Dr David Luke is a researcher who dances on the edge of academic 'respectability' through his investigations of both parapsychology and shamanism. We were honoured to have an article from David in Darklore Volume 5 on the topic of the 'entities' encountered under the influence of the entheogenic chemical DMT. Here he is (followed by co-presenter Poncho Nava) with yet another fascinating lecture presentation on the topic of shamanism, titled "Peyote Hunters of the Holy Mountain & How to Get a Cactus Lodged in Your Reducing Valve" (90mins):
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.