Interviews | In Psychedelic Times
(FIRST PART OF THE INTERVIEW)
Con Ciencia Indígena is an organization in Mexico that provides workshops and teachings inspired by the Toltec, Huichol, and Mazatec cultures. While these cultures are steeped in wisdom garnered from sacraments such as psilocybin mushrooms and peyote cactus, much of the insights and methods they have passed down are simply ways of being and relating to the world that do not directly involve imbibing these substances. As such, the majority of Con Ciencia Indígena’s focus is on these methods, reserving sacred plant journeys only for rare occasions and advanced explorers.
In this first conversation with Mario Gómez Mayorga, founder of Con Ciencia Indígena, we delve into the origin story of his organization and learn how a neurotic, discothèque-owning DJ underwent a complete transformation by watching, listening, and mimicking the ways of an ancient people who never lost their innate relationship with the natural world.
Thanks so much for speaking with us, Mario. Can you give us a little background on Con Ciencia Indígena and how it got started?
Con Ciencia Indígena began without me really trying to [do it.] When I was younger, I got involved with indigenous people though an NGO- helping to protect them from ourselves, basically- because we, white serialized people, are constantly invading, harming, stealing from, and abusing indigenous cultures worldwide. Mexico is no exception. So I began helping there, but at first I was not interested in their knowledge or their culture- I just wanted to help them as fellow humans.
After years of helping them, the way they would thank us is to invite us to the next celebration, ceremony, ritual, or fiesta- and of course, we politely accepted the invitation. At first, I was completely surprised and shocked by their bizarre, surreal, abstract life. But as I kept on going with them, something began to be absorbed by me- because these people don’t talk; they are not people of concepts or of intellect, but people of actions. The way they communicate and transmit their knowledge is through direct actions, not words.
At the beginning, I was curious and would ask questions. The answer was always “I don’t know!” And I thought, “What do you mean you don’t know, tell me!” They laughed so hard that they were in tears, because we westerners really believe that you can have a teacher to teach you something. That’s when they explained their view that nobody can teach you anything- but if you want, and if you are clever and intelligent enough, you can observe, and teach yourself.
Eventually we got involved in long walks with them, which were in silence. I observed that they synchronized their breath with their steps. They would not look around all over the place, but just open their vision in front of them. I saw that all of them were walking like this, and then I tried to mimic it to see how it feels. I discovered that it feels great, and that it shuts off the mind and heightens reality. After 4 hours of walking in this fashion, you are in a very high state of altered consciousness, just like if you had eaten the sacred plants. For me, this was astonishing. I sort of got addicted to it, because the lucidity and the state of clearness that you arrive to is overwhelming- it’s just incredible, and without taking any substance!
Were you experimenting with any psychedelics at the time?
Of course, at this time in my life I was exploring many things, including LSD and the sacred plants, because I wanted to know myself, my consciousness.
After visiting these people for many years- this will sound a little crazy- they also taught me about how to communicate with fire. They taught me that there is an intelligence in this element, and that you can open a conversation with it. The first time they told me this, I thought “These people are crazy- how are you going to talk with flames? I mean come on, I turn on my stove and I don’t talk with my stove!” I just didn’t understand. They spoke about essential, conscious powers in nature that have an intelligence, and combined with other elements, they create life. There’s certainly an intelligence in water, and we are most