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.
(Spanish deleted from here on - All dialogue is
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
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?
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
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
(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.)
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.
Diaz: But there aren't. . . there aren't
images that are very... very...
Valdes: There are many of seeds, no?
Those of melons, no?
Diaz: You fee... you feel very content,
Valdes: Very heavy.
Son: Didn't you see anything else?
Valdes: (sic; sounded somewhat
intoxicated at this time.) Things, but I can't describe
... cross with two arms. ..it seems to be burning, no?
That it bar two rays instead of one, no?
Valdes: This thing seems to have fire.
Valdes: (dog barked throughout)
That there is like a wrapped body.
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
Valdes: It looks like a picture, but
everything in black and white.
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?
Diaz: However the... the state of feeling
content left me a while ago.
(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...
Diaz: ...exactly, because we come from. .
. from a very different manner of... of looking at things, no?
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?
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?
Diaz: Only it's that our experience is
very different because.. . well, we see things differently,
Diaz: It is important tor him that... for
you both that you understand this, no?
Diaz: I feel very content, no? For... for
the experience just as it is, no?
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?
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...
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.)
Diaz: Like flowers again, very luminous,
no? As if they had an interior light.
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.
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,
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?
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?
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
(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
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