The little mushroom comes of itself we know not whence, like the wind that comes we know not whence or why. (Schultes and Hofmann 1979).
Mazatec healer and mystic shamaness, Maria Sabina, was a native of Huautla de Jimenez, in the mountains of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Although she passed away in 1985 at the age of 91, her spirit remains to guide us and her teachings continue to enrich our lives.
Maria Sabina introduced teonancacatl (Psilocybe mexicana), also called little flowers of the gods or that which springs forth to ethnomycologists Gordon and Valentina Wasson in June of 1955. Wasson took mushroom spores back to Paris and the active ingredient was reproduced in laboratory by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in 1958.
Subsequently, many other seekers of the secrets of the sacred mushroom searched out Maria Sabina in Huautla. In the indigenous Mexican cultures, the teonancacatl was traditionally taken both for spiritual revelation and to heal physical maladies. It is said that Beatle John Lennon visited Maria Sabina and learned from her, and that “Mother Mary” of the song “Let it Be” is Maria Sabina herself.
Maria Sabina stated: “The father of my-grandfather Pedro Feliciano, my grandfather Juan Feliciano, my father Santo Feliciano – were all shamans – they ate the teonanacatl , and had great visions of the world where everything is known… the mushroom was in my family as a parent, protector, a friend.”
Arturo Macias, in his sculptural rendering of Maria Sabina in fine wood, has covered her form with carvings of the herbs she used to heal the physical body as well as wreathed her breast and shoulders with the teonancacatl sacred mushrooms that she used to heal the mind.