- How do I join the Peyote Way Church?
- How do I make an appointment for a Spirit Walk?
- What is the doctrine of the Peyote Way Church?
- What is the Peyote Way Church's connection to the Mormon Church?
- Is the Peyote Way Church affiliated with any religious organization or denomination?
- Are there other Peyote Way Churches?
- Can you describe the Spirit Walk?
- Do I have to camp the whole time that I am at the Church?
- Will Peyote interact with other medications?
- I am confused by your abstention from tobacco. I am not myself a Native American, but I thought that tobacco was used in rituals in that heritage. Do you require its abstinence from your members due to its harmful effects on the body?
- What is the extent of accommodation at the Sanctuary? I saw that members are welcome to visit the church three days annually, but no more than that? Do any members choose to live at the Sanctuary, and are they welcome to do that?
- If one were to join your Church, would s/he be able to use Peyote without legal repercussions?
- Where can I obtain live peyote plants or seeds?
- If I come to your Church will you sell me Peyote?
- How many Peyote buttons are ingested during a Spirit Walk?
- Must I come to the Church alone?
- Will I have a sitter during the Spirit Walk?
- Can I visit the Church?
- Can I visit the Church for a Spirit Walk without taking Peyote?
- Why do you grow Peyote?
- Is the Peyote Way Church guilty of "cultural appropriation?"
You can join the church by emailing us your request to become a member. There is a membership fee of $50.00, which can be paid via Paypal or by sending a check to The Peyote Way Church, 30800 W.Bonita-Klondyke Rd, Willcox, AZ 85643. You can email Annie at email@example.com (Please include a mailing address and I will send you a membership application.)
How do I make an appointment for a Spirit Walk?
After joining the church, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (928) 828-3444 and we can decide on a date for your Spirit Walk. It is helpful when scheduling to have an idea what dates would work best for you. Learn lots more on our Spirit Walk page.
What is the doctrine of the Peyote Way Church?
The Peyote Way Church keeps its doctrine pretty simple and can be summed up as: Be good to one another! Learn more in our Doctrine section.
What is the Peyote Way Church's connection to the Mormon Church?
None. The founders of the Peyote Way Church believe that the body is the temple of the holy spirit and that diet is essential to a conscious life. We adopted the Word of Wisdom (Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) as the dietary code of the church as it was concise, well written and voiced our sentiments. We only advocate its adherence. It is not a commandment, but a principle with a promise.
Is the Peyote Way Church affiliated with any religious organization or denomination?
The Peyote Way Church is non-denominational. We have no dogma except perhaps the Articles of Faith. We require no one else to believe as we do. We are more concerned about behavior than beliefs. Peyote is the source and teacher, and we won't contradict anyone's personal beliefs. We do require membership for the Spirit Walk and suggest a donation (see the Spirit Walk page). Donations help us maintain the Peyote House and Sacrament.
Are there other Peyote Way Churches?
There may be other Peyote-centered churches, but this church is not affiliated with any other church at this time.
Can you describe the Spirit Walk?
We schedule Spirit Walks from March to November. The Spirit Walk requires three days - the first day the communicant arrives in the afternoon and begins fasting. The second day, one must find their Spirit Walk area, drink water and rest until sundown. At about five the counselor will provide instructions and a sacramental tea for the communicant to drink. The experience is individual and very personal and unique to each individual and usually lasts 12-24 hours.
The Spirit Walk is a solitary spiritual experience. You can read about it on the website, but here is what will happen. I will email you directions to the Church. The journey alone is a pilgrimage of sorts. You will be asked to fast upon your arrival here. This is so your body will be "clean"-empty, and prepared to rapidly assimilate the holy sacrament peyote. We will talk a little bit about your past experience with psychedelics, if any, and also discuss any fears or questions you may have. You will be asked to take a walk around, while you are fasting, to find a place on the land for your Spirit Walk, and to then prepare the area by getting firewood, and taking water, a lawn chair and/or a pad and blanket (or maybe set up a tent-see the Spirit Walk page), to the chosen place. I make the tea because it is a good way to get a lot of medicine down. What happens while you are at your site, drinking the tea, but it tends to be a time of introspection and repentance followed by an overwhelming sense of forgiveness. Once we have received this gift of forgiveness it is still up to us to forgive ourselves. Those who have a tendency towards reflection may find that their experience is more buoyant. At the heart of it is a personal experience of the mysteriousness of this existence and the many facets which we often refuse to see in our daily life. Please understand I cannot send or sell you the sacrament--I am constrained by Federal laws, not to mention my very limited supply, also affected by Federal laws. You will have better luck checking out the international sites where Peyote is not a controlled substance. The Spirit Walk is by appointment only. Please see the Spirit Walk page for more information.
Do I have to camp the whole time that I am at the Church?
There are two guest rooms in the Congregation House, the church building, where guests are invited to stay during the first night and the next day. Communicants will be encouraged to camp out the actual night of their Spirit Walk.
How will Peyote interact with other medications?
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may prevent individuals from receiving the full benefit of the Holy Sacrament Peyote.
I am confused by your abstention from tobacco. I am not myself a Native American, but I thought that tobacco was used in rituals in that heritage. Do you require its abstinence from your members due to its harmful effects on the body?Tobacco is a sacred plant to most North American tribes, but due to the harmful effects of commercial tobacco products on the body, we believe tobacco should only be used for sacramental purposes. The Bylaws of the Peyote Way Church do not require that an Associate member practice the Word of Wisdom, which specifies a set of dietary guidelines including abstention from tobacco, this is merely our recommendation.
What is the extent of accommodation at the Sanctuary? I saw that members are welcome to visit the church three days annually, but no more than that? Do any members choose to live at the Sanctuary, and are they welcome to do that?
The Church sanctuary is in the remote Aravaipa wilderness, and a three day stay is usually long enough for most people. Certainly, a member who wishes to return again for a brief stay or extend their stay, or return for a Spirit Walk after an initial visit, can obtain permission. The Bylaws allow 3-7 days, up to a month, upon receipt of a Declaration of Intent that's approved by the Board of Stewards. Members who wish to stay longer, or who wish to live here, must fill out an application. Everyone who lives here has a purpose and an intention that's in accordance with the Bylaws, or has been approved by the Board of Stewards. No one is here just to hang out, waste time, or hide. One of our services to the membership is to provide an environment of serenity, so that each visitor can enjoy the quiet of nature, and benefit from the holy sacrament.
If one were to join your Church, would s/he be able to use Peyote without legal repercussions?
The present political and social climate at this time in the U.S. is such that you may be arrested for your religious practice of Peyotism. The only states that have legal provisions regarding the bonafide religious use of Peyote by non-Indians are Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon. In these states, the Church’s "Declaration of Religious Belief" should protect an individual in possession of Peyote.
Where can I obtain live peyote plants or seeds?
You will find a detailed answer to this question in the Seed Sources section of our Peyote Cultivation page.
If I come to your Church will you sell me Peyote?
How many Peyote buttons are ingested during a Spirit Walk?
21 grams of powdered Peyote tops (the equivalent of 12-15 Peyote buttons) in a tea reduced to 12 fluid ounces.
Must I come to the Church alone?
No. But your friend or family member must understand that you should be left alone during your Spirit Walk. Others can be helpful, but can also distract.
Will I have a sitter during my spirit walk?
No. We do our best to prepare the communicant for their experience beforehand and we are available in the event of need, but 'guides' and 'sitters' can also distract an individual in a sensitive altered space. We are also happy to spend time with you afterwards, to discuss the details of your Spirit Walk--if that is your wish.
Can I visit the Church?
Yes! But by appointment only. (You really don't want to travel the rough road to get here, only to find us not here that day!)
Is it possible to visit the church for a Spirit Walk without taking Peyote?
Yes. Request a "Conservationist Membership." It is for people who want to appreciate the land and nature and learn more about our Church and sacrament without actually taking the sacrament.
Why do you grow Peyote?
The current Federal restriction on Peyote cultivation is putting the sacrament in peril. The native growing fields in Texas and Northern Mexico are being depleted with no investment in renewal. We believe that under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, Peyotists have the freedom to grow and protect their sacrament as part of their religious practice.
Is the Peyote Way Church guilty of "cultural appropriation?"
We received the following letter from F. who had this concern. Our reply follows after his letter.
My name is F. and I'm a healer, activist and plant person. I wanted to contact you to discuss the work you do at Peyote Way Church. I have extensively perused your website and am both highly impressed and deeply disturbed at what I've found. I am knowledgeable in the ways of peyote and have visited Wirikuta and the Huichol; this in no way makes me an expert on the matter. Foremost, I am very glad to see that you cultivate and harvest your own sacrament for use by members of the church. This is a sustainable and ethical alternative to depleting the wild peyote stands of Texas and Mexico, which for many years have been besieged by over-harvesting, lack of preservation, commercial development and industrial projects. I also sympathize with Trujillo and the Church's mission to share medicine with those who truly need and/or want to experience it, Native and non-Native alike. It changes lives and paradigms, and hopefully will contribute to a collective paradigmatic shift which this world desperately needs to see manifest.
However, despite harboring this sympathy, I believe it compartmentalizes the issue of peyote use. I am mostly appalled at the lack of cultural consciousness with which you seem to peddle the sacrament. I find your approach to peyotism disturbing for two reasons, which are inextricably linked:
- The Peyote Way's use of peyote is taken entirely out of its original context as TEACHER. Peyote, as grandfather, is millennia old and is situated in a very specific part of the world. As such, it is witness to so many decades of Chihuahuan life, and has evolved and developed alongside humanity and shamanistic tradition. Without a rendering of that original context, peyote as TEACHER is a confusing, beautiful, and harsh master. With no roadman to assist in navigating the other-worlds to which peyote grants access, initiates are left blindsided and overwhelmed by its vast wisdom and insight. The medicine itself will tell you as much.
- The Peyote Way's use of peyote is taken entirely out of its original context as SACRAMENT. This endangers the Huichol people and the Native American Church as well as other spiritual practitioners of peyote. Peyotism is a uniquely indigenous perspective and was borne out of indigenous relationship with Mother Earth. As sacrament it belongs to traditional peoples and customs, and not to those who utilize it as a New Age-y religious crutch, retrofitted to conform to Western Anglicized law. This amounts to "misappropriation and misrepresentation of Indigenous intellectual property and is seen as an exploitative form of colonialism, one step in the destruction of Indigenous cultures." Hiding behind Trujillo's indigeneity only worsens the situation. If you are not yet familiar with the term "cultural appropriation", please research it. Wikipedia has a fine article on the issue. Also, here is an excellent online resource concerning "decolonization", another term with which I hope you'll become familiar, if not already.
I write to you out of concern for current and future generations of peyoteros, Native and non-Native peyote users, and Grandfather peyote. I hope you see this communiqué as a call to action and will thoughtfully consider the cultural and religious implications of conducting business as the Peyote Way Church in its current incarnation. Please publicly and actively support the Huichol in their struggle to preserve Wirikuta. Please become an ally for Native American tribal sovereignty issues. Please make a strenuous effort to educate Peyote Way Church members and the general public about the traditional cultural uses of peyote. Please support the NAC in its modern use of sacrament. Please continue to fight the War on Drugs. Please continue to preserve peyote through your cultivation efforts. I would be elated to further discuss this. Thank you for reading!
F. B. W.
The Peyote Way Church's response:
Thank you for your inquiry. Our church has chosen to promote and practice the solitary spirit walk in an effort to not be a part of "cultural appropriation." But before there were any ceremonies, there was the solitary spirit walk. Immanuel's teacher in the Native American traditions encouraged him to take the solitary spirit walk first, so that he could better understand the experience of his congregation within the tipi. In some origin stories it was a woman who experienced Peyote as she was in solitary prayer for her sick and dying people.
Our focus has been on stewardship of the holy sacrament peyote by cultivation of the plants and encouraging our members to do the same; efforts to protect through public education, sacred growing areas that are encroached upon by mining and oil drilling and a myriad of other factors; and to educate others how to live happier healthier lives through dietary changes that exclude chemical food additives, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and so on. We provide our membership with the community of like minded people who share their deep spiritual feelings.
The Peyote Way Church is multi-ethnic. We do not discriminate based on color, sex or religious inclination. We believe there is no automatic entitlement to this sacred plant as it is on the Earth for all humankind, just as the Ayahuasca plants, sacred toads, mushrooms, Cannabis and many other sacred plants were given by Gaia for us to use to gain insight and understanding of this miraculous existence. We believe it is a great equalizer and teacher that does not look at thecolor of your skin nor check your ancestry before it will heal you. We believe no one tribe or race owns it. Neither is there any one ritualistic way to its benefits. We can not accept your premise that even though we care for this plant as well as worship with it, we do not deserve the benefits freely given by the Holy Sacrament Peyote. We know that our approach is not for everyone. We also know no one has the right to impose their religious beliefs on anyone else. Our members have gone to jail for their beliefs and fought repeatedly in court for bona fide religious use. We are free to practice our faith in a responsible, respectful and peaceful way. We believe in that level of religious freedom for all.
Peyote is Sacrament . . .Teacher . . . Medicine
Yours in its Service,
The Stewards of the Peyote Way Church of God
Board of Stewards
Rev. Anne L. Zapf
Right Sister Norah Booth
Rabbi Matthew S. Kent