FLESH OF GOD: THE SACRED MUSHROOM TRADITION OF THE MAZATEC SHAMANS by ENRIQUE GONZÁLEZ RUBIO MONTOYA – ARKA BOOKS

A book full of magic, healing and love. Healing experiences with María Sabina and Mazatec sages.

This book is the narration of my ritual experiences with Mazatec shamans. Some of the main aspects of my experiences as a participant in these rituals were: Mystical ecstasy, enlightenment, as well as paranormal psychic phenomena, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, magnetism (healing touch). I was also an eyewitness of indigenous traditional medicine healing, through the mushrooms Ceremony, with shamanic chants and prayer.

The ceremonies of the sacred mushrooms, involved a direct interface with the world of the sacred –until then unknown to me and this caused me to re-evaluate of my concepts as to the meaning of the universe and my understanding of myself as a human being.

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MARIA SABINA

The next day I asked in town for Maria Sabina. A boy who heard me offered to take me to her.

-Do you want to go with Maria Sabina? I can take you to her.

-Please.

We agreed to meet at five in the afternoon.

My friends remained in Loreto´s hut. I wanted to meet Maria Sabina, and intrigued by her already growing legend, I had decided to meet her one on one.

I had brought her a present: two oil paintings, of Christ and one a portrait of her that I had painting myself.

On the way, it began to rain in torrents. The boy German, -my guide- told me that the climb there takes more than one hour. The place was called El Fortin, and it was at the peak of the mountain.

We arrived there cold, tired and fully covered with mud. German knocked on the door. A young woman opened it and German explained to her in Mazatec the reason for our visit. She let us into the adobe house.

Inside it was peaceful and mystical like a church. None of the tempest seemed to intrude into the sanctuary. She was there. An old woman, white hair with gray patches, thin, not very tall, brown, Indian appearance. She was the famous Maria Sabina.

I suddenly realized that I was before one of the most famous healers on the face of the Earth. She had received many scientists who had come to study her telepathic and healing powers.

With reverence I Kissed her hand. She represented the highest attainment that I could relate to at that time. I gave her the paintings of Jesus and her own portrait. It was the first time I saw her smile. She led us into the kitchen and offered us coffee.

I dried my clothes over the fire and regained my spirit with the warm coffee, while we waited for the sun to set. The Ceremony of the sacred mushrooms is always done at night.

My guide and interpreter German had already explained that I came hoping to have a Ceremony. The young woman had already put all the necessary elements together.

Around nine o´clock, we went into the central room of the house. Maria Sabina ordered the figures on her altar: a figure of Jesus Christ, one of Saint Anthony, flowers, candles, and a brazier for the copal (Indian incense).

From a bag she took out several mushrooms, with a white stem and a dark bulb, the ones called “derrumbe” in Spanish, “Di shi to” in Mazatec.

They were medium sized, very dark. She gave me six and took six for herself.

She rubbed ground tobacco on my arms. This is called San Pedro and its function is to protect the tripper.

Maria Sabina lit the copal and passed the mushrooms several times over the smoky aroma while praying in a low voice. I felt filled with mystery and expectation, something solemn and sacred was about to happen.

German was my interpreter since Maria Sabina did not speak one word of Spanish. She signaled to me begin eating the mushrooms and we both ate together, in silence.

She chewed her mushrooms very slowly while I tried to do the same.

-Maria Sabina says to let her know when you begin to sense the effect of the mushrooms –German said.

Within thirty minutes I was feeling dizzy and I told her so. The taste of the mushrooms is very strong and stays with you for hours.

Maria Sabina put out the candles and sat next to me. She began to pray very low in Mazatec. She asked me my name and I told her.

She then began to sing also in a very low voice.

I saw many colored lights which changed in brightness and intensity with the tone of her singing. The singing was rhythmic and hypnotic.

It was a shamanic chant, sacred, ancient. I felt her singing gently rocking me and transporting me to far away worlds.

Not once did I see terrible visions nor sense any other negative vibration. Instead I experienced infinite peace, the sensation of flying in a spiral of color. In the center of the room next to the wall, I saw a white light of great intensity. I asked German what it meant and he asked Maria Sabina who said that it was the Light of the Holy Spirit.

It was very impressive to me, that great white light.

It started to fade until disappeared completely from the room.

I lost consciousness of the room. I suddenly found myself in a flower garden, with fountains and birds flying all around, dense and beautiful forests. The Garden of Eden.

Maria continued to pray. Suddenly I heard Maria Sabina´s voice:

-Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Lord Jesus Christ…

-Enrique, Enrique, Enrique, holy, holy, holy…

These words touched me very deeply and I felt like Jesus on the Cross. I could feel the Crown of Thorns; I could feel the blood dripping from my forehead. The light became visible again.

With the excuse that I was going to urinate, I asked permission to go out of the house, and I did.

When I was outside, I felt a great fear and the need to pray for protection….

I turned my face to the sky and saw the millions of stars and galaxies. I repeated the Lord´s Prayer:

Our father, who art in Heaven

Hallowed by Thy Name

Thy kingdom come

Thy Will be done on Earth

As it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who have trespassed against us.

And let us not fall into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom and the Power and the Glory

Forever and ever.

Amen

I recited the prayer with my eyes closed, and miraculously, the fear passed. I learned that the words to the Lord´s Prayer hold a great power that puts the supplicant in touch with the Sacred Being.

I opened my eyes and looked at the sky.  The stars made the shape of a face, a timeless visage, as of an old man with a long flowing beard and white long hair. I felt that this was the face of God in a human form, so I could relate to Him.

My body shook in ecstasy as I prayed for forgiveness of all my sins; I saw my life and my death pale in importance compared to the greatness that I was witnessing. A great interior peace took over me, and I had the sensation of power and balance, beauty and harmony.

I returned inside the house and sat next to Maria. Her quiet demeanor sitting there on the petate -the thin palm blanket- wrapped in her rebozo, without moving in her serene state, brought to mind the gurus of India sitting in an asana. She was all sweetness and serene, and powerful at the same time. We remained sitting there quietly, with only a candle to light the room. And she began to sing in a low voice again.

She stopped her song suddenly, and she smiled at me with a great goodness. I was totally impressed by the personality of this woman and her Ceremony. I was the High Priestess of the sacred mushrooms, who had been the subject of so many studies of scientists. I remember Benitez and Wasson, and I suddenly understood their description of the majesty and beauty of the mystic Ceremony of Maria Sabina. I knew that it was a privilege to be there and to hear her wonderful song.

She was all mysticism and wisdom, while her attitude was full of humility, although she was the High Priestess.

She put out the candle and began to sing again. Her singing permeated the night, enfolding me in light and cosmic images.

The lights multiplied and strengthened. I had visions of ancient Aztec and Mayan temples and palaces.

When the day dawned, I was asleep full of images without equal.

The next day, with German translating, Maria told me that she had seen my life. She had seen my parents, my house, my paintings, my books. She described the house where I lived and my parents.

-Maria Sabina says that your parents are older people, with white hair. She says you have many paintings of the saints, your mother has many stone figures and your father has many books…

She described things that she had not seen! I asked her how she did it, how she could see things that I had not described for her and that only I knew.

-She says that when she sings, she can see the lives of the people that come to her, their house, their health and their cure.

To me this was purely unbelievable. The extraordinary experience of the night before and now demonstrating that she had powers of telepathy and clairvoyance.

My regard for her increased tremendously that day. After taking photographs of her, I thanked her and said good bye. I returned to town. While this happened in 1972, I still remember it had been yesterday.

I continued to visit her and each time I took bread and cigarettes. The bread she gave to her many grandchildren and the cigarettes she kept for herself.

I returned to Mexico City. After several months, that night was still fresh in my mind.

The next time I returned to see Maria Sabina, it was with my parents. My mother was a dance teacher; my father was a lawyer and philosopher. Both wanted to meet her, curious about my experience with the sacred mushrooms. This time, the events in the ceremony were similar to what I had experienced previously, but she also took my mother by the arm and told her:

-Your left arm is very cold. You have a heart ailment.

I knew this to be true. My mother had undergone a cardiac problem some years before. I was baffled that without the benefit of X-ray nor any other aid she had diagnosed accurately my mother´s condition. She had accomplished this with payer and song.

I did not know of any doctor who could do the same.

Nevertheless, I heard some medical doctors’ remark in Mexico City that she was a charlatan and a witch. They could not accept that this humble woman had a secret knowledge that surpassed the scientific facts. I hope that someday she will find a proper place in people´s consciousness, heir to timeless knowledge which surpasses our own understanding.

In this materialistic civilization we have learned to underrate the wisdom of Maria Sabina, we have lost any notion of sacredness; we have sacrificed the most precious spiritual treasures in exchange for materialistic well being. The atheistic science has brought man to the brink of destruction, with nuclear arsenals and merciless wars.

It is sad that the truly wise must live away from those who need them most, from those who live under the thumb of the destructive power of civilization.

The day man forgot God, and pretended to replace Him in the Universe; Man lost his way and Himself. It is a world of the blind leading the blind and falling into the abyss.

I still remember the afternoon that I went to say hello. I had a terrible pain in my bowel, and I told her. Maria Sabina put her hand over my stomach and prayed in silence. I felt her hand very hot. In five minutes, the area had become numb and the pain had disappeared! She lifted her hand and I thanked her. I still do not understand how she did it. I asked several doctors and all of them said it was autosuggestion. It seems incredible to me that they should try to explain a spiritual healing as something imaginary. Their explanation seemed incomplete to me.

Is there a doctor who could produce a diagnosis without the aid of technology, lab tests and instruments? Few of them. What doctors could look into the past of their patients and relate their illnesses to their actions? None.

Maria Sabina is an example of the power of the mind in the Mazatec shamans. Her powers have been the subject of serious studies in the United States and Europe, leading to controversy about the true nature of her powers. All those who have studied her, agree that Maria Sabina has something significant to offer and amenable to scientific study.

It has been more than a few scientists who went to meet her and study her healing powers, who went away unconvinced of her genuineness.

Since then, I stand in awe of Maria Sabina and what she stands for. I feel it was a great privilege to have known her and to have participated in her ceremony of the sacred mushrooms.

AUTHOR

Enrique González studied Anthropology in Mexico City and for many years conducted anthropological research with the healers of the Mazatec, an indigenous Indian group from the mountains of Oaxaca. He observed and studied the process of spiritual healing, practiced by the shamans. This research changed his life completely. After several years living in the mountains and learning from the Mazatec shamans, Enrique gained a spiritual understanding of the universe and the place of humans in it, far removed from any anthropological explanation. After some philosophical differences with the teachers in anthropology school, Enrique abandoned anthropology and became a student of the spiritual world of shamanism. He observed and participated in “supernatural healing phenomena”, and wrote about his experiences.

EDITOR

Rev. Christian Ortiz, Ph.D.
Psychologist, Master in Comparative Religions, PhD in Philosophy of Religion, Priest of the Goddess and Coordinator of the Fraternity of the Goddess, Kourete of the Dianic Tradition. He is a member of the Fellowship of Isis (FOI), Lecturer of the Goddess Conference, Certificate in Gender Awareness (INMUJERES), Certified specialist in Attention and Prevention of Violence. Host of the SABER SANAR podcast.

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