Poison Path work captured me early on. And, I praise the fact that it did, because some of my greatest alchemical achievements were revelations granted to me by these 'sacred' plants. Datura, by far, has been one of those highly influential plants for me. Especially for the past 5 years.
Most fear this plant because it has the capacity to kill (quite easily) if ingested. It works by paralyzing the peripheral nervous system so that you slowly lose the power to control your diaphragm, take in air, and breath. You lay there in a state of delirium, unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality (because it makes you trip HARD), and slowly you suffocate - dreaming yourself back into the unknown.
But, whats funny, is that the same plant that can take the breath of life from you can also give it right back. See, Poison Path work is possible through knowledge of HOW to utilize a plant. Application and dosage are key. And, with Datura, there is an easy little trick to get at its medicinal properties, render it harmless, and make it beneficial for the body.
The trick is to give it what it wants most....
If you don't give Datura fire, and ask for it to heal you in spirit, it will take from you the fire you possess - your fire of life.
To be healed in spirit by Datura, you must commune in spirit with it. This is best done by smoking it.
Breath has been associated with spirit and prana -the life-giving force- for thousands of years. In Alchemy, the spirit is most often the condensed vapor of a substance captured via distillation. But, to transfer a spirit -a vapor- directly from the Datura plant into your spirit, breathe, or prana, you have to ignite it, inhale it, smoke it, and commune in spirit - in breath.
Only under the high heat of a flame can Datura's poisonous alkaloids be destroyed. It's as if the plants asking for this because, when smoked, Datura is a known remedy for stopping asthma attacks (instantly) and opening up air passageways.
Interestingly enough, using datura leaf as a smoke to heal asthma has been a well known herbal remedy for thousands of years and across almost every culture that's had access to it. The people of India actually roll Datura cigarettes and sell them freely in the markets. A ruthless killer made harmless by knowledge of plant correspondence and alchemical principle.
Smoking datura for recreation is also a very pleasant experience. It can give you a mild High -similar to cannabis- but with a characteristic lucidity that helps relax you and focus your presence to the moment. Deeper and more conscious breaths are inspired, and a cessation of mental chatter can be experienced.
With more active breathing comes higher blood oxygen levels. More oxygen in the blood means the brain can produce more acetylcholine, the very neurotransmitter that is blocked, causing dementia, and nervous system paralysis when the plant is ingested as opposed to smoked.
Acetylcholine is the most widespread neurotransmitter in the body. It plays a major role in the control of muscle contractions, memory, behavior, general cognition, and motor control.
That means that smoking Datura like a tonic herb a few times a week can actually help make you smarter, more focused, present, and physically controlled. Ideal for an athlete or academic.
Smoking is not normally deemed a healthy habit, but in the world of a well trained natural or alchemical physician, smoke medicine is quite common, and sometimes 'just what the doctor ordered.'
Getting to know Datura intimately can dispell two outdated myths.
1. That this plant should be avoided
2. That smoking can't be good for you.
Walking a Poison Path will assuredly teach you a myriad of new things. Here is just one of the many marvelous bridges that safely steps you towards engaging with poisonous plants and starting your journey.
Avery is the lead Alchemist at Kymia Arts and routinely shares information on general alchemy topics as well as our methods and products.