NOVEMBER 22, 1985

MEXICAN MAZATEC NATIVE HEALER MARIA SABINA DIED

María Sabina Magdalena García, known as the “Priestess of Mushrooms,” was born to the Mazatec people on July 24, 1894, in Huautla de Jiménez, in southern Mexico.  Her family included several curandera, or sabia (i.e., a shaman, “One Who Knows”) from whom she learned the traditional ceremonies, including the velada involving use of hallucinogenic mushrooms (known as “Holy Children”) as a medicinal cure.  Sabina’s dedication to the healing practice began in the 1950s and caught media attention, particularly after American banker Robert Gordon Wasson published a 1957 article about her in Life magazine, followed by a 1968 book that spread her popularity to the counter-culture. Visitors now were people seeking psychedelic recreation, with no tie to or respect for the culture & religion of the Mazatec people.  She became ostracized by her community and her house was burned.  In short order, the active ingredient, psilocybin, was roundly outlawed.  She died penniless in 1985.

Sources:
  Feana Aleph, “Maria Sabina, a Most Fascinating Mexican Healer,” Feana Aleph.  Retrieved 8/15/2020, https://www.faena.com/aleph/articles/maria-sabina-a-most-fascinating-mexican-healer/
 Wikipedia
Photo:  Juan Carlos Rangel, 12/29/2007.  Public Domain. 

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