Salvia Divinorum – The Seer’s Sage

Salvia Divinorum has many names . It literally translates as "sage of the seers", but it is also goes by a number of other names. Shka Pastora ("Leaves of the Shepherdess"), Diviner's Sage, ska María Pastora, yerba de Maria, Magic Mint, Sally-D, or just salvia .


salvia divinorum plant


Salvia Divinorum is a sacred plant possessing visionary properties .


This innocent-looking herb is well known by the Mazatec people . The Mazatec are indigenous people who inhabit Sierra Mazateca in the Mexican state of Oaxaca , as well as some parts of Puebla and Veracruz . Salvia Divinorum is used by their shamans and healers for millennia . The plant facilitates altered states of consciousness essential in divination rituals performed by the shaman and crucial for the connection with the spiritual realm . The sacred plant is also a healing herb used in most of the healing rituals performed by the curanderos (healers) .


a shaman gathering salvia divinorum


In their rituals the Mazatec shamans use fresh leaves of Salvia Divinorum . They crush the leaves to extract the juice . Then the shaman mixes the juice with fresh water . The result is the sacred tea used in shamanic ceremonies  .  Another method of taking the medicine is by chewing it . 


The species  hasn’t been known by the western civilization until 1939 .


Jean Basset Johnson who was studying the Mazatec shamans and their spiritual traditions was the first to mention it . Years later in 1957 Arturo Gomez-Pompa accidently discovers the plant , while collecting fungus for a pharmaceutical company . It has been identified as an unknowns species of Slavia , but as the plant wasn’t flowering , more deeper research hasn’t been performed .


In 1962 the explorers Robert Gordon Wasson (The Wondrous Mushroom) who studied the psychedelic mushroom usage and Albert Hoffman , the founder of LSD brought the first flowering sample of Salvia Divinorum . They received a whole bundle of the flowering specimen of the plant from an old curandera called Natividad Rosa . She only give them the plant, but didn’t wanted to perform a ceremony, nor to tell them where the sacred plant grows . She told them that she was too old to take the shamanic journey . A journey that would take them to far-away places . Places where “the wise-women gather their powers; a lake above which the sparrows sing, and where objects got their names” (quote from "LSD My problem child") . 



salvia divinorum ritual


After the analysis of Salvia Divinorum it has been concluded that this is a totally new species of Salvia .


Terence McKenna was probably the first westerner to start public discussions about Salvia Divinorum and its properties . The known active constituent of Salvia divinorum is a trans-neoclerodane diterpenoid known as salvinorin A (chemical formula C23H28O8) . The active compound in the plant is not an alkaloid , unlike most opioids . It the first recorded diterpene hallucinogen .


salvia divinorum molecule


Salvia Divinorum is another of the priceless and mysterious gifts our holy mother Earth . Although its effects are considered unpleasant by some , the lessons learned are priceless . The sacred plant is cherished by the Mazatec for many generations . It is an ally to the indigenous people and their tool to deal with the challenges . It is their medicine and their teacher . The Mazatec are filled with respect for the sacred herb as they know its value . When a shaman dug up the plant he places a coffee-bean in the soil as thanks to the spirits . Maybe we can all learn from them and the lessons of Salvia Divinorum – the seer’s sage .




Related Literature

LSD My Problem Child: Reflections on Sacred Drugs, Mysticism and Science

by Albert Hofmann


Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

by Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann, Christian Rätsch


The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica

by Robert Gordon, Wasson


Shamanic Plant Medicine - Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers

by Ross Heaven


Psychedelics Encyclopedia

by Peter Stafford