Weed can be grown in some very peculiar ways, but this personal account is possibly the most unconventional of them all. This story is about the sacred South American connection to the medicine of cannabis and how it is used in ceremony. The preparation of the plant from growth all the way to use is an unusual (to say the least) cannabis experience.
What is so beautiful about the cannabis plant is that it has been prevalent in human culture for as long as we have known about it. It has cultivated itself into so many different cultures over the human experience. Throughout my travels in South America, I have been connecting with many ancient tribes who have been practicing with traditional plant medicine for thousands of years. I was almost beside myself to find the opportunity to use weed in a traditional ceremony in Ecuador. This experience was probably the most unique of all the times I have used weed, and the entire preparation process that goes into making this plant ready for sacred ceremony is pure magic.
After eight months of drinking sacred plant medicine in South America, and being expressive of my desire to use cannabis in a sacred ceremony, I was referred to a witch near Quito who specializes in doing so. Our meeting was auspicious, and I anticipated her to be so, too. So I agreed to participate in a ceremony with her for the medicine Santa Maria (the sacred Spanish name for the plant, which translates to Saint Mary). We conversed for a while about what a Santa Maria ceremony entails exactly, and that it mostly consists of consuming weed and then singing. But I didn’t really get any insight into this woman’s affinity for this plant until she told me the method by which she grows it.
Daniela is the name of the woman whose weed I was going to be smoking. Although she manages the preparation of the plant for ceremony, it is actually her husband who grows it. And he fertilizes it with the blood of her period. It is not an uncommon thing for tribal people in South America to encourage women to put the blood of their period in the ground, especially with a plant. But I couldn’t believe that I was going to be smoking cannabis grown in this way.
The weed was pungent, and not like the monthly excretions of a woman. The fragrance was beautiful and incredibly strong, and I remember noting that the colour of it was beautifully green. I had been smoking street-quality weed for the previous eight months along my travels, and I was excited to smoke something that looked of a better quality. She assured me that her weed was organically grown and that the only thing she ever used to fertilize it was her period blood.
In the past, I have been well-acquainted with the use of blood as fertilizer. Blood contains a lot of nitrogen, it’s natural and it is effective as a fertilizer for plants. However, I felt some anxiety towards doing it, too. It’s a big deal to smoke a plant that has someone’s blood in it – especially when you don’t really know the person whose blood it is! I was holding the weed in my hand, inspecting it and noting all the reasons that I was excited to smoke it. I trusted the person who referred me, and she seemed trustworthy enough for a witch. I took the plunge and I smoked the weed that was fertilized with a witch’s period.
The ceremony itself was the most interesting experience I have ever had with weed. The shamans leading the ceremony gave lengthy speeches and prayers in praise of weed. They described the spirit of Santa Maria as being a guardian of the tunnels that give us access to other worlds of expanded perception. They talked passionately about the power of the teachings that are contained within this plant, and in order for her to open the doors of perception, one has to friend the plant dearly.
The ceremony ran by everyone participating, well, smoking a lot of weed. The rule was that there should be no less than a joint per three people (there was no tobacco contained in the joints). For hydration purposes, they served milk. Throughout the ceremony, songs and other musical instruments were played, all inducing a different connection and a different experience with the plant. There were prayers during the ceremony, too, usually of gratitude. Their respect towards not only the plant that weed is, but the spirit that is expressed through the plant, is an experience that is sorely missed by the West.
Although the West is just coming to terms with the fact that cannabis is indeed medicine, the sacredness of the plant is never recognized to the degree that it is in ancient cultures. Even the children in ancient cultures are encouraged to use the plants as medicine, and as a result they do not develop abusive relationships with them. In fact, the plants are used as a tool in these traditions to create harmony and community. It was an honour to have participated in a sacred ceremony for cannabis, with people who have been protecting the tradition for thousands of years. The physical, emotional and spiritual experience was unlike any other that I have experienced with the cannabis plant. It’s plainly obvious after an experience like this that this plant is not a medicine purely for physical symptoms. The medicinal properties of this plant far exceed those of just the body, and are medicine for the mind and soul, too.
There are scientific reasons for using blood as fertilizer, and it is proven to work. But it is a controversial way to grow weed, and it will probably never be something that hits the scene commercially. But it is, nonetheless, an interesting experiment to try for all those out there who are growing weed. It could potentially be the best weed you have ever smoked, and I know that my experience with it was tremendous. Through this process, there is also a deeper connection between the grower and the plant. The grower can actually be sure that they are inside that plant. Bones and bodies are recorded to have been buried with plants before, to flourish the healthiest, happiest tree in the entire garden.
The nutrients that are in the human body seem to be good fertilizers for plants, and in ancient cultures, this tradition has been practiced for a long time. In any case, growing cannabis that has been fertilized with period blood is bound to induce a different smoking experience than weed grown indoors. The experience is profound, and I would recommend it to everyone who is enthusiastic about weed. Period.