southern Mexico, and that the Aztecs derived their knowledge of it from the older "Chichimecs." It was used as an intoxicant.

"Those who eat or drink of this peyolt see visions, which are sometimes frightful and sometimes ludicrous. The intoxication it causes lasts several days. The Chichimecs believed that it gave them courage in time of danger and diminished the pangs of hunger and thirst."[10]

Its use was continued until a late date, and very probably has not yet died out. Its composition and method of preparation are given in a list of beverages prohibited by the Spanish authorities in the year 1784, as follows:

"Peyote: Made from a species of vinagrilla, about the size of a billiard ball, which grows in dry and sterile soil. The natives chew it, and throw it into a wooden mortar, where it is left to ferment, some leaves of tobacco being added to give it pungency. They consume it in this form, sometimes with slices of peyote itself, in their most solemn festivities, although it dulls the intellect and induces gloomy and hurtful visions (sombras muy funestas)."[11]

The peyotl was not the only herb prized as a means of casting the soul into the condition of hypostatic union with divinity. We have abundant evidence that long after the conquest the seeds of the plant called in Nahuatl the ololiuhqui were in high esteem for this purpose. In the Confessionary of Father Bartholomé de Alva the priest is supposed to inquire and learn as follows:

"Question. Hast thou loved God above all things? Hast thou loved any created thing, adoring it, looking upon it as God, and worshiping it?

"Answer. I have loved God with all my heart; but sometimes I have believed in dreams, and also I have believed in the sacred herbs, the peyotl, and the ololiuhqui; and in other such things (onicneltocac in temictli in xiuhtzintli, in peyotl, in ololiuhqui, yhuan in occequitlamantli)."[12]

The seeds of the ololiuhqui appear to have been employed externally. They were the efficient element in the mysterious unguent known as "the divine remedy" (teopatli), about which we find some information in the works of Father Augustin de Vetancurt, who lived in Mexico in the middle of the seventeenth century. He writes:

"The pagan priests made use of an ointment composed of insects, such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes and the like, which the neophytes in the temples prepared. They burned these insects in a basin, collected the ashes, and rubbed it up with green tobacco leaves, living worms and insects, and the powdered seeds of a plant called ololiuhqui, which has the power of inducing visions, and the effect of which is to destroy the reasoning powers. Under the influence of this ointment, they conversed with the Devil, and he with them, practicing his deceptions upon them. They also believed that it protected them, so they had no fear of going into the woods at night.

"This was also employed by them as a remedy for various diseases, and the soothing influence of the tobacco and the ololiuhqui was attributed by them to divine agency. There are some in our own day who make use of this ointment for sorcery, shutting themselves up, and losing their reason under its influence; especially some old men and old women, who are prepared to fall an easy prey to the Devil."[13]

The botanist Hernandez observes that another name for this plant was coaxihuitl, "serpent plant," and adds that its seeds contain a narcotic poison, and that it is allied to the genus Solanum,

[10] Sahagun, Historia de Nueva España, Lib. x, cap. 29, and Lib. xi, cap. 7. Hernandez has the following on the mysterious properties of this plant: "Illud ferunt de hac radice mirabile (si modo fides sit vulgatissimae inter eos rei habendae), devorantes illam quodlibet praesagire praedicereque; velut an sequenti die hostes sint impetum in eos facturi? Anne illos felicia maneant tempora? Quis supellectilem, aut aliud quidpiam furio subripruerit? Et ad hunc modum alia, quibus Chichimecae hnjusmodi medicamine cognoscendis." Franciscus Hernandus, Historta Plantarum, Novae Hispanise, Tom. iii, p. 71 (Ed., Madrid, 1790).

[11] Diccionario Universal, Appendice, Tom. i, p. 360 (Mexico, 1856).

[12] Confessionario Mayor y Menor en lengua Mexicana, fol. 8, verso (Mexico, 1634).

[13] Vetancurt, Teatro Mexicano, Trat. iii, cap. 9.

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