KATHLEEN HARRISON

KATHLEEN HARRISON

KATHLEEN HARRISON

PSILOCYBIN MUSHROOMS AND SALVIA DIVINORUM: THEIR ROLES AND LORE AMONG THE INDIGENOUS MAZATECS OF MEXICO

The Mazatec people of Oaxaca, in the mountains of southern Mexico, are renowned for their shamanism, which is inspired in part by various Psilocybe mushroom species, and by the unique mint species, Salvia divinorum. This presenter will describe their animist perceptions of these powerful species, and their inherent roles in this ancient, spiritual, healing tradition. She'll share slides and stories of her personal experience from her two decades of fieldwork with a Mazatec healer's clan. She will introduce some of the other beings, from plants to saints, whom they experience as active participants in this great drama. This ancient native culture has undergone another wave of great change since the late 20th century, while psilocybin and S. divinorum have been widely distributed and reinterpreted by other cultures. There are still things to be learned from those who have worked with these species for many centuries.  

KATHLEEN HARRISON, M.A., is an ethnobotanist who has worked in the field since the 1960s. She is informed by long relationships with indigenous healers, California subcultures, an array of expert naturalists, and her own decades of psychedelic curiosity. She co-founded the organization Botanical Dimensions with Terence McKenna in 1985, and continues as its perennial Program Director, initiating ongoing projects in Mexico, Peru, California and Hawaii. Kat has taught globally for both universities and many conferences. She is currently based and teaching at the Botanical Dimensions Ethnobotany Library, in Northern California. She specializes in the study of nature-based worldviews, patterns of belief, ritual, healing, art and the plants that live where they evolved.

Artwork by by ROSENFELDTOWN