Meet The Mexican Shaman Who Introduced The World To Magic Mushrooms [Watch]

In 1955, a foreigner ventured to Mexico to meet with a shaman who was known for using psilocybin to help heal the sick.

Credit: Potent

Did you know? “Magic mushrooms”, or psilocybin, have been confirmed by John Hopkins University to reduce the symptoms and duration of depression. Additionally, many people who have taken them relay that the fungi help one “see the bigger picture” and radically transform their lives as a result.

Because psilocybin remains illegal in many parts of the world, some have gone to great lengths to experience the effects of ingesting them. One individual who did just that was Gordon Wasson, an amateur connoisseur of mushrooms. In 1955, the banker ventured to Mexico to meet María Sabina, a Mazatec shaman who was known for helping her people heal from physical sickness. Sabina, who passed away in 1985, referred to the Psilocybe mushroom as ‘nti-ši-tho’ in Mazatec, which translates to Little-One-Who-Springs-Forth.

According to, when the shaman ingested the mushrooms, she would be gifted the opportunity to ‘see’ inside the individual she was called to help and identify the root cause of their illness. Sometimes, she taught, the sickness was a result of soul loss, malevolent spirits or even human sorcerers.

“The sickness comes out if the sick vomit. They vomit the sickness. They vomit because the mushrooms want them to. If the sick don’t vomit, I vomit. I vomit for them and in that way the malady is expelled,” she said.

Most of the time, the patient would be ‘cured.’ Sometimes, their sickness would not remedy. The purity of the mushrooms was diminished, however, when Wasson ventured to Mexico to meet with the infamous shaman. The foreigner experienced his first journey with the fungi and reported feelings of “ecstasy, the flight of the soul from the body, entering other planes of existence, floating into the Divine Presence, awe and reverence, gentleness and love, the presence of the ineffable, the presence of the Ultimate, extinction in the divine radiance.” He was the first individual to take mushrooms to “find God.” Until that point, people only used the Psilocybin to cure sickness.

Sabina relayed,

“It’s true that Wasson and his friends were the first foreigners who came to our town in search of the saint children and that they didn’t take them because they suffered from any illness. Their reason was that they came to find God.”

Reportedly, Wasson lied to Sabina so he might experience the effects of the mushroom. The excuse was that he was worried about the well-being of his son. He later confessed that such was a deception to gain access to the ceremonies. From then on, foreigners continued to seek out Sabina to experience ‘enlightenment’. She lamented:

“Some of these young people sought me out for me to stay up with the Little-One-Who-Springs-Forth. ‘We come in search of God,’ they said. It was difficult for me to explain to them that the vigils weren’t done from the simple desire to find God, but were done with the sole purpose of curing the sicknesses that our people suffer from. But from the moment the foreigners arrived to search for God, the saint children lost their purity. They lost their force; the foreigners spoiled them. From now on they won’t be any good. There’s no remedy for it.”

It is said that Wasson’s spiritual bypass destroyed the mushrooms so that their extraordinary healing properties were diminished. Now that the fungi are available to most of the world’s inhabitants and are being studied by reputable universities, more might be learned about their effects and benefits.

Had they remained a secret, isolated to the region where Sabina dwelled and accessible to only those in her community, would the world have missed out? Watch the short video above to gain perspective and comment your thoughts below.

This article (Meet The Mexican Shaman Who Introduced The World To Magic Mushrooms [Watch]) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

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