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(pāō`tē), spineless cactus (Lophophora williamsii), ingested by indigenous people in Mexico and the United States to produce visions. The plant is native to the SW United States, particularly S Texas, and Mexico, where it grows in dry soil. The plant is light blue-green, bears small pink flowers, and has a carrot-shaped root. The mushroomlike crown, called a peyote, or mescal, button (but unrelated to the liquor mescal), is cut off, and chewed, brewed into a concoction for drinking, or rolled into pellets to be swallowed. The active substance in peyote is mescaline, one of several naturally occurring hallucinogenic drugshallucinogenic drug
, any of a group of substances that alter consciousness; also called psychotomimetic (i.e., mimicking psychosis), mind-expanding, or psychedelic drug.
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. An alkaloid, mescaline tastes bitter, causes an initial feeling of nausea, then produces visions and changes in perception, time sense, and mood. There are no uncomfortable aftereffects, and the drug is not physiologically habit-forming.

Peyote has been used by Native Americans since pre-Columbian times and was regarded as a panacea. It is important in the Native American ChurchNative American Church,
Native American religious group whose beliefs blend fundamentalist Christian elements with pan–Native American moral principles. The movement began among the Kiowa about 1890 and, led by John Wilson (Big Moon), soon spread to other tribes.
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, which fused Christian doctrine with peyote-eating tribal ritual. The use of peyote is said to produce a mental state that allows celebrants to feel closer to their ancestors and their Creator. In 1970, the state of Texas legalized peyote for use by Native Americans in religious ceremonies; a federal law confirming this protection was enacted in 1995. Aside from this use, peyote is a controlled substance, illegal in all 50 states.


See W. La Barre, The Peyote Cult (rev. ed. 1969).

References in periodicals archive ?
Elle prend comme axe de ses reflexions son livre recent Nierika/Chants de Vision de la Contre-Montagne/Poemes traduits du Peyotl, oo il se refere a la vie de Yautahupa, "Le Chasseur de la Montagne", nom d'initie que lui donnerent ses freres huichols de la haute falaise de la Communaute de Santa Catalina.
It takes as axis of his reflections his recent book Nierika / Chants of Vision Contre-Montagne / Poemes traduits du Peyotl, which refers to the life of Yautahupa, "The Hunter mountain", beginner name who was given to him by his Huichol brothers in the high cliffs of the Community of Santa Catalina.
Sus pies marcan el ritmo del tacto del ver que el peyotl hereda de todos lados y del Otro a traves del Nierika.
Una de las primeras descripciones medicas acerca de los efectos de esta cactacea es la de Juan de Cardenas, cuyo trabajo se publico en 1591, bajo el titulo Problemasji secretos maravillosos de las Indias, y donde describe la diferencia de los efectos del peyotl en el cuerpo y la mente.
<<Este calendario encontrado en Pentotlan es mas perfecto que el Gregoriano--no se conoce ningun calendario que sea mas imperfecto que el Gregoriano (nota del autor de este articulo)--y esta basado en las caracteristicas del numero cuatro: cuatro estaciones, cuatro Peotl, unos dos tres cuatro, cuatro elementos, cuatro Peyotl, uno dos tres cuatro, cuatro Teotl, uno dos tres cuatro.
Its formal scientific name is Lophophora williamsii, but it is popularly known as peyote (from the Nahuatl term peyotl).
To begin, one must separate the texts written in Mexico in 1936 ("La Montagne des signes", "Le Pays des Rols-Mages", "Une Race-Principe" and "Le Rite des rois de l'Atlantide") from "La Danse du Peyotl", written in 1937 upon his return to Paris.
In "La Danse du Peyotl", written in Paris shortly after his return from Mexico, Artaud speaks of no less than ten crosses in place for the ceremony, which however, in his description, bear no trace of Christian symbolism.
Artaud's interpretation of the Mexican cross as embodying an "emanation out from a centre" can in turn be linked to the description of the Peyote ritual in "Le Rite du Peyotl chez les Tarahumaras", cited earlier.
Lorsqu'il revint au tipi et decrivit le reve de son fils aux participants a la ceremonie, il realisa que non seulement le reve de son fils lui avait permis de conduire jusqu'a la station-service, mais que le mot navajo tooh signifiait a la fois essence et eau ; ainsi, l'essence revee par son fils lui avait permis de boire l'eau de peyotl sacree et de revenir en toute securite.