Peyote hunters of the holy mountain; and how to get cactus lodged in your reducing valve
October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AL
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Entry £7 /£5 Concessions, Arrive 6pm for a 6:30pm Start – Wine available
In almost 500 years since the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the Huichol (actually self-named the Wixáritari) were never infiltrated by outsiders, but instead left their ancestral lands in the desert of San Luis Potosí and headed west for the mountains of Nayarit. Hiding out in the inaccessible highlands they held strong against foreign incursions of all kinds, and for half a millennium they have remained true to their shamanic pagan origins, embarking on a month-long journey each year, walking back to their original habitat, the desert of Wirikuta, to harvest their holiest sacrament, the psychedelic peyote cactus.
On their annual pilgrimage the Huichol also pay homage to their ancient holy mountain in the eastern desert, El Quemado, which is both spiritually endowed and minerally rich, loaded as it is with over a billion dollars worth of silver. The Canadian First Majestic Silver Corp wish to extract the precious minerals therein to plate their own pockets and rob another indigenous group of their rightful spiritual topography, and in the process level over 6,000 hectares of unique virgin wilderness with dynamite and cyanide, destroying native flora and fauna in the process. Peyote, known to have been used by indigenous people in the region for at least 5,000 years, is one of these threatened plants, and if it gets obliterated there for sake of the developed world’s rapacity, then so does the spirit of the planet’s oldest, most culturally intact psychedelic community. This talk explores the Huichol traditions and current problems, and also discusses recent scientific research into the apparent psi-inducing properties of mescaline, the most psychoactive chemical constituent of peyote.
Dr. David Luke directs and curates the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness lecture series at the October Gallery, which occasionally zoops off in new and interesting co-creative directions like the Breaking Convention: Multidisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He spends much of his time exploring the apparently magical phenomena of far-flung cults and indigenous groups under the auspices of his role as Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich. He is also the former President of the Parapsychological Association, a past Research Associate of the Beckley Foundation, a current lecturer on the transpersonal psychology MSc at the University of Northampton, and an explorer of lost pirate utopias. He still hasn’t written a single book but promises to finish editing the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness anthology very soon. October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AL