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Dozens of rock art sites in southern New Mexico, recently documented for the first time, are revealing unexpected botanical clues that archaeologists say may help unlock the meaning of the ancient abstract paintings.
Over a swath of the Chihuahuan Desert stretching from Carlsbad to Las Cruces, at least 24 rock art panels have been found bearing the same distinctive pictographs: repeated series of triangles painted in combinations of red, yellow, and black.
And at each of these sites, archaeologists have noticed similarities not just on the rock, but in the ground.
Hallucinogenic plants were found growing beneath the triangle designs, including a particularly potent species of wild tobacco and the potentially deadly psychedelic known as datura.
Researchers believe that the plants may be a kind of living artifact, left there nearly a thousand years ago by shamans who smoked the leaves of the plants in preparation for their painting.
The triangle motifs first showed up at about 20 sites that the team surveyed at Fort Bliss, Loendorf said.
But it was during their second survey — of the lands around Carlsbad — that they noticed tobacco and datura growing under similar pictographs found there.
And when their work took them farther west, to record pictographs near Dona Ana in the Rio Grande valley, the team discovered the same pattern yet again, both in the rock art itself and in the plant life around it.
Images have also been found in cave art which look like UFOs or alien beings. Graham Hancock argues that this does not mean that prehistoric humans encountered aliens, as some conspiracy theorists might say, but instead could be a sign of hallucinations. If these caves were used for ceremonial or magical rituals, which the art does indicate, this might explain how religions originated. The ancient Egyptian religion, for example, is full of half-animal, half-human gods, as well as ritual and magic. The Egyptian religion, like the older forms of shamanism, could have been based on altered states of consciousness. Some have argued that the Blue Egyptian water lily, which has mild psychedelic properties, might have been used by ancient Egyptian priests in ritual practices. In Egyptian art found in the temple of Karnak, the lily is depicted in party-like scenes. The lily is also a symbol for the Egyptian deity Nefertem.
Due to the potent combination of anticholinergic substances it contains, Datura intoxication typically produces effects similar to that of an anticholinergic delirium (as contrasted to a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis (dilated pupils) with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.
No other substance has received as many severely negative recreational experience reports as has Datura. The overwhelming majority of those who describe their use of Datura find their experiences extremely unpleasant both mentally and often physically dangerous.
"She (Datura) is as powerful as the best of allies, but there is something I personally don't like about her. She distorts men. She gives them a taste of power too soon without fortifying their hearts and makes them domineering and unpredictable. She makes them weak in the middle of their great power."
In the case of states of being enhanced through medicinal plants, herbs, or drugs -- especially in the first few instances of use -- unless it is under the auspices of someone similar to the Curandera in the Velada Ceremony, the tribal elder with Sacred Datura, or an Obeahman as in the use of Branched Calalue, it is likely to be highly uncontrolled. The individual could easily find himself hurled into some far-flung region of inner space, with little chance to absorb or even notice the intervening regions. The power of the drug takes Awareness as it were, and artificially exposes it, stripping away or reducing mind created protective barriers and flings it --- Awareness --- out to an unfamiliar realm of consciousness. Without adequate preparation, the traveler can feel totally disoriented. However, under the hand of proper guidance, the space-time experience wedged open by the drug between the initial grasp of Awareness and it's ultimate closing, whether it is pinhole in size to a dam breaking, or a mili-second to an hour, it can be highly productive --- including the use and ability of Siddhis.
originally posted by: tsurfer2000h
a reply to: Mianeye
including a particularly potent species of wild tobacco
I know a few people that got in trouble for growing a particular potent species of wild tobacco...
of course it was, they'd eat a button and off to the spirit world they'd go.