Six people travel to Mexico to meet a shaman and take part in an ancient ritual. They eat hallucinogenic mushrooms with the intention of alleviating their physical and psychological ailments.
Little Saints is a documentary following six men and women from the United States who, along with Director Oliver Quintanilla, travel to Mexico to meet an extraordinary woman and take part of an ancient ritual of psychological and physical healing.
The ingestion of psilocybe mushrooms in the southern Mexico is an ancient, candlelit ritual. The lack of external stimuli creates a space that is conducive to looking inside oneself. While guided by Mazatec shaman Natalia, the patients examine their issues and find answers within themselves; thru prayer and energy cleansings, the shaman purifies their spirits.
Along with their story, the film includes interviews with scientists and researchers who share their knowledge of psychedelic medicines, Mazatec traditions, and current efforts to bring this medicine to the world community.
During my childhood I went to a Catholic school. Religious studies was a very interesting class, but I felt that the concepts of what is considered Divine had no logical explanation, the answer to my concerns always was: “You must have Faith”. When I asked what it meant, I was simply told “You must believe”. At the time, it made absolutely no sense to me. By high school I already saw myself as an Atheist, and also as a Nihilist, placing a higher value on experience over intellect and spirituality.
During my mid 20’s I had an altered state of consciousness experience, in which I realized that there was something bigger than myself, something that was my source of energy, connected to me and to every other living creature in the planet, that energy source was not only “out there”, but everywhere, inside and outside of me and every other being. It was a very powerful realization that shattered my most basic beliefs and ways of being. I saw the Sun as a provider of energy that creates life, and beyond, there was a formless God, the source of it all. On a personal level, it was like going to therapy for a whole year in a single night, the peace and tranquility I felt the next morning was like nothing I had experienced before. That’s how my interest in Shamanism started and it was then when I learned about the Mexican mushroom shamanic rituals.
While doing research I found that for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, the Mazatec people of Oaxaca, Mexico, have used mushrooms during rituals for healing the body and spirit, and ultimately, once the spirit has been cleansed and purified, to talk to God; I traveled to the region in search of a Shaman, that’s when I met Natalia. I was very impressed at her simplicity and it was obvious to me that she possessed knowledge about the human soul and its function in the spirit world that very few others have.
I proposed her to shoot a documentary and she said no, without any further discussion, she turned around and walked away clearly disturbed at my request.
After visiting Natalia multiple times for five years, she finally agreed to let me shoot during an evening ritual. I came back to Los Angeles and decided to invite others to come down to Mexico with me to have a mushroom experience and determine if they would also benefit from it, if they would achieve physical and psychological healing or possibly getting in touch with their higher selves, or to have a direct communion with God.
With the passing of time, I learned that faith, has nothing to do with believing in something that doesn’t exist in the physical world. But it has to do with the very real experience of sensing a powerful force within myself, that is available to me whenever I choose to access it and nurture it.
|WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF
(In order of appearance)
José M. Sánchez
Charles S. Grob
Mazatec Cultural Promoter
Traditional Medicine Researcher
Ph.D., Anthropologist, Author
M.D., Ph.D., Psychiatrist, Author
|RO Films Production Services Mexico|
Director of Photography
Juan Carlos Gomez
Colorist / Post Supervisor
Online Assistant Editor
Ometeok - Ending Song
Title Art Director
Incidental Art Print
Assistant Director (México)
Assistant Director (Switzerland/USA)
Post Production Services