Ben Feinberg, Ph.D
As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Huautla de Jimenez and the Sierra Mazateca were “discovered” in 1955, when the American banker and amateur “ethnomycologist” Gordon Wasson visited the town and consumed psilocybin “magic” mushrooms with the curer María Sabina. He was impressed by what he experienced and, although he had promised to keep her identity a secret, he published an account of his journey in Life Magazine. Since then, Huautla and its people have been inextricably linked to mushrooms; the name of the town is itself an icon for the fungi and what they represent to a national and transnational audience. When I mention, in Mexico or the United States, that I have spent much of the last 30 years in and around Huautla, I usually receive a blank stare in response; but if I do get a reaction, it is always the same: Huautla is mushrooms and the famous mushroom curer María Sabina; mushrooms and María Sabina are Huautla… continue reading.