Psychedelic plants and psychedelic experiences were first banned by European civilization, then abandoned and forgotten. The 4th century witnessed the prohibition of the mystery religions – the cults of Bacchus (Bacchus) and Diana, Attis and Cybele. The rich syncretism typical of the Hellenic world became a thing of the past. Christianity triumphed over the Gnostic sects — the Valentinians, Marzionites, and others — which were the last bastions of paganism. These repressive episodes in the development of Western thought firmly closed the doors of communication with the mind of Gaia. Hierarchically imposed religion, and subsequently hierarchically distributed scientific knowledge, replaced any direct perception of the natural mind.
The intoxicating means of the Christian culture of dominion, both vegetable and synthetic, were invariably stimulants or drugs (factory means, means to dull the feelings of anxiety and pain). In the 20th century, psychoactive drugs are used only for medical purposes and for the purpose of raising the tone. But even in the West, there is a thin thread of memories about the Archaic, hierophantic and ecstatic potential contained in some plants.
The persistence of witchcraft and rituals associated with psychoactive plants in Europe for many centuries suggests that the gnosis of entering parallel dimensions by changing the chemistry of the brain has never been completely lost. The plants of European vedovstvo – stinky dope, mandrake and belladonna – did not contain indole hallucinogens, but, nevertheless, were able to cause profound changes in the state of consciousness. The binding in the archaic feminine with the magical region of risk and power is clearly traced by the medieval church as a definite thread.
In the Middle Ages, the witch was still “ hagazussa”, a creature sitting on the hag – hedge, behind the gardens that separated the village from virgin wildlife. She was a creature living in both worlds. As we could say today, it was semi-demonic. Over time, however, it lost the features of this duality and more and more turned into the personification of what was excluded from the culture, only to return again in the said form.
The fact that these plants were the basis for entering into other dimensions was the result of a relatively small distribution in Europe of species containing hallucinogens.