There are so many mixed reviews regarding one of my favorite plants in the world that I couldn’t help writing a post about it: Calea zacatechichi. An avid lucid dreamer since my first spontaneous lucid dream when I was in my early 20’s, lucid dreaming has become one of those key aspects of my life that I can’t imagine being without.
When I’m looking for a good tool to help with dreams and dream recall, I look no further than cultures who revere dreams as a way to speak to ancestors or for divination. Several cultures come to mind; African, Mesoamerican, and American Indian. Each culture, especially the African culture, believes that dreams are the gateways to the realm where our ancestors speak to us. So naturally, these cultures are going to seek out and eventually cultivate the plants that help them achieve this goal.
And this is where a foul-tasting, but highly effective plant comes in; Calea zacatechichi or Dream Herb, as most know it. Calea has been used by one of my favorite peoples; the Chontal Indians in Oaxaca, Mexico for thousands of years to both help aid in dream recall and to help induce lucid dreaming. Recent scientific research has backed up what the natives have known for many, many years; that Calea zacatachichi actually works.
Growing the plant is relatively easy as well. Although, if it doesn’t get lots of sunlight from the base of the plant to the top of the plant, it will get spindly and “leggy” as it grows, rather than short and bushy. I’ve found that all the parts of the plant are about equally as effective, and I actually prefer the stems and leaves towards the top of the plants over any other part. Since Calea is such a hearty grower, it’s safe to take lots of clippings as it grows. And, when I’ve got the leaves and the time in the evening (never in the mornings), I love to roll my Calea cigarette in a Shamanic Tobacco leaf, giving the overall experience an extra dimension and taste.
For me, the key thing to remember is that this is a natural herbal product. If it doesn’t work for you on the first try; don’t automatically assume the plant is a scam or ineffective. In this world of pill-popping and instant gratification, it’s easy to remember that it takes time to build a relationship with a plant. Although Calea might not be as strong as other Teacher Plants such as Salvia divinorum, without a doubt, this is a Teacher Plant. That typically means that Calea isn’t going to give up its secrets easily, and just as every one of our bodies are different, we need to find that right blend of Calea, state of mind, quantity, and form of Calea to help guide our minds towards more vivid dreams and more lucid ones as well.
For me, there are few experiences like that of a full-blown, fully-lucid, fully-conscious, lucid dream. For me, I love to fly my plane as often as I can around Southern California, but to have the freedom of flight by just flapping my arms or holding my hands in front of me as I feel the rush of the wind glide past me and the heat of the sun on my skin…and have it feel as real as me writing this now or you reading it; it’s one of those great pleasures of being in these fleeting and fragile human frames.