If I come to your Church will you sell me Peyote?
What is the doctrine of the Peyote Way Church?
»What we believe
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, nor is it affiliated with any other church at this time.
Are there other Peyote Way Churches?
We do not know of any other Peyote Way Churches.
Can I visit the Church?
Yes! But by appointment only, please. (You really don’t want to travel the rough road to get here, only to find us not here that day!). »Contact us to schedule a visit
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. »Learn about our Sustainable Peyotism Project
How do I grow Peyote?
If one were to join your Church, would s/he be able to use Peyote without legal repercussions?
The present political and social climate in the U.S. is such that you may be arrested for your religious practice of Peyotism. A few U.S. states do have legal provisions regarding the bona fide religious use of Peyote by non-Indians, including Arizona. »Learn about Peyote and U.S. law
How do I join the Peyote Way Church?
»Become a Member
What is the extent of member accommodation at the Sanctuary? I saw that members are welcome to visit the church three days for a Spirit Walk, but no more than that?
The Church sanctuary is in the remote Aravaipa wilderness and the three days of a Spirit Walk is usually long enough for most people. If you feel led to return for a longer stay, please contact us with your interest.
Can I visit the Church for a Spirit Walk without taking Peyote?
Yes. »Contact us with us your expectations for your Spirit Walk.
Can you describe the Spirit Walk?
»Learn about the Spirit Walk experience and our 3-day ritual Spirit Walk
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 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.
Will Peyote interact with other medications?
There may be interaction with SSRIs. »Read more
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.
Must I come for my Spirit Walk alone?
We have found that even good intentioned companions can distract one from inner work. »Read more
How do I make an appointment for a Spirit Walk?
»How to schedule a Spirit Walk
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 be confined to sacramental ritual.
Is the Peyote Way Church guilty of “cultural appropriation?”
We received the following letter from F. who had this concern. Our reply follows his letter below.
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!
Response from the Peyote Way Church:
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 the color 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.
In Service to Peyote,
The Stewards of the Peyote Way Church of God
Board of Stewards
Rev. Anne L. Zapf
Right Sister Norah Booth
Rabbi Matthew S. Kent