The Shaman and The Scientist
In 1962 Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann travelled to southern Mexico to meet the Mazatec shaman Maria Sabina. His aim, to interrogate the therapeutic value of mind- altering substances. Sixty years on, this meeting – and Hofmann’s research – are the starting point for a film that explores the healing effects of psychedelic drugs through the experiences of two protagonists. In Maria Sabina’s Mexican homeland, magic mushrooms have been used by shamans for centuries, and Monserrat is hoping they will help her overcome her anxiety disorder. While in a psychiatric hospital in Hofmann’s native Switzerland, Saskia is part of a pioneering clinical trial into LSD. Can their experiences – and the different worldviews of the shaman and the scientist shed light on the mystery of psychedelic transformations?