ant ingestion and hallucinations

ant ingestion and hallucinations
   The ceremonial ingestion of ants for the purpose of obtaining "visions and other hallucinatory phenomena was reported in 1917 by the American anthropologist John Peabody Harrington (1884-1961) while doing fieldwork among the Kutanemuk Indians in Southern California. A similar practice was reported in the context of vision quests by other Indian peoples of South-Central California. Because of their alleged psychoactive properties, such ants are referred to as "psychoactive fauna. Judging by the practices described in the literature, however, it is not at all certain that the ingestion of ants - which used to be part of various elaborate rituals - is itself responsible for mediating the ensuing hallucinations. Most studies were confounded by the simultaneous employment of techniques such as fasting, " sleep deprivation, and the use of Datura or other psy-chotropic substances. Another reason for doubt stems from the biochemical research carried out on ants. It has been speculated that the ants used in vision quests may have belonged to the yellow honey ant or other species of the Myr-macomecocystus genus, which do not contain any known psychoactive substances. Hallucinations associated with the ingestion of ants should not be confused with hallucinations depicting ants and other insects, which are known under the name "formicative hallucinations. A person intentionally employing ant ingestion for the purpose of exploring the psyche may be called a "psychonaut.
   Blackburn, T. (1976). A query regarding the possible hallucinogenic effects of ant ingestion in south-central California. Journal of California Anthropology, 3, 78-81.
   Rudgley, R. (1998). The encyclopaedia of psychoactive substances. London: Little, Brown and Company.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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