Cynthia Palmer's SheShamans lecture- WPF 08

By moda00 · Mar 26, 2008 ·
  1. moda00
    Summary of SheShamans first lecture, Cynthia Palmer

    Discussed symbolism, history, and used many images related to women and psychedelics.

    Legend in one peyote culture of its history- woman was walking and nursing child, got lost and became exhausted and malnourished, thought she would die and unable to feed child.. voice told her to eat the cactus near her- peyote- and it restored her strength so she could nurse her child and found her way home- told to bring to her people as a giver of life and energy

    Helen of Troy- took opium based drug

    Isis- Egyptian goddess of motherhood, fertility, and herbs- linked these three- cycle of life, nourishment, feminine qualities..

    Maria Sabina as modern counterpart- protege of 20th century shaman, was able to connect the centuries old mushroom tradition with the white people seeking new knowledge in the 60s- this was very important (image of her handing sacred mushroom to Gordon and Valentina Wasson)

    Pythia- "the poison path" or dark side of psych. plants, female/goddess

    Henbane/Belladonna/Datura- both Odysseus and his father given this psychotropic plant by women, but for very different reasons/situations (women often as keepers/distributors of these plants- also discussed in Panorama by Colombian shaman (forgot his name) regarding sacred coca leaves- women as preparers and distributers, seen as balancing out and providing a feminine force to harmonize with the masculine- was not clear if women ingested or not but if so not nearly as prominent as their role as preparing and giving it out, and also the idea that femininity is essential quality to balance the masculine..)

    REnaissance- enlarged pupils considered sign of woman's beauty, use of term "belladonna" denotes this use/history

    Idea of women tripping together or alone as a way to liberate from sexual and social bonds of men which otherwise dominated in many cultures/societies

    EVE (garden of Eden)
    Western thought= serpent as devil, plant Eve ate was poison/bad
    --BUT can also see serpent as a wise shaman, and the fact that Eve was more tuned in to nature? Plant (Bible story clearly states) led to divine knowledge, pretty clear what effects were, led to cosmic perspective, but also supposedly to the downfall of humanity
    --Could this story be portrayed as it is to cover up the fact that the war on drugs is really to prevent humans from coming to realize the worship and divine ower of nature versus organized religion, or that god=plants/nature/connectedness, and to prevent challenging the status quo- kep people in their place- applies to women but also to everyone in different ways?
    Eve seen as rebel activist, drug deviant, victim, sinner? Really she had the instinct and connection with nature to pursue this knowledge, knew what was good for her? Different labels.. she should perhaps not be blamed (in the context of myth/story) for Adam's downfall, but praised for her decisive action.

    Hassan Saba of Islam- brainwashing with drugs- men were drugged with hash, opium, then Saba had beautiful women seduce them, then coerced them to perform tasks for him such as assassinations- can be used to nurture or to abuse

    Women in Washington- Mary (Kennedy's wife) had plan to inroduce LSD in order to end cold war and bring peace- her diaries burned after her death
    Anita Hoffman mailed 4,000 joints to people in power infrastructure of NY

    Contrast of Nancy Reagan- introduced "just say no"
    "Brownie Mary" (just said yes ;))- a grandmother who baked cannabis brownies for young men sufferig with AIDS- arrested but eventually they didn't have the heart to send her to jail (Idea of females as more delicate, more innocent? Gender, fact that she was a mother and grandma played a role no doubt. On the other hand, stories I've read recently about women prosecuted very harshly for minor drug possession, or for crimes their male companion or spouse committed- Can do clemency website, etc.)

    Quote "Peace reign in heaven, ambrosia already in the wine bowl.." (imagery of gods taking wine with drugs, "ambrosia" as term for intoxicants and mythologized)

    First reported to write under influence- Mary Robinson- but most known/purported to have done so (not sure if this has been verified?) is Kubla khan/Samuel Coleridge

    Luisa May Alcott, author- tales of women being drugged, getting high, overdosing in her fiction was culturally acceptable within context, could explore these ideas

    Anita Berber (exotic dancer) had "cocaine dance/jig, Billie Holliday was opiate addict and advocated for addiction as a medical and not a legal issue, Grace Slick- call to enter new realities, "Feed your head."

    Mabel Dodge Lume- 1st account of peyote trip in white America

    Also regarding the Wasson's, Gordon retells story of his wife Valentina turning him on to mushrooms, "mycophobe to mycophile"

    Laura Huxley- introduced concept of psychedelic guides, dosed husband on his death bed at his request (LSD) in '63
    Adele Davis- hospice movement- idea of easing suffering and making death easier transition
    -> Val Perell (sp?) "Bud and Breakfast" B&B/hospice (lol)

    Ania Sinn (sp?)- "most pleasurable sensation ever" but feared repeat use of psychoactives would dull brains own access to creative process

    Also Adele Davis (have this name twice, as above with hospice, not sure if wrote incorrectly or if these are both the same person) wrote first woman's account of tripping on LSD, name of "Jane Dunlop" LSD experiences but repressed by publisher

    Alice in Wonderland books- nine total "psychedelic ingestions/experiences," "Hookah smoking caterpillar" as serpent in Eden- mysterious, wisdom vs. evil/temptation

    Slogan in 60's was "Girls say YES to boys who say NO" (wtf lol- so "girls" and "boys, insinuating children, can have sex but drugs are evil.. indeed.. but that was the 60's, bit of a different cultural context- we were discussing at dinner tonight a bit about these states and prohibitions, I pointed out that victimless crimes in our culture mainly relates to either sex or drugs, RX pointed out the connection between these being the two states are historically both pursued and feared, and quite often linked, as most primal connections to humanity and consciousness and our history and evolution, similarities.. Also others pointed out the money factor, but this came later, and I think it goes deeper than that, although of course "drug dealing" and "prostitution" and all black market stuff involves money, the basic emotions and sensations of altered consciousness and sexual experience are rooted much deeper. also am now thinking that both states have in common pleasure- which is foten taboo for whatever reason, it is seen as sinful or unethical to pursue pleasure through these routes in many cases- idea of "too much" or "unearned" pleasure. Also have noticed gender differences in drug scene- seems that swim is often only female in that context, but this doesn't automatically mean less females use, it just means that the substances (illegal vs. legal etc.), context, and motives may differ, but the anecdotal observation of course says nothing about whether this is true on a large scale, and even if it is, what the reasons are behind it. At this conference, I actually feel there are fairly equal numbers of men and women, and many couples together- idea of women using psychoactives to be freed from social and sexual constraints of patriarchal society, but also not addressed was the idea of men and women connecting on a higher level with psychoactives or using them to achieve equalizing or balancing force in the relationship..

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