Cacti - T. pachanoi (San Pedro)
Citation: Han Solo. "In the Embrace of Pachamama: experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi (San Pedro) (ID 50479)". Erowid.org. Jan 11, 2007. erowid.org/exp/50479
During my travels in Peru I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a hostel by the name of in Cusco. The establishment is owned and run by a wonderful South African woman who apart from providing shelter for travellers, basically provides a safe haven for folks wanting to expand their awareness via the San Pedro cactus.
The San Pedro cactus has been used by shamans of the Andes mountains since time began, and the guides from the hostel provide a setting in keeping with that tradition. Since San Pedro and it's consumption are completely legal in Peru, there is right off the bat no concern about entering an 'illegal' headspace, which for me is nice. Nothing like John Q Law to ruin a fun trip!
The San Pedro cactus was boiled in a miniscule amount of water for about 14 hours the day before ingestion, creating a slimy and foul tasting soup-type thing. We all sat (9 of us plus guide) in a circle in a forest outside of town and ingested. Within 15 minutes most of us begun to feel the sensations of nerve endings opening up. The trees whispered in the breeze, and the clouds kept us cozy under their blanket from the hot sun. We all broke off into groups or individuals and wandered off from time to time, around the valley we were bordering. On a rocky outcropping nearby a group of Inca descendants held their own ceremony, chanting in Quechua and raising the energy of the vortex which they encircled.
Pachama, Quechua for mother earth, feels the prayers of her supplicants everywhere on the planet, but especially so in this area where people have been blending their energies with hers via San Pedro (Huachuma in Quechua) for millenia. I wandered off from the group, wrapped myself in my poncho, and lay down in her arms, allowing her warm and loving arms to surround me, to reassure me. I was coming out of a rough period of my life, and Pachamama and Huachuma together opened many doors for me. They gave me the key to the window of my soul, where I saw that I was carrying around the burdens of my life long past their usefulness. I saw that things that caused me hurt and loneliness were really just transitory experiences that ultimately have taught me valuable lessons. I saw that my poncho, like the earth itself, and like my mind and all living organisms, are woven together in intricate patterns that are both stunning in their simplicity, and exhiliratingly beautiful in their complexity.....
Our group guide was a grade 3 (is that the right way to say it) Reiki master, and upon her offering did a session on me. An intensely beautiful soul cleanser is she.
After a few hours of playing in the ether, we ventured over to the ancient Temple of the Moon nearby, entering the womb like cavern where the Incas and their predecessors came to worship the cycles of life, death and rebirth. One female in the group felt and saw the snakes on the walls come to life around us; I believe the female priesthood of old there was calling out to her. Later on she told me she had first nations blood on her mother's side, and maybe that means nothing, but it meant something to me.
We walked through the passage in the temple, emerging reborn, alive, gloriously present in the moment, bound together all of us.
At that we slowly strolled on back in to Babylon, which in Cusco seems almost designed to fascinate the spiritual seeker, but nonetheless overwhelming at times. We made it safe and sound to the hostel, and quickly realized that the beautiful painted walls, cozy environment, friendly people, and smoke friendly environment (if you know what I mean), were no strangers to the presence of spiritual seekers on their way home after an intense day of soul searching.
San Pedro is a subtle mistress. Not prone to freak outs, or paranoic tinges, it is soft, gentle, oh so kind, and did I say gentle already? After taking psychedelics in many environments in my life (shows, houses, parks, nature, etc...), and many different types, this particular voyage taught me two things:
1) I don't believe I will ever ingest man made psychotropics again. Not that there's anything wrong with them, but I do feel that these plants, fungi and cacti have certain linkages with the energies of the areas where they grow. If ingested somewhere far from where they grow, they'll still teach you much, just, in my opinion, not as much maybe as ingesting them in the environment where they came from, where their every molecule interacts with the soil, air, and energy around it. And,
2) When we ingest these substances, we are ultimately a part of a tradition that is older than any modern religion, any self help book, and texts on Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, or whatever (not to knock on those things; I love 'em), and that means that it is helpful to seek out those who have experienced these guides before us. In the presence of these shamans, or guides, or friends, or whatever, I believe I ultimately benefit more from my experience, just because I can look someone in the eye, and know that they've been there.
Happy travels friends.
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