Read about why you should KYE (know your entheogen) here.
Peyote is a cactus native to southern Texas in the United States and Mexico. It has been used for millennia in a shamanic context by the native North American people. The English word “peyote” comes from the Nahuatl name peyōtl which has been translated by different sources as “glistening” or “Divine Messenger.”
The main psychoactive ingredient of peyote is the alkaloid mescaline, which is also found in the San Pedro cactus which grows in parts of South America.
Now, peyote usage has been recorded as early as 5700 years ago (circa 3700 BCE), from the radiocarbon dating of peyote buttons recovered from an archaeological site called Shumla Cave No. 5 on the Rio Grande in Texas. The Huichol people still conduct their ceremonies today.
Peyote has been used by several native North American tribes for healing and entering visionary states. It is an extremely important sacrament and is used by them to enter the trance state, like so many shamans of so many other cultures around the world. The Native American Church is a recognized religious group in America, and have been granted the right to use peyote as part of their ceremonies in spite of peyote being illegal in the US.
Peyote is yet another sacred plant that has been used by humans to access the trance state for healing, divination (like finding lost articles for example, which Terence McKenna mentions Amazonian shamans doing on their DMT concoctions), and spiritual purposes. Fans of The Sopranos will remember Tony’s ascent into the realms of knowing in season 6, when he looked into the rising sun and shouted, “I get it!”
The following video offers a brief history about the spread of peyote among native North American tribes and its use in the Native American Church. Here is another link that has an excerpt from Plants of the Gods – Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers by two of our biggest heroes here, explorer Richard Evans Schultes and scientist Albert Hoffman.