From the Plant Kingdom to the Kingdom of God
Long before humans first roamed the wilderness of North America, the plant kingdom was steadily laying the foundation for future evolutionary developments. Emerging about 3.2 billion years ago,, plants quickly succeeded in covering the earth. The chlorophyll contained in plants enabled them to absorb and store the energy radiating from the sun. With this stored solar energy, plants became the principal fuel for the subsequent evolution of life on earth. That is, plants provided the basic building blocks necessary for the emergence of the animal kingdom. Plants supply animals with energy, vitamins, and minerals. Some plants even perform medicinal functions for the animal kingdom, helping to fight off infection, subdue pain, and stimulate the body's own regenerative processes. In short, plants form the biological substratum without which the animal kingdom could not exist.
In North America alone there are approximately 180,000 species of plants. A few of these display the ability to provide animals with more than energy, minerals, and therapeutic relief. These select plants, the "plants of the gods," exhibit the further ability to provide animals -- particularly humans -- with the experience of ecstasy.1 Ecstasy-producing plants contain a number of psychoactive chemical substances. These chemicals act on the central nervous system in such a way as to produce a variety of unusual symptoms. Not all of these symptoms are pleasant. Dizziness, disorientation, and nausea are common. Yet some of these unusual symptoms have a curious attraction to humans. The vision of colorful lights, feelings of enhanced bodily energy, spontaneous laughter, and heightened sensory experience are among the many plant-induced symp