The world knows many plants that have a consciousness expanding effect. One can think for example of ayahuasca, san pedro, peyote, marihuana and iboga.
These 'plants of wisdom' are often used in a ritual context. Whether or not in a group or guided by a shaman, the psychonaut embarks on a journey into other dimensions or states of consciousness. Such a trip can have transforming and healing effects.
Shamanistic cultures have traditions to work with these kind of plants. Often elaborate ceremonies have been developed. The wisdom plants are ingested for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's about healing or solving a problem. Sometimes it's to mark special occasions throughout the year or the life cycle.
There is knowledge about the cultivation or wild picking of these plants, and about the best ways to harvest, prepare and store them. Not seldom all these steps are surrounded by rituals.
These kind of traditions exist(ed) in Europe as well. Although much of them have been lost in our modern, western world.
Currently the interest in consciousness expanding plants and substances is increasing. Some researchers are even speaking about a 'psychedelic renaissance'. Since the War on Drugs started in 1971 it's finally possible to conduct scientific research into psychedelics again. At the same time more people are travelling all over the earth and get in touch with existing shamanistic traditions. They invite shamans to visit their own land in return and in this way interesting hybrid forms of practice come into being.
According to her users the plants of wisdom are miraculous and magical plants that have a lot of love, beauty and insights to offer. Still, working with these plants is not for everyone. Some people have affinity with it, others have not. Not seldom is said that 'the plant calls you'. Working with plants of wisdom brings responsibility: it is important to treat them with respect.
Those who walk the plant path soon discover that there are many more interesting species besides the consciousness expanding ones. There exist medicinal, stimulating, relaxing and aphrodisiac herbs, edible plants, plants that can be used as incense and so forth.
Furthermore there are mushrooms - like 'magic mushrooms' or the fly agaric - and other natural substances that have a consciousness expanding effect, for example the venom of the Incilius alvarius toad. Moreover, synthetic substances with similar workings have been developed. Although this blog focusses on natural consciousness expanding species, 'plants of wisdom' should be understood in a broad sense.
On this website I want to share my insights, experiences and the knowledge I gathered so far. I’d like to invite you on a journey through the world of the plants of wisdom.
Header: 'Plantas Sergio Flickr - SLP 16099552482 141230 082609 FF' by Lucy Nieto, Original picture by Sergio Dávilla.