Every single time I post anything about datura I get at least one message or comment either warning me of the dangers of datura or asking me to give directions on tripping with her. I’ve shared about lots of poisonous plants - foxglove, belladonna, henbane, hellebore, mandrake, bittersweet nightshade, aconite… none of these seem to inspire the amount of interest and/or concern that datura does. I believe that datura is a plant that really wants to work with us humans. So what do we need to understand to best work with her?
Datura can be a dangerous plant! When used improperly she can cause terrifying hallucinations for days, the loss of bladder and bowel control, respiratory arrest, central nervous system depression, temporary blurred or lost vision, and in rare cases coma, seizure, or death. Most datura related deaths are the result of poor judgement and loss of coordination resulting in accidental death.
But when used properly… ah! Such a sweet, supportive, opening, transformative, loving energy. She is a plant that has the power to change your life for the better. To me she always feels like a wise grandmother - wrapping me up in her soft arms while still teaching me tough lessons with firm boundaries.
You should wear gloves when harvesting, weeding, or transplanting datura. You should never ingest or smoke it unless under the guidance of someone with many years of experience doing so, preferably someone who is in a lineage of this kind of worship. She should ALWAYS be approached in reverence. I have never had a negative experience working with her, which I believe comes from the deep respect I have for her power and wisdom and always doing my best to listen to what she is telling me. Don’t rush a relationship with her. Let her come to you. Please don’t ever treat datura as a cheap, easy way to have a trip - I can almost guarantee it won’t be pleasant when approached this way. It is a sacred plant and should be treated as such. I have a few older posts and a saved story where I speak about the many cultures that have traditionally worked with datura as a sacred medicine.
The safest (yet still extremely powerful) ways to work with her are through flower essences, plant spirit medicine, and just sitting in her presence. You can ask her to visit you in your dreams too. Topical ointments from a trusted source are another safe source of connection - Medicinal Nightshades is my go to source for this!
Ideally, we should be approaching ALL plants with this kind of respect. The plants that want to work with us will seek us out. We don’t need to go looking for them. If you want to build a relationship with a plant, treat them the same way you would treat a person you wanted to enter into a partnership with. Ask them if they want to work with you, respect their boundaries, listen when they say no, be kind and loving, and work towards quieting the mind enough to really hear what they are saying. Ask before you harvest, ask before you take in their medicine.
P.S. If you want to learn more about datura and the poisonous plants mentioned above, I will be teaching a workshop on The Healing Magic of Poisonous Plants at Anima Mundi in Brooklyn on September 29th. More info can be found on on the class can be found here!