How Peyote came to the People

By Potter · May 8, 2009 · ·
  1. Potter
    This was written for a mythology class. We had to tell a myth from our culture, so I felt the need to represent the drug culture. I'd like to thank Dale Pendell for the basic outline of the story, upon which I expanded and colored in utilizind various elements of the Huichol Peyote rituals. This is of course an oral tale and I feel that the transcription looses something, there's some awkward grammar here and there, but that works out with the right inflections and tone. One of these days I'll illustrate it and make a little book.

    A woman had fallen behind the rest of her band, exhausted. Having no strength left, no food, she thought she would surely die. She lay down beneath a mescal bean shrub, and in the little shade that it offered fell into a deep sleep, perchance to dream.

    She saw herself laying under the mescal bush, the bush turned and walked toward her, it’s little roots moving as legs, it’s beans becoming a lovely set of necklaces and bracelets, her leaves, a wild mane of green hair. “Señora, soon you would have died, but on this blessed day, I Sr. Kari has been instructed by Mahjrah (Madre Deer) to bestow upon you and your people the blessing of this world and the next. When you wake, you will go over to that outcropping of rocks, where you will find a plant that knows where it is, that knows of the world, and what lies in it’s corners. You will eat of this plant, for it is the seed of life and the bringer of knowledge, eat of this plant and verily you shall live.” And with that, she was awake.

    The sun was blazing hot, beating down on her with a fury she never felt. It took all her strength to reach the rocks, but alas no leaves were to be found. “Has my vision forsaken me?” she wondered, falling to the ground in exhaustion. As she lay there, a most marvelous sight greeted her. Hardly more then a stone, she beheld a little green ball, it pointed to the north, to the south, to the east, to the west, it knew where the four corners of the world were, it must be what mescal spoke to her about. She poked at it and found it was soft, unlike a rock, and unlike a rock, it did in fact have a root. She chewed the bitter flesh, juices cooling her parched throat. She quickly faded to sleep again as the sun started to fall into the horizon.

    Upon waking, her head was a buzz with new feelings, the entirety of the cosmos coursed through her veins, she could hear songs she never heard and her vision … her vision. The sand moved as an ocean and the night sky started to swirl as the stars came down to greet her. The stars of Mahjrah coalesced into the largest, most regal deer she had ever seen, adorned with a rich headdress of fine feathers and gold. Mahjrah spoke: “What you have eaten, is my gift to people. You will know this medicine by the name Peyotl. As it is part of me, you will find it where I step.”

    The old woman looked on in awe. All around here colors like none she had ever seen before swirled and spiraled. The stars sang hymns of praise to the glorious medicine Peyotl. The cosmos flowed through her and again Mahjrah spoke …

    “Understand, this is not just for your people, but for all you encounter. You are not to be jealous and hoard Peyotl for your selves, but to share with all men you encounter. And as you must not be jealous of other tribes, you must not hold jealousy anywhere in your hearts. Thusly, before you journey to Wirikuta to hunt Peyotl, you must confess all your affairs to your village”

    “Your kidding?”

    “No, not at all.”

    “but my husband can not know about his brother”

    “He will, as he will know about that boy when you were 15, the other one a year later, let’s not forget the time with those two other girls and just last year you and…”

    “OK OK, I get it, confess affairs…”

    The memories of her youth flooded back upon her, overwhelming her heart. She nearly cried when Mahjrah mentioned that boy who initiated her into womanhood, and of those two other girls, now long dead. The old woman had never spoken to a god before, but she knew in her heart, she did now.

    “and none may hold these confessions in their heart, nor against their neighbor, or her husband. Once all are cleansed, return here, singing the songs you are hearing, singing all the way. When your leader spots my tracks, spots my Little Brother, slay Peyotl as you would slay a Deer. Shed a tear, for Peyotl is your brother. Slice off the top and leave the root for your children to experience the miracle of Peyotl’s resurrection.”

    “Peyotl is the world and all that lies beyond the world. With it your doctors will treat the sick. With it, your warriors will triumph. With it, your messengers will be fast and tire not. With it, you and your people will find the joy of life and peace of mind. It is sacrament and it is food. Use Peyotl as thou will, but always with gladness in your hearts, else you will suffer worse then death. Confess, be pure, and my blessings will always be upon you.” And with that, Mahjrah was gone.

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  1. Gradient
    My favorite is how easily I could forget the presence of the narrator; I just kind of fell into the rich imagery. The tone is reminiscent of 100 years of solitude (please forgive my clumsy association), but with appropriately inserted humor - the voice effectively describes the thought processes of anyone that might observe the story unfolding. Love to see some illustrations, especially when she awakens to the Mahjrah deer.
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