María Sabina Magdalena García was a Mazatec curandera (spiritual healer) and poet, born c.1894 in Mexico. She is renowned as the first contemporary Mexican curandera to have invited Westerners to participate in the healing ritual known as the velada, a sacred purification ceremony in which participants ingest psilocybin mushroom as a sacrament to open the gates of the mind.
Here we share one of her most famous – and emotive – poems*:
“Cure yourself, with the light of the sun and the rays of the moon.
With the sound of the river and the waterfall.
With the swaying of the sea and the fluttering of birds.
Heal yourself, with the mint and mint leaves,
with neem and eucalyptus.
Sweeten yourself with lavender,
rosemary, and chamomile.
Hug yourself with the cocoa bean and a touch of cinnamon.
Put love in tea instead of sugar and take it looking at the stars.
Heal yourself, with the kisses that the wind gives you
and the hugs of the rain.
Get strong with bare feet on the ground and
with everything that is born from it.
Get smarter every day by listening to your intuition,
looking at the world with the eye of your forehead.
Jump, dance, sing, so that you live happier.
Heal yourself, with beautiful love,
and always remember… you are the medicine.“
María Sabina was eventually shunned by traditional communities for so extensively commercialising their ancient practices and traditions, and died in poverty aged 91, in 1985.