The Sonora Desert has an area of two hundred thousand square kilometres and stretches from California and Arizona in the US to Sonora in Mexico.
This is an inordinately harsh terrain with receives only a few centimetres of rain each year and has temperatures that can reach up to 45 degrees Celsius or 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite its harshness this is a region that features a variety of animals and plants - many of which are found only in this part of the World.
It is also home to numerous reptiles and of its 463 toad species only one, Bufo alvarius, has glands that contain the neuro-transmitting molecule bufotenin (a variant of DMT) as well as the enzyme that is capable of methylating it.
This is an elusive creature being nocturnal and only emerging to the ground surface during July and August. Nevertheless there is historical evidence to suggest that the secretions of this toad - commonly referred to as bufotenin, have been ceremonially and spiritually used because of its psychedelic properties.
An Entheogenic Creature
In his book The Toad of Dawn, Dr. Octavio Rettig Hinojosa, (a Mexican physician) examines the effect that bufotenin (5-methoxy-N-N-dimethyltryptamine) has not only as a psychedelic but also as a healing substance.
The book opens with a broad look at a range of psychoactive substances; where they are manufactured in a natural state in the human brain as well as where they also appear in nature.
Hinojosa then evaluates the influence of Bufo alvarius upon the mystical state as held within ancient Incan mythology. These he later illustrates in a series of color photographs of various Meso-American artefacts.
He then describes the correct and safest method for taking bufotenin in a controlled environment - this mainly involves inhaling it through a vaporiser.
The way that a person will experience the effects of bufotenin will, of course, vary from one user to another. However typical symptoms include the release of emotions, a dissolving of the sense of Self, and feeling of love for and sense of a state of oneness with the Universe.
The author expands upon the spiritual essence of these expanded states of being and of the significance of love with the human experience.
Another aspect to the story of bufotenin, or Otac, is to be found in its use as a medicine - or to be more specific in its use in the treatment of addictions. This is the specific area of expertise of the author who organises detox camps. He has now conducted over eight thousand sessions involving Otac and in closing his book offers some case studies involving clients that he has worked with.
Hinojosa closes out the book with a commentary on the future evolution of health and healing by mankind.
Our Review of ‘The Toad of Dawn’ by Dr. Octavio Rettig Hinojosa
As humanity takes a major step forward in its spiritual evolution it does so with reference to the past, to the teachings of indigenous teachings and with a re-evaluation of consciousness.
These are all areas skilfully covered by Dr. Hinojosa in his book and it makes for fascinating reading. Whilst the core elements of this aspect of DMT are not explored as deeply in The Toad of Dawn as has been with other studies on the substance this book is particularly interesting due to the anecdotal evidence shared in its pages.
The author is openly honest about his own somewhat tragic and difficult path towards discovering his interest in the secretions of the Bufo alvarius toad and this makes for a very personal account
Today we tend to get caught upon the hallucinogenic properties of plants and so a book that explores the value of animal secretions - and no, the toads are NOT killed in order to extract their valuable substance.
This is a highly welcome and ground-breaking study that suggests the author might be working in an area of alternative medicine that is both powerful and highly effectual. It is a most enjoyable book and close examination of an area of study which I hope is further expanded upon at a later date.