Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Peyote Religion

  • Richard W. VossEmail author
  • Robert Prue
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_506

Peyote Way: Background and Cultural Context

The term “Peyote Religion” describes a wide range of spiritual practices primarily from tribes of the American Southwest that has expanded into a kind of pan-Indian movement under the auspices of the Native American Church (NAC). Peyote Religion, formally recognized as the Native American Church (NAC), incorporates the ritual use of peyote, the small spineless peyote cactus Lophophora williamsii, into its spiritual and healing ceremonies. The Peyote Ceremony is led by a recognized practitioner who is referred to as a Roadman, who is sponsored by an individual or family requesting a ceremony, usually for some specific need or healing or to recognize some event, such as a birthday or an important life transition.

Derived from the Aztec word Péyotl, the Peyote Way religions have expanded their spheres of influence from an area around the Rio Grande Valley, along the current US-Mexico border, to Indigenous groups throughout Central and North...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Albaugh, B. J., & Anderson, P. O. (1974). Peyote in the treatment of alcoholism among American Indians. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 131(11), 1247–1250.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, E. F. (1996). Peyote: The divine cactus. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
  3. Anonymous, A. (1984). “Pass it on”: The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.Google Scholar
  4. Blum, K., Futterman, S. L., & Pascarosa, P. (1977). Peyote, a potential ethnopharmacologic agent for alcoholism and other drug dependencies: Possible biochemical rationale. Clinical Toxicology, 11(4), 459–472.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bruhn, J. G., Smet, P. A., De El Seedi, H. R., & Beek, O. (2002). Mescaline use for 5700 years. The Lancet, 359(9320), 1866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Calabrese, J. D. (1997). Spiritual healing and human development in the Native American Church: Toward a cultural psychiatry of peyote. Psychoanalytic Review, 84(2), 237–255.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Grof, S. (1987). Spirituality, addiction, and western science. ReVision, 10(2), 5–18.Google Scholar
  8. Halpern, J. H. (2001). Research at Harvard Medical School. Newsletter of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 11(2), 2.Google Scholar
  9. Halpern, J. H., Sherwood, A. R., et al. (2005). Psychological and cognitive effects of long-term peyote use among Native Americans. Biological Psychiatry, 58(8), 624–631.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Hwu, H.-G., & Chen, C.-H. (2000). Association of 5HT2A receptor gene polymorphism and alcohol abuse with behavior problems. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 96(6), 797–800.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Mack, R. B. (1986). Marching to a different cactus: Peyote (mescaline) intoxication. North Carolina Medical Journal, 47(3), 137–138.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Roberts, T. J., & Hruby, P. J. (2002). Toward an entheogen research agenda. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 42(1), 71–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Schaefer, S. B., & Furst, P. T. (1996). People of the peyote: Huichol Indian history, religion & survival. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
  14. Sherwood, J. N., Stolaroff, M. J., & Harman, W. W. (1962). The psychedelic experience: A new concept in psychotherapy. Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 4(2), 96–103.Google Scholar
  15. Steinberg, M. K., Hobbs, J. J., & Mathewson, K. (2004). Dangerous harvest: Drug plants and the transformation of indigenous landscapes. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Steinmetz, P. B. (1990). Pipe, Bible, and peyote among the Oglala Lakota a study in religious identity. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.Google Scholar
  17. Strassman, R. (2001). DMT: The spirit molecule: A doctor’s revolutionary research into the biology of near-death and mystical experiences. Rochester: Park Street Press.Google Scholar
  18. Tupper, K. W. (2002). Entheogens and existential intelligence: The use of plant teachers as cognitive tools. Canadian Journal of Education, 27(4), 499–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wissler, C. (1916). General discussion of shamanistic and dancing societies. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, 11(12), 853–876.Google Scholar
  20. Wright, S. (2002). Open your mind. Nursing Standard, 16(48), 20–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Undergraduate Social WorkWest Chester University of PennsylvaniaWest ChesterUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Welfare, College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of Missouri – Kansas CityKansas CityUSA