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What is a Shaman? Shaman can have various roles – Healer – Spirit Guide – Interpreter The status of a Shaman in society can vary. Some people are designated.

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Presentation on theme: "What is a Shaman? Shaman can have various roles – Healer – Spirit Guide – Interpreter The status of a Shaman in society can vary. Some people are designated."— Presentation transcript:


2 What is a Shaman? Shaman can have various roles – Healer – Spirit Guide – Interpreter The status of a Shaman in society can vary. Some people are designated Shaman while others are ordinary citizens with Shaman powers. A Shaman will often consume a drug (entheogen) to enter a trance to communicate with the spirits or better understand the world. Shaman have expert understanding of their culture and their surrounding environment. Their cultural knowledge of rituals and practices helps preserve tradition.

3 Entheogen An entheogen is a drug used for religious or ritual purposes. It is often consumed by the Shaman and those seeking his aid. Examples of entheogens: – Iboga by the Bwiti tribe in Africa – Mescaline by the Aztecs in South America – Peyote by the Native Americans in North America – Amanita Muscaria by Siberian Tribes in Siberia

4 Shamans in Siberia Birthplace of Shamanism Ordinary people Amanita Muscaria

5 Native to the Northern Hemisphere Active Ingredients – Ibotenic Acid – Muscimol NT Receptors – GABAa – NMDA Glutamate Agonist Effects – Hallucinations – Sweating – Tremors Varying Quality – Not distributed evenly throughout the mushroom (Cap > Base) Potentially dangerous

6 Muscimol Product of decarboxlyation of Ibotenic Acid Hippocampus, Cerebellum, Cerebral Cortex Full GABA Agonist Responsible for Hallucinogenic effect

7 Other Uses of Amanita Muscaria Legal Dangerous Early Pesticide (Milk) Vikings – Berserker Rage?

8 Aztec Use of Entheogens

9 The Florentine Codex 12 books written 1540-1585 by Aztec natives under the supervision of Spanish missionaries Catalogues specifics of everyday Aztec life Extensive records of Aztecs using a plethora of plants for supernatural and everyday purposes Titles of Priest or Healer were obtainable by any person of noble descent

10 Plant Species and their Respective Uses Ololiúqui (Christmas Vine) Seeds contain LSA, a precursor to LSD Used by priests to communicate with the gods Tlitliltzin (Beach Moonflower) Contains alkaloids with mild hallucinogenic effects Used to induce a trance and communicate with the dead for the purpose of divination Peyotl (Peyote) Administered to warriors by shaman before battle as protection Pipiltzintzintli (possibly Salvia Divinorum) Applied as a poultice Boiled in water and ingested to reduce fatigue

11 The God Mushroom Aztec name: Teonanacatl Psilocybin mushroom Eating these mushrooms granted gifts from the Mushroom God Clairvoyance Relief from fever and gout Used very extensively “Whenever there was singing and dancing, mushrooms were to be eaten” – Florentine Codex Cult of the Mushroom still exists today in Central America

12 Use During Sacrificial Feasts Human sacrifices given in honor of Quetzalcoatl Feathered serpent god, creator of mankind Eaten with honey and chocolate for 4 days Attendees would feast on day 1, then eat only Teonanacatl for the remaining 3 days. On the 4 th day, nobles would choose a slave to sacrifice Slave would be displayed in front of entire settlement Chest cut open, heart removed and eaten Noble would keep the slave’s head for the rest of his life

13 Pharmacological Violence? A common symptom of extremely high psilocybin doses is dysphoria (unpleasant, anxious, irritable and aggressive mood), and vivid hallucinations. Florentine Codex documents that many would see Quetzalcoatl while on trips, and be absolutely terrified “He who eats many of these mushrooms sees many things which make him afraid…he flees, hangs himself, or hurls himself from a cliff”- Florentine Codex Would these sacrifices occur without the influence of psilocybin mushrooms?

14 Additional Influence of Mushrooms The Florentine Codex catalogues over 20 species of mushrooms eaten as a staple by the Aztecs Many of these species are highly neurotoxic Cooking and preparation reduces neurotoxicity, but not always in its entirety How much of Aztec religion was derived from extremely high doses of a huge variety of drugs? Mictlantecuhtli, ruler of the underworld. Also something you’d see on a bad trip.


16 HISTORY Small, spineless cactus naturally growing from Rio Grande to Chihuahuan Desert, usually in warm climate Entheogen Very slow growing – up to 30 years to reach flowering stage! Considered “endangered”

17 HUICHOL – “Wixáritari” Indigenous group of western central Mexico Deities: Trinity of Corn, Blue Deer, Peyote, and the Eagle. They fought for a long time to avoid Catholic influences by Spanish settlers. - Rejected priests

18 Huichol practices Paint faces with icons, wear embroidered clothes to invoke the presence of ancestors During the dry season, the ceremony included the “Peyote Dance” Brother Blue Deer transforms to Peyote, Mother Peyote shot by bows and arrows at dawn Ceremonial officer pilgrimage 5 year term

19 Native Americans Native American Church = peyotism (Orig. in Oklahoma) Apache people spread it up to what is U.S. area from the south Peyotism is an integration of Catholism with their own shamanistic religion Weekend rituals from Saturday night 8pm to Sunday morning breakfast

20 Pharmacology Crowns sliced off and dried to form mescal buttons These buttons are usually chewed and swallowed. (or boiled and drank as tea) About 30% of total alkaloid content is mescaline – Plus 50-60 other alkaloids So much variation that the ED50, LD50, potency are all unknown – Season, age, etc.

21 Mescaline Primary active ingredient of peyote Half life: ~6 hours but some studies suggest that it is not metabolized at all before excretion – Can be excreted as carboxylic acid form of mescaline = result of MAO degradation Binds to serotonin receptors as partial agonist Can build cross-tolerance to LSD

22 Effects of Peyote Positive: – Feelings of insight/access to spiritual ideation – kaleidoscope vision of bright colors – euphoria – increase energy and tactile sensation – dreamy feelings – feeling of hope Negative: – Time/reality perception changes – restlessness/insomnia – unusual body sensations – Nausea – shortness of breath – changes in body temp. – inhibition of sex drive – paranoia, fear, etc…

23 PEYOTE TODAY Schedule I – Illegal to sell and possess peyote – Native American Church and members are exempt from registration – Manufacturers/distributers to NA Church are required to obtain registration annually. Law varies state to state – CALIFORNIA? Still used as medicine to treat alcoholism, drug abuse or other social ills

24 Last thoughts… Why is it Schedule 1 if we have no scientific proof of its addictiveness, especially since there’s evidence of medical uses? Notice a pattern in western influence invasion over these ethnic cultures? – Huichol vs. Spanish Catholics – Native Americans vs. federal government

25 Iboga and the Bwiti

26 What is Bwiti? A West Central African religion - Gabon The name of the people who practice Bwiti A syncretistic religion composed of animism, ancestor worship, and Christianity

27 Iboga Hallucinogenic rootbark of Tabernathe iboga Taken by the Bwiti to produce psychoactive effects Psychoactive substance in iboga: ibogaine Bark can be pulverized, swallowed, chewed, or taken as a pill

28 Pharmacology A “dirty” drug – acts on multiple NT systems: 5-HT, DA, GABA Primarily taken orally Low doses for therapeutic effects, high for psychedelic effects Iboga substance tastes like “sawdust mixed with battery acid” Ibogaine is 1 out of 12 alkaloids in iboga Oral onset: 45 min-3 hrs

29 Iboga use among the Bwiti 2 main uses: –Small doses used as a stimulant, 3-5mg/kg –High doses (>10 mg) used for Bwiti initiation rituals Bwiti “rebirth” ceremony used required of teenagers for group membership

30 Effects and Problems + Dreamlike visual hallucinations last 3-4 hours + Most intense period may last 24 hours or more + Lingering effects 1-2 days after -Ataxia, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting -Heart arrhythmia resulting in 1/300 deaths -Neurotoxic at high doses

31 Therapeutic Applications Reduction or elimination of addiction to opiates, etc. “Ibogaine scene” quadrupled in the last 5 years –Ibogaine clinics Therapeutic effects may last up to 3 months –Depot binding, ibogaine metabolized slowly Diminishes morphine and cocaine self-administration in rats Blocks DA release

32 Something to consider… Ibogaine is a Schedule I drug in the U.S. (1967) Unavailable to the majority of addicts worldwide But, it has proven therapeutic effects for treating opioid, methamphetamine, nicotine, and alcohol addictions If in good hands and used in a clinical setting, ibogaine can be a lifesaver

33 Works Cited Ibogaine Therapy: A 'Vast, Uncontrolled Experiment’. Brian Vastag. Science, New Series, Vol. 308, No. 5720 (Apr. 15, 2005), pp. 345-346 Tabernanthe iboga: An African Narcotic Plant of Social Importance. Harrison G. Pope, Jr. Economic Botany, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1969), pp. 174-184 Addiction Alleviator?: Hallucinogen's Popularity Grows. Brian Vastag. Science News, Vol. 173, No. 1 (Jan. 5, 2008), p. 6

34 Works Cited cont’d shtml Article.2010-03-17.0423/getFile EHUICHOl-Wixarika.pdf merican_Church/ ml

35 Works Cited cont’d Albert Hoffman, “Teonanacatl and Ololiuqui, two ancient drugs of Mexico.” Bulletin on Narcotics, Issue 1, 1971. Elferink, Jan G. R., Flores, Jose A., Kaplan Charles D. “The use of Plants and Other Natural Products for Malevolent Practices Among the Aztecs and Their Successors.” Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl Volume 24, 1994. Mike Hughes, “Teonanacatl: The Secret History of Magic Mushrooms.” 30 September, 2010. Sagahun, Bernardino. Historia general de las cosas de Nueva Espana. 1590.

36 Works Cited cont’d Amanita Muscaria and Siberia – Nyberg, H. (1992). "Religious use of hallucinogenic fungi: A comparison between Siberian and Mesoamerican Cultures“ Muscimol – S. R. Snodgrass (1978). "Use of 3 H-muscimol for GABA receptor studies". Berserker Rage – Ödman S. (1784) “An attempt to Explain the Berserk- raging of Ancient Nordic Warriors through Natural History” Early Pesticide Use – Clusius C. (1601). "Genus XII of the pernicious mushrooms".

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