"Shamanic Voices: a survey a visionary narratives"
by Joan Halifax, Ph.D. (1991)
In the early 1930's, prior to Maria's rise to prominence, Robert J. Weitlaner, witnessed, but it is not recorded he participated in, the Mazatec mushroom ceremony just northeast of Oaxaca. On July 16, 1938, his daughter Irmgard, with an anthropologist who eventually became her husband, Jean Bassett Johnson, together with two others, Bernard Bevan and Louise Lacaud, attended a mushroom rite in Huautla. Johnson later gave a full account of the event and were the first white persons "recorded" to attend such a ceremony (although it is said they did not participate in the ceremony or ingest the mushrooms).
Throughout the intervening years numerous reports have surfaced, although none officially recorded, of other white men having actually participating in the ceremony. Of those, there is only one of any note, that being a mysterious hallucinogenic bio-searcher and mushroom hunter from the Taos, Santa Fe, New Mexico area who had several species named after him and said to be married to a very powerful curandera Shaman himself.
In 1955, Gordon Wasson and Allan Richardson, made history by becoming the first KNOWN white men documented or publicized to participate in the nocturnal mushroom ceremony. Under the guidance of Maria Sabina, Wasson and Richardson each consumed six pairs of the mushroom Psilocybe caerulescens var. mazatecorum after which they began to feel the effects, manifesting visions of geometric patterns, palaces, and architectural vistas. The results of that experience was published in Life Magazine, May 13 1957, in an article titled "Seeking the Magic Mushroom." That article is considered the inspiration for Dr. Timothy Leary and others to try similar mushrooms and hallucinogens.
Maria Sabina had
visions on the "little saints" that someone (Wasson) was coming
and would take the tradition to the world after 500 years of secrecy
under Spanish rule. As a result of that action, giving the secrets of
the "little saints" to outsiders, her son was murdered and her house
burned to the ground. During the later years of her life she lamented
that "the power of the sacrament had been lost in the clouds," and
ending up speaking English instead of the Mazatec. She lived to age 91,
passing away on November 22, 1985.