(Warning, this one could get long. And it’s not completely political.)
A few weeks ago I pruned a mugwort in my yard. It really was pretty overgrown. What happened after that has opened up so many cans of worms that I’ve lost track.
See, I’d planted that herb because of its numerous references in the herbal literature to it’s ability to ease one’s Moontime. Since I get more than my fair share of the monthly dose of pain and since I can no longer use Tylenol and since I *still* haven’t been able to get my mind wrapped around which homeopathic might actually work, well the monthly dose of pain is something I’d love to ease a little. Somehow I’d managed to sail right past the Culpepper references to causing a “merrye time” which is something like Elizabethan code for “This one will have you sailing high as a kite, so have fun”
Yep, mugwort is psychoactive. To make matters more interesting, at least several of the active ingredients including the psychoactive portion are available by dermal contact. So back to pruning the now 4′ tall plus mugwort in my yard. It’s a hot day, my pores are wide open sweating, and I have crushed mugwort stems that I’m pruning.
I think you can see where this went. “Gee, Mike, this is weird. I feel kinda spacey… and kinda extra psychic too” was about what I said. All I wanted to do was lie down and pull a blindfold over my eyes and just… well… you know…. Anyhow, long story short, yes I was having a Culpepper version of a merrye time. About a week later, I decided on a more controlled and conscious experience (I might add, late at night) and that was also extremely interesting. It’s not exactly your normal dream to feel like you’re sleeping surrounded by tall mugwort plants, or to see the energy pattern of a leaf with your eyes quite closed. But I digress.
In the week that passed between experience number one and number two with the mugwort. I turned among other things to YouTube and to the videos of people tripping on this that and the other. I found an excellent series called “Sacred Weeds” and I found a bunch of home footage of people tripping on OMG Salvia 100x FIRST TIME stuff. Gah. The Sacred Weeds one got my attention big time– after all, mugwort is generally considered as a weed too. Unfortunately they didn’t have a mugwort episode, they covered Amanita, Salvia, Blue Lily, Henbane and I think another. To that list I would certainly add Datura/ Jimsonweed, Belladonna, Ayahuasca, and others as weedy plants that have a psychoactive side in some form of preparation. (To my knowledge mugwort is the only one available by raw dermal contact. Henbane requires a fat of some sort as the component is hydrophobic iirc)
Anyways about the same time a friend of mine (*looks over his way*) decided to try salvia. Now he’s rather experienced in matters of plants with a kick. Some of them, I’m not certain they were legal. But he’s always been safe about it and he is looking for the spiritual too so it’s cool. (I really probably ought to add that mugwort is my very first personal foray into this field. Drugs have never really been a part of my life aside from my morning mug of English Breakfast) Apparently the salvia experience went well for him.
Here’s where things go from the personal to the political.
So far in most states Salvia divinorum is still quite legal. (there are some laws actively going through the legislatures. My understanding is that the CA one is dead but I do need to double check that one). Also so far as I know, there’s no laws against henbane, mugwort, datura, belladonna, or Blue Lily. Of course, I probably need to add that we just don’t know much about the safety of Blue Lily and we definitely know the dangers of even a hair too much henbane, datura or belladonna. Nature imposes Her own laws there.
Now compare that to the laws on marijuana, Amanita, or peyote.
Do you see a logical disjunct? Of course you do. Both categories of plants will give you a merrye time or at least have you seeing visions of mugworts in your bed and swirling bands of energy-color before your eyes. Neither category is exactly without risks. But one is legal, the other not.
There really is no other difference.
I might add that enacting a law against mugwort especially would be a comedy of errors. Many of these weeds are “weeds” precisely because they will pop up almost anywhere. I’m reminded of the time I saw a baby palm tree (Washintonia filifera) popping out between two sections of the sidewalk outside a Del Taco– some plants will grow *anywhere*. Mugwort, datura, henbane, belladona, and marijuana do/could all fall easily into that category. It’s kinda like enacting a law against Ephedra– Mormon tea (ephedra) is not an easy plant to be rid of! It’s native to some pretty tough territory. It’s grown an accordant nature. Anyone care to bet how much this factored into it becoming legal once again?
Frankly, I think the human race is hard-wired to crave alterations in brain chemistry from plant alkaloids. Whether nicotine, caffeine, cannabinoids, or opoids, I really think people are drawn to this sort of thing. I think this is at the core of why the Drug War hasn’t worked– it’s kinda like forcing a gay person to go straight– it’s just not how the brain is wired. We in society have been so controlled to accept a very rigid definition of acceptable behavior for so long that bucking the trend is seen as revolutionary by some and downright evil by many.
To the latter group I say– it used to be considered normal and acceptable to sacrifice doves as a sin offering, to watch people literally hack each other to bits in the arena, for people to use a katana in the public square as a form of suicide. Things change. Some of us like to play with the concept of change in many ways in other parts of our life, and frankly on the scale of things being a little merrye on mugwort is a trifling matter in the high-stress world we live in.
End this hypocrital, schizoid War on Drugs.