Features and Occasionals

Magical DIY Gifts

By Trisha McMillan

CATALYST presents a magical hypothetical holiday gift guide, featuring mind-expanding items you could make and give with love, if only you lived in a different time and place.

Mary Jane was a big winner in the November election. Two U.S. states, Colorado and Washington, fully legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for recrea­tional use, and Connecticut and Massachusetts both passed medical marijuana laws. Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia now allow pot use for various health conditions, and representatives from Maine and Rhode Island have also announced their intentions to introduce legislation to tax and regulate marijuana. The mood in the nation is decidedly pro-cannabis. In Utah, however, pot and many other psychoactives are still decidedly illegal. Herewith, CATALYST presents a magical hypothetical holiday gift guide, featuring mind-expanding items you could make and give with love, if only you lived in a different time and place.


Bhang is a flavored milk drink native to the Indian subcontinent, where they have drunk it for thousands of years during Shiva festivals and the Holi festival of colors. It is part of traditional ayurvedic medicine, and is taken as a pain reliever, muscle relaxer and sleep aid. Traditional bhang recipes involve grinding the green plant in a mortar and pestle and boiling it with milk, but here’s an easier method, a little like preparing Tibetan butter tea:

• 1 tbsp salted fresh butter
• 3 cups whole milk
• 1/8 oz good quality marijuana, finely ground
• 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
• 1/8 teaspoon garam masala
• 1/2 teaspoon rose water

Melt butter in a medium pan. Sauté marijuana in butter for a minute or two, but be careful not to burn it. Add milk and whisk briskly, then add spices and rose water. Bring just to a simmer while continuing to whisk, then remove from heat. Strain liquid through cheesecloth, reserving liquid, and discard the solids. Serve (hypothetically, of course) with a teaspoon of honey.

Sacred cannabis ghee

Ghee is clarified butter, traditionally made in India where refrigeration is scarce. Removing the milk solids and sugars allows the pure fat to remain without going rancid for a much longer time. Cannabis ghee can be used in place of butter in many recipes, or spread on toast or crackers alone or with jam.

• 1 pound sweet cream butter
• 1 ounce good quality marijuana, finely ground.

Melt the butter in a pan at low temperature, just until it begins to bubble and clarify. A froth should form on the surface of the butter—skim this off with a spoon. Keep simmering and skimming until no more froth appears. Add the finely ground marijuana, stirring often. Simmer on very low heat for an hour. Strain with cheesecloth, reserving the liquid, discarding the marijuana solids. Hypothetical ghee-makers should store sacred ghee in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or gift it out to friends in small decorative jars tied with ribbons.

Psilocybin mushroom ginger-mint teabags

Magic mushrooms have been part of the human culture since the dawn of recorded history. The Aztecs of ancient Mexico called psilocybin mushrooms “teonanácatl” or flesh of the gods, and used them as a sacrament for divining the future. Mexican Mixtec culture also revered the mushroom. Driven underground by the Spanish conquest, the sacred mushroom ceremony fell out of sight, but was kept alive by Mazatec natives in Oaxaca. In the 20th century the divine fungus was re-discovered by Western academia, and thereafter by Western culture at large. Magic mushrooms are illegal in most of the United States, but are allowable if grown for personal use in New Mexico. They are legal in the British Virgin Islands and the Czech Republic, and small amounts for personal use are tolerated in some other localities.

• 1/4 ounce dried psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, finely ground
• 1/4 ounce dried unsweetened ginger root, minced or crumbled
• 1/8 ounce dried peppermint leaves
• 1/8 ounce black tea

You will need several large empty teabags, and a stapler. You should be able to find empty teabags at your local health food store.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Use a teaspoon to pack mixture loosely into empty teabags, and staple teabags shut. For gifting, slip the teabags into decorative envelopes.

To, hypothetically, make tea: Pour boiling water over the teabag and steep for 10 minutes. Serve tea with a teaspoon of honey. For a stronger dose, use one teabag per person. For a weaker dose, one teabag may be used to make two or even up to four cups of tea concurrently if you steep it in a teapot. Stronger doses are often visionary, while weaker doses may just make the hypothetical drinker a little happier or more energetic. Ginger and peppermint help to alleviate some of the gastrointestinal side effects common to ingesting psilocybin mushrooms. (Some experts recommend simmering the mixture for up to 10 minutes, then steep after adding mint, to further diminish chances of gastrointestinal distress.) Compost the teabag after the tea is made.

LSD pick-me-up problem solver

LSD is a strongly psychedelic compound first synthesized by Albert Hofmann at Sandoz Labs in Switzerland in 1938. Five years later on April 19, 1943, Hofmann first experienced the entheogenic properties of LSD during his now-legendary bicycle ride. Although LSD is associated with late 1960s counterculture more than anything else, during the 1950s it was commonly used in psychotherapy and showed strong promise in the curing of alcoholism. The drug was driven underground by prohibition, and all original psychiatric research on the compound ceased in 1972.

Recently, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has revived LSD research, with government-sanctioned studies being performed in Switzerland. Unfor­tun­ately, with the continuation of LSD prohibition in the United States, the drug has remained in the underground party scene where users take full doses for “fun,” misunderstanding its power and sometimes leading to psychiatric distress.

In sub-psychedelic (“psycholitic”) doses, however, LSD can help “dissolve conflicts in the mind,” according to the British psychotherapist Ronald A. Sandison.

• one ounce of distilled water
• three drops of high quality LSD
• one clean one-ounce brown glass dropper bottle

Fill the dropper bottle with distilled water. Add three drops of LSD. Add a decorative warning label.

Dosing: Depending upon your metabolism, one dropperful has the same approximate effect as a cup of coffee. Two dropperfuls will make you alert and thoughtful. Three dropperfuls may help you think your way through problems from a different perspective.

LSD is an extremely powerful drug and should never be taken in a cavalier manner. People with under­lying mental instability tolerate LSD poorly. Hypothetical users should approach it, and all psychedelics, with the utmost respect.

Refreshing divinatory morning glory drink

While marijuana, LSD, and psilocybin mushrooms are illegal in Utah, morning glory seeds are not—however, extracting psychoactives from them is legally murky, and improper use can be very distressing. Known as tlitlitzen (divine black one) by the Aztecs, morning glory seeds were employed by ancient Mesoamerican shamans in order to produce visions used to help cure disease, to find lost objects, or to solve interpersonal conflicts. Traditionally the seeds were chewed, but this method tends to produce a lot of stomach upset. Shamans discovered that doing a simple cold-water extraction of the seeds would liberate the desired ergoline alkaloid compounds and leave behind a lot of the sick-making stuff.

• 1 pint distilled water
• 7 grams non-pesticide-coated morning glory seeds (available online)
• juice of one lemon
• one empty teabag

Grind the morning glory seeds into a fine powder using a coffee grinder, and pack them loosely into the teabag. Staple the teabag shut. For a gift, present the teabag in a decorative envelope with cold-brewing instructions.

Cold-brewing: Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a pint of distilled water in a glass jar. Add the teabag and stir, then put the jar of water in the refrigerator and chill for an hour, stirring occasionally. Keep the jar in the refrigerator or in a cool dark place, because light will destroy the psychoactive ergine. To test for the psychoactive properties of the finished drink, put a half teaspoonful of the water in a white saucer and look at it under UV (black) light. A successful extraction will glow a gentle blue. Makes one visionary dose. Note: Since morning glory extracts can be vasoconstrictive, a hypothetical ergine drinker with bad circulation or existing heart issues should employ caution.

Blue lotus wine

The ancient Egyptians considered the blue lotus to be sacred, the egg from which the solar deity was born. The flower is depicted all over their temples and mortuaries, in some cases even twined around wine jars. It has long been speculated that the blue lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) was psychoactive, but this was not confirmed by Western science until fairly recently. Blue lotus petals are not illegal, and are available in bulk online.

• 1/2 ounce blue lotus petals
• 1 pint white wine

Fill a pint jar with white wine, and mix in the blue lotus petals. Put the jar in the fridge and soak the petals for up to three weeks. Strain and serve the now slightly visionary and soporific wine in the evening, or funnel into a decorative bottle and gift it. Makes one hypothetical, but perfectly legal, serving. u

A useful accompaniment to any of these gifts: The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys, by James Fadiman, Ph.D. (2011: Park Street Press) or Krishna In the Sky With Diamonds, by Scott Teitsworth (see excerpt, this issue).

This article was originally published on November 30, 2012.