Ayahuasca (P. Harmala and M. hostilis) & Cacti - T. pachanoi
Citation: James. "Much Needed Vacation - From Another View: experience with Ayahuasca (P. Harmala and M. hostilis) & Cacti - T. pachanoi (ID 65744)". Erowid.org. Sep 26, 2007. erowid.org/exp/65744
This is a companion writing to 'A Much Needed Vacation' by NastyTrapper (http://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=56746). I am the 'James' referred to in that writing. Here is the same event, written from my point of view.
I consider myself an “experienced” tripper. Not a voyager, or a pioneer, and definitely not a “psychonaut”, but definitely more than a novice. I’ve tripped LSD maybe 5 times in my life, and the last time was at least 10 years ago. I think the most I’ve ever taken was about 3 hits, what that equates to in ug (micrograms), I have no idea, I don’t remember because it was too long ago. But what I experienced during a recent camping trip, all but blows out of the water any previous notions of what the word “trip” really meant to me. So here is my somewhat lame attempt at trying to put into words what really can’t be put into words.
When a friend of mine, Danny, told me that he wanted to go camping in the fall, and possibly try a few new things, I was all for it. I was looking more towards just relaxing, smoking some bowls, and generally not doing a fucking thing for two whole days, than I was looking forward to tripping, but it’d been so long I thought, hell, why not.
Danny did some scout work and picked out a couple of possible camp sites in a national forest just south of his town, about an hours drive away from where I live. The first site was down near a river bottom, which had a great view and was very secluded, but would have been kind of a hassle to bring in supplies (and back out again). The second one was atop a hill that had a great view – you could probably see 15, 20 miles easy to the South, East and North East. We decided, this is the one.
Finally the weekend arrived. The first weekend in October. The weather was just perfect. Temps in the 70’s in the day, 50’s at night. Crystal clear blue skies. Slight breeze. Just perfect. I loaded up my truck the Thursday night before, making sure to double check everything. I hit out on the road around 9am the next morning and met Danny at his place a little after 10.
He had bought a couple of San Pedro cactus stems on eBay, one of them had gone bad, but the other looked beautiful. Nice, plump and solid – with a nice teal color to it. Danny began to chop it up while I stuck the pieces in the blender and pureed the hell out of it. What came out was this absolutely vile looking snot-like substance that had an odor that is hard to describe – what I can only describe as a mix between green bell peppers and freshly cut grass, neither of which I was particularly fond of chugging. He had already prepared his P. Harmala seeds and M. Hostilis bark for his ayahuasca trip. We had decided that since one of the San Pedro’s had gone bad, that I would do the remaining cactus, and he would do the ayahuasca. But I was looking at this Tupperware bowl full of lime green snot, and thinking, ok, this nastiness is really going to have to be cooked down – a LOT.
We finally got everything together and loaded up, and finally headed out around 1pm. After one last minute stop at the grocery store, we finally make it to the campsite somewhere around 2pm. Man what a beautiful day. I was really starting to get psyched about the trip. Damn it was going to be nice to be away from the wife and kid this weekend. Just kick and relax. No worries.
I began to set up the tent while Danny went and scouted for firewood to build a fire. In no time we had everything situated, and we began to cook down the san pedro in a big metal pot. Just when I thought this stuff couldn’t look any more vile, I looked in the pot – just imagine snot in a rolling boil with a nice frothy head on it. Yeah – yummm-MEE. But after awhile it finally got down to a real thin layer, the frothy head disappeared, and it looked like it might actually be possible to get this stuff down. So we took the pot off the stove and put it off to the side to cool. A little while later, after it had cooled, Danny went to pour it out into a cup. Instead of running out in what I would have thought would be a thick liquid, it really just kinda “slid” out, making a sickly “glorp” sort of sound. Uh oh. This wasn’t looking good.
So we just kinda sat around for awhile, chatted with some local kids that walked up the path, and cooked down the San Pedro. The time finally came for us to down our respective poisons. Danny took the first dose of his crushed P. Harmala seeds, and then it was my turn. He poured the first cup of snot and handed it to me. All I could do was look at it. And look at it. I was doing my best to psych myself up thinking “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this”. My mind was saying yeah, but my body, especially my stomach, was saying “fuck that!”. Finally after what seemed like an hour of friendly hounding from Danny, and with as much balls as I could muster, I took a giant gulp, swallowed it, and by about the time I was able to get a second mouthful, my stomach sent up the message “all gears full reverse!!”.
Try as a did to swallow the second mouthful, I couldn’t do it. I was trying to send stuff one way, my stomach trying to send stuff back the other way and it just wasn’t gonna work. I spewed out what was in my mouth, but thankfully, managed to keep from hurling what was already in my stomach. Ok – I’m sitting this one out. I know Danny was disappointed, but, being the more cautious one of the two of us, I decided that just might be a better idea anyway. Having both of us tripping on two substances neither one of us has tried before, with questionable dosages, might turn out to be a bad idea. I was just as happy to be sitting by the fire getting baked anyway.
About a half hour passes without much going on. We’re just sitting there by the fire, taking it easy. Every so often I’d ask Danny if he felt anything. No, he’d reply, nothing yet. All of the sudden, Danny looks up at the trees above us where some Spanish moss is hanging down, and he exclaims “ghosts!, the moss looks like ghosts from Indiana Jones at the end!”. Then he points to this silver trash bag I have sitting on the ground next to our table. He tells me excitedly that there is a pig head underneath our table. I turn around, and I see the trash bag, and it does vaguely resemble a pig head to me – but Danny is full tilt tripping on it. It’s at this point that he realizes that he is tripping, and hard. Both of us were surprised at the stealthiness at which the ayahuasca snuck up on him.
So we’re sitting there, and glance at Danny every so often, just to see what’s going on. For the most part, at least at the beginning, he’s pretty quiet. But his head is rolling around like it’s on a pivot. Every now and then I’ll hear a moan, or a grunt, or a deep sigh. His eyes would close, then partially open, only to see his eyes lolling back in their sockets, then close again. He’d lie silent for 5 minutes at a time, then his body would momentarily jerk as if being startled or by being abruptly brought back to reality, then he’d moan or sigh again. He would try to tell me what he was experiencing, but he was tripping so hard that he could only get out bits and pieces “ray of beam from space” “blue liquid” .. “orange sea” “ticket with two orange dots” “waves of love” “the love man, the LOVE, oh god!” “man I wish I could DESCRIBE to you what I’m feeling!”. A lot of references to a feminine entity or presence – a woman telling me it’s ok, a woman protecting me, holding me, showing me, a woman in the trees holding out her arms to me, etc etc.
During all of this, it didn’t even register to me that I had also managed to get some effects from the mescaline from the san pedro. Looking around me, now that the full moon had risen, I begin to notice patterns and strange shapes in the trees, bushes, clouds and stars. I’m very relaxed, happy, and mellow – probably mostly in part to the weed we had both smoked beforehand, but I have a hard time focusing, and I distinctly see what appear to be swirling fractal patterns in the trees. I’m not seeing visuals – nothing is moving, but I’m seeing patterns that I know I wouldn’t otherwise see. The moon has a nice rainbow sparkle effect around it. But that’s about it.
About half way into Danny’s experience, he suddenly gets nauseous and wanders over to the table that has our water containers on it, leans over and begins retching. And I mean retching. I have never, in my entire life, heard someone puke so long and hard – and I was in a fraternity, we knew how to puke. After a couple of guttural heaves, I can’t take it anymore, if I hope to keep anything down that I’ve eaten that day, I gotta move. I get up and wander 20 or 30 feet away. I still hear him puking what at this point must be stuff that he ate about 5 days ago, so I just stick my fingers in my ears and wait. Sorry man, nothing else I can do. Finally he’s through, and he takes a little while to compose himself, and comes back to the fire. Funny thing is – I was sure there was going to be a pile of puke there the next day, or at least a dead spot in the grass. There was nothing there – no sign.
As Danny’s trip begins to wear off, he becomes more lucid and is able to tell me a lot more about his trip. I really wish we’d recorded it, as I was so baked at the time that I don’t recall most of what he tells me. We cooked us up some dinner – bratwurst, best in the world apparently – and spent a little while taking about his trip. Danny decided to go lay down in the tent and not long after that, I could hear him snoring. I grabbed my sleeping bag, and drug it out next to the fire and just laid there for while. After awhile it got to be too cold, even by the fire, so I picked up my sleeping bag and went bag inside the tent.
Next thing I know it’s morning, and I hear this helicopter buzzing over us so low that I am sure that he’s either crashing, or landing in our camping spot. Danny is already up by this point and he tells me that it’s a crop duster and he’s spraying the hillside below us. And it went on and on for about an hour and a half. I was so pissed I wanted to start taking pot shots at the sob.
We pretty much just spent the rest of the day fucking around, not doing much – collecting firewood, reading magazines, sleeping. Finally evening comes around again, and we decided that both he AND I are going to split the remaining dose of ahayuasca. At this point, after last nite, I was really anxious about taking this concoction. What if the dose turns out to be stronger for me than for him? What if I have a different reaction? What if I have a bad trip? Then I begin to worry that my wife would call – some emergency with our daughter that required my immediate return home – what if I was tripping? Could I drive? Could I even be able to carry on a conversation with her? All sorts of stupid shit like that. Finally, with extreme caution, I decide to give it a go.
I take the first batch of crushed seed. Bad, but not so bad that it makes me want to hurl. If I can get morning glory seed down, then I can surely eat this. A little while later, the second batch of seed, and the glass of ayahuasca. I manage to get two good gulps down, which is about a third, maybe 2/5ths of the glass. Oh, that is some retched stuff too, not nearly as bad as the san pedro, but still pretty nasty. At least it wasn’t slimy. If I hadn’t been so nervous, I’m sure I could have stomached the rest, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. When it comes to stuff like this, I have to be cautious. I’m not really a big tripper like Danny. I generally prefer to just mellow out and my worst fear is to go blasting off into the netherworlds without some kind of safety tether. I tell Danny that that is all I’m going to take. Again I know he’s disappointed, but I think he’s at least happy I got some of it down. Although, at the time, neither one of us thought I’d get anything out of it.
So we’re sitting there at the fire. It’s not quite dark yet, and I look over and Danny is sitting in one of the camp chairs, staring at his leg that he has crossed in front of him. The only thing he says to me is, “I have to get this shit out of me”, and runs over to a tree that is next to our tent, and begins to stick his fingers down his throat. More wretching, but this time even more violent than the night before, and it goes on for even longer this time. Again, I have to get up and move away, but not so far away that I’m out of sight, because at this point, I’m beginning to become pretty concerned. I’ve tripped with Danny on a number of occasions, and he’s always dosed higher than me, and I’ve never seen him lose composure before. Whatever he just saw or experienced, must have been one hell of a jolt.
At this point he’s visibly shaken, and says that he’s going to go lay down in the tent, which is his “safe place”. He keeps saying “talk to me man, just talk to me”. Holy shit, what a mind fuck this guy must be on. So I go and sit with him a bit to make sure he’s ok. He’s got his faced absolutely buried in his pillow, and all I can hear is heavy breathing, sighing, moaning, grunting, just like the night before. Only this time, there is no talking. I ask him every so often, “are you ok dude?”, and he’ll mutter something that sounds like “uh huh”. I figure he’s ok for the time being, so I get up and go sit in one of the camp chairs in front of the fire. I feel slightly “weird”, as if something with the world is just sort of, I don’t know, not right. I figure it’s the ayahuasca or the seed, the bowl we just smoked, or all three combined and dismiss it.
So there I am sitting at the fire, for maybe 10, 15 minutes, just keeping an eye on Danny, asking him every so often if he’s ok. I’m staring at the fire, and I begin to notice that the logs in the fire are melting, almost as if the logs were made out of wax. The outer layers of the embers were dripping off into the fire. I look around and realize that I am tripping – heavily. Oh FUCK. The ground is rippled, like there are waves running through the moonlight on the ground. I look up, and the trees that are above us extend into infinity. I am suddenly very frightened, and decide that the best place for me is inside the tent, lieing down next to Danny. I grab my sleeping bag and turn it around so that my head is at the door to the tent, looking at the fire.
I am tripping SO damn hard and it came on SO damn fast, that I’m really beginning to wonder if I haven’t just made a huge damn mistake. I begin to wonder, oh my god, what if I’ve just taken the equivalent of something like 100 hits of acid? What if I lose it and start running off into the woods, at night? So I close my eyes. OH MY GOD!!! All I can see is carnage – piles and piles of entrails, blood, guts, veins, dismembered body parts, eyes, severed heads, innards – I jerk my eyes open and try to find something that I can concentrate on to take my mind off the gore. There is a coleman lantern sitting right next to the tent, so I stare at it – or try to, anyway, the shape of the lantern is ALL fucked up – and tell myself ‘ok, there is just a plain, normal lantern, it’s real, and it can’t hurt you’. That lantern, oddly enough, becomes my safety line for the rest of the nite. Any time the trip felt like it was getting out of hand, or if I saw more gore, I’d look at that lantern, and I’d be ok, or as ok I could be, anyway.
So I’m laying there, basically scared shitless, hanging on for dear life, while wave after wave of this shit hits me, hating the fuck out of Danny for getting me into this shit, when this song comes on the radio – Ventura Highway by America. Danny mutters, head still buried in pillow, “hey man, I’m gonna go with this song so don’t say anything, ok ?” I say yeah sure, go for it. So this song starts playing. 'Ventura highway,… in the… sunshine, Where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than,… moonnnnshine.'
So I’m listening to this song, trying to relax, and imagine myself going down Ventura Highway during the day, close my eyes, and oh shit, all of the sudden, I’m IN this fucking convertible, GOING DOWN VENTURA HIGHWAY, right on the California coast overlooking the ocean. I can hear and feel the wind. I can look around and SEE the ocean!! I’m so relaxed, I feel so good, so calm and content, and I realize that I feel something, this female entity for lack of a better word, showing me that it’s ok, everything’s ok. Just relax, you’re with friends, you’re being protected, you’re home. That’s about the only way I can describe it – imagine the happiest time in your life, when you felt warm, secure, loved, and protected, and at home.
After the song was over, I opened my eyes and I saw the most beautiful visual hallucinations I’ve ever seen. The tree branches were all made out of lace. The fire was made out of rubies, everything had a jeweled, crystalline effect to it, the embers coming from the fire were all sparkling and left these beautiful tracers. I see these gothic-type effects in the tree branches, like something you’d see in the Hogwarts castle out of a Harry Potter book. The campfire, casting this shimmering firelight on all the trees around us, gave this effect of being in a Cathedral, the trees all curve upwards and inwards and meet in the middle to form a type of arched ceiling. Looking around I realize that I’m seeing tracers on everything, I move my hand in front of my face and it leaves a good 2-3 second tracer. IN-fucking-credible. Oddly enough, NONE of the fear that I had before is with me. I’m completely content, completely grounded. I can look at the fire and I can still see intestines burning in the embers – but this no longer bothers me because I know that everything’s ok. I look up at the moon and what before was your average every day full moon, is now a spotlight in the sky – it’s illuminating everything. The shadows in the trees are dancing like crazy, and it’s all so absolutely, incredibly, undescribably beautiful.
Danny at this point is starting to come back down from his trip, at about the time that I’m peaking. He’s sitting in the tent (his “safe place”, as he has been calling it this evening), watching the campfire shadows on the walls of the tent and telling me about the visuals. He’s telling me about how hard he tripped. “Man, my mind was BENT” and he’d make this sound, wrennnkk, and I couldn’t help but laugh. “I went back to see that bitch, and that bitch was pissed. She kicked me right in the NUTS! I got fucking hit by a mack TRUCK! She was trying to tell me it was too soon to come back!”
He gets up, and stumbles out of the tent and stands next to the fire. I can hear him talking about how beautiful the fire is, and he begins to roll his head around, still tripping, while standing within 2-3 feet of it. All I can think of at this point is, oh shit, he’s about to take a fucking header straight into this pile of embers, and my tripping ass is gonna have to drag him out and then, somehow, manage to get him to a hospital. So I tell him he’s fucking with my trip, and to get away – he laughs at me (asshole! Haha). Every time he walks by the fire now I’m nervous. But it’s cool. He goes and sits down while I trip. Every now and then I’ll close my eyes, and oh god, the visuals, I’ve never ever experienced visuals like this. The most common one I see is this wormhole effect, like a bottomless pit that I keep falling, falling, forever and ever. But it’s beautiful, and I’m not scared.
I open my eyes and stare at the fire, all of the sudden, the fire is all grainy and pixellated, like when you get too close to a tv screen and stare at the dots – but it’ll only last a second, then it’s gone. I look up at the stars, and they are dancing in the sky, bouncing around like the earth is about to wobble off it’s axis. And the trees, oh my god how beautiful. All this lace. Intricate patterns. At this point, I have to piss so bad, I had but two options – either piss myself in the tent, or gather up as much balls as I can muster, and try to walk 15 feet away to take a piss. I get up, and all of the sudden the earth has decided it is going to do everything it can to knock me back down. Everything is crooked, slanted, sloped, angled. It takes every bit of effort I can muster to keep from falling down. Someone how I manage and commence to taking the best piss of my life.
A couple of things I noticed while sitting in the tent – one, I can’t stop yawning. Yawn after yawn after yawn. I feel like I haven’t slept in about 10 years. I’m so tired, and so relaxed, yet I can’t make myself go to sleep because I don’t want to miss anything. Another thing is my mouth and my eyes keep watering. My eyes are watering so much it’s almost like I’m crying. And I have to spit about every 5 seconds, and it feels like I spit a whole mouthful of spit every time. But it doesn’t last long.
I go and sit back down next to Danny by the fire and listen to the music. This Fleetwood Mac song comes on – 'Golddust Woman'. That is when I first noticed the auditory hallucinations, which are my first, ever. I’d never had them while on LSD. Oh my god, this is incredible. My cheesy, 15 year old, beat up piece of shit radio, is spitting out the most beautiful, realistic music I’ve ever heard. I told Danny, “Fleetwood Mac could be sitting 20 feet behind us right now for all I know.” He laughed and said “yep”. The music was echoing around the campsite, echoing off the trees, and it sounded almost as if the trees were all singing in exact unison with the song. I notice that every song that comes on after that, just like Danny says, is the perfect song.
So Danny decides to cook his steak that he had brought for us to eat. He throws it on the grill on top of the fire, and I’m sitting here looking at this steak that is breathing, moving, flexing, thinking of that scene from Poltergeist where the raw steak crawls across the countertop, then spews open full of maggots. I realize of course that it’s not real, but it’s entertaining nonetheless, knowing that he’s gonna be eating this thing. I’m watching the fire underneath cook this living breathing thing, in total amazement. It’s done, and he picks it up and puts it on his plate, and I’m just sitting there watching him, cut into this thing. It is so alive! In a little pocket of fat, I see, clear as day, what looks like a fish eye. The middle part of it is breathing. It’s totally disgusting, but in a funny, cheesy B-movie sort of way.
But the smell of it was, oh my god, heavenly – but I just couldn’t convince myself to eat one. By this time I’m pretty well back on Earth and things are calming down. After Danny eats he goes back into the tent and crashes, and I gather up my sleeping back and crash down by the fire again. After awhile, I get really hungry and decide to eat the baked potato that he had left in the fire, put it on my plate and cut it open. Immediately all I see are maggots in the little while potato bits, but at this point I’m so hungry I don’t care. I butter up that mutherfucker and go to town. Best damned baked potato I’ve ever had. I was getting tired of eating pop tarts all evening.
I grabbed my sleeping bag and laid down by the fire. Danny was fast asleep in the tent, so I just decided to crash out here. Somewhere around 3-4am I guess, I woke up shivering and realized that it had gotten fuckin cold. I walked over to the tent, and Danny was still sound asleep snoring like a freight train, so I just grabbed some extra blankets and put them over me and went back to sleep. I woke up again I guess around 8 when I heard Danny throwing firewood back on the fire. We spent the better part of the rest of the morning just picking things up, getting ready to head back to civilization, with a completely new look on things.
All in all, it was a very enlightening, positive experience, and I am kinda anxious to do it again, I’d probably do about the same dose, at least for the next few times until I get really comfortable with it. At the very beginning I was absolutely horrified, but I think that was mainly because I was anxious about doing something unknown, at an unknown dosage, at night, in the woods. Those negative overtones are what I think steered the trip down that dark path. I am sure the next time it’ll be a much more pleasurable experience. Even if not, I’ll still have the experience and the know how to tell myself that no matter what I see or feel, that it’s not real, unless I just go on an absolutely mind trip like Danny did.
We got everything packed up and headed back to town. Neither one of us said much, we just sat there and contemplated the events of the weekend. While I didn’t have any mind-bending, earth shattering, life-altering insights, it did help me sort out a few things, made me realize a little better what is trivial and what is not. I’m anxious to feel what Danny has felt on his trips, but I’ll have to work up to it, bit by bit. I don’t want to piss off the ayahuasca goddess by overstaying my welcome ,)
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.