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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 ?
L'influence d'Antonin Artaud, de la montagne Tarahumara, du Mexique, du peyotl et du mouvement surrealiste, est evidente.
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.
lt;<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.
In addition to the aforementioned texts, "Le Rite du Peyotl chez les Tarahumaras" is followed by the short text "Turuguri", written in 1948, after Artaud's release from the asylum in Rodez.
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.
Semejante revelacion ocupara su pluma por mas de diez anos, ya que en realidad no dejaria de reescribir su viaje a Mexico hasta su muerte: Le rite du peyotl, en 1943; Supplement au voyage des tarahumaras, en 1944; Ci-Git, precede de La Culture indienne, en 1946; y Tutuguri, le rite du soleil noir, en 1947.
L'absorption de peyotl fait en effet partie des pratiques chamaniques wixaritari, ce qui les mene a un ailleurs <<balise par la mythologie>>.