The topic of plant medicine and medicinal journeys is growing in popularity, but there is a long list of potential questions for those who have not yet embarked on this sacred journey.
Or if you have, maybe you’re still curious to learn more. While many psychedelic substances still remain illegal in many parts of the world, there are places that have been loosening laws around using them, as new medical research shows the potential groundbreaking benefits that plant medicine can have on the mind and body.
The Healing Power of Psychedelics
A psychedelic is a substance that can be used to enhance and change the sensory experience. Consuming plant medicine, depending on the substance you are taking, changes the way that you think, feel, and process your emotions and the world around you. Sometimes seeing things from a different perspective is very healing and heart opening.
The use of psychedelic substances has its roots in ancient times, when many cultures around the world used plant medicine as a religious sacrament, for medicine and healing, and other ceremonial purposes.
Overtime, religious authorities deemed plant medicine as “witchcraft” and therefore evil, leading to the more recent “War on Drugs”, and illegalization of many of these substances. Today, scientists are reopening research that had been cut short previously, revealing powerful truths about the amazing benefits of using psychedelics as medicine.
A Brief History of Psychedelics
Today, psychedelics can be classified into two different categories, entheogens and synthetic drugs. Entheogens are derived directly from plants, while synthetic drugs are made in a lab, such as LSD, or Ketamine. The ancients obviously didn’t have access to lab made drugs. They consumed the plant substances that grew around them, wild and straight from the heart of nature.
There is evidence of the ancient Aztecs consuming magic mushrooms, deeming them “the flesh of the Gods”. Some Indigenous cultures in the Americas used peyote for medicine and ceremony, and many Native people are still using peyote ayahuasca in their rituals today.
In the Northernmost countries, the famed Amanita Muscaria mushroom has been growing wild for thousands of years. The legend says that Siberian Shamans would give these mushrooms out as gifts to the people, forming the story we know of as Santa Clause and his flying reindeer bringing gifts down from the North Pole. The first cave paintings ever found of psilocybin were said to be painted around 4500 BC!
Where we are Today
Psychedelics have a long and ancient relationships with human beings, but now they are largely illegal, and it’s more difficult to get ahold of their incredible healing properties. Unfortunately, years of religious power struggles, the oppression of women, healers, and the destruction of the earth have damaged our connection to sacred plant medicine.
The good news is that scientists are picking the research back up again, and it’s starting to get easier to gain access to these sacred substances. We are in the process of a global awakening, and the continued research and use of sacred plant medicine is part of it.
The Potential Benefits of Psychedelics
Further research is being done on the potential benefits of psychedelics, but here is a brief summary of what researchers know now:
- LSD, and psilocybin, and ketamine may be beneficial for people that struggle with mental illness.
- Using psychedelics helps people relate more to their spirituality, and can be very comforting for dying people.
- Ayahuasca has been known to increase people's sense of general well being.
- Psilocybin is helpful for increasing mindfulness and presence with everyday activities.
- Psychedelics are non-addictive.
- Certain psychedelics are proving to be therapeutic for autistic people, and people with sensory issues.
- The effects of psychedelic treatment are typically long lasting.
Psychedelics are one of Mother Earth’s most potent medicines. We were designed to be in relationship with earth and what she offers us for our healing and growth. She is a mother–nurturing and feeding us, tending to our wounds and providing for our needs, and she has the right medicine for us, if we are willing to receive it.
We are in the midst of a psychedelic revolution now, and it’s likely that as the planet continues to awaken, the use of sacred plant medicine will no longer be seen as a threat, but as a viable form of treatment for many of the problems people are facing today.
If you feel called to use sacred plants- make sure to fully vet the provider and the origins and make grounded choices that feel safe for you. This is not medical advice, just a perspective on the use of psychedelics and their potential benefits to the human race.