Sacred Plant Wisdom for Modern Day Shamans
For thousands of years, people around the world have enlisted the help of native plants to induce altered states of consciousness, psychological or physiological, to “generate the Divine within.” More than just an exotic way to elevate your mood, Sacred Plants can offer what, to some, is seen as a direct link to the universe, to a more conscious state of being.
How these plants are traditionally used can tell a lot about the values and aspirations of a culture, and, as such, should be treated with much awareness and respect.
AFRICAN DREAM ROOT
Silene undulata, meaning “white ways/paths” is a plant native to South Africa, long used by the Xhosa people as a sacred plant. Its fragrant flowers open at night (interesting considering it’s used to open up the dreamland) and close in the day, but it’s the root that’s used; it can be harvested after the second year, dried, and taken as a tea.
African dream root is traditionally used to induce prophetic lucid dreams during the initiation process of shamans. If you have no intention of being initiated as a shaman, you can by all means still take the plant to try to enjoy more frequent, intense, sometimes lucid dreams, with increased ability to recall intricate details of your dreams.
SACRED BLUE LOTUS
Nymphaea caerulea, aka blue Egyptian water lily or sacred blue lily, was originally found along the Nile and other locations in East Africa. It has since spread to other places, such as the Indian subcontinent and Thailand.
Its flower is the symbol of the Egyptian deity Nefertem, so is very often depicted in Egyptian art, including in carvings and paintings in the famous temple of Karnak. It’s frequently associated with dancing or in significant spiritual / magical rites such as the rite of passage into the afterlife. This flower has mild psychoactive properties, and eating or smoking it can act as a mild sedative. It takes ingesting three to six flowers before feeling anything. The nicely sedating effects make it a possible candidate (among several) for the true identity of the lotus plant eaten by the mythical Lotophagi in Homer’s Odyssey.
The main effects of blue lily are a pleasant feeling of warmth around the head, mixed with a very comfortable dreamy feeling.
Adapted for clarity and length from an article by Cathy Brown on Matador