Notes: This post does not condone illegal drug use. This is for eductational purposes only, and is simply a discussion topic relating to the history of magick.
Hello, spirit, welcome, dear spirit,
my cougar, my puma, my snarling lover,
bring me words. I know you.
And now I see your wound,
and now I see your death,
and wailing is my only song.
~Dale Pendall, Pharmako Gnosis
The most recorded type of magick throughout the span of history is the use of drug-induced ritual. It spans the ages and almost all shamans were known to use specific plants and herbs to induce an altered state. These herbs were revered in Native American traditions, known as Gods and Goddesses in many other cultures. They were the saviors, not the tool of the savior. They were never used for recreation for this was a dishonor to the plant. The plant spirits were the guardians of knowledge, and the guides of those who sought that knowledge.
Demons teach, instruct, and inspire men; there never was a man of outstanding stature in any art or action who had no familiar spirit to guide him. ~Paracelsus
Why do I bring these thoughts up when they are obviously illegal? I bring these ideas to mind because we as a group must understand where the stories of the past come from. The brujos of old often partook in ritual drug use in order to gain exceptional powers. South American shamans still partake in ritual Ayahuasca use in order to cleanse the mind and spirit as well as to travel through the underworld with the plant spirits as guides.
So the question I must ask is which way do we go? On the one hand, the plant guides of the past are dangerous, deadly, and controlling. They are not controllable, and in fact will control even the most cautious of followers evenutally. They are the end to many voyagers of their paths. They are also proven guides. They are the poison that heals, the darkness that brings the light, and the savior that condemns.
Do we discount all of the stories of the past? Are we to think of the shamans of old as ignorant and unknowing of the truth that science and modern medicine has told us about? Do we, the followers of the old ways, the followers of our ancestors’ beliefs, feel it right to take what we think is safe from their ways and leave the rest? I do not wish to push these ideas onto people. I only wish to play devil’s advocate and ask what do you believe?
There are legitimate reasons to abstain from the use of endeogenic plants and drugs. They are illegal. They take the control away from the user. They can even destroy the user. What is your view? How can you discount it completely?
O Sacred, Wise, and Wisdom-giving Plant,
Mother of Science, Now I feel thy Power
Within me clear, not only to discern
Things in their Causes, but to trace the ways
Of highest Agents, deem’d however wise.