Hallucinogens and Culture by Peter T. Furst

By Peter T. Furst

Publication via Furst, Peter T.

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This return to the uterus also constitutes an acceleration of time and corresponds to death. According to the Indians, the individual "dies" but is later reborn in a state of wisdom, because on waking from the yajé trance he is convinced of the truth of his religious system, since he has seen with his own eyes the personifications of the supernaturals and the mythic scenes… . According to the Tukano, after a stage of undefined luminosity of moving forms and colors, the vision begins to clear up and significant details present themselves.

These, as noted in the Introduction to this book, are themselves structurally closely related to powerful plant growth hormones; dopamine, moreover, has also been identified with the giant saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) of Arizona and northern Mexico (Bruhn, 1971:323). Schizophrenia is thought to be a disease of dopamine hyperactivity; victims of Parkinson's disease, on the other hand, suffer from dopamine insufficiency, which is partially offset nowadays by the administration of a new drug, L-dopa, often in combination with Tofranil or some other amphetamine.

Schultes's many publications are an essential source not only of botanical and pharmacological but also ethnographic data. * 45 According to our informants of the Vaupes, the purpose of taking yajé is to return to the uterus, to thefons et origo of all things, where the individual "sees" the tribal divinities, the creation of the universe and humanity, the first human couple, the creation of the animals, and the establishment of the social order, with particular reference to the laws of exogamy.

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