It Is Food And Medicine For You And Your People

Once I saw a hippie in birkenstocks and a tie-dye t-shirt that said PEACE on it, beat up another hippie in birkenstocks and a rainbow t-shirt. Not a joke. I wish it were.

My young son was with me in the garden and he saw this, and the dad in me just said something like, It’s ok boy. The neighbors just have some things they need to work out.

I guess they just needed to get their message straight. Get all up onto the same page and stuff like that.

Those of us concerned for and involved with peyote’s future need to also get up onto the same page. Our diversity is no excuse for division in this effort.

I’m not trying to be glib when I write like this. I’m swimming upstream against all the current of my 18 year old kid in a 61 year old body and I’m sincerely trying to be practical. Although sometimes I’m practically useless at being practical. (Sorry ladies, I’m already taken.)

But practically speaking, something that doesn’t get discussed much is how there’s the psychedelic community, and there’s the peyote community. They’re not the same thing but there’s some overlap. But there’s no need to argue about it either.

This internet thingy is amazing! I just made my first Venn diagram!

Same way, peyote and psychedelics are not the same thing. People who ingest psychedelics recreationally tend to do so with the intention of temporarily altering their mind. People who go into the tipi don’t bother to care one bit about all that. It’s not a concept that fits in ceremony as everything in there goes along with the medicine, by the medicine, and for the medicine. It’s a completely different way of expecting life and prayer to be.

All you who know what I’m talking about, already know what I’m talking about. We don’t go in the tipi and use medicine so that we can think or act better. We think and act better so that we can go in the tipi and use medicine.

I have never used peyote recreationally but I have used it outside tipi in solo vision questing in the wilderness. In the first year of my relationship with it, I had a really hard time eating much. I was raised with a habit of eating sweets and only what I thought tasted good. And to me, peyote didn’t. So I decided to put powder in capsules and swallow lots that way. I’m not proud of that, and I never did it again. Because although I experienced a very strong effect that some people would call psychedelic, it left my spirit completely untouched. It was beautiful and visionary and not negative in any way. But I was not inspired. I had no comfort in it. I began to feel shame like I had wasted something precious just so I could go to the movies. I should have just gone to a movie. I can still remember what I saw but what I learned is this is not what the medicine is about or for. It is not to take like a drug so some effects happen. It is not for our entertainment. It is for our life. The medicine showed me that this is way more important than any sort of psychedelic vision.

I mean, peyote can be a psychedelic in the same way a Labrador retriever can be a bed warmer. But if you’re treating your Lab like it’s just a bedwarmer, you’re not doing having a dog right. Maybe the humane society needs to intervene if that’s only how much you love or understand your animal companion.

There is a story of how medicine came to the people. It was a woman with her young child who left her village in search of her lost brother, who then became lost herself. Hungry and thirsty, unable to nurse her infant, she resigned herself to her fate under the shade of a small bush, seeking some comfort in their last hour. Then a voice came which spoke to her and said– Stretch out your arms to the east and west. Doing so the woman felt something smooth, soft, and cool under her outstretched hands. And the voice said– Eat of it, for it is food and medicine for you and your people. The woman did as she was told and a holy spirit came into her and said… Here is your lost brother over the hill. Nurse your child and take your brother and this holy medicine back to the people so you can share this gift with all who have need.

We all have lost brothers. We all require healing, and guidance, and the comfort of home. These concepts are much more unifying and important than any divisive tactics aimed at kneecapping standing together while fueling standing apart. And fearing others. And arguing. And giving energy to suspicion.

Please holy medicine, hold us in your hands as we hold you in ours. Help us find our way home to family though tears and trauma and conflict have made their scar on our past. Let our differences be as unique as red is to green and east is to west. And let every color as you made us, shine in the light of your Creation.

Nine out of ten hippies agree- fighting is not good karma. Nine out of ten psychedelic enthusiasts think peyote is a psychedelic. And nine out of ten peyote people aren’t interested in ayahuasca, mushrooms, or any other psychedelic substance. Myself, I just hope we all can get up onto the same page where it’s about Faith, Love, Hope, and Charity. And whatever your race, whatever your culture, however you talk to God, and whatever God says to you in your listening- let us help preserve the sacrament peyote for all who it has chosen, for those who are lost whom it chooses to bring home to itself, and for those who are yet to come.

Click below for next post

Let Them Eat Cake

2 responses to “It Is Food And Medicine For You And Your People”

  1. There’s a lot of different versions of the legend of the lost young woman finding peyote, the most common version being she was separated from her family lost in the peyote gardens ( if anyone has walked around in the mesquite thorn scrub in South Texas they would know how easy that can happen). She lays down in despair,peyote talks to all know the rest! Personally I prefer to think about the Carrizo Gana E’Stok and the Coahuilteco Nations teaching the newcomer Lipan Apaches ( in the 1700s) what they knew about peyote and then it going north from there. I’m not that personally aligned with the ” Disney ” version!


  2. Thank you so much peyote lorax for your courage in writing these things that are like a thorn, which is so uncomfortable that you know you need to extract it in order to stop the pain. I pray too that we can unite for the conservation of the medicine. I was not born here, USA North America. To us, people that come from the south, this place is such a sterile and cold environment. However, when peyote invited me into the tipi, I was warmly welcomed by many tribal people, for the first time I felt at home. I have been pondering about race and culture. I have been so obsessed trying to figure out what is it that keeps us separate, and why is it that some people hate others for being different. Well I did what someone with intelligence would do. I started to study the archeological record and the fossil record. I have learned that there were other species of hominids before us, one hominid homo erectus, walked the earth for 2 million years. Homo erectus was one of our ancestors, and we are homosapiens! All of us, of different shades and colors, different religions and languages BUT we are all homosapiens. There were many migrations out of Africa where us modern humans evolved through learning to become bipedal. It is not the fact that we have bigger brains and that we use tools, but bipedalism is what helped us evolve. Our migrations and adaptations to our environment is what makes us different. And the earth as a living organism has provided for all of our needs. We as homosapiens have been on this planet about 200,000 years! And yet, we occupy every corner of the planet and use more resources that any other species. As a matter of fact, we are so destructive that we even kill others liike us and we make other species go extinct. But wait, I keep hearing that it was not us who did it! That it’s others and that they should take the blame! I keep wondering, are we all in the same planet is anyone going to scape global warming, floods, fires, too much carbon in the atmosphere. Are we going to admit our responsibility and ask for forgiveness. Perhaps we can begin by respecting the water, the medicine and giving something back. Perhaps we can stop harvesting unsustainable and instead work for what we consume, like planting peyote from seed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: