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Observations placeholder

Flying [and dying] after wolf's bane tea



Type of Spiritual Experience

Out of body

Number of hallucinations: 1


Remember that aconitum is deadly poisonous. 

More frightening  – believe it or not – is that it is still recommended on web sites and in books on ‘shamanic lore’ – without incidentally giving any indication of why it works or at what doses etc. 

The following is genuine and somewhat unbelievable in the sense that I cannot believe people would put this sort of thing as ‘advice’ for others………….

A description of the experience

Aconitum spp. From http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/var001.htm

In the Himalayas, a species of Aconitum called Himalayan monkshood (Aconitum ferox) is used in many ways. Very small doses are given to people that lack motivation or suffer from permanent fatigue [sic]. The dried leaves of Himalayan monkshood are burned as incense, the seeds are sometimes used in rituals, and the entire plant is considered to be an agent of protection.

A tea (prepared from the flowers and/or leaves) is used to enter a trance and to have visions. Five to ten minutes after drinking it, the feeling of flying is said to come upon the user.

Aconitum was often used as an ingredient in the psychoactive drugs prepared by the descendants of Hecate (the Greek goddess of sorcery and witchcraft).

It was also used in European witchcraft ointments. Although Aconitum does not seem to have genuine psychoactive properties, it can have marked physiological effects (such as reducing the rate of the heartbeat) and may thus have contributed to the overall effects of such ointments.

It is also reported to cause the unusual feeling of having fur or feathers, which may well have been a highly desirable effect to witches seeking magical transformations into mammals and birds.

This curious form of tactile hallucination may have been used in shamanic cultures who were aware of the various properties of Aconitum intoxication.

It also features as one of the ingredients of a Taoist preparation called 'five mineral powder', developed by one He Yan, who stated that: 'When a person takes the five mineral powder, not only are illnesses healed, but the mind is also aroused and opened to clarity.'

The source of the experience

Shaman unspecified

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps