Updated: Jul 27
Since ancient times, they have been used as "technology of the sacred." These are plant or animal substances capable of producing significant changes in our organism. They generally act on the central nervous system (CNS), causing specific changes in its functions and allowing connection with the divine or the spiritual. Depending on the effect they produce on us, they are considered "sacred medicines," whether for the body, soul, or spirit.
It is precisely the sacred nature attributed to these types of plants that makes them objects of reverence and worship, while also conferring deep symbolic meaning. In many cases, they are used to restore physical or psychological health, receive guidance in important decisions, connect with the deepest self, and almost all cultures use them in initiation rituals. The ritual use of these plants allows both self-knowledge and the integration of the individual with their community, culture, and environment.
Medicinal plants include all those with healing properties – in fact, almost all plants have them. On the other hand, power plants, although also medicinal, stand out for their entheogenic capacity, meaning they enable expanded states of consciousness to access other planes of reality where healing occurs.
Indigenous cosmologies and spirituality cannot be separated. The ancient and indigenous world is fundamentally spiritual, encompassing ancestral medicine, with the central concept that illness is the result of spiritual imbalance in a person, and restoration – healing – is achieved by bringing the individual back into balance.
These plants are also known as: master plants, plants of the gods, power plants, magical plants, luminous plants, visionary plants, plants of light, consciousness plants, hallucinogenic plants, entheogenic plants, psychedelic plants, psychotropic plants, etc.
Currently, in scientific literature, the term "entheogen" is used with greater accuracy and consensus, proposed by researchers Carl A. R. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Jonatthan Ott, and R. Gordon Wasson.
The term "entheogen" is much more appropriate to describe substances whose ingestion induces alterations in ordinary consciousness, leading to "mystical" or ecstatic trance states. In Greek, "entheos" literally means "god within," and it is an expression used to describe the state in which the subject finds themselves when having a divine vision or feeling possessed by a deity. The root "gen-" denotes the action of becoming: thus, the meaning of entheogen refers to "what brings us closer to our inner god" or "that which reveals our inner god." Therefore, we can speak of entheogens, and as an adjective, entheogenic plants or substances.
For millennia, plants and fungi have been part of human daily life, as tools for personal growth, healing, and spiritual development. It was through the use of power plants and fungi that humans made a quantum leap, developing thought, language creation, spiritual consciousness, and creativity through entheogenic ingestion.
Throughout history, these types of plants have been used as a means of knowledge and connection with the divine by many ancient cultures and civilizations, from the Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayas, and Incas to the Minoans, Persians, and Greeks, among others. Currently, in the shamanic world, many indigenous cultures continue to use them throughout the planet.
These plants connect human beings with universal consciousness, with what they truly are, with the truth and infinite wisdom that lies within everyone and, due to education, lifestyle, and excessive mental dialogue, is buried deep in the unconscious. They work subtly through intuitions, visions, and dreams, unearthing deep memories, activating emotions, confronting fears and limitations; they can even intensify physical pain before ultimately healing it.
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND ANCESTRAL RIGHT TO ETHNOBOTANICAL PRACTICES
Plants and fungi containing entheogenic substances have been highly esteemed and used by the most spiritually advanced magical cultures since time immemorial. They have been and continue to be, for many cultures, at the center of vision and connection with divinity, the well-being of peoples, and understanding.
We see in entheogens and ancestral remedies therapeutic tools in modern society, promoting conscious use of substances and recognizing indigenous-ancestral heritage and knowledge. We defend the ancestral use of medicine as an inalienable universal right of human beings.
In the early Middle Ages, ancestral medicine and the use of power plants and sacred fungi were discarded and marginalized, deemed forbidden due to their medicinal and spiritual properties, leading to the elimination of thousands of people in Europe for using these practices, especially women; by the mid-16th century, colonization-inquisition erased these ancestral records, language, and medicine from memory, as they allowed accessing a perception channel guided by wise people and grandparents guided by the universal voice, children of the sun.
We support the growing awakening and groups of therapists and healthcare professionals who agree on implementing the necessary regulations for access to "Non-Criminalized" medicine, as these primitive regulations date back to 1598 during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire when Tezozómoc described the ingestion of sacred mushrooms during the coronation of Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II in 1502. The Spaniards were astonished to see how the natives worshiped their gods with the help of these mushrooms they called teonanácatl, and in 1690, the Inquisition declared that the consumption of intoxicating plants constituted heresy, leading to relentless persecution by the Church. Knowledge was buried over the centuries, and this wisdom remained in the hands of a few individuals, healers, shamans, who secretly transmitted it from generation to generation.
On the verge of losing this wisdom, a rescue, an awakening has been taking place by collectives, each in its field, fighting to address the harm that chemical medicine has caused in contrast to healing and disease. Gradually rediscovered in the West thanks to the work and research of anthropologists, doctors, psychiatrists, ethnobotanists, ethnomycologists, and pharmacologists in the early 20th century.
By Marta Massanes and revised by Ritshi Zenati.
Holistika Center organizes spiritual and transformative retreats. We base our work on expanded states of consciousness and sacred plants.