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Buddhadharma : Fall 2018
MATTEO PISTONO 31 executive at J.P. Morgan & Co., wrote about his experience on psilocybin with Maria Sabina, a Mazatec healer in southern Mex- ico, in Life in 1957. It was Wasson’s article that inspired Timothy Leary to travel to Mexico and have his first experience of psilocybin mushrooms, after which he returned to Harvard and initi- ated (with Richard Albert, later Ram Dass) the Harvard Psilocybin Project in 1960. Peyote is a small, smooth cactus that contains mes- caline, the principal psychoactive alkaloids used by the Huichol and other indigenous populations in north central Mexico and the southwestern United States, including the Native American Church, for both healing and spiritual purposes. San Pedro, found in the moun- tains of Peru, is another variety of cactus containing mescaline that is administered by healers. Aldous Huxley wrote The Doors to Perception based upon his experience with mescaline in the 1950s. In 1994, with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments, the US government lifted its prohibition on peyote for traditional ceremonial use by American Indians. LSD, also known as “acid,” is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. Albert Hofmann first synthe- sized LSD in Switzerland in 1938 from ergotamine, a chemical from the fungus ergot. It is typically swal- lowed or held under the tongue in the form of blotter paper, a sugar cube, or gelatin. —Matteo Pistono ILLUSTRATIONS,TOP-BOTTOMJAMESSOWERBY,CIROMACCORD