingredients are absorbed through the mucous membranes in the side of the mouth. For one of these cigars, it takes at least six fresh leaves, but one can use eight or ten leaves for a stronger effect. The effects with the chewing method begin in almost exactly ten minutes and last approximately forty-five minutes.

The dried leaves can also be smoked. "With this method, half of a fairly large leaf (two or three deep inhalations) induces a strong psychoactive reaction. Generally, one or two leaves are smoked

Most people who have smoked, chewed, or taken a tincture of Salvia di-vinorum report very bizarre, unusua psychoactive effects, which are not very comparable with euphoric or psychedelic substances. There is often perceived to be a "bending" of space; and a feeling of swaying or out-of-body expe-:ences is also typical.

In the traditional taxonomy of the Mazatecs, Salvia divinorum is related to two forms of labiates. Salvia is known as the "mother" (la hembra), Coleus pu-milus is considered to be the "father" (el macho), and Coleus blumei is known as el nene (the child) and el ahiajado, the godchild. The fresh leaves are used just as those of Salvia divinorum—that is, they are chewed like chew;ng tobacco This connection gives the Coleus the reputation of being psychoactive plants

The Chemistry of Salvia divinorum

The leaves contain the neocerodan-diterpenes salvinorin A and salvinorir B (also known as aivinorin A and divinorin B), as well as two other, similar substances that have not yet been precisely identified. The main ingredient is salvinorin A (chemical formula: C23H2808) which has extreme conscious ness-altering effects with amounts as small as 150-500mg. Sal orín is no* an alkaloid. It was first described by Ortega et al. by the name of saivinorin (1982). Later, Valdes et al. described it under the name of divinorin A (1984). The neurochemistry of salvinorin is still an unsolved puzzle. The inqredients have not bound to any receptors in any receptor tests (the NovaScreen method). The plant also contains loliolid

What Was Pipiltzintzintli?

The ancient Aztecs knew and used a plant called Pipiltzintzintli (the pui ?st little prince) very similarly to the use of Psilocybe mexicana in entheogenic rituals. There are masculine and feminine forms of this plant, macho and hembra. In the National Archives in Mexico City, there are inquisition files from the years 1696,1698, and 1706 that mention Pipiltzintzin and hint at its intoxicating effects. Various autnors have taken this to be Salvia divinorum.


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