Pinwheel Cave rock art in California may depict hallucinogenic ‘trance flower’

Just before going into a hallucinogenic trance, Indigenous Californians who had gathered in a cave likely looked up toward the rocky ceiling, where a pinwheel and big-eyed moth were painted in red. 

This mysterious “pinwheel,” is likely a depiction of the delicate, white flower of Datura wrightii, a powerful hallucinogen that the Chumash people took not only for ceremonial purposes but also for medicinal and supernatural ones, according to a new study. The moth is likely a species of hawk moth, known for its “loopy” intoxicated flight after slurping up Datura‘s nectar, the researchers said.

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