Maria Sabina is an important figure in Mexico. She is probably the most famous Curandero to have ever lived and Maria Sabina is the one who created a bridge between the Mexican spiritual world and the western explorers. Sabina was more than a healer. She was a poet but never claimed to have written her poetries. On the contrary, she would say that it is the mushrooms who used to recite poetries to them and she is just a tool for them to talk to the world. What was so special about these mushrooms and the lady behind them who made them popular?
On May 13, 1957, an article, “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” was published in the Life magazine by Ethnobotanist Robert Wasson, an unconventional banker, and botanist who loved to dig up the culture around the herbs that were used by various indigenous societies. The article soon became very popular and introduced the world to the psilocybin mushrooms and the lady who performs rituals using these mushrooms to heal people. Her name was Maria Sabina. Maria Sabina not only contributed to the psychedelic revolution but also introduced many people to Mexican spirituality and mysticism. Let’s explore Maria Sabina and her ideas in this article.
In a documentary on YouTube, Maria Sabina could be heard explaining about a Sacred Man of the Mountains. She says that she has seen that man in her dreams and visions and he comes on a white horse and the way she narrates the story as she is accompanied by her sister and friends, it seems like they are talking about a real-life person who lives among them.
In most of the traditions around the world, we have different kinds of traditions centered around the idea of mysticism and we all want to become one with the god and that is what mysticism really means, or does it?
If we carefully examine, we will find out that not all cultures draw the distinction between the natural and the supernatural. There is a natural world and then, there is a supernatural world that is different, more divine where the spiritual entities like angels, gods, etc., live. But interestingly, in Mexican mysticism, this line between the natural and the supernatural appears somewhat blurred. The way Mexican healers or curanderos describe the reality, it seems as if the way they experience the reality is different from the way we experience it and Maria Sabina is no exception.
Maria Sabina was from Huautla de Jimenez in Mexico. She is the main character in the book “Maria Sabina and Her Mazatec Mushroom Velada” by Robert Gordon Wasson. Sabina used to hold psychedelic mushroom ceremonies that helped Wasson achieve a breakthrough in his research on the ritualistic use of psilocybin mushrooms, which are mentioned in the book as “little smoke” and “Saint Peter”.
Maria Sabina is probably the most famous Curandero in the world. Being a curandero is a powerful influence. The curanderos are credited with the capability to “free” the mind by removing inhibitions and opening the mind to new awareness and experience. This newfound freedom is often expressed as a spiritual experience and therefore, many people treat psilocybin mushrooms as the gateway to the spiritual experiences in life. But how did Maria Sabina herself discover these magical mushrooms which have been the center of many types of research and are believed to be a major reason behind the psychedelic renaissance?
Maria and her sister discovered these mushrooms while they were young as they were on the hills protecting their crops from the sparrow hawks and the foxes. She says, “I remember my grandparents used to talk about these mushrooms with great respect and they called them little things or saints, I call them holy children, I put the mushrooms and began to chew them and their taste was not so good, on the contrary, they were bitter with the taste of roots. My sister Maria Anna has been watching me and had just eaten some too. After eating the mushroom, we felt somewhat dizzy as if we were drunk and we began to cry. Later on, we were all right. We felt that the mushroom talked to us because we heard a voice, a voice that came from the other world. It was a pleasant voice but at the same time, an authoritarian voice like the voice of the father who loves his children but is firm with them. I felt that everything around me was God himself. I felt that I talked a lot and that my words are beautiful, long after I understood that the mushrooms produced wisdom, they cure sicknesses and they have power and they are Christ’s blood. For these reasons, our people have been eating them for years.”
Maria Sabina’s Veladas which is the name used for the healing ceremonies attracted a lot of tourists to her place including some of the most prominent names like Aldous Huxley, and John Lennon. Even Bob Dylan and Walt Disney were rumored to have visited Maria Sabina to be part of the Psilocybin mushroom eating rituals. It is so fascinating to think how Wasson’s meeting with Maria Sabina led to a major cultural shift around the globe. She indeed is the mother of the psychedelic revolution.