The OG medicine woman; Maria Sabina
I love celebrating birthdays, it’s a time to acknowledge the shoulders of the giants we stand upon.
A time to give thanks for the achievements of those that came before us.
Who better to celebrate than Maria Sabina?
She is the original medicine woman.
Her story is riveting, inspiring, and unfortunately tragic.
She gave us all so much and as it turns out, much was taken from her.
From the hills of Sierra Mazateca
Her life begins in the heartland of Mexico, in the mountains of the Sierra Mazateca, Oaxaca, Mexico on July 22, 1894.
She grew up in a region rich in ancient traditions and spiritual practices and was exposed to their deep-rooted relationship with sacred plants, particularly psilocybin mushrooms.
During a severe illness, Maria used psilocybin mushrooms and Maria Sabina’s life changed forever.
Consuming these hallucinogenic mushrooms, she experienced a profound spiritual awakening and a deep connection to the spirit world while also helping her recover from her ailment.
This experience allowed her to communicate with the divine.
Passing it on
From then on she dedicated her life to the healing and spiritual guidance of her community and soon began conducting guided healing rituals for those that were also severely ill.
Her guided ceremonies somehow became so well known that in the early 1950s, Maria Sabina’s reputation spread beyond her local community, attracting the attention of the Western world.
R. Gordon Wasson, an amateur mycologist, and ethnomycologist got wind of her and was instantly captivated by both the mushrooms and Maria’s ceremonies.
The little white lie that changed everything
Wasson spent a considerable amount of time persuading her to perform a guided ceremony for him and finally conceded when he bluffed and claimed an illness of his own.
The experience Dr. Wasson had was so profound that he wrote about it in Life Magazine.
It was such a big article that it made the front page and the term ‘magic mushroom’ was born.
Here is a digital copy of the entire magazine including the article written by Dr. Wasson from pages 102 to 122.
Overnight, Maria Sabina’s fame grew, in tandem with an influx of curious visitors seeking spiritual enlightenment.
See for yourself
There’s a great documentary on YouTube on Maria’s life during those days. It’s not only riveting to watch, but it also adds so much context to who she was and where she was.
The sudden influx of outsiders disrupted the delicate balance of the traditional Mazatec ceremonies.
Not to mention that the commercialization and exploitation of the sacred mushrooms raised ethical concerns about the protection of indigenous knowledge and the potential harm to the local community.
It is said that Maria was an outcast from her community, endured a house fire, and was penniless by the time she passed away on the 22nd of November 1985.
Her teachings on the interconnectedness of all living beings, the healing power of nature, and the importance of spiritual exploration have left an indelible mark on those who have encountered her story.
You are the medicine
She is quoted as making the most insightful observations. Social media is peppered with her quotes. They read:
“There is a world beyond ours, a world that is far away, nearby, and invisible.”
”Cure yourself with the light of the sun and the rays of the moon. With the sound of the river and the waterfall. With the swaying of the sea and the fluttering of birds.”
Maria Sabina is a visionary Mazatec shaman that devoted her life to healing, spiritual guidance, and the exploration of consciousness through the sacred mushrooms.
Her deep connection to the spirit world and her unwavering commitment to her community has made her an iconic figure in the realm of plant medicine and spiritual exploration.
Keeping her light with us
She undoubtedly laid the groundwork for guided healing ceremonies that have benefitted thousands of people worldwide for several decades.
We owe her a debt of gratitude and perhaps even a moment of reflection for her teachings, and contribution toward what we know about magic mushrooms today.
Con mucha gratitud, feliz cumpleaños Maria Sabina!
Do good. Shine bright. Flow strong.