Induced visions and altered mind states
Studies of ancient civilizations tend to point toward a common inclusion of psychoactive substances for ritualistic purposes. Chemicals were often used to aid subjects in meditation for spiritual awakening while acting as a bridge from human consciousness to deities. Shamanism traditionally finds its home in South America where the Moche, Nazca, Inca, Maya, Olmec and Aztec cultures participated in rituals involving San Pedro cactus to induce visions, however Shaman are not exclusive to the area. Variations of medicine man healers are found throughout the world from Asia to Africa to North America.
The idea of a spiritual healer, or medicine man, is a common belief for most ancient cultures and many of their traditions are still practiced to this day. A shaman is capable of communicating with the spirit world in order to diagnose major illnesses and other ailments while maintaining the belief of an interconnected living universe, accessible by mythic journeys into the subconscious. Cacti are just one of many substances used to reach states of higher consciousness. ∞