Cacti - T. peruvianus
Citation: Curious1. "That Old Familiar Place: An Experience with Cacti - T. peruvianus (exp61618)". Erowid.org. Jun 1, 2007. erowid.org/exp/61618
I am a forty-something-year-old male who used numerous drugs in college: marijuana daily, various forms of hashish, alcohol, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamine, mushrooms, and a little too much LSD. Thereafter, I used only moderate amounts of marijuana and a little alcohol for the next fifteen years. Some life changes inspired me to resume my work with hallucinogens, this time as a spiritual learning tool rather than as a party device. This led me to the legal-to-possess hallucinogens, including Salvia divinorum and the Trichocereus cacti, both T. pachanoi and T. peruvianus. The following report documents my fifth exploration with mescaline-producing cacti in the past three years.
After four previous cactus trips, I found that the two I did by myself were very therapeutic and deep, whereas the two I did with a good friend were enjoyable, but not very deep. I’ve been feeling a need for a therapy session, so the upcoming trip will be solo. I’ve scheduled this trip for a time when I will be the only one in my house for a few days, and I have followed a restricted diet for the past three days similar to that suggested before ingesting MAOIs (particularly avoiding foods with tyramine, such as aged cheese and avocados). Although there are no strong MAOIs in Trichocereus cacti, they do have a high tyramine content, which can cause headaches, so the less in my system, the better. I decided to use 70 g of dried T. peruvianus from the same batch that I have used three times before (40, 50, and 65 g trips).
Past experience cooking cacti has taught me to start the oven vent hood first to reduce the lingering odors, which can be a potent nausea trigger even days afterward. Seventy grams of dried cactus with 1.5 qt of water are boiled for an hour in a steel pot. The now-softened cactus is ground up in a blender, then put back in the pot along with the juice of six lemons, returned to a boil briefly, and left to soak for two hours. It is then returned to a low boil for 2.5 more hours, and then the whole mess is strained through a cotton t-shirt. I note that the strained solids have a slightly sweet taste, but no bitterness. Since the alkaloids are bitter, this is a good indication that they are in the very bitter liquid. The filtered liquid is returned to the pot for two more hours of boiling until the volume is reduced to eight ounces of a brownish green liquid the consistency of maple syrup. The liquid is divided evenly between two Mason jars and refrigerated for the next day.
First thing in the morning, I prepare for takeoff. I eat a bit of dry cereal to ready my stomach. Assessment of me: no pains, some sinus congestion, mind is calm. It is a clear, beautiful day, predicted to be warm and windy. It takes several minutes to overcome my aversion to drinking this awful, bitter liquid. Now that my body has experienced it several times, I have a Pavlovian gag response when I even think about committing felonious cactophagy. I hold my nose and drink the first container’s liquid in three swallows, followed by a shot of straight grapefruit juice to kill the taste. Fortunately, the expectation is worse than the actual consumption.
I’m beginning to feel some queasiness in my stomach and a sense that things are subtly changing. I smoke a bit of marijuana to arrest the nausea and then drink the contents of the second Mason jar. The second jar is much harder to get down and my body twists and flinches like the mad scientist in a horror film as he drinks “The Potion”. I quickly wash the Mason jar to reduce the cooked cactus odor and then immediately walk around outside in the garden, trying to sneak away from my churning stomach.
It’s definitely starting to happen. I feel a warmth resonating in me. My hands appear to be ever so slightly larger and time is slowing. Writing requires more effort as my motor skills become rubbery, almost like being drunk on alcohol. I am calm and open, very relaxed and ready for a mescaline adventure. I take another puff of the marijuana anti-nausea medicine.
The walls are vibrating with light colors and hints of geometric patterns. Nothing looks quite level.
The mindscapes are incredible! I’m seeing cities floating in space. Mescaline is appearing in most of my thoughts and beginning the relentless push to enter each cell of my body. The come-up is slow but steady, and I fade in and out of meditation space.
Full blown ON!!! Plus three on the Shulgin scale, and my mind state is in that totally different place I call “tripping”, which can’t (so far) be felt or described when sober. With open eyes I see the empty spaces in front of me completely filled with pulsating bands of multicolored lights and geometric patterns. My whole body is moving with these pulses. Soon my thoughts become highly erotic, crowding out any hopes I may have had about this being a “therapeutic” trip. So I go with it, enjoying the sensations my body and mind experience along with the elaborate mental pictures.
I stagger outside to the hammock and lie there watching the trees dance with each other in the wind. I feel intimate with the trees and notice how each branch moves relative to the others. The wind blows right through me, showing me that I am an infinite being connected to everything. I realize that this is always the case, but that I’m usually not aware of it.
I smoke some more weed to settle the angry natives in my stomach. I continue thinking about how mescaline connects me. Just that: connected. Empathy is easy with whatever or whomever I think about or look at. It would be no more possible to weed the garden or do any pruning than it would be to cut off my own fingers.
I wander back to the kitchen to stare at the linoleum floor, which is now filled with fantastical floating cities in three dimensions with clear details as small as the windows on the many tall, silver buildings. It reminds me of looking at those “Magic Eye” pictures when I get into “the space” where things start to appear, although at the moment it takes no such special effort to see—I’m just there. Unfortunately there is just enough lingering cooked cactus odor in the kitchen to keep me from staying very long, so I head out for a walk.
With sunglasses shielding my dilated pupils, wearing a fedora hat and tie-dye shirt, I look the part of what I am—quite fucked up! Crossing streets is anxiety-provoking, as it should be, since I retain an awareness of their danger and am aware that I can’t judge depth or speed very well.
I arrive safely at a five-acre wood filled with walking paths near my home. Here I wander calmly and rhythmically through the woods. My mind is flying while my body moves on autopilot. The walking is peaceful and purposeful, providing a platform from which my mind leaps and twists and turns; the forest is an extension of my mind and provides structure.
My navigational skills, not being very good when sober, are really bad now and I end up taking a side path that goes a long way in a direction not helpful to my return. Eventually I figure this out and wander back in the correct direction. Much of this wandering back and forth occurs in a low, marshy area. It becomes symbolic of my personal growth and the collection of past life wreckage (lessons learned)—“Every man has his own mangrove swamp to tend to”. Symbolically tramping over healed wounds shows me both how they helped shape me, and how they no longer plague me. I can just walk right over them.
And that is just the part I could put into words.
Back at home, finally! That was a really long walk and I am exhausted. I hang out with the dog (my universal ground to everything), and munch a little food. I speak with an old trip buddy and babble semi-incoherently for a while about how everything is still vibrating, and why doesn’t that reality just stand still so you can get a good look at it?
The trip is now in a more introspective, quiet phase. I watch the movie Satchmo, a documentary about Louis Armstrong, and it brings me to tears many times. I am moved by how Louis retained his genuine warmth and love for all people despite facing American racism. I feel connected to him through love.
I’m listening to jazz and drinking tea to soothe my stomach. Food is finally appealing again. While I wait for my eggs to boil, I try to figure out what “it” all meant: the initial erotic surge of energy, the trees dancing with my feelings of connection, the long walking meditation, the phone call to an old friend, and really missing Satchmo, a surrogate for the closer people and animals who have left my life. I do some writing, but mostly I just sit and think. My contemplations are gently productive and reach conclusions rather than racing and looping into a twisted despair as often happened with LSD.
I’m mostly back down and am finally heading for bed. I take an Ultram (tramadol) and three ibuprofen tablets to fend off a growing headache.
The next day I wake up late, feeling a bit groggy and tired, with a mild headache. At noon I take another Ultram and three ibuprofens, which work pretty well; no further pain medicine is needed. This is a great relief since some of my cactus trips have resulted in excruciating headaches the next day. My guts, however, are not happy with what they consumed yesterday and I experience mild diarrhea for the next four days. This is the first time for this aftereffect, and I find that acidophilus pills help some.
Though I was concerned early in the trip that it wasn’t turning out to be a “therapy session”, the process of writing down my experience over the following days showed me what I learned. The dedication of such a large block of time to these experiences (each consumes three days between preparation, tripping, and complete return to normal space) continues to be a worthwhile investment in myself.
[This report appeared in Erowid Extracts #12
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