ska Maria Pastora

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Divination with ska Maria Pastora

Salvia divinorum may be prepared as an infusion from 20 (about 50 g) to 80 (about 200 g) or more pairs of fresh leaves by the curandero, the patient (or apprentice) or both, depending on the situation. Only fresh foliage will serve for divination; At this dosage level, the Salvia is used to foretell the future, find the causes and cures of illnesses and obtain answers to questions about friends, enemies and relatives. In shamanic training, the future healer takes la Maria to learn the ways of healing and the identification and use of medicinal plants (there is supposedly a tree in Heaven with all such herbs on it and one talks to God and the Saints about them under the influence of the hallucinogens). After preliminary sessions in the company of the master, who takes the infusion along with the apprentice to watch over him on the journey, the future healer may continue study on his own until it is time for the next plant in the series. Don Alejandro told the investigators that the Salvia, the morning glory seeds and the mushrooms each told their own historic (story or history: and ska Maria Pastora was the best teacher of the ways of curing, as one learned the most from it. During the course of visits, the researchers were able to participate in two sessions under the shaman’s guidance. As the hallucinogens are never taken without a valid purpose and since the visitors were from “the University”, the ceremonies were oriented to teach them about healing and especially the uses of the Maria and other medicinal plants.

Don Alejandro said they would have to follow the dieta, or ritual diet for 16 days, although they could bathe and drink beer (after the first time, the dieta for Salvia divinorum (ska Maria Pastora) is only 4 days in length).

The preparations for the two ceremonies were essentially the same. As dark came (about 19:30 h to 20:00 h) the curandero began making the Salvia infusion. The leaves were first counted out in pairs to arrive at each person’s dose and put neatly into piles with their petioles aligned. Then Don Alejandro picked lip part of a pile and crushed it by hand into a small enameled bowl partially-filled with water (Fig. 3). As more foliage was squeezed and added, the liquid turned dark green from the chlorophylls.

After the potion was prepared, it was poured through a sieve into a glass which was topped off with water (Fig. 4). During the preparations for the second session a head of foam formed on the glasses and the curandero laughed. He explained through his son that the foam (espuma) was an indication of strength and the Maria Pastora would be very potent that evening. The glasses were covered with inverted cups to “prevent the escape of the humor (que no salga el humor)”. Although the foliage of S. divinorum could reportedly be kept fresh for a week or longer when wrapped in the large leaves of Xanthosoma robustum Schoff, the prepared infusion was said to be stable for a day. The spent leaves were set aside to be discarded in an out of the way location where they wouldn’t be defiled by people or animals.

However, Don Alejandro said that they could still be used by putting them on a subject’s head to refresh them after the session. The curandero picked up a glass of the ska Maria Pastora and began an oration. The Holy Trinity, Saint Peter, the Virgin Mary and other Saints were called on to watch over the participants and teach the visitors the ways of curing:

In nomine Spiritu Santo (this “Latin” phrase was always translated into the vernacular as:

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost)
Most Holy Lord Saint peter
In the name of Leandros (the subject),
In nomine Spiritu Santo
Maria Pastora, show Leandros,,
that he may see what there is in the world
For he wishes to study all the classes of medicines
Lord Jesus Christ, show him
May he learn
May he see all the classes of medicinal plants
You, who know all, show him
I want you to show him all the different kinds
of illnesses and remedies that exist in the world
In a short time he must learn your story
In nomine spiritu Santo
Most Holy Sainted Rosary
Set him free, that he may see it
Show him as you have shown me
May he recognize all that is the Universe,
All that is you History
He wishes to learn out of love and sincerity
I want you to show him, as I am asking your favor
You, Maria and Lord Jesus Christ, amen
If there is bad or good, save him
Help him out of sincerity and love
In nomine Spiritu Santo
Most Holy Lord Saint Peter
You too, ska Maria Pastora, show him
Set him free that he may see it
Do not be deceptive
This day, on this very date
He is going to take it (the Salvia infusion)
In nomine Spiritu Santo
Most Holy Lord Saint Peter
Help this Leandros
May he grow more, may he learn things
Show him all that there is in the world
All that is good
All that is medicinal
In nomine spirit Santo
Most Holy Lord Saint Peter
Lord Saint Anthony, Lord Saint Peter, Jesus Christ
You are the only three who know about la Maria
You must show him all that is medicinal
All that is the Universe
All that is your History
Show him, do not be bad
In nomine Spiritu Santo
Holy Sanctuary, Lord Santa Ana
You who are good, You must help him
so that he becomes acquainted with our Universe
You must teach him what I ask
to that it will be to the Lord Saint Peter’s pleasure
Let Leandros take it (la Maria)
In nomine Spiritu Santo
Most Holy Lord Saint Peter

Two to four hours passed in conversation and the telling of stories. The shaman repeatedly emphasized that it was important to describe one’s visions, “If you are going to learn or if you are going to understand what it is all about, you must speak.” Finally it was time for ingestion of the infusions (between 21:00 h and 23:00 h). Following Mazatec custom, at least one person didn’t participate, in order to watch over the rest (Wasson et al., 1974). As a last protection against any dangers during the visionary “travels”, Don Alejandro performed limpias, or ritual cleansings, on the visitors, and anointed the subject with a piece of copal dipped in the San Pedro. The curandero then gave him a pinch of the San Pedro to carry for protection if he felt danger during or after the session. After a final benediction (Fg. 6), the potions were drunk and the light was turned out.

Resources

Specific to Salvia divinorum (Diviner’s Sage):

Additional information:

Relevant organizations:

  • The Drug Policy Alliance – Alternatives to the war on drugs based on science, compassion, and human rights.
  • The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE). Working in the public interest to foster freedom of thought.
  • MAPS (The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). Supporting psychedelic research since 1986.
  • The Council on Spiritual Practices. Making direct experience of the sacred more available to more people.
  • The Media Awareness Project. A worldwide network dedicated to drug policy reform.
  • The Drug Reform Coordination Network. A national network of more than 21,000 activists and concerned citizens including parents, educators, students, lawyers, health care professionals, academics, and others working for drug policy reform. DRCNet supports rational policies consistent with the principles of peace, justice, freedom, compassion and truth. Each of these has been compromised in the name of the Drug War.
  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Students for Sensible Drug Policy is committed to providing education on harms caused by the War on Drugs working to involve youth in the political process, and promoting an open, honest, and rational discussion of alternative solutions to our nation’s drug problems.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union. Useful drug policy links.