The use of peyote among aboriginal people is proven to be at least 6000 years old, but it likely is much older than that. Legends speak of the Blue Deer God who sacrificed itself to become the peyote plant
Take a look at a few highlights in peyote's long history
The first botanist's rendering of a peyote appeared in Curti's Botanical magazine in 1847
In 1860, English explorer Sir Richard Burton writes in Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms a description of the effects of peyote.
Meet the doctor who first put peyote on the map
Dr. John Raleigh Briggs of Dallas Texas was instrumental in bringing peyote to the attention of the medical world of the 1880s.
Louis Lewin (left) and Arthur Heffter (Right) two peyote pioneers that were the first to extract and study the alkaloids in the peyote entourage.
In 1897 they were first to refine peyote into various crystalized alkaloid components that comprise the peyote entourage. Also the first to identify and isolate mescaline
LATE 1880's EARLY 1890's
The Prophet, otherwise known as Wovoka, aka John Wilson, aka Nishkû'ntu, aka The Revealer of Peyote.
In the late 1880s and early1890s he was a leader in the Ghost Dance movement that spread the use of peyote widely among aboriginal people across the western USA who were being driven from their land.
The Ghost Dance Peyote Ceremony
In the 1890s, the peyote ceremony known as the Ghost Dance spread between many tribes across much of the western United States. It was believed that it would reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits to fight on their behalf, end American westward expansion, and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Native American peoples throughout the region.
The push to make peyotey illegal begins
In 1918 Peyote, An Insidious Evil is published by the Indian Rights Association.
Riding the coattails of the movement to ban alcohol, the article argued for making cannabis and peyote illegal.
It also recognizes the potential that peyote could be considered a protected religious practice under the constitution, something that wouldn't manifest for another 50 years.
Meet an early pioneer in neuroscience and peyote
Heinrich Klüver was one of the foremost experimental psychologists of his time and shaped the field known today as neuroscience. In the 1920s, he conducted groundbreaking experiments with mescaline.
He coined the term "cobweb figure" to describe one of the four form constant geometric visual hallucinations experienced in the early stage of a mescaline trip: "Colored threads running together in a revolving center, the whole similar to a cobweb".
The other three are the chessboard design, tunnel, and spiral. Klüver wrote that "many 'atypical' visions are upon close inspection nothing but variations of these form-constants.
Meet an early peyote anthropologist
Weston La Barre traveled extensively throughout Oklahoma on a quest to study peyote ceremonies. In 1938, he published The Peyote Cult. It was hailed as a classic on the cutting edge of psychological anthropology.
Nazies with Peyote
In October of 1945, American military forces raid the Dachau concentration camp and discover that the Nazies have been conducting experiments on prisoners involving mescaline.
In response, the USA military would begin its own research into mescaline as a potential truth-revealing agent under the name “Project Chatter”.
Canada becomes the leader in psychedelic research
In the 1950s, Canada emerges as a leader in psychedelic research. Two preeminent experts, Dr Humphry Osmand (left) and Dr Abram Hoffer (right) collaborate on breakthrough research involving the peyote and neurochemistry.
Their work would later inspire Aldous Huxley to try mescalin and author the Doors of perception.
The book that launched the psychedelic movement, and named a great band.
May of 1953 Aldous Huxley experiences mescaline, inspiring his seminal work; The Doors of Perception. In it, he argues that psychedelic drugs can be facilitators of mystical insight with great potential benefits for science, art, and religion.
The book is widely credited with birthing the psychedelic movement of the 1960s.
Peyote and the Beat Poets
Mescaline played a paramount part in influencing the beat generation of poets and writers of the later 1940s to the early 1960s. Most notable, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
December 1981 Peyote Exemption for Native American Church (NAC) becomes Law. As a result of a constitutional challenge based on religious freedoms, American law is forced to carve out an exemption for all NAC members.
Psychological and Cognitive Effects of Long-Term Peyote Use Among Native Americans is published
Because peyote is used regularly in religious ceremonies, scientists have been able to compare groups of people who have used peyote regularly throughout their lives with other similar groups who have not. “We found no evidence of psychological or cognitive deficits among Native Americans using peyote regularly in a religious setting.”
Naturalistic Use of Mescaline Is Associated with Self-Reported Psychiatric Improvements and Enduring Positive Life Changes is published.
Their peer-reviewed study finds “Many respondents (35–50%) rated the mescaline experience as the single or top five most spiritually significant or meaningful experience(s) of their lives. Acute experiences of psychological insight during their mescaline experience were associated with increased odds of reporting improvement in depression, anxiety, AUD and DUD. “
PeyoteLab.com launches a first-of-its-kind effort to map the peyote entourages across all chemotypes. The long-overdue bioprospecting effort has the potential to revolutionize the scientific understanding of peyote’s potential.