Surrealpolitik: The Peyote Dance

Author: Antonin Artaud


Quick Summary

The story of Artaud's visit to the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico in 1936, in which he got very poetic on hallucinogenic plants.


There are 6 quotes currently associated with this book.

Incredible as it may seem, the Tarahumara Indians live as if they were already dead. They do not see reality and they draw magical powers from the contempt they have for civilization. (page 3)
Tags: [Everyday Life, Truth & Real, Rationality]
This law of physical reciprocity which we call charity the Indians observe naturally, and without a trace of pity. Those who have nothing because they lost their harvest, because their corn has burned, because their father left them nothing, or for whatever reason which they have no need to explain, arrive at dawn at the houses of those who have something. Immediately the mistress of the house brings them whatever she has. No one looks at anyone, neither the one who gives nor the one who receives. After he has eaten, the beggar leaves without thanking or looking at anyone. (page 5)
Tags: [Community, Everyday Life, Capitalism, Rationality]
One might say that it is the natural Unconscious which not only repairs in them the damages of fatigue but also corrects those natural perversions of a great principle by which [the Tarahumara] explain the existence of all infirmities...The truth is that the Tarahumara despise the life of their bodies, and live only for their ideas -- that is, in a constant and quasi-magical communication with the superior life of these ideas. (page 8-9)
Tags: [Environment, Rationality]
"The trouble is that when they have taken Peyote, they no longer obey us."

"It is the same with Peyote as it is with everything human. It is a marvelous magnetic and alchemical principle, provided one knows how to take it -- that is to say, in the proper doses and according to the proper gradations. And above all, provided one does not take it at the wrong time or in the wrong place. If after taking Peyote the Indians seem to go mad, it is because they are abusing it in order to reach that point of disorderly intoxication in which the soul is no longer subject to anything. In so doing, it is not you whom they are disobeying but Ciguri itself, for Ciguri is the God of the Prescience of the just, of equilibrium and of self-control. He who has truly imbibed Ciguri, the true meter and measure of Ciguri, MAN and not indeterminate PHANTOM, knows how things are made and he can no longer lose his reason, because it is God who is in his nerves and who guides them. (page 28)
Tags: [Hallucinogens, Carnival, Everyday Life, Truth & Real, Rationality, Myth]
"There is inside me something horrible which rises and which does not come from me, but from the shadows that I have in me, where the soul of man does not know where the I begins and where it ends, or what made it begin as it sees itself. And this is what Ciguri tells me. With Ciguri I no longer know untruth and I no longer confuse that which wills truly in every man with that which does not will but mimics being with ill will. And soon that is all there will be," he said, retreating several steps: "this obscene mask of someone sniggering between the sperm and the dung."

These words of the Priest which I have just reported are absolutely authentic;...he had just taken Peyote and I was not surprised at his lucidity. (page 35)
Tags: [Hallucinogens, Truth & Real]
I took Peyote in the mountains of Mexico, and I had a dose of it that lasted me two or three days with the Tarahumara, and at the time those three days seemed like the happiest days of my life.

I had stopped tormenting myself, trying to find a reason for my life, and I had stopped having to carry my body around.

I realized that I was inventing life, that that was my function and my raison d'être, and that I suffered when my imagination failed, and Peyote gave it to me.

A human being stepped forward and drew the Peyote out of me with a blow.

I made it into real shreds, and the cadaver of a man was torn to shreds and found torn to shreds, somewhere.

rai da kanka da kum
a kum da na kum vönoh

Granting that this world is not the reverse of the other and still less its half, this world is also a real machinery of which I have the controls, it is a true factory whose key is inborn humor.

sana tafan tana
tanaf tamafts bai
(page 82-83)
Tags: [Surrealism, Humor, Hallucinogens, Carnival, Truth & Real]