Monday, November 10, 2008

Evidence that Hopi Shamans used magic mushrooms?

Hopi-Psilocybe-and-Pipe

On a recent tip to Arizona, I visited the Navajo reservation, Hopi ruins, meteor crater, Sunset volcano and the Grand Canyon. This was an academic trip with my daughters school and I had a great time.

After reviewing my photos, one in particular from the Desert View Watchtower caught my eye. A portion of the Hopi Snake Legend mural appears to feature a fist full of Psilocybe mushrooms being passed from one man to another and near his feet is a very distinct smoking pipe.

The known sacred sacraments of the Hopi are:
Datura (Jimsonweed & Desert Thornapple)
Nicotinana trigonphylla & attenuata
Mirabilis Multiflora

I researched the Hopi ethnographic / ethnobotanical literature I had access to and found only vague descriptions of entheogens. I found no mention of mushrooms as shown in my photo (above). Kachinas, Hopi mythology and folklore are all very representative with those of a shamanic culture. The Hopi religion is rich mythology and has many sacred rituals. They are polytheists, having many supernatural beings or "gods". The head of each clan was a Shaman who had a number of initiated helpers. They believed the soul of the ecstatic could leave the body and visit the realms of gods, animal and ancestor spirits. They also brought the rains, ensured a good harvest, and healed the sick. Hopi ceremonies are for the benefit of the entire world.

Hopi is a derived form of Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, "The Peaceful People" or "Peaceful Little Ones". (Maria Sabina called Mushrooms "Little ones") The culture's religion focuses on spirituality, its view of morality and ethics. The Hopi follow divine instructions and prophecies received from the caretaker of this world, Maasaw. They are anti-war and have a total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of the Creator or Caretaker of Earth.

Why no reference to the mushrooms? This could be due to most traditional Hopi knowledge being passed down orally with very little existing in the form of written records. If a few generations did not have access to or use the mushroom, this practice could have been lost as was the case with many other extinct traditions.

According to the Hopi, they are a gathering of people from many separate tribes from distant areas. Should this be true, the Hopi ancestors would have had a very diverse pharmacopeia and Psilocybe coprophilia is native to the Colorado Plateau so it is plausible they were used. The artist of this mural is Fred Kabotie who was a Hopi born in 1900, was he trying to preserve this shamanic knowledge on the verge of being lost?

I would like to conclude with I am NOT an expert on the Hopi people and my research was somewhat limited. If there are any inaccuracies in this post or if you have any thoughts or answers about this mystery. Please do share them in the comments or email me. Thanks!

9 comments:

EROCx1 said...

A friend of mine who is a member of the Hopi tribe has informed me that the figure in this painting is holding Paho (prayer objects) and not mushrooms. I wish he would have answered the phone when I first called him.

Oh well art is always open for interpretation right? They still look like Psilocybe to me ;-)

As the great Sasha Shulgin once said, "When you make an amazing discovery it is very important to wait a day or two before you decide to publish"

Anonymous said...

having recently read J. Narby's "Cosmic Serpent", the ladder to the sky at the bottom of the image caught my eye...

muzuzuzus said...

HI

Your post is really interesting. Such a powerful image. And reading it has brought back a memory I will share, and insight about .....

In my town there used to be this amzing shop called Rainmaker which was owned by a Native American woman, and it had Medicine (shamanic) drums, wonderful jewelry made by native Americans, and art.
native American artists exhibited, and the one I went to see was Hopi.
I remember one time thinking I was clever at a question and answer session with him, and blurted out asking him if the Hopi take psychedelic sacraments. Though this guy was very laid back, I noticed he was annoyed me asking this, and swiftly said that it was sacred. I will always remember that, and I have found out how UN blase (unlike many westerners are) Indigenous people are when sacred plants are the subject.

I also am aware of the Western way of 'wanting to try ALL the psychedelics ' trip. Ie., I have done shrooms, acid, now i wanna 'DO' ayahuasca

just some thoughts. I should imagine though that those Hopi were very familiar with the local 'little ones' growing about ;)

Daniel said...

Hi, it's very flashing this image! It looks so just like the holy children! When is this image from? Is it pre-inquisition? And what is Paho excactly? And great blog! Keep on spreading this sacred info!

Daniel said...

Hi, it's very flashing this image! It looks so just like the holy children! When is this image from? Is it pre-inquisition? And what is Paho excactly? And great blog! Keep on spreading this sacred info!

Daniel said...

Hi, it's very flashing this image! It looks so just like the holy children! When is this image from? Is it pre-inquisition? And what is Paho excactly? And great blog! Keep on spreading this sacred info!

Daniel said...

Hi, it's very flashing this image! It looks so just like the holy children! When is this image from? Is it pre-inquisition? And what is Paho excactly? And great blog! Keep on spreading this sacred info!

Daniel said...

Hi, it's very flashing this image! It looks so just like the holy children! When is this image from? Is it pre-inquisition? And what is Paho excactly? And great blog! Keep on spreading this sacred info!

Anonymous said...

Time to give up the pipe and take on the ciggerete ? If these objects were 'Paho' and of a sacred nature wouldn't a young mushroom also be considered a sacred object? Was it typical to represent anatomy in this abbreviated fashion (ie.,minus fingers, toes or genitals) without
pants like Snoopy or eyebrows? If the pipe was a sacred tool would it look like a Hugh Heftner model
or more like a soapstone effigy of
the sacred tortoise? Maybe the artist spent too much time in the whiteman's world. ya-ta-hey!