History Of Mescaline
Copyright © Klaus Trenary
"The white man goes into his church house and talks about Jesus; The Indian goes into his teepee and talks to Jesus." J. S. Slotkin.
Some Indians believe, that Peyote is a God, or at least a messenger of the Gods, sent to communicate directly with the individual worshiper. Peyote is considered to be divine by the Indians, a messenger that allows the faithful to communicate with God without the need of a priest.
BCE is an abbreviation for Before the Common Era, for us peyote loving Satan worshipers. It is the same as B.C. Lophophora williamsii, or peyote is one of the plants that mescaline comes from. Mescaline is the drug name.
History Of Peyote 8000 BCE
The history of peyote can be traced as far back as 10 000 years ago, In several Northern Indian tribes, the Peyote ceremony is descended from the mescal bean ceremony. The mescal bean is the highly toxic seed of the Sophora secundiflora tree.
The odd thing is that other than Cacti, the mescal bean tree is about the only other thing that blooms in that part of the desert. It is also associated with Peyote in that both species often are found growing together.
There is evidence that the mescal bean has been used as an oracle for upwards of 10,000 years. Its use was however very dangerous, as just eating a little too much would have very fatal consequences.
One quarter to one half seed would be roasted by the fire until yellowish brown. It was then consumed causing a sleepy delirium that lasted three days.
Fortunately the Peyote ceremony has completely replaced the use of the mescal bean. Do not confuse the bean with Peyote, or the mescal plant which is a Maguey (source of pulque liquor). All three are separate and unrelated entities. Some Peyotists still use mescal beans as amulets.
Peyote 4000 BCE
Legend has it that Peyote was discovered when a lost, and starving man came across it in the deep desert. A voice was heard to emanate from the plant, saying that it was good and should be eaten.
The man ate of the bitter, unpalatable plant, regained his strength, and returned to his village bearing this divine gift, and relating his adventures.
Peyote 1300 BCE
Engraved stone carvings of a figure holding Cacti were found in Chavin, Mexico.
Peyote 1000 BCE
Archeological evidence points to Peyote being used ceremonially for at least 3000 years. Still psychoactive specimens of Peyote have been recovered from dry caves and rock shelters as far North as Texas after 3 millennia.
It has even been suggested that Peyote use is more ancient still. A symbol used by current day Tarahumara Indians is similar to ancient ritualistic lava rock carvings found in mesoamerica.
San Pedro representations have been found on Moche and Chimu ceramics, as well as Nazca urns.
Peyote 700 BCE
A ceramic snuffing pipe in the form of a deer with a Peyote in its mouth was found in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. In the Huichol culture, deer, maize and Peyote form a holy trinity.
Peyote 200 BCE
It has been suggested that San Pedro has been cultivated as a crop in Peru around this time period.
Mescaline Circa 1500
Fray Bernardino de Sahagun, an early Spanish chronicler, estimated that the Chichimeca and Toltec Indians used Peyote at least 1890 years before the arrival of the Europeans. Sahagun lived with and studied the indigenous Indians from 1499 to 1590.
Mescaline 15th - 17th century
Persecution of Peyote began soon after the Spanish invaders conquered the indigenous peoples.
The European ecclesiastics were very intolerant of any cult but their own and soon tried to crush native beliefs, subjecting the Indians to unspeakable tortures and acts of barbarism (sounds kind of like the drug wars of the late 20th century).
In an all too familiar attempt to erase knowledge, the Spanish oppressor engaged in an orgy of unparalleled destruction, burning thousands of Aztec documents and other items.
To the narrow, christian minds of the invaders, Peyote was associated with the bloody Aztec sacrificial rites and condemned as Riaz diabolica (the Devils root). Several seventeenth century Jesuit priests stated that the Indians used Peyote medicinally and ceremonially. They reported that the inebriated Indians would see terrible visions.
When the hysteria of witchcraft peaked in Europe, it was not long till it spilled over into the conquered territories. In an all too familiar attempt by the Church to break the will of the people, the Holy Office of the Inquisition imposed the first drug law in the new world.
Peyote was formally denounced as an act of superstition on June, 29th 1620 as a source of divining, and foretelling future events.
The Spanish persecutors, under the aegis of the Catholic Church, made every effort to totally stamp out Peyote use, subjecting the Indians to floggings, beatings, cruel tortures and even death if they persisted.
One account states that as a continuation of three days of torture, a disobedient Indian had his eyes gouged out.
The self-righteous Spanish then cut a crucifix into the flesh of his chest, and turned loose starving dogs to dine on his innards. They then went to church because they were devout Christians.
Mescaline 18th century
As late as 1760, the Catholic church still equated Peyote with cannibalism. Some of the questions asked of converts was, hath thou eaten of the flesh of man? Hath thou eaten of the flesh of Peyote? Dost thou suck the blood of others? Dost thou call upon demons for aid?
After bearing two centuries of savage oppression, and the decimation and breakup of mesoamerican civilization, the Peyote ritual was driven underground, to be silently preserved in the Chihuahuan desert. No anthropologists ever bothered to investigate or observe a Peyote ritual until well in the 1960's.
It is believed that the contemporary ceremonies of the Huichol, Cora, Yaqui, Tepecano and Tarahumara are close to the original format used during pre-Columbian times.
Traditionally, Peyote has been used to treat ailments, in shamanic rituals, and even in games. The Tarahumara consume Peyote prior to engaging in 20 or 40 mile long foot races.
Mescaline 19th century
Modern scientific pharmacological studies of Peyote started in the late 1880's. In 1887, Parke Davis & Co. began to distribute dried Peyote buttons.
In 1888, botanist Paul Hennings published a report on Lophophora chemistry, leading to other investigations. The principal active ingredient (mescaline) was first isolated in 1897 by a German chemist, A. Heffter.
In 1892, the German explorer Lumhotz described ceremonial Peyote use among the Huichol and Tarahumara, and sent samples to Harvard for Botanical analysis.
During the later part of the 1800's, at the close of the Indian wars, Indians brought back knowledge of Peyote from raids on Mexico.
As a part of the ghost dance, Peyote use spread quickly among the Indian tribes of America after 1880. Indian prophets like Quanah Parker added Christianity to traditional beliefs and formed the basis of the Peyote ritual practiced today.
Mescaline 20th century
Ernst Spath was the first person to create mescaline synthetically, in his laboratory in 1919. The last extensive study of mescaline's effects was Der Meskalinrausch ( The Mescaline High), published in 1927.
Studies of Peyote and mescaline lay almost dormant until Aldous Huxley experimented with it in 1953, and later wrote The Doors of Perception. This controversial book sparked a mass of interest, helping start the Psychedelic revolution.
In 1945, scientists discovered that Cacti other than Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) contained mescaline when San Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoi) was found to be used by Indians of Ecuador. In 1950, Trichocereus pachanoi was analyzed and discovered to contain 1 - 2% mescaline, dry weight.
Mescaline was used around this time in early experiments into chemically induced psychosis, hence the archaic name of hallucinogens developed, psychotomimetic.
It was also studied widely for the treatment of alcoholism, neurosis and other mental disorders, until the discovery of LSD. I personally find it interesting that at least 2500 years ago, the two widely separated cultures of Northern Texas and the South American Andes, embraced mescaline at about the same times.
Even though neither culture had any contact with the other, and the fact that Trichocereus and Lophophora look nothing alike, both cultures developed a shamanic use for their respective teacher plants.
The Native American Church History from 1870's to present.
Peyote use was more or less unknown North of the Rio Grande until around the Civil War era. During the war, some white soldiers, and even some federal marshals had a chance to try this new green whiskey. By the wars end, and into the 1870's, increased contact between American and Mexican Indians helped to spread the Peyote cult Northward.
It was during this time period that the last of the free plains Indians were being herded on to reservations. Their population was decimated by starvation and disease, the great herds that they depended on for their very survival were just a sad memory.
The few Indians that had survived to this point were hungry and impoverished, with absolutely no hope, no future. They were totally at the mercy of the white Christian oppressors, they were as unwanted slaves in their own lands.
This was the time of the Ghost Dance, the only futile hope for a future that the Indian had known in many years. The ghost dance was a form of worship that spread like wild fire in the 1880's.
Basically it was a belief that if one was pure, obeyed certain rituals, and prayed hard enough, that the souls of all of the ancestors would be reborn and would destroy the white enslaver.
It was also thought that the dance would bring back the game and the buffalo, so the Indians would no longer go hungry.
This obviously did not sit well with the paranoid whites, particularly those close to the reservations. This was the time of the horrible massacre at Wounded Knee.
During this same time period Peyote was also making inroads into North American Indian culture. The Apache and Tonkawas were two of the first tribes to embrace Peyote. Around the turn of the century, the Comanche and Kiowa also engaged in the ritual. Soon afterwards over 50 different tribes began using the sacrament of Peyotyl.
Three men were the most influential in the spread of the Peyote religion
The first was John Wilson, a Caddo, Delaware, French man who was renowned as a Ghost Dance leader. Legend has it that Wilson and his wife went into the forest, where he ate 15 buttons a day for 2 weeks.
It was during these experiences that he was instructed on such things as how to paint his face and how to sing the holy songs, by the Peyote. He was shown the path to enlightenment, and was told to walk this path for the rest of his life, and remain faithful to Peyotes teachings.
The second influential figure was the famous Quanah Parker, a half white, Comanche chief. Laying in his teepee, dying, after all attempts to cure him by doctors and medicine men failed, he was visited by a Tarahumara curandera (healer).
Within a few days after ingesting Peyote tea, he was returned to health. The experience so changed him, that he gave up violence, and dedicated the rest of his life to spreading the teachings of Peyotyl.
Finally, the third major player was James Mooney, a Smithsonian Institute archeologist. He traveled through 1891 Oklahoma to participate in Peyote ceremonies.
Mooney became convinced of the need to unite the Indians, and protect their legal right to worship with Peyote.
He called together a meeting of all of the great roadmen in 1918, and wrote the charter for and incorporated the Native American Church.
The practices of the Native Americans differed from that of the shamanic rituals used by their Mexican counterparts. The American tribes blended in Christian theology, and emphasized a communal ceremony of chanting, meditation and prayer.
In 1907, three Kickapoo Indians were arrested and fined $25 each, plus court costs for using the sacred Cactus. By the year 1922, the Native American church claimed 22,000 members.
There were numerous attempts on the State and Federal levels to outlaw Peyote. Laws banning Peyote were enacted in 11 Southwestern States.
The apparent death blow against Peyote oppression occurred in 1960, when an enlightened Arizona Judge Yale McFate, ruled that the Native Americans were guaranteed access to the Peyote sacrament under first and fourteenth amendment rights.
In more recent times, the rights of Native Americans to engage in the Holy Sacrament have continually been reaffirmed.
Just thought this was a good read and thought I would share. Haven't ever seen it posted here on the boards so i figured I would. If its been posted then i am sorry but, if not perhaps someone might find this a good read. Ofcourse all credit goes to the author listed above.