Cactus of Vision – The Peyote Cactus and the Native American Tradition


Peyote is a small and also spineless cactus that can grow at an extremely slow rate. The word ‘Peyote’ is from the word ‘peyotl’ which is a Nahuatl (Aztec) word. The Peyote plant grows among scrub and this plant specifically favors areas where there is limestone. This plant is also native to central Mexico as well as southwestern areas in Texas.

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The peyote cactus has been used for a long time for various Native American tribes for either medicinal or other traditional Indian rituals as a sacrament. Various Native American tribes that use the plant include; the Cora, Huichol the Tarahumara etc. These were mainly in different Indian traditional ceremonies and are some of the pre- modern ceremonies that are being practiced. The cactus of vision is concerned with ensuring that people have renewed and total ways to look at life. Ability to view life from a completely new perspective give people the much needed energy to conquer and face each day.

Peyote cactus and the Native American traditions

The use of the peyote plant, or lophophora williamsii, has been closely observed among the Indians for the last century. Various peyote ceremonies were held using the various kinds of peyote cacti. The peyote effect is so much important that even the Indian in the United States, which is far from the natural peyote area do import dried tops of the peyote plant. Some still send pilgrims to gather the cactus in the fields but most secure the supplies through purchase and even mails.

Some of the main Native American traditions that involved the use of the peyote plant do differ among tribes. Ceremonies are mainly held in wooden and round houses, which have a permanent altar inside. Osage and Quapaw have electrically lit houses while the Plain Indians service usually takes place in a teepee, which is erected over a carefully made, alter of clay or even earth. In this tradition, the dried peyote plant is placed on a cross found at the center in the altar. The altar is crescent shaped star to symbolize the spirit of the Peyote. It is removed from the alter during this ceremony. Once placed on the alter all due caution is observed. Each worshipers makes a cigarette which is to be used during the prayers. This cigarette can be made from either tobacco or shucks from corn. Next mescal buttons are purified with cedar incense. These mescal buttons are then passed clockwise each worshiper taking four. Peyote eaten during the ceremony is seen as a sacrament. It induces a fulfillment and other psychological effects experienced by the users. It is believed to enable loyalists to talk with God. Many peyonists believed the earthly God’s representation.

The peyote plant is also used by different tribe due to its peyote effect. The peyote effect is used in various curative procedures and this may partly explain the diffusion of this plant in the States. These curatives serve two functions, there those with pure physical effects and the “per excellence” medicines. The former reliever toothache or even digestive upsets while the “per excellence” medicines treat various peyote effects. These may include putting the person in communication, relieving hallucinations and even malevolent spirits believed to diseases and death.

There is a lot to learn about the peyote plant and a number of researches are still ongoing to know more about this ancient plant. You can learn more from various resourceful sites online.

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