Peyote: The Heart of the Great Spirit
Lophophora williamsii, as the academics have dubbed it, is a small, spineless cactus whose natural habitat is the Chihuahuan Desert area extending from north/central Mexico up to southern Texas. The peyote cactus has most likely been helping humans with great kindness and wisdom longer than anyone will ever know. Some Native origin stories place it at the beginnings of human existence, as a gift from the Creator to help the people remember who they are and where they came from. Native American deification of the plant is thought by scholars to be about 10,000 years old.
Spreading up throughout much of the western United States and beyond in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, contemporary religious use of peyote, particularly in the context of the Native American Church, is vigorous. Elders say it is here to help us in this long foreseen time of crisis and transformation.