Divination with S. divinorum

Session 2, March 6, 1980

During this much less formal session Diaz and Valdes took the infusion of S. divinorum and were monitored by Don Alejandro and his son, as well as by Paul, who tape recorded events throughout the afternoon and evening. The researchers arrived at the village around 17:00 h and the shaman spent the entire afternoon and early evening talking with them about his visions of "Heaven" and the office (escritorio) he had there, near. God and Jesus. He recounted many tales and legends, including one about the origins of healing. It was a very enjoyable afternoon which provided an excellent set and setting (Weil, 1972) for the visitors' experience with la Maria Diaz and Valdes received infusions prepared from 60 and 50 pairs of fresh S. divinorum leaves, respectively. They drank the prepared potions at 21:00 h and lay down in Don Alejandro's bedroom while the curandero's son and Paul sat on a bed next to them. Don Alejandro remained in the other room. The two researchers spoke in turn and were questioned by the younger Mazatecan whenever there was a lull in their speech:

Paul -- Nine o'clock, Leander and Jose Luis are drinking (the Salvia infusion). . .

Diaz: Nueve doce (he looked at his lighted watch). Empiezo a sentir olgunos de 106, de los efectos de la planta. Me siento muy relajado. Y he tenido en los ultimos minutes muchas imagenes de plantas y flores. Mucha, muchos tipos de flores diferentes. ... olgunos de ellos desconocidos para mi... De muchos colores. Siento mi cuerpo muy suave, como ligero. En los ultimos momentos empezaba a se... vei algunas imagenes come de puntos de luz.

Nine- twelve.

(Spanish deleted from here on - All dialogue is translation)

I am beginning to feel some of the, of the effects of the plant. I feel very relaxed. And I have had, in the past minutes, many images of plants and flowers, Many, many different kinds of flowers . . some of them unknown to me . . . Or many colors. My body feels very mellow, as if it were light. In the past moments I began to see some images like points of light.) That's all for now.

Valdes: ...plants and flowers. I think they were what people call eidetic images, cause I saw them when I first closed my eyes. They've disappeared. I feel like I'm being twisted around inside of my body. Very, very strange sensations, like I'm being... twisted. Boy, like I'm spinning.


Diaz: The. . . the sensation of lightness of the body is more intense. In a given moment I felt as though . . . as though I were floating through a root and the images of plants have changed and now I have had sensations like floating in the night full of stars and I realize that it isn't... it isn't easy to have... that it isn't easy to have the, the faith that he. . . that he asks of us. That he asks of me. I feel very. . . very, like very moved. All these things. That's all for now.)

Son: Jose Luis?

Diaz: yes?

Son: Do you see any more images?

Diaz: Yes, a little. I have seen more, but it has not been very intense, no? I have seen.. as though I were floating in the sky, as though I had entered a large boat or something like that. And. . . and as if all the things inside were all very mechanical like a machine that was very... very precise and very geometric. And in.. . and curiously, as if in some cases there were again flowers inside the place. And again I began to see like many flowers, but as if they were all mechanical, as if they were not...real.

Son: Christ? Didn't you see him?

Diaz: Well... no. At times I thought about him, but he didn't appear as an image, no? At times I thought about some of the images which. .. which Don Alejandro described to us. Of the offices and.. .But, but nothing else.

Son: They didn't show you everything.

Valdes: ...down. It's very very hard for me to talk. Like something's pushing me down into the bed. My arms are very, very sore. (Dog barks) I see things but there's no, no (lost to dog barking). They just overwhelm me. Very hard to describe. I see things that look like fruits. Very strange, I can see the seeds. I can see the (dog barks) oranges and yellows and colors. Strange. Like giant fruit.

Son: What is Leandros saying? What did he see?

(Dog barks throughout this section of the recording). (Diaz says that it is hard... it is hard for him to talk. That his body teels very heavy.)

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: That the images are not... they are weak, no? They aren't very'... they aren't very intense, no? At times he succeeds... he succeeds in seeing some colors. He describes some flowers, and like fruit.

Son: Yes.

Diaz: But there aren't. . . there aren't images that are very... very...

Valdes: There are many of seeds, no? Those of melons, no?

Son: Si.

Diaz: You fee... you feel very content, no?

Valdes: Very heavy.

Son: Didn't you see anything else?

Valdes: (sic; sounded somewhat intoxicated at this time.) Things, but I can't describe them.

... cross with two arms. ..it seems to be burning, no? That it bar two rays instead of one, no?

Son: Mm-hmm.

Valdes: This thing seems to have fire.

Son: Mm-hmm.

Valdes: (dog barked throughout) That there is like a wrapped body.

Son: Mm-hmm.

Valdes: (dogs barked throughout) Of a cross. Now, (lost to dogs) now there were many things but now they are disappearing. Everything is like a very black...

Son: Si.

Valdes: It looks like a picture, but everything in black and white.

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: I saw, I saw something like the flower of the... the newer of the... of the seed of the Virgin. Buite clearly with its purplish color. I... Ipomea violacea, no? I see many, many images if... if I concentrate on them, no? They move a lot, no?

Son: Si.

Diaz: However the... the state of feeling content left me a while ago.

Son: Mm-hmm.

(the dog quieted down for a while)

Son: Can my Father explain now?

Diaz: Yes. Look, I had. .. I think it is.. . it is also important that you tell him that. .. that he shouldn't feel bad because, because we... didn't... didn't see what he saw...

Son: Mm-hmm

Diaz: ...exactly, because we come from. . . from a very different manner of... of looking at things, no?

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: Then, because of this we have more difficulties in order to... in order to put ourselves in... in contact with Christ.

Son: With Christ.

Diaz: And with sacred things, no?

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: To us... to us other things happen, no? He shouldn't see this as a failure, no? Yours or even less, of the plant, no?

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: Only it's that our experience is very different because.. . well, we see things differently, no?

Son: Si.

Diaz: It is important tor him that... for you both that you understand this, no?

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: I feel very content, no? For... for the experience just as it is, no?

Son: Si.

Diaz: Well, that's all.

Son: You, Leandros, do you see more images? Or is that all you have seen?

Valdes: I see images and they look a little but... like the images of the church but they don't have faces, no?

Son: Mm-hmm.

Valdes: They have... one sees this, their clothing, no? Of, of gold and everything but there is no image. There aren't any faces, no? That one recognized the...

Son: Mm-hmmm.

Valdes: (lost; figures were praying) They have their hands like this... like the...

Son: Is that all you saw?

Valdes: I am looking at it now. I still... still am looking at it.

Diaz: I continue to see, if I pay attention I continue seeing images.)

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: Like flowers again, very luminous, no? As if they had an interior light.

Son: Si.

Diaz: I think it has a lot to do with the... with the Heaven that.. . that you described to us a while ago, no? Of how Heaven is.

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: Full of music. Full of flowers, no?

Valdes: I see something between... between a cross and a sword which is all covered with gold, very... it has many jewels.

Son: Mm-hmm... Do all the images continue, or is it still there?

Valdes: Yes, yes, it... it continues, it continues. But it changes, no? It continues and it changes, no?

Son: Si.

Valdes: Now it is.. . now it is surely a sword. .. Now it has disappeared.

Diaz: Now I raw like a light...like a light. These, these flowers that I said had like a. . . like very illuminated in the middle. Now it has changed into a light. . . strong, no?

Son: Mm-hmm.

Diaz: Which comes as though from above.

Valdes: (lost to truck noise)... It is...is a shape between a cross but it has everything inside. It has everything... lights and animals.. . of... of people, of plants. Everything. ...of many colors, like a picture.Very, very vivid colors. Of animals.

Valdes: ...to collect this. .: this image of a cross I could seem to be able to, when I really concentrate on it, pull It back out. It disappears and recedes into the things around it, and if I'd lose it in. .. in all the things that are happening. But if I work at it I can concentrate and bring it back It's that I can..; I, I lose the image of the crews. But if I think about this thing, it comes back to me again, no?

Son: Si.

Valdes: It returns to me again and I can pay attention to it and concentrate on it. But it is fairly difficult. But that. . . one can. . . maintain this thing. I think that's something about this state that you learn to work around in. Pull images out as you need them.

Diaz: ...images of... like flying from a certain...

(lost to noise) Of... of flying as though at a certain altitude. And there are like fields planted with. . . and full of plants. Planted with all the plants that produce... produce grain that if used for food. Fields that are very, well cared for.

Valdes: "tilted on its side"? (dog starts again) ...which seems to be between a castle, or like a... a Byzantine church. I'm quite far from this thing. Not at its side, no? It isn't as it should be. It seems to be a little, how does one say, "tilted on its side"? I, am very far away and as though I'm very high above this thing. Now it looks more like a castle. I see it from the... from very far away as though it is from there. As though it is below me. But I don't see anybody of peo. .. of people. There isn't anybody. There are banners. Of all colors.

Diaz: That's interesting. When you mentioned a castle I also began to see one.

Son: A castle.

Valdes: "just covered by robes"? Still. .. I still see it. I see like shadows, shapes, but they don't have... I don't see faces on there things, no? They are like... how does one say, "covered by robes"? They make... and march but these things are very, very serious.

Son: Is that all you see?

Valdes: I'm still looking at it, no? This thing is new to me. This thing.

Fifty minutes had elapsed. The curandero's Son cut the session short, saying; that the village noises, especially the dogs, were too loud for worthwhile experiences. As Diaz and Valdes left the bedroom they staggered and stumbled. Although they said their minds felt clear, the tape recording showed their speech to be slurred and their sentence patterns to be awkward and broken. Diaz commented, "It is as though the body is intoxicated (borracho) and the mind isn't." Don Alejandro spent the next hour discussing their visions in detail with them, saying that with more experience what they saw would become clearer and more meaningful. He told the visitors that Paul should drive when they left, as the effects of la Maria would last the entire night.

As the car traveled through the late Oaxacan darkness, Valdes saw more. icon-like images. Among them was the Virgin of Guadalupe amidst red, white and green streaming banners. Whenever the vision began to fade, he found that he could recall it at will. Arriving at their destination, the three researchers ate a light meal. Diaz wrapped himself in a sarope (poncho), for he had a chill. He remarked that this had happened to him on previous occasions when he had taken the Salvia infusion. His heart rate, when measured by Paul, had slowed from its normal 60 beats per minute to about however, he found himself standing in a bizarre, colored landscape talking subjects eyes and both had a normal pupillary response. Valdes felt "heavy" and "sore", especially in the shoulders and upper arms. After a shower, all went to bed.

When the lights went out (about 23:30 h or 2.5 h after ingestion of la Maria), Valdes began to have more visions. He saw a purplish light that changed into a bee or mothlike shape which became a pulsating sea anemone. The imagery expanded into a desert landscape full of moving prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) shapes. During the first session the previous summer and throughout this evening Valdes felt the visions appeared to be like looking at a cross between a moving cartoon and a silent motion picture. Suddenly, however, he found himself standing in a bizarre, colored landscape talking to a man who was either shaking or holding on to his hand. Next to them was something that resembled the skeleton of a giant stick-model airplane made from rainbow colored inner tubing. The "reality" of what he was seeing amazed him. After a brief instant the desert scene reappeared and Valdes then slowly drifted off to sleep. The three researchers rose early the next morning and all were in good spirits.