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Chapter 4: Mescaline

Chapter 4: Mescaline

  2022
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The last episode explores Mescaline, the psychoactive molecule in San Pedro and peyote cacti, a sacred medicine that Native Americans have had to fight for the right to use. At the Indigenous practices there's always an elder, someone who knows the territory very well, who's presiding. There's usually a group, a community is involved, There's always an intention, a purpose to what you're doing, and you're treating it as sacred, in order to achieve altered states of consciousness, which contribute to worship in various ways, or celebration or healing.
But maybe all this is not so new to Western culture after all. In the old Greek histories of Eleusis, people who were initiated there got the drink, the kykeon, and then they had the illumination. The precise recipe is a mystery, but we know that the kykeon was a psychoactive brew that was used at the Eleusinian mysteries, a sacred annual ritual of enlightenment practiced by some of the world's greatest minds including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. So why did this ritual come to an end more than 1,000 years ago? Was the possibility of illumination or achieving a higher consciousness considered threatening to the powers that be? Have the drug wars been merely an extension of that fear?
Psychedelics has a major part in how we can heal as a community, how we can heal as a city, and how we can heal as a country. The current renaissance of psychedelics could not come at a better time as the world confronts a crisis in mental health. But psychedelics have much to offer. The psychedelic experience changes the mind in ways that will help scientists better understand how it works. All these altered states allow us to probe what is the greatest mystery in all of nature. The emergence from mere matter of something as miraculous as consciousness. But an even bigger question is whether psychedelics might help us address the environmental crisis of how we think about our place in nature. One of the greatest gifts of psychedelics is how they reanimate the natural world, allowing us to perceive the subject, the spirit of all species, not just our own. And to feel a deeper sense of interconnectedness with nature.