....welcome fellow friend of mystery plants!
There are almost 1000 species in the genus Salvia, But none quite like the “sage of seers”, Salvia divinorum.
As its English colloquial names suggest (“diviner’s sage” and “sage of seers”), Salvia dvinorum is linked to the
human mind in a most mysterious way. Your authors have been blessed to have a growing relationship with
this exotic friend, and it is our wish that you too will catch and fan the sparks of joy cast out by this “hidden
Entering the Uroboros
Salvia divinorum is a very rare plant known only to the Mazatec Indians of Mexico until the latter half of this
century. Rumors of the plant, said to be used in medico-magico-divinatory ceremonies, filtered into the minds
of North American anthropoplgists and botanists beginning in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. However, it was
not until October 1962 that a viable specimen reached the hands of North Americans.
Having traveled by horseback in the Sierra Mazateca in search of the mysterious plant, R. Gordon Wasson and Dr.
Albert Hofmann were rewarded on October 8, 1962. On that date, while in San José Tenango, an old curandera
by the name of Natividad Rosa, who heard they were looking for the plant, brought them a bundle of cuttings.
Upon returning to the United States, Wasson and Hofmann gave one the specimens to Carl Epling, an expert in
the genus Salvia. Epling determined that the plant was a theretofore unknown species of Salvia. He named it Salvia
divinorum in light of its ritual use by the Mazatec for divination (Epling & Játiva 1962).
Among the many mysteries of Salvia divinorum is that it very rarely sets seed. You will not find S. divinorum seeds
for sale anywhere. or all practical purposes, therefore we agree with our friend Dale Pendell: “....if you want ska
Pastora, you will have to get it the same way everyone else has for the last two thousand years: from a cutting from
someone who grows it” (Pendell 1995). Aquiring such a cutting is your initiation into a unique mystic matrix.
Most likely, any cutting you obtain will be a clone of the very plant that Natividad Rosa gave R. Gordon Wasson
and Dr. Albert Hofmann in 1962. Cuttings from this very plant have been distributed worldwide, and are known
today as “Wasson clones”. Like all cuttings, they are genentically identical to the mother plant.
While other researches have since returned to the U.S. with cuttings of S. divinorum collected in various regions
of the Sierra Mazateca, most of these strains have not received wide distribution.
In 1991, anthropologist Bret Blosser collected two specimens of S. divinorum near Municipio de San José
Tenango, Mexico. Cuttings from the plant material obtained by Blosser have been widely distributed and are known
as the “palatable clone” because when Mr. Blosser ingested it in the Sierra Mazatec it was markedly less bitter than
leaves from locally grown “Wasson clones”.
We notice very little difference in bitterness (and no difference in potency) between foliage from the Wasson clone
and the so-called palatable clone, nor do we see any morphological distinctions. We, however, have not tasted
foliage from plants grown in the Sierra Mazateca.
Mr. Blosser has ssuggested that perhaps soil or other cultivation factors may be responsible for the taste differences,
rather than genetics (Blosser 1998). Given that S. divinorum has never been observed to set seed in the wild (in
fact, even in the Sierra Mazateca it is only known to exist in areas touched by humans), and that broken or drooping
stems copiously root where they touch the ground, we speculate that the Wasson clone and the palatable clone
are from the same germplasm.