The 20th Anniversary of the publication of Plant Spirit Medicine

Now available in a new edition

“Plant spirit medicine works partially because it has broad perspective. It does not look only through the eyes of physics and chemistry; it sees human beings as expressions of divine natural forces. It plumbs the human mind and emotions. It gives paramount importance to spirit, the mysterious core of our lives.”

“By way of tipping my hat in respect, I will mention that the Huichols are an indigenous people whose once-extensive homelands have been reduced to some rugged areas in the western Sierra Madre in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Durango, Mexico. Like all indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere, the Huichols have been and are being hard pressed by the dominant culture. Unlike most indigenous groups, though, they have never been conquered, they have not converted to foreign religions, they have not lost their language, their communities are functional, and their ancestral spiritual traditions are still robust… Even though their lives are hard, the Huichol know who they are, where they are, and what is important. Their world is not a world of inert “things”; it is a living world of divine feeling and expression. They live in a mood of restrained joy mostly unknown to Western people.”

“Like Huichol medicine, plant spirit medicine is low tech; it produces healing purely through good relationship with the natural world. In this way it is not simply a relic of the past; it is also a medicine for the present and the future. Whether you consider high technology a blessing or a curse, we are now confronting this reality: the world cannot support the extraction of resources; production of heat; and contamination of air, water, and soil necessary to build machines and keep them running. High-tech medicine is already too expensive for most of humanity. Like everything unsustainable, it is destined to become more extravagant and rare until there is a collapse of the unbalanced system that props it up. No doubt collapse will produce hardship and even tragedy, but it will also bring us back to what traditional healers and indigenous elders have always demonstrated: plants, animals, rocks, water, fire, wind, and the entire natural world know us and love us as grandchildren. We don’t have to steal from them because they have what we require, and they are glad to give it to us. We are just asked to follow a simple rule: take only what you need and give back something that satisfies the one you’ve taken from.
These pages open to the medicine dream of the natural world. It is a big dream; all plants live there. You and I live there too.”