Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Peyote Religion: A History.
Stewart, Omer C. (1987).
Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
ISBN: 0-8061-2457-1 paperback
xviii + 454 pages, The C ivilization
of the American Indian Series.
Contents: Preface, 12
chapters divided into 3 parts: 1. Peyote
and Its Earliest Use; 2. The Beginnings
of Peyotism in the United States, 1885-1918; 3. The Later
Twentieth Century: Politics and Consolidation; 3 appendices: A.
of the Native American Church State Convention, Allen,
South Dakota, July 3-7, 1948; C. Church
Canons for the Native American Church of South
Dakota, 1948; bibliography; index of personal names; general index.
Excerpt(s): From the
beginning, the Catholic Church found in peyote another evil to
be rooted out of the New World. ...
In an effort to purge their new Christian converts
of the use of peyotl and ololuiqui the Church prepared
a catechism to be used by priests confessionals.
One can appreciate just how evil peyote was considered to be by
the Church by reading a few lines of this catechism:
Hast thou eaten the flesh of man?
Hast thou eaten the peyote?
Do you suck the blood of others?
Do you adorn with flowers places where idols are
That the use of peyote was pervasive throughout
central and northern Mexico and deeply ingrained in the lives
of those who used it can be judged by the radical efforts of the
Catholic Church to stamp it out. The Church, afraid that peyote
was spreading among converted christians, and possibly to some
Spaniards as well, took its strongest measures to
fight it. In 1620, it brought the Inquisition to bear against
peyote and issues the following edict:
Inasmuch as the use of the herb or root peyote has
been introduced into these Provinces for the purpose of detecting
thefts, of divining other happenings, and of foretelling future
events, it is an act of superstition condemned as opposed to the
purity and integrity of our Holy Catholic Faith. ... We order
that henceforth no person of whatever rank or social condition
can or may make use of the said herb, peyote, nor any other kind
under any name or appearance for the same or similar purposes,
nor shall he make the Indians or any other person take them, with
the further warning that disobedience to these decrees shall cause
us ... to take action against such disobedient or recalcitrant
persons as we would against those suspected of heresy to our Holy
The hearings resulted from the prosecution of this
edict occupied the Church for much of the next two centuries.
... We have then, ninety cases for forty-five locations extending
over a period of 265 years. (pages 20-21)
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