A psychedelic trip through the mountains of Mexico where we find Maria Sabina and her magic mushrooms. Through the story and songs of this curandera and poet, we explore the interplay of soul and brain, nature, language and healing.
We want to make a big tent out of the word witch, including healers, shamans, artists, creators, all kinds of strong women – as Ipisita Roy Chakraveri says and we quote in episode 2, every woman is a witch and all are hunted.
Our story today is about a woman who didn’t want to be identified with witchcraft – although the word did get slung at her – so maybe telling her story in this context is a dick move.
But we feel like her story deserves more telling, her art and connection to the earth needs more study, and the power of her poetry merit being included in the big tent of magic. As usual we’ll try to welcome this witch we’ve been missing thoughtfully in order to learn something, cast more light, and just not fuck it up too much.
This story ties the Beatles, Walt Disney, and the CIA’s secret MKULTRA mind control experiments to a small elderly woman who, purified and late at night, high in the mountains in Oaxaca province, would become one with God and heal with words. A woman who Mexican poet Homero Aridjis called “the greatest visionary poet in twentieth-century Latin America.”
This is the story of María Sabina, the contemporary Mazatec curandera who allowed Westerners to participate in the healing vigil known as the velada, had her story told on the cover of Time Magazine, and saw her tiny, isolated community transformed into a transcendental hippie mecca (or madhouse) that shaped the world.