The Right Coast
March 12, 2006
Shamans everywhere can breath a sigh of relief
By Tom Smith
This is an interesting case, and a nice opinion by new CJ Roberts. In it, the Court upholds a preliminary injunction that I take it will allow a certain Brazilian syncretic church that drinks huasca tea sacramentally to continue doing so.
This sounds like some pretty gnarly tea. It is brewed out of the "vine of the soul," first scientifically described by the legendary Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Schultes. Schultes was the real, honest to God thing; a real life Indiana Jones character who spent much more time crawling through the rain forest and eating and drinking things given to him with gravity by various shamans, warlocks and heaven knows who else, than he did in the Harvard faculty club. Wade Davis has written an engrossing book about him and about the quest for psychotropic plants in South and Central America.