Maria Sabina

Maria Sabina was the first contemporary Mazatec shaman to allow Westerners to participate in psychedelic mushroom veladas (healing ceremonies). Among the first people to attend one of Maria’s veladas was mycologist R. Gordon Wasson in 1955.

During one of his trips to see her in Mexico, Wasson collected spores from the ceremonial mushrooms Psilocybe mexicana. He took the spores to Europe where they were cultivated into mushrooms. Wasson then gave mushroom samples to Albert Hofmann who took them to his lab and first isolated psilocybin. In 1957, Wasson wrote an article in Life magazine called “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” in which he chronicled his psychedelic experiences with Maria in Mexico. This was the first popular media coverage of the existence of magic mushrooms, and the first usage of the term magic mushroom.