“Ska María Pastora” The Mazatec Shaman and the ‘Sage of the Diviners’

The Mazatec people have a rich cultural heritage, dating back thousands of years… They are known for their distinct language, art, music and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants.

Their ancestral practices have been passed down through generations, preserving their unique spiritual beliefs and rituals

The Mazatec people, an indigenous group residing in the mountainous regions of Oaxaca, Mexico, have a long history of using Salvia Divinorum, known locally as “Ska María Pastora” in their traditional spiritual practices.

The Salvia divinorum plant holds deep cultural and religious significance for the Mazatec people, and its use is deeply intertwined with their shamanic rituals and healing ceremonies.

Mazatec Shamanism and Curanderismo

Within Mazatec society, shamanism plays a crucial role in the community.

Shamans, also known as “Curanderos” or “Curanderas”, are spiritual healers and guides who serve as intermediaries between the physical world and the spiritual realm.

They use their knowledge of medicinal plants to facilitate healing, divination and communication with the spirit world.

The Use of Salvia Divinorum

Salvia divinorum is one of the sacred plants used by Mazatec shamans in their ceremonies.

It is considered a portal to the spiritual realm and is believed to provide insights into the hidden aspects of the universe and self. It is a sacred plant that serves as a tool for healing, divination and spiritual exploration.

The Mazatec refer to the plant as “hojas de la pastora” (leaves of the shepherdess) or “la hembra” (the female) to honor it’s role as a wise and nurturing guide.

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Ska María Pastora Rituals and Ceremonies

Salvia divinorum ceremonies are typically conducted in a calm and private setting, often at night to enhance the introspective and visionary nature of the experience.

The Mazatec shamans prepare the plant by grinding the leaves into a pulp or by crushing fresh leaves and then making a juice or extract.

During the ceremony, participants may consume the prepared plant through oral ingestion, chewing the leaves or drinking the extract.

The shaman leads the ceremony, setting the intentions and creating a safe and sacred space for the participants’ journeys.

The shaman (or “curandero” ) plays a central role in guiding the ceremony. They are considered intermediaries between the physical world and the spiritual realm. Before the ceremony, the shaman may engage in fasting, prayer and purification practices to attune themselves to the spiritual energies.

During the ceremony, the shaman sets the intentions, chant sacred songs and create a protective and respectful atmosphere for participants. Their presence and experience are crucial in ensuring a safe and meaningful journey for participants.

Mazatec shamans place great importance on creating a suitable setting for the Salvia divinorum ceremony.

The environment is typically quiet, dimly lit and free from distractions. Ceremonies often take place in a designated sacred space or in the presence of nature, allowing participants to connect with the spirits of the land.

Mazatec Shamans say that Salvia speaks with a quiet voice...

Entering a visionary state characterized by altered perceptions of time and space… participants encounter vivid symbolic imagery, feel a sense of interconnectedness with nature and experience encounters with spirits or otherworldly entities.

Mazatec Shamanic Healing and Divination

The use of Salvia divinorum is believed to facilitate healing, both physically and emotionally. Participants may experience deep introspection, gain insights into the root causes of their issues and receive guidance for healing and personal growth.

For the Mazatec, Salvia divinorum ceremonies are also a means of divination, providing answers to important questions and helping to navigate life’s challenges. The visions and messages received during the experience are interpreted by the shaman to offer guidance and understanding to the participants.

The Mazatec people regard Salvia divinorum as a sentient being with its own consciousness and spirit. They approach the plant with great respect and gratitude, acknowledging its role as a teacher and healer.

The ceremonies are conducted with humility and reverence, fostering a harmonious relationship with the plant spirit. The plant is seen as a wise and benevolent teacher, guiding individuals on their spiritual paths and fostering a sense of unity with the universe.

The Mazatec’s reverence for the plant reflects their profound understanding of the intricate relationship between humans, nature and the spiritual world, fostering a harmonious and sacred connection with the mysteries of existence.

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