Cacti - T. pachanoi (San Pedro)
Citation: BroccoliRob. "A Wonderful, Worthwhile Experience: experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi (San Pedro) (ID 64033)". Erowid.org. Sep 3, 2008. erowid.org/exp/64033
First a little background. I am a computer programmer with degrees in music composition, my friend Ted is a Cellist. We are in our mid/late 30's. Ted is more of a hippy type than myself, I come from a background more akin to postpunk than jam
bands, but we both play in a band together that has nothing to do with either type of genre. I have some experience with psychedelics, I've done LSD 3 times, mushrooms 12 times or so, but nothing for 10 years.
I ordered the cactus online from a reputable seller, 3 x 12 inch cuttings. I went on to prepare the cactus according to this preparation method: cutting the cactus into small pieces, freezing and defrosting the pieces, mulching it up with some water in a food processor, and boiling it at a very low boil for 2.5 hours. I boiled it down until there was 36 ounces of liquid. I figured that it would be easier to keep track of the dosages this way. I froze the liquid preparation and waited until we could schedule a full day to try the 'juice'.
Me and my good friend and musical collaborator, I will call him Ted, decided to start on a late Saturday morning and to spend the day in a local state park that was within walking distance from his home. At exactly 12 noon, we each drank 9 ounces of the liquid over a 20 minute span, giving our bodies a little time to become acclimated to the potion. Knowing that the full effects may not be felt for 2 hours, and this was all guesswork about the strength of the cactus, or the preparation, we decided to wait 2 hours and see what happens.
Within a half of an hour, we were both feeling something, a little lightheaded perhaps, and some indefinable 'weirdness'. All of the feelings were pleasant, and we never felt any sort of panic or anxiety about what was happening. Ted decided to open some mail from his bank. It was a typical form letter about 'dividends'. He read the text aloud and it was one of the most absurd, and ridiculously funny things I have ever heard in my life. We were laughing joyfully at the preposterous nature of it all. For some reason, the word 'dividend' affected any sentence it was found in, and made every sentence sound like it had too many D's. You had to be there.
We decided to go out and take a walk around the block, just to see what other effects we might be feeling. It was a nice, hot, summer day and there was a yard sale going on in some one's front lawn. We perused the books and bought a few. We were conversing with everyone, and we were completely lucid, and sociable. This drug really makes me like people, and I would think that being alone would not be the best way to experience it. Being outdoors, with people (on the cactus juice, or not) is the best way to enjoy it.
After a very pleasant 2 hours, and the effects being mild, but totally noticeable, we decided to drink the rest of the juice at around 2pm. We listened to some music at this point, and found ourselves really enjoying some Wes Mongomery (guitar jazz from the 60's) and despising Mozart, which sounded like some kind of Nazi propaganda, martial, music. The worst part of the entire 14 hour experience was the Mozart. Ted and I are both classically trained musicians, who mostly play rock music now, and normally we can appreciate classical music. But on the cactus, it wasn't working for us at all.
At around 2:30 we decided to walk through his suburban neighborhood, to get the park, and to go hiking on the trails. This time, things really were looking different. The light poles, telephone poles, and signage, seemed to be at askew angles, like
a German Expressionist movie (think, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari), but with vivid, beautiful, colors. We stopped at one point to look at some tree bark, and we stood there for 15 minutes studying the tree bark from a foot away. Not wanting some concerned citizen to call the police we decided to move along. What held us so enraptured, was nature itself. Any insects, or plants, or pets we saw really pleased us, and made us happy. On the cactus juice, I could not bring myself to step on a bug. I tried once, to step on an ant, and I could not purposefully do it. I have always been an animal lover, but I could kill an ant without much hesitation.
I should add, that Ted has 2 cats that live in his apartment with him, and they added immensely to the experience. It seemed like they could tell we were in some sort of plane where they were much loved, and they showed us a lot of affection in response. He normally lets his one cat wander the neighborhood, and he tried to follow us to the park, but I was so worried about him, with the traffic and all of that, that I made Ted lock him inside. The cactus had me really concerned about the cats' well being, in a good way. I wasn't paranoid or anything, I just felt very caring towards the cat.
At one point, we decided that since we did not have a 'sitter', we needed a 'target'. So we texted, on my cell phone, a good friend of ours' who was at the beach with his wife and another couple for the weekend. Over the next 12 hours we were texting back and forth all kinds of funny stuff. This brought us great joy and lots of laughs. It was like an ongoing creative project, with the intention of entertaining them and making them feel good. We made them send us pictures of the women at the beach. Not a sexual thing mind you, but the cactus definitely is a female presence, and having women around is something that feels right. I could see this drug as being an aphrodisiac for some people, under the proper circumstances.
Anyway, we had a hell of a lot of fun crafting these witty text messages and we really put a lot of effort into getting the exact wording we wanted. Ted and I were really cooperating well and we could appreciate each other's strengths and really respect each other. We had some discussions about our roles in the band, and how we wish we could sometimes be like each other. I am the ham, and he is the dark brooding type. And we realized that to be one, you need to become less of the other, and that they both have value. Obvious, yes, but to really feel it as the truth when you are talking about your sense of self, and how others see you and how you define yourself, it was very insightful and educational.
There were many, many, insights like this, that I have been able to integrate into normal life. Unlike mushrooms, or LSD, I really felt like the insights and ideas I got on san pedro were real and useful, not mixed up and useless. Even the laughter
was real, not a nervous reaction to absurd and confusing thoughts. There was real joy in the laughter, and things really were funny.
In the park, we enjoyed nature, studied plants and animals, and we occasionally jogged on the paths, because our energy levels were very high, and we felt like moving. We chatted with people all day, and I found myself understanding the beauty of women with reddish hair and freckles. Or any woman with a 'hippy-like' appearance. Ted and I were loving freckles. We felt that we had to flirt with any woman we saw, more or less, especially if they had freckles, or a puppy. We probably looked a little wild, because at this point, our pupils were dilated, but we were really filled with love for everyone really. It seemed like people could sense that.
As night fell, we went back to Ted's apartment. He has oil paintings on his walls, that I was having 3-d hallucinations from. The images extended out 2 feet from the canvas. On 3 or four additional 2-d layers placed in front of the image. When I closed my eyes I had swirling visions. One very interesting thing was seeing a normal bulb in the lobby, switch from a very distinct lavender shade, to a green shade if we moved our heads back and forth. Ted researched it afterwards and found out we were experiencing the classic 'lilac chasing' optical illusion that neither of us was familiar with. It was interesting to notice something that was always there, that we didn't see before. Ted says he can see it with that bulb every time now.
There was no fear at any point in the experience. I even tried to scare myself and the plant teachers would counter it with humorous images. The closest I got to seeing anything satanic, was a cartoon-ish, country bumpkin, goat in overalls, with a straw hanging out of it's mouth driving a tractor. Goats have those satanic eyes I guess, that was the only connection. I stared at myself in the mirror, and I looked hideous, but the cactus made me laugh at my own vanity and called me an 'asswipe' for being so vain.
The cactus wanted to teach me things, and it stressed kindness towards others, forgiveness, and most importantly Patience. When to be patient, and when to strive. Patience was stressed beyond all other lessons for both Ted and I and we talked a
lot about what we were learning. We are still, 3 weeks later, interpreting and learning from this wonderful experience.
After about 14 hours, we came down gently, and went to sleep. The next day, I felt great and even though there were headaches immediately after waking (a tenant of mine, lost his key and I had to run a bunch of errands before making it home at all) I was able to deal with them without being as stressed as I normally get, even though I was very tired. When I finally got home, I napped for about 3 hours and awoke feeling totally rested and refreshed.
I want to try it again, maybe with a higher does, maybe the same. I am interested in how far from reality the experience can take me. The amount we took seemed just about what people would call a 'moderate' or 'typical' mescaline dose. It was a hot day, and we really walked/ran around too much. A sitter, or at least someone with a bit of common sense, could have been an asset and kept us from overdoing it. The only negative aspect of the experience was bringing ourselves to the brink of heatstroke inadvertently. Luckily we ended up alright. The tiredness from the experience was mostly due to the heat.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid.